Great Architectural Splendours of Bangladesh
Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) is a South Asian country which has celebrated 39 years of its independence. It's one of the trios of Indian subcontinent and holds rich history and culture of more than 4000 years. Bangladesh is actually the union of two words "Bangla (বাংলা)" and "Desh (দেশ)", Bangla is the name of this region and Desh refers to country or land. Bangladesh, East Bengal, PurboBongo or simply Bangla are synonymous. In the passage of time this region has been pedestrianised by Dravidian, Aryans, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Mughals, Portuguese, Armenians and British. The legends of ancient bangala hugely attracted people around the world specially Arabs and Europeans. Ancient bangala was also a junction of major religions. This great land embraced Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam as well as other religious beliefs. There are some very sacred places for Hindu followers in this very region. Islam had been passed to the south-east Asia through this land, Buddhism was spread all over china and south-east Asia from this land. It was a centre of Buddhism and Buddhist monks in the subcontinent.
There are some magnificent architectural structures in Bangladesh from the past to very present time. Some of the ancient structures have been ruined due to floods, earthquakes, or saltation. Humid moisturized weather is another reason for structural decay. But still many of the ancient structures are standing there declaring a glorious past whereas latest structures indicate its endless potentials as an interdependent nation.
National Assembly Building (জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন/Jatiyo Shangshod Bhaban)
Like me, People who were born in Dhaka, and have been watching this building since their childhood, it’s an iconic structure to them. It took almost 20 years to complete this phenomenal superstructure. The national assembly building is situated in Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. It was originally designed by American architectural legend Luis I Kahn in the early 60’s and he died before his most brilliant work was completed. This parliament building is regarded as one of the most impressive modern architectural wonders, and it is one of the largest parliament buildings in the world. It takes different colours at different times of the day and it looks different from different angels. The whole structure is surrounded by a lake called crescent lake and the structure seems floating on the water. When the construction work of this building was started, the designer used the best technology available that time and he faced lots of difficulties while the construction. The main structure is covered by another outer structure having circular, triangular and rectangular openings. The whole structure has been made in such a way so that lights and air can easily enter the corridors. It is a 155 ft high 9 storied building but from outside it’s hard to detect. It has so many doors, windows and ventilators really difficult to count. The total length of the corridors is more than 40 km and the corridors are made in such a way it has become a maze, anybody could get lost in the building without a guide. The design has been included in the syllabus of top architecture institutes around the world.
The open area associated with the building is a place for morning walks as well as afternoon and holiday recreations. All arrangements and facilities are there inside the building for the visitors. It turns into a fairy palace at night. It’s truly a pride for the people of Bangladesh.
Shaat Gombuj Masjid (Sixty Dome Mosque)
If I want to mention any mosque of Bangladesh, the name of legendary Shaat Gombuj Mosque would come first. This Islamic wonder of Bangladesh is from Bagerhaat District under Khulna division. Though it is called shaat gombuj or sixty dome mosque, in fact it has 81 domes roofed over with 77 squat domes, including 7 charchala or four-sided pitched local style domes in the middle row and 4 domes at each corner on top of the minars. But inside the mosque, there are sixty pillars which may be a reason for naming it so. It is the largest historical mosque in Bangladesh and one of the most spectacular Islamic structures in the subcontinent and most probably this is the only mosque in the whole world which has so many domes .
It was made by Khan Jahan Ali in the mid of 15th century, who was one of the greatest religious figure, reformer, and a successful ruler in the history of ancient Bengal. The time when the mosque was made it was the reign of independent sultans of Bangala, and this mosque walls are made heavily, though the inspiration came from the Tughlaqi style, the design is unlike any other mosques in this region. There are seventy seven low domes arranged in seven rows of eleven, and one dome on each corner, totaling 81 domes. The interior is divided into many aisles and bays by slender columns which culminate in numerous arches that support the roof. It was made by red bricks and mud. The interior has been decorated with beautiful terracotta flowers and foliage. the whole mosque is white coloured inside. People have been praying regularly in this mosque for more than 500 years. This unique and marvelous structure has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lalbag Fort: A Mughal Legend
Lalbag Fort (aka. Aurangbad fort) stands at old Dhaka near the bank of the river Buriganga. After the Mughals established themselves as the supreme power in Bengal, they felt an urgency for constructing a fort to save the new capital city of Bengal i.e. Dhaka. Dhaka was geographically a much protected area surrounded by rivers from both sides, but yet Portuguese pirates were always a threat for Dhaka. When Prince Muhammad Azam, son of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir was made the provincial ruler of Bengal in 1678, he decided to make this magnificent fort palace at the bank of river Buriganga. But he was recalled by his father to Delhi and he went back there keeping the fort incomplete. Shaista Khan was made his successor in Bengal. While continuing the construction his daughter Pari Bibi died and he considered the fort as a bad luck or ominous. It was 1684 when Pari Bibi died since then no further construction had been done. It was a barrack during the British period but the British rulers never looked after it so it was in a bad shape that time. The local soldiers took part in the sepoy revolution from this fort in 1875 and many soldiers died here. The fort has been excavated and its original look has been revived after 1971by the archeological department, since then it has become an attractive place for tourists and history lovers.
Lalbag fort is a fort palace consists of three main buildings- Dewan i Aam (royal court) with Hammam, a mosque and the tomb of Pari Bibi along with three grand entrance gate. The whole area is 18 acre and there is a garden and some fountains inside the fort. These fountains were made at that time and the entire water passing system of the fountains and the Hammam(royal bath house) is ingenious. There are stories about the hidden tunnel which has been sealed by the authority, rumor has it that this tunnel had destination across the river Buriganga to Munshiganj district. The tomb of Pari Bibi is an amazing monument of Mughal architecture. All the buildings are very precisely made by bricks and terracotta design. There is a museum inside Dewan i Aam displaying crockeries and war materials used by soldiers in Mughal and British period. The most beautiful structure is the tomb of Pari Bibi, its tranquil environment would touch your mind.
Lalbag fort is standing here in Dhaka as a silent witness of the history of Mughals in Bengal.
At the end i would like to apologize if there is any mistake, or anything inappropriate, here i didn't give any expert opinion as i am not an expert in these area, i just tried to explore everything as a beginner. I express my gratitude to those who have taken those pictures from around the world.Thank you.