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Paltan is a Thana (precinct) of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It is often said to be the center of Dhaka, dividing "Old Dhaka" and "New Dhaka". Paltan was made a thana in 2005 by then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia.
The name paltan came from cantonment. The name derived from English word Platoon ie a group of soldiers which is about 11 in case of an infantry platoon. Purana Paltan, Purana Paltan Lane, Naya Paltan, Topkhana and up to Fulbaria rail-line, it was the cantonment of east India company and there were Artillery forces in Topkhana. 'Top' means cannon and Topkhana means armoury. It is a Turkish word. In the year 1840 the cantonment was transferred to Ramna, Begunbari and afterwards in Lalbag. After the transfer of the cantonment the area was given to the municipality to be taken care of. From the whole area they took a part and made a garden which was known as ”Company Bagicha”. There was a big field in the rest part, which was used by the student of Dhaka College as their playground. Beside this it was used as the Parade Ground of Lt. Governor. But end of the 19th century it was used as the cricket field and sometimes the public meetings took place over here.
Up to 1930, very few people lived in Paltan. Buddhadeva Bose's novella 'Moner Moto Meye' is evocative of this period; the character Bikash says “When I was 17 years old I came to a house in Paltan. At that time there were only three houses in that area”.
Paltan Boasts numerous Noted personalities and families since its beginning. The GAZIs, ABEDINs, CHOWDHURYs, ROUFs are amongst few families who settled during the period of early 19th century A.D. These families also played a major role in development of the City as a whole.
The Important Features and part of Paltan as a whole is briefly described below:
VIP Road- In Paltan area there is an inner-circular VIP road (now named as Anjuman-e- Mufidul Islam road, Shahid-Manik road), which is 120 feet wide divided by a divider. The road is named so because it's the pathway for all VIP's starting from the Prime minister and President of the country to most Tycoons. This road is Adjacent to Motijheel, the countries business capital area which includes principal branches of nearly all the banks and other financial organizations along with the corporate offices of most of the companies. The stock Exchange of Dhaka is also located at the same area.
Police Station-The model police station “Paltan Thana” is located in Paltan. People can obtain help from police at any time. There is a big police quarter inside the police station. Around 200 police force stays here, including female police.
Shopping Complexes- Paltan, being one of the oldest area in the city, boasts numerous shopping centers and markets. Baitul Mukarram, Polwel super Market, Paltan Super Market, City heart, Gazi Bhaban and many other centers are situated in the area.
Hotel and Restaurants- Many hotels are there in Paltan most of which strictly maintain international standards and outlook while serving a huge group Foreign investors, sports and other club members and visitors as well. Amongst them Hotel Victory, Orchard, Razmoni Isha Khan, Grand Azad are worth mentioning. Restaurants like Midnight Sun, Sizzler, Lan Hua, Mouri and numerous others are satisfying the desire of the epicures of the city since long.
Automobile Market- The area boasts of the largest automobile market of Bangladesh as well numerous motor vehicle workshops which are operating since long with their identical goodwill.
Cinema Halls and Community Centers- The renowned cinema halls Raz, Moni and Jonaki are located in our area. Ananda Bhaban and Paltan Community Center in our area are well known community centers in the city.
Masjids and other places of worship- Dhaka is known as the city of Masjids. Numerous masjids are located in this area. ‘Baitul Mukarram’, the national masjid, is located in this Zone. Naya Paltan
Jama masjid, Purana Paltan masjid, Purana Paltan Lane Bot-tola masjid are amongst others to be mentioned. Most of these masjids were built during the earlier decades of the last century. The Archbishop house known as the Kakrail Church which is one of the oldest and biggest church in the city is located near Paltan.
Siddheshwari Kali Mandir, one of the major sacred places for the Hindus is also situated near this area apart from many others.
Icons and Famous Personalities- The soil of Paltan bore and nurtured numerous personalities since long. Starting from the British period till today. Amongst them Great Political and social reformer; Philanthropist Alhajj Abdul Halim Chowdhury, Noted Industrialist Mr. N. N. Gazi, Veteran Politician Gazi Golam Mostafa, Lawyer Adv. Ashraf Ali Chowdhury, Pakistan's Hilal-i-Quaid and Minister back in 1965 Altaf Husain's brother Censor Board Chairman Anwar Husain and his wife Media personality and daughter of renowned Bollywood Actor Pahari Sanyal - Namita Anwar, Renowned left politician / columnist / veteran journalist of Bangladesh Nirmal Sen, veteran singers Md. Khurshid Alam,Shahnaz Rahmatullah, Abeda Sultana, Shimul Billah,Music director Anwar Parvez, Actor Raisul Islam Asad, Late Zafar Iqbal, famous cultural organizer and freedom fighter Nasiruddin Yousuf Bacchu,cricket commentator Shamim Ashraf Chowdhury,famous Bharat Natyam specialist artist Shukla Sarker are to be mentioned. Most of the political and social figures of the last century also were directly related to this area during their lifetime.
Paltan has, by the grace of Almighty, each and everything needed for an individual to lead life comfortably. The area has, starting from small daily need markets to international stadiums. This zone has witnessed and influenced most of the political as well social happening of this country as a whole since long, be it British period, Pakistan period or post war period as well now. Though it gradually is affected due to population and habitation problems alike other areas of the city it still stands apart in the city.
(A Tribute to the pioneers who initiated the urbanised settlements as well development of the city of Dhaka)
Famous for shopping centers
- City Heart Shopping Center
- Polwel Super Market
- Paltan Super Market
- Jonaki Super Market
- Gazi Bhaban Shopping Center
Under British rule, the Government maintained a regiment of soldiers here and hence the name, Purana Paltan. In this spot the Army had a firing range. During 1956 there were fewer buildings in Purana Paltan and it was surrounded by villages on the east and north, and a vast empty space to the south. Now there's hardly any open place. This is an old Dhaka Landmark. At present it is famous for publishing houses.
During the British era, the Paltan Maidan was a huge empty space lying between the Nawabpur old rail crossing and Purana Paltan. It had big banyan trees in the early 1900s. It was a kind of no-man's land, dividing old Dacca and new Dhaka. Part of the ground was cleared for playing football (soccer), with the rest luxuriating in vegetation. In the 1940s, the football field had a small wooden pavilion and wooden gallery on the western side of field. The ground parameter was surrounded by CI wall and "bullah" poles. Most of the area of Paltan Maidan was taken for Bangabandhu Football Stadium and Bhasani Hockey Stadium.