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Marakat Kuunja or Emerald Bower Rani Rashmoni Bhawan
Jhulan Baari - Prominent Palaces
3089    Dibyendu Banerjee    03/04/2019

While proceeding towards south from the crossing of Amherst Street and Bowbazar Street, along Sashi Bhusan Dey Street, one will find on the right side a pair of red houses, connected to each other with the help of a suspended bridge. The bridge was built centuries ago for the free access of the family members from one part of the building to the other, without using the street below. The fabulous building, constructed probably more than two hundred years ago, is widely known as ‘Jhulan Bari’ in the locality.

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The specialty of Jhulan Bari lies in its suspended bridge and in all probability it does not have a match in the whole city. Bridges between two buildings can be found in Presidency College, St Paul’s Cathedral Mission College, Calcutta High Court and Jorasanko Thakurbaari. However, connecting bridges of those buildings are constructed in their own complex, while the bridge of the Jhulan Bari, fondly called the Jhulan Bari Bridge, is suspended on a public road, Baburam Shil Lane, named after the original owner of Jhulan Bari and used by the public.

The Jhulan Bari Bridge
The Jhulan Bari Bridge

Though today the building is known as Adhikary Bhawan, Jhulan Bari was initially owned by Baburam Shil, who gifted the property to Krishnamohan Adhikari, his family priest and his most trusted associate. Since then, the descendants of Krishnamohan have been living in the building, down the generations. Though the age of the main building is approximately 200 years, the third floor was built 80 years ago. The floor was marbled during 1884.

The Jhulan Bari

Krishnamohan, a devotee of Lord Krishna, initiated the Jhulan Yatra (swing festival) of Radha-Krishna in the building, while his great-grandson Ramkanai started to make it in a grand way. Since his time, the celebration continues for five days. Each day the deities are dressed in different ways and different food (bhog) is offered to them. To mark the occasion, eminent personalities were invited to perform in the venue, as their offerings to the god. Among them was the legendary musician Jadu Bhatta, who often used to stay in this house and often practice music. His prized Tanpura is still preserved here. Apart from that, from time to time, many other eminent artists like, Radhika Prasad Goswami, Aghornath Chakrabarty, Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Raichand Boral, Hiru Ganguly, VG Jog and others graced the occasion here.

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Even today, the celebration continues for five days and for those five days, the gates of the well maintained Jhulan Bari alias Adhikari Bhavan remain open to the public, without any reservation.

The Jhulan Bari
Marakat Kuunja or Emerald Bower Rani Rashmoni Bhawan
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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Swami Vivekananda
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