Talatal Ghar is among the many mysteries the state of Assam hides within itself. Nestled in the quaint Sibsagar district, Talatal Ghar is a heritage wrapped with a history of more than 3 centuries. Today, I am here to find out more about the unspoken facts of the Tai Ahom Dynasty.
Talatal Ghar is essentially a part of a seven storied structure called the Rangpur Palace. The first four stories are over the ground and known as Kareng Ghar and the remaining three floors are below the ground and hence called Talatal Ghar. This unique structure was built in the 18th Century by then Ahom Ruler Swargdeo Rajeswar Singha. The two secret tunnels below the ground level served as the exit routes during wars and emergency situations. The palace also sports a well maintained garden in the front that makes up for the beauty of the palace.
After Swargadeo Rudra Singha’s death the Talatal Ghar and Kareng Ghar went through several architectural alterations to its structure, which resulted in its present day appearance.
Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha added the three floors below ground, which make up the Talatal Ghar, and are made of brick and an indigenous type of cement (a mixture of Bora Chaul – a sticky variety of rice grain – eggs of hens, etc.). The Talatal Ghar had two secret underground tunnels. The first one is about 3 kilometres in length and connects the palace to the Dikhow River. The second tunnel,16 kilometres long, led to the Garhgaon Palace, and used as an escape route during an enemy attack.
Visitors today can only view the ground floor, the first floor, and what remains of the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Kareng Ghar. The floors of the Talatal Ghar below ground remain inaccessible to common public, and most of the wooden parts of the palace have withered over time.
The Rangpur Palace was once surrounded by a brick fortification and an earthen fort (Garh) with dikes filled with water. There is a Khar Ghar (gunpowder and ammunition store) near the palace. A dilapidated artificial pool in the backyard reflects the image of the palace in an eerie silence.