Royalty & Vintage Cars Unite at Cossimbazar Palace for the East Himalayan Rally 2022
Images: Deepanjan Sarkar
On a journey to discover the eastern region of the Himalayas, which spans three countries—India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh—with several states and cultures, we began our journey from Kolkata and headed towards our next stop, the Cossimbazar Palace in Murshidabad.
The road to the palace was like any typical Indian road; rough and smooth, with breakdowns, traffic, and a crowd of people. But the mechanical team followed the participants closely, ensuring that everyone arrived safely at their destination. After a long day of driving, we finally arrived at a perfect spot to rest.
Among the fleet of well-equipped and exquisite cars, the bottle green 1952 Merc was the 'shikaar' (victim) of overheating. However, the 2.2-litre engine in the Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet did not prevent the car from reaching its destination. During an interview with the owner, we learned that the car had always been with them in Finland and had never been ‘redone’, hence it was in its original state.
The owner also mentioned that the six-cylinder convertible had covered over 60,000 kilometers. The body of the enchanting vehicle boasted an antique design, while the interior had a modern style. The trio comprising the father, son, and Merc was a sight to behold.
Another powerful participant, the 1934 Lagonda, was another pre-War beauty. When asked what makes this car special, the interviewee responded that it's ‘an old one; it's mechanical, not electric, and I like to drive it without the cover’. He liked the feel of the old cars.
Later in the day, we stopped at Hotel Nilachal for a lunch break, where we enjoyed a delicious Indian meal that fuelled us for the rest of the drive. The locals' enthusiasm for such cars was evident in their willingness to help on the roadway, which made things convenient during the rally.
Upon reaching our destination for day 2 of the Destination Rally, the Cossimbazar Palace of the Roys (Rajbari), we were welcomed with great hospitality and the cultural touch of Bengal. The aura of royalty, the sumptuous premises, and the warm welcome made this a perfect site to relax, enjoy and recharge for the next day. During an interview with Pallab Roy, the heir of this Rajbari, we learned that this palace has an extensive history of almost 300 years.
People from India and Europe equally took part in the completion of this majestic architectural masterpiece. The Roy family has always been into vintage and classic automobiles, and they have a significant collection of these beauties at their residence, one of which is a 1928 Studebaker. He was most happy to have people from different parts of the world with a mutual interest in their amazing cars stay at his Heritage hotel.
In the evening, Pallab Roy organised a special program for the international guests. Participants enjoyed great music, a cultural program, and a delectable dinner at the palace while the cars rested under a sky full of stars. Every moment enhanced time with joy and was an incentive to complete the Destination Rally.
The next morning, we set off on a new day, taking a new road to a new city. The cars lined up, and the bonnets of the Jaguar XK150 DHC and the silver Aston Martin DB6 reflected the sunlight of the bright day. We heard the engine growl, and more than a dozen classic beauties were off to Malda.
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