Dubalhati Palace – One of the Neglected Historical Monument of Bangladesh

There are many unfocused archaeological sites scattered throughout the country, the Dubalhati Palace is one of the sites among them. The palace is located at Dubalhati upazila, about 5.70 kilometres away from Naogaon district of Rajshahi division. Though the aristocratic palace is now ruin but still capable to fulfill the thirst of travel loving tourists.

During the Pala Dynasty, Raja Harendra Ray Chowdhury erected the main fabric of this palace. Dubalhati Palace was basically the resident of Maharajas of Dubalhati. It has been heared that around 53 Kings and Landlords ruled this place and surroundings from this eminent palace since its construction. The architecture of this monarch was changed in different phases of rulings according to the desire of the ruling kings and landlords. Among the landlords of Dubalhati, Haranath Roy Chowdhury was mentionable because of his expansion of estates through different districts and vast contribution in educational fields. Became pleased with his huge contribution in education the British government honoured him with title ‘Raja’ in 1875 and ‘Raja Bahadur’ in 1877. At 1897 a devastating earthquake causes huge demolition of the palace. Later on it was rebuilt again but the Pakistani army destroyed it during 1971 liberation war.

Though the main palace was three storied but after decay now the ruins of two storeys left. Inside the ruins of the palace there are bedrooms, a dining hall, a darbar (reception) hall, conference hall, private theatre, guest rooms, attendants and servants quarter. The frontage of the palace is north facing and represents large Corinthian Greek style columns. The façade of the palace is like encrested crown of British royal family. The entire palace complex is surrounded by four ponds, whereas there are six more additional water tanks centering the palace.

The Dubalhati Palace is now enlisted as protected cultural heritage site. But perhaps the Department of Archeology has failed to manage adequate budget for reconstruction of this historical palace otherwise it wouldn’t left in such ignorant condition year after year.

Jagannath Dev Temple – The only octagonal shaped temple in Bangladesh

Jagannath Dev Temple is one of the most magnificent antiquated religious constructions of Bangladesh. Jagannath Dev Temple meanwhile Jagannath Temple is situated in Bibir Bazar of Jagannathpur Village and about 5 kilometres east of Comilla main town. The village got its name after the name of hindu god Jagannath. To the local devotees the temple is popular as ‘Saptaratna Temple’ (Temple of Seven Jewels). Meanwhile it is also known as ‘Soteroratna Temple’ (Temple of Seventeen Jewels). Perhaps this temple is the oldest one from Comilla District.

The holy temple was built by the King of Tripura named Sree Sreejukto Maharaja Radha Kishor Manikya Bahadur during 16th century. There are few hindu gods and goddesses are worshiped in this temple. Among them Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are mentionable. The statue of these gods were initially installed in a temple at hilly area of Tripura. Later the statues were brought and re-established in this temple.

The architectural style of this edifice differs from rest of the ancient hindu temples of Bangladesh. The temple is a brick built structure and raised up on a stone of octagonal shape. This is the only octagonal shaped temple in entire Bangladesh. The whole outer wall of this holy building is thoroughly ornated from top to bottom with extreme terracotta motifs among which the third floor contains terracotta of Bengali style that flourished flowers, petals, leaves and so on. This ancient temple is 60 feet high. There is a water tank at the west side of the temple. There is a shed that contains three chariots that are being used during festivals called ‘Roth Yatra’.

The Department of Archaeology has enlisted this as a cultural heritage site of Bangladesh. As a part of preservation the Archaeology Department renovated the outside wall of ground floor and first floor as the terracotta of those floor were ruined. New Temple and Ashram are built just beside the old structure to continue their religious activity more smoothly.

Pakutia Zamindar bari – An Unfocused Landlord Palace of Tangail

Pakutia Zamindarbari is among one of those unfocused landlord houses that usullay failed to gather the attraction of the tourists. The majestic mansion is situated in Pakutia union in Nagarpur upazila of Tangail district. The place is very near from Baliati Palace of Manikganj. The distance between these two palaces are 8 kilometres. Pakutia Zamindarbari is about 67 kilometres from the capital city Dhaka.

As far as it is heared the Zamindari in this region was started in the early 19th from the hand of Ramkrishna Shaha Mandal. He has two sons named Radha Govinda and Brindaban Chandra. Radha Govinda didn’t have any children whereas Brindaban Chandra had three and were known as Brajendra Mohan, Upendra Mohan and Jogendra Mohan. Later on Radha Govinda adopted Upendra Mohan as a result he (Upendra Mohan) became the inheritor of Radha Govinda’s entire property whereas his brothers shares Brindaban Chandra’s property equally. Later on these three brothers built separate houses for them in 1915. These are the three buildings that comprises Pakutia Palace complex. Among these three mansions one is bigger than the other two and that was the resident of Upendra Mohan which is currently used as Pakutia BCRG Degree College.

