Historical Buildings of Nawabganj

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1. Bandura Shahi Mosque

The Bandura Shahi mosque; popularly known as Vanga (broken) Mosque is situated only 7 km from the Upazila Sadar and can be access by crossing the bridge from Bandura Bazar. Occupying an area of 50 decimal, the three-gumbad mosque is considered on of the oldest structure that resembles mughal architecture in Nawabganj. A myth goes like this; the original mosque has been erected from the ground by some spiritual power. And later mughal subadar Islam Khan Chisti (was the subahdar from 1608 to 1613) contributed to the construction.

Unfortunately not much of the original architectural style can be traced from the current huge expansion and renovation work. Only in the western side with three domes, still contains the lost mughal style from that period.

2.Holy Rosary Church

Established by the Portuguese missionaries before the British colonization, the Holy Rosary Church in Hasnabad area of Nawabganj is considered as one of the oldest Christian place of worship. The Church there was erected in 1777 and later rebuilt in 1888. It remains as a milestone in the journey of Christianity in this country. Father Antoine da Rosario from Bhusana (Faridpur) is credited for this noble cause. 

The Hasnabad Church has been locally known as Japmala Mata Church, and currently is being under renovation. The Church is a landmark for all the Christians in this subcontinent and has been visited by thousands every year. 

Some other churches of this area are: St Anthony of Padua Church (estd.1860) in Bakshanagar, St Francis Xavier’s Church (estd. 1844), The Holy Spirit Church (estd. 1914), Sunabaju’s church, named Fatima Rani Church (probable estd. 1924, but the inscription says 1946).

3. Andharkotha/ Temple of Khelaram Data

Perhaps the most fascinating early colonial structure of Nawabganj is the Andharkotha or the Temple of Khelaram Data. Khelaram Data was a benevolent Zamindar of the area and built this fascinating half residential and half religious structure. It is assumed that, the building was originally five to seven storied, but only two of them are visible above ground. Unfortunately, the rest of the building has sunk due to subsidence. Few years ago, there were passageways which led to the basement, but they are not accessible anymore. 

The ground floor, almost square in shape, is divided into fifteen rooms. There are two staircases leading to the upstairs with nine rooms. The central chamber, probably used as a prayer hall is slightly raised and covered with a Shikhara or Pinnacle roof. Other rectangular rooms that surrounded the central chamber have Dochala (Gable) roofing system. Apart from those rectangular rooms, in the middle of the structure, there are also four rooms at four corners bearing Chouchala (Hipped) roof. Thus the nine rooms on the upper floor make the structure as a Navaratna temple or temple of nine gems.

4. Zamindar Bari

The most spectacular mansion of Nawabganj is the old Zamindar Bari near Painna Bari. The two storied structure has not gone under any renovation work so far and thus survived in its original state. The series of corinthian columns in front and extended veranda are one of the main attractions of the building. The ramshackle wooden windows and wrought iron railings of the veranda bears the taste of the owner. 

5. Painna  Bari

On the other side of the Ichamoti River, there is a house called Painna Bari that belonged to an affluent merchant. The rich ornamentation on wall of this palace attract many visitors from far.

6. Braja Niketon

Brajo Niketon, popularly known as Judge Bari according to its present owner (from 1980) is a late colonial structure, constructed by the Zamindar family of Brajen Saha. The well maintained palace is surrounded by lots of beautiful trees. There is also a pond with a ghat and shaded sitting arrangement.

 

7. Kokil Peari Bari

The building is a 200 years old structure. The house was originally named after the mother of Radha Raman Roy in Kolakopa union of Nawabganj upazila. The building is in a dilapidated state, which demands earnest attention for conservation. There is also a small temple with a broken statue near the palace.

8. Teli Bari

According to local people, the owner of the Teli bari was a prominent oil merchant and thus the house got its name as Teli Bari (House of oil traders). The house is used as an Anser camp at present.

9. Baroduari

The village called Baroduari (a place with twelve door) is a small village near Notun Bandura (New Bandura). There is a large pond in this village. Local people claimed that they found lots of old bricks from that pond. So there was probably an ancient development. 

10. Mazar Sharif of Afazuddin Shah 

The Mazar Sharif (Mausoleum) of Afazuddin is located in the Galimpur Union of Nawabganj Upazilla. Every year thousands of followers visited this place.

Although the settlements in Nawabganj are not very old, they are very much diversified in architectural style and are from different cultural and religious background. The Ichamoti River which used to be the lifeline of Nawabganj, made it a prominent trade center. It is also very significant in the history of water transportation of that region, as it was a man-made water canal dug by the famous landlord Isha Khan (One of the 12 influential landlords of Bengal) as a convenient travel route to Murshidabad from his residence at Dhaka (Sonargaon). It is a great misfortune that a bund constructed in 1993 to protect the adjoining areas from flooding has completely dried up the river. Much attention is required to revive the water stream for the sake of history and ecological balance.

Bibliography

1. Farooque. Md. Abu Hasan. 2012, Nawabganj Upazila (Dhaka District). in Sirajul Islam and Ahmed A. Jamal. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.

2. Bangladesh Population Census (2001). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

3. Field report of Nawabganj Upazila (2010). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

4. Gomez. Sushin John. 2010, Atharogram: Bhashachitra (AvVv‡ivMÖvg), Bhashachitra (fvlvwPÎ), Dhaka.