French in its architecture, and built in the late 18th century as a Neel Kothi or ‘Indigo House’, Balakhana at Nabadwip in Nadia district, was the residency of an indigo planter. Indigo was the prime colonial cash crop of the time, but its forced cultivation, which was the British practice, caused a peasants’ uprising in 1859. With force being banned by the British Government in 1863, indigo lost ground. Jute and tea became the new cash crops. By the 1870s Balakhana Estate was put up for sale by its then owner, Henry Nesbitt Savi, an Englishman. The property was bought by its present owners, the Palchoudhuris, wealthy traders of the 19th century.