There are vast similarities between these three buildings. Each building are two storied with almost same architectural style. In every mansion there are corridors on both the floors which provides access to each room of respective mansions. All the palaces are beautifully decorated with splendid terracotta motifs on wall and edges. The grand façade of every building either ornated with extreme design or with sculptures of various hindu gods. Apart from this there is a backyard and next to it there is a huge pond. There is also a temple and a well for drinking water present within the palace arena.The splendid artworks and designs, greek style columns and a number of scattered sculptures makes the entire environment very touchy and resembles the aristic mentality of the ancient people.

The largest palace is now used as a college named Pakutia BCRG Degree College and they also holds the ownership of rest of the edifices which they now rented to other organization. Due to lack of observation many historical monuments of this beautiful country are on the way to huge devastation.

Karatia Zamindar bari – A Prominent Historical Asset of Tangail

Karatia Zamindarbari is another prominent addition in the list of landlord houses in Tangail. It is situated at 15 kilometres south-east of Tangail in Karatia and almost about 90 kilometres from the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Karatia Zamindar Mansion is among the oldest landlord houses in Tangail.

Wajid Ali Khan Panni, the last zamindar of Karatia acquired the zamindari and erected the Karatia Zamindarbari in 1906. But it was his grandfather Saadat Ali Khan who established the zamindari in that region. Wajid Ali Khan also established famous Government Saadat College, Tangail in 1925. The grandson of Wajid Ali Khan Panni named Bayezid Khan Panni used to live in that palace a few years back till his death. The Palace now remains locked by the authority and opened at 1st and 12th of Baishakh (1st month of Bengali Calendar) and two EID days.

The two pavilons of the Zamindarbari (landlord house) was erected in 1899 and 1906. There are two main blockes in the zamindarbari complex named Rokeya Mahal and Baithak Khana (Meeting house). The architecture of Rokeya Mahal resembles pure Islamic & Mughal period features. The architecture of Baithak Khana is a fusion of Chinese and neo-classical style. There is also a beautiful mosque near to the premise of the complex. There are eight domes in the mosque laid in two rows. The first row comprises of five domes of equal sizes whereas the second row consists of three domes among which the middle one is the largest. The entire premise is decorated with lots of old buidings, ponds, wells and so on.

This magnificent historical structure is on the way to decay due to lack of proper care and renovation. Such buildings and arcthitectures should be taken as our historical asset and must be preserved at any cost.

Dinajpur Rajbari – Promising Tourist Spot of North Bengal

Dinajpur Rajbari is one the oldest Landlord Palaces in Northern Bangladesh. It is situated at the north-eastern portion of Dinajpur main town, a place known as ‘Rajbatika’ near the village Rajarampur. The people there so helpful that if someone wishes to visit Rajbari , the local resident will help till the end.

According to history Raja Dinaj or Dinaraj was the erector of Rajbari. Some other documentation says it was popular Raja Ganesh of 15th century who was the true constructor of the Rajbari after the wresting of Ilyas Shah reign. Srimanta Dutta Chowdhury became the landlord of Dinajpur at the end of 17th century. Later on due to premature death of his son, his sister’s son Sukhdeva Chowdhury became the inheritor of this property. As the time elapses the Rajbari gradually turned into ruins due to lack of necessary care.

At the entrance to the estate there is a giant arched gateway facing west. After entering through the gate inside the premise near the gate at left side there is a Krishna Temple and at the right side there are some ruined outhouses and another arch known as ‘Lion gate’ provides access to the inner courtyard. Inside the Lion gate at eastern side there is a flat roofed temple facing the courtyard. The temple has few sculptures of hindu Gods. The Rajbari is principally divided into three major blocks named Aina Mahal, Rani Mahal and Thakurbari Mahal. Inside the Rajbari arena there are few more minor buildings, rest house, servants house, tanks an charitable dispensary made by different kings and landlords during their reign.

Dinajpur Rajbari is a magnificent historical heritage but its unfortunate that the Government of Bangladesh has no headach to save this as a historical beauty. Most of the Rajbari is now a ruins only structures at few points are left, the two temples are in a well preserved condition due to local devotees. The Department of Archaeology should declare this as protected as early as possible.

