Bangabhaban

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Banga Bhaban
General information
Architectural style Mughal architecture
Location Dhaka, Bangladesh
Construction started 1905
Technical details
Floor area 6,700 m2
Website
http://www.bangabhaban.gov.bd/

The Banga Bhaban (Bengali: বঙ্গভবন, lit. House of Bengal) is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Bangladesh, the head of state of Bangladesh. Located in the capital Dhaka, the mansion was a viceregal lodge during British rule. From 1947 to 1971, it was the residence of the Governor of East Pakistan. Since 1971, it has been the official residence of the President of Bangladesh. Most Bangladeshi Presidents since Abu Sayeed Chowdhury have lived here.

History[edit]

During the period of the sultanate of Bengal, a Sufi saint, Hazrat Shahjalal Dakhini of Dhaka, and his followers were killed by agents of the sultan and buried on the site of Bangabhaban. The site soon became famous as a mazhar (mausoleum) for the devotees of the saint. It is conjectured that it belonged to a zamindar during the period of British India. Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani of Dhaka bought the site and built a bungalow there, which he named as Dilkusha Garden.

With the partition of Bengal in 1905, the government of East Bengal and Assam bought the site and constructed a palatial house which served as a temporary residence for the Viceroy of India until 1911. From 1911 to 1947, the palace was called the Governor House, and served as the residence of the governor of Bengal. Following the independence of Pakistan and India in 1947, when East Bengal officially became part of Pakistan, the palace became the residence of the governor of East Pakistan. The building was severely damaged by a storm in 1961; substantial reconstruction was completed by 1964.

Two research books on history of Bangabhaban[1][2] were published on 14 February 2006 under the initiatives of President Professor Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed and Advisor to the President of Bangladesh M Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury, where the latter was publisher as he was also Press Secretary to President. The two separate books were namely Hundred Years of Bangabhaban and Bangabhbaner Shatabarsha,.[3] The research panel was led by Vice Chancellor of Bangladesh National University (Bangladesh Jatiya Bishwabidyalaya) Professor Dr. A. Momen Chowdhury who was also a senior Professor of the University of Dhaka historian cum senior Professor of University of Dhaka Dr. K. M. Mohsin, researcher-journalist-editor turned government actor M Mukhlesur Rahman Chowdhury, historian with archive expertism Professor Dr. Sharif Uddin Ahmed and other distinguished researchers were involved. Notable, the book is the outcome of two years' research by a panel of eminent historians, researchers, scientists and architects.[4][5]

On February 14 in 1906, Sir Joseph Bamfylde Fuller, the first lieutenant governor of the then province of Eastern Bengal and Assam started his official work at the Darbar Hall of the Bangabhaban during the British Raj.[6]

Status[edit]

One of the most important symbols of Bangladesh's government, the Bangabhaban holds a status akin to the White House in the United States and the Rashtrapati Bhavan in India. The palace is an important historical landmark and the centre of media and tourist attraction. Special public ceremonies are held during Independence Day of Bangladesh on March 26 every year. The Bangladeshi president resides and works in the palace, and frequently holds meetings, conferences and state dinners for Bangladeshi politicians, intellectuals and visiting foreign heads of states and ambassadors. The traditions and pomp of the palace are a symbolic indication of the presidency's ceremonial superiority to other public and political institutions.

Structure[edit]

The Bangabhaban is a mix of British-Moghul architecture that typify many buildings of the British-era (1857–1947) in Dhaka. With the reconstruction between 1961 and 1964, many elements of Islamic architecture and Bengali styles were incorporated. The palace has high boundary walls on all four sides. The main building is a three-storeyed palatial complex, around which stands extensive greenery and tree cover. The floorspace of the ground floor is 6,700 square metres. The president's residence is on the north-east corner, comprising two storeys of two suites along with five well-furnished spacious bedrooms.

The president's office, the office of the civil and military secretaries and other presidential officials, and separate rooms for audience with local and foreign visitors are also located in the ground floor. In addition, there is a cabinet room, banquet hall, darbar hall (court), state dining hall, a small auditorium and a lounge for local visitors. In addition to the president's residence, there are five rooms for officials, a control room and a studio in the first floor. In the second floor, there are four suites for foreign heads of state and government.

The Bangabhaban has an open compound of 47 acres (190,000 m2) of land. The security office, post office, bank, canteen, tailoring shop, a three-domed mosque and barracks of the president's guard regiment are located in the vicinity of the main gate of the Bangabhaban. The residential quarters for officers and staff of the President's office are located in three outlying areas of Bangabhaban. There are also two bungalows one for the military secretary and the other for the assistant military secretary.

See also[edit]

References[edit]