Sovabazar Rajbari Durga Puja - 1 [Palace of Raja Radhakant Dev]
The construction of Shobhabazar Rajbari, located at 35 Raja Nabakrishna Street, can be traced back to the 18th century, when Raja Nabakrishna Deb, an astute man fluent in English, Persian and Farsi, held a prominent position in the company. Nawab of Cuttack. Recognized for his diplomatic skills, Nabakrishna, despite his allegiance to the British, played an important mediatory role between the British, Mughals, Nawabs and Rajas. After Nabakrishna’s demise, the estate passed from his elder brother to his adopted son, Gopimohan, eventually coming into the possession of his son, Raja Radhakanta Deb, after whom the place is named.
Rajbari received significant recognition for hosting the first domestic Durga Puja in 1757, an unprecedented event during which non-Hindus were allowed to witness the festivities. The place is commonly known as Sovabazar Rajbari Boro Bari due to Nabakrishna’s marriage at an early age and subsequent adoption of his nephew Gopimohan Dev.
Sovabazar Rajbari Durga Puja - 2 [King Nabakrishna Dev built it for Rajkrishna Palace]
One of the two palatial establishments built by Raja Nabakrishna Deva, this particular building was built for his biological son, Raja Rajakrishna Deva after his marriage to his third wife. As a part of their Durga Puja rituals, the family conducts a ceremony called Kanakaanjali, in which Durga is treated as their daughter, and she is showered with gifts every year. An elderly wife, dressed in traditional Banarasi saree, receives prasad from the priest, which includes jewellery, a silver vermillion box and rice in a silver plate.
In the past, the family released a pair of Indian roller birds to symbolize Durga’s departure and promised to return the following year, until wildlife protection laws forced them to discontinue the practice. . Notable people present at the puja included Lord Robert Clive, Warren Hastings, Sadhak Ramprasad, Rabindranath Tagore and Thakur Ramakrishna, Sister Nivedita and Raja Ram Mohan, among others. The iconography (statue) within the palace is of the Akchala type, consisting of multiple deities housed within a frame, with the distinctive “Ghototmukhi Singha” (body of a lion with the face of a horse).