Hemnagar Zamindar bari – The Angel House

screenshot_425Despite of having every possible thing to be a promising tourist attraction of Bangladesh, Hemnagar Zamindarbari failed to gather the attraction of tourist. Even many Bangladeshi people didn’t know about this zamindarbari. However, this beautiful edifice is situated in Hemnagar of Gopalpur Upazila in Tangail District. It is near about 10 kilometres from Gopalpur and about 135 kilometres from Dhaka. Hemnagar Zamindarbari is most popular as ‘Angel House’.

The Angel House was constructed by Hemchandra Chowdhury, a hindu businessman and property developer in 1890. After constructing Hemnagar Shashimukhi English High School after his mother’s name, this prominent businessman become the incumbent landlord of the region in 1900. By nature he was a rude and cruel who used to torture his peasants for very reasons, that’s why he had to escape early from the region during separation of country. The main building of the palace is currently used as the administrative office of Hemnagar Degree College. The mansion also houses Hemnagar Shashimukhi English High School in one of its buildings.

The best attraction of this grand manor is its luxurious façade. The walls, edges, pillars and even the archways are thoroughly ornated with broken pieces of glasses, procelains and potteries that flourished flowres, vases, stars, vines and many more. The frontage artwork of the mansion resembles about ‘The Star Mosque’ of Old Dhaka. At the top of the main frontage there are two small sculptures of angels inside a motif, that’s why the house become popular to the local redents as ‘Parir Dalan’(Angel House). There are approximately 25 rooms inside the palace. All the rooms are facing an inner courtyard next to a discontinuous corridor. Once the entire palace compound had seven large ponds but right now only few left.

Just like most of the Landlord palaces Hemnagar Zamindarbari is also endangered. The Government of Bangladesh should take immediate steps through the Department of Archaeology to preserve this palace because once if it will be devastated it will gone forever.

Moyez Manzil – The White House of Faridpur

screenshot_424Moyez Manzil is one of the most magnificent British period mansions ever presents in Bangladesh. Moyez Manzil stands adjoining the cicuit house of Faridpur in Bangladesh. The villa is also famous as the White House of Faridpur not only for its dazzling beauty of whiteness but also for the the seat of the governance of that district.

It was merchant landlord Chowdhury Moyezuddin Biswas who erected the aristocratic mansion in 1885. The construction cost was 11 Lac rupees and was collected from the annual income of each of the landlords belonging to this royal family. The palace was renovated again at 1916. As Chowdhury Moyezuddin Biswas was a legendary landlord and his estates occupies most of the regions of Faridpur his family also built several palaces across the estates which includes Biswas Bari Palace, Chowdury Bari Palace and Biswas Bari II.

Moyez Manzil Palace complex stands over 30,000 sq.feet of land which includes five buildings (about 40 rooms combinedly), two fabulously decorated embellished mausoleums, a six minar mosque and entire area surrounded by a beautiful lawn, gardens, trees and many more. The main house building comprises of a two storied Victorian style mansion which includes 20 rooms. The mansion was made in a architectural combination of Islamic and Victorian style. Rather than standing in a simple row, the rooms are lined up between of over 300 feet verandah and are interconnected.

Moyez Manzil was popular not only for its glorious beauty but also for some historic agendas. Due to the Anti-British conceptualization of Chowdhury Moyezuddin Biswas many political leaders regularly made visit to the Moyez Manzil which became the second important meeting place outside Dhaka among the whole East Bengal. The legendary leaders who visited Moyez Manzil are Netaji Shubhash Chandra Bose, Sher-E-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq, Hossen Shahid Suhrawardy, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Mahatma Gandhi and many more. Many actors and actresses of Indian film industry of 1930’s and 1940’s paid visits to the historic house.

Each and every brick of this mansion bears the testimony of many historical issues as well as describes the supreme beauty of this superb villa.

Bajra Shahi Mashjid – The Grand Mosque of Bajra

Bajra Shahi Mosque is a remarkable example of auspicious elegant mosque in Bangladesh. The grand mosque is situated in Bajra Village of Begumganj Upazila in Noakhali District. The mosque is 18 kilometres north from Maizdee Court and 156 kilometres south from capital city Dhaka. The picturesque mosque and its prosperous history is capable enough to attract tourists and guests from all over the country.

The magnificent mosque was built by Landlord Amanullah in 1741-1742 during the ruling period of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. The Bengali and Persian combinational inscription at the inside wall and the outer gateway of the mosque conveys the information that Landlord Khan Bahadur Ali Ahmad and Landlord Khan Bahadur Mujir Uddin Ahmad thoroughly repaired the entire mosque and added every possible thing to enhance its beauty. It has been heard that one of the inheritor of Mughal Emperor visited this place by a big boat named ‘Bojri’, this is how the village got its name.

The mosque is a brick built three domed rectangular edifice with stylish outer walls and four octagonal shaped minerat at its four exterior angle. The east side of the mosque has three arched doorways whereas the north and south each side has one door with supporting minerats on both sides. These minerats are smaller in size compared to the four major minerats of the mosque. In the middle of the western wall there is semi-octagonal mihrab. The whole mosque compound is covered by a boundary wall with a grand arch at the front. The eastern side of the mosque has a water tank and the southern side has a graveyard. Each and every portion of the mosque from its outside wall to the mihrab, bears the excellence of artistic work. Some rare and beautiful stone were stolen during 1971 liberation war.

Bajra Shahi Mosque is now in a well preserved state due to the regular use, huge renovation and countless love and devotion of the local devotees.

Muktagacha Palace – The Oldest Historical Signature of Mymensingh

Muktagacha Palace is one of the most splendid palatial landlord houses of Bangladesh. It is situated in Muktagacha Upazila of Mymensingh District. The site is about 140 kilometres away from Dhaka and almost 16 kilometers from Mymensingh main town. Muktagacha Palace is the oldest edifice situated in Mymensingh.

The landlords of this area actually came from Bogra (North Bengal) and leased one of the 22 estates of Bengal named Alepshahi Pargana from Nawab Alibardi Khan in 1727. After the death of Isha Khan the Alekshahi, Momenshahi and Hossainshahi Pargana were also included into the zamindari. According to the historic datas Shree KrishnaKanta Acharya Chowdhury initiated the zamindari here after coming from Bogra. One of the local inhabitant named Mukta Ram Karmakar welcomed him with large lamp stand made of brassess (locally called ‘Gacha’) which pleased KrishnaKanta very much. Became pleaded with such gesture he renamed the place ‘Muktagacha’ which was previously known as ‘Binod bari’. The Landlord had four sons named – Ram Ram, Hari Ram, Bishnu Ram nd Shiva Ram. Raghu Nath, the son of Shiva Ram played an important role in establishing Mymensingh main town in 1787. Later on the successor and next generation of Shiva Ram-GauriKanta, KashiKanta, SuryaKanta and ShashiKanta successfully maintained their zamindari from their royal Muktagacha Palace till the abolition of the landlord system.

The ruins of Muktagacha Palace is still standing with dignity and occupying a vast area of 20 hectors. The east facing main Palace has a grand gateway flacked with terracotta motifs. The main Palace is surrounded by many other supporting buildings that were built during different period of their reign. The architecture of all the buildings represents a fusion of Indo-European architecture. Among all the ruins of residential complexes which catch your eye most is a two storeyed building made of iron and steel. The landlord himself used to live in this house with his wife. The entire Palace complex is surrounded by gardens and many small and big temples.

Though the entire Palace complex is in a high risk of collapse. Even a small earthquake can demolish the entire complex but the Department of Archaeology declared only the main Palace as protected. If the Government of Bangladesh become more sincere to protect this site then definitely one day it will be one of the major tourist attractions of the country.

Mymensingh Palace – The Shashi Lodge

Mymensingh Rajbari also known as ‘Shashi Lodge’ is one of the iconic lodges of Bangladesh built by the landlords of Bengal during British period. The lodge is situated at Muktagacha Upazila of Mymensingh District and about 124 kilometres from Dhaka City.

This palatial house was built in 1880 by King SurjaKanta Acharya Chowdhury who was the Landlord of Muktagacha. It was named ‘Shashi Lodge’ according to the name of his adopted son ShashiKanta Acharya Chowdhury who became the inheritor of the royal family of Muktagacha further. The Mymensingh Palace was under the supervision of the zamindar family of Muktagacha till the demolition of zamindari system. Later on it came under the respective government and until declaration this site as protected archaeological monument in 1989 it was used as Teachers Training College by the ministry of education. The department of Archaeology is not successful yet to free the lodge because it is still being used as the office of the principal and two other officials.

There is a bombastic statue of greek goddess of love, Venus at the lodge compound which takes the artistic superiority of the house to a different level. The statue was made out of marble stone. Behind the palace there is a pond and an ancient tree named Nagalingum whose fruit was used to feed elephants. This architecturaly auspicious lodge comprises of 24 rooms. The grand façade, the felicitous arches and the thoroughly propitious motifs on walls, doors and everywhere brightened the beauty of the lodge.

After the Department of Archaeology declared this site as a protected monument, it has gradually turned into one of the greatest tourist attractions of the country.