Ahsan Manzil, Dhaka: How To Reach, Best Time & Thing to Do.
You can visit Ahsan Manzil, architectural beauty, on the north banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Dhaka, well known as the city of fine muslin, mosques, and rickshaws, bears an equally long history of progress. It was under the Sultanates (ruled by a Sultan) during the 14th century. Later in the 17th century, it turned into the famous Mughal capital.
It came under British control in 1757. Designated as Nawab Bari the extravagant “Ahsan Manzil” was a symbol of aristocracy, luxury, and influence. In fact, it was the first building in the city to have electricity! How extraordinary. I was very excited to visit this significant palace.
How It Came Into Being ?
The story goes like this, in this place where Ahsan Manzil now stands, was a summer house of Sheikh Enayet Ullah. After purchasing a bigger area near Kumartuli, he incorporated it into this summer house. A beautiful palace was built which he named Rang Mahal.
His Son sold this property to the French traders later on after his father’s death. The French traders became affluent after they bought this property. They did tax-free business at that time and were doing better in comparison to the English and other European countries.
They constructed a grand palace and dug a pond called “Les Jalla” in the compound of the building. The pond still exists. But with the increasing power of the English, the French were defeated. They sold the property to the established landlord of Dhaka Khwaja Alimullah.
A stable and a family mosque were added to the palace as well as some renovation work was done. The trading house became the house of Khwaja Alimullah. It was his son, Khwaja Abdul Ghani who brought major changes to the place.The 19th century Ahsan Manzil (or Ahsan Manjil) was the official residential palace and accommodate of the Dhaka Nawab Family.
Nawab family were the elite society of the city. Nawab Sir “Abdul Ghani” named it Ahsan Manzil after his son Nawab Sir “Khwaja Ahsanullah Bahadur.” Pink Palace, it’s another name because of the color of the walls, stands witness to many historical events in Bangladesh. On 1992, the palace was turned into a museum to preserve the rich culture and history related to this iconic building. Now, this museum has become a popular tourist spot in Dhaka city.
Historical Importance Of Ahsan Manzil
During the later period of the 19th century, the Nawab Family played an important role of the independence movement and politics of the India. Many important decisions regarding the future of the Muslim movements in India were made in this very palace. The result was the formation of the All-India Muslim League.
Ahsan Manzil was the high point of the old city, and it dominated the riverfront. We were surprised to find out that Lord Curzon, Governor General of British India, visited here in 1904. He stayed as the Guest of Nawab Sir Salimullah Bahadur and at that time witnessed as Dhaka emerged as the new capital of Eastern Bengal after the first partition in 1905.
The Construction History Of The Building
The palace’s construction started in 1859 and ended in 1872. This site formerly stood the French Factory. The subsequent restoration led to further enlargements. Inside the palace, I saw the models of the old and new Ahsan Manzil in silver filigree.In 1888, the building was hit by a tornado, and then an earthquake damaged the place.
Almost all part of the palace was reconstructed after suffering the damage. At that time, the doom was made which turned the palace even more beautiful. Because of this dome atop you can detect the palace from miles away.The glory of Ahsan Manzil ended with the death of Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah.
Due to financial difficulties, the successors of the Nawabs became incapable of further maintaining the property. The condition of the palace was deteriorating. The government took the initiative to repair and renovate it to its original shape. Thus, the historical and architectural significance was restored. It was an important step in the preservation of our country’s history.
Opening And Closing Times & Entry Fees
Ahsan Manzil is open to tourists every day except for Thursday and Government holidays. At Friday, its open from 3:00- 7:30 pm, and any other days its open from 10:30-5:30 during summer time. April to September is summer season in Bangladesh. From October till March, winter season in Bangladesh it opens from 9:30-4:30.
During Eid, the biggest religious festival observed in the country, Ahsan Manzil remains closed the day before, on the day of the occasion and opens the next day. Also, during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast for a month, the place closes early on 4:00 pm every day. It is important to collect the necessary right information before visiting this magnificent monument in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Tourists visiting from countries excluding SAARC countries need to pay USD 1 (equivalent to BDT 100). Tourists from SAARC countriesneeds to pay BDT 75 whereas it will cost BDT 20 for locals to visit. If you are interested in visiting the museum, no problem.
You can use the same ticket for that too. So, it’s cheap. There are phone numbers you can use; these telephone numbers are +88 02 739 1122, +88 02 739 3866. Also emailing to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org may work. You can check out the place online at www.bangladeshmuseum.gov.bd.
Ahsan Manzil Inside
If you want a flashback to the attractive life of the high society of Dhaka, do take a long look at this Pink neo-classical. The ground floor is 5 m high, and the first floor is 5.8 m in height. The octagonal metal dome is octagonal shaped and is 27.13 m high from the ground. From the southern porch down comes a spacious stairway onto the bank of the river through the front garden.
Ahsan Manzil is brought together in Indo-Saracenic Reform architecture. In simpler terms blend of both the subcontinental and Islamic style of construction. The most important building in it is the grand palace. Occupying the center of a large quadrangle it has a crowning dome above, which is the highest point in the old city.
The Internal Things To Do In Ahsan Manzil
Internally, the building has two symmetrical halves and a total of 31 rooms. The eastern wing, known as the Rang Mahal, consists of a drawing room, a library, and three guest rooms. Both the drawing room and the Jalshaghar are decorated with a beautiful vaulted artificial ceiling made of wood. It is quite striking.
The western part, known as the Andarmahal, has a ballroom and other residential rooms. It displays a wide variety of styles. Two floors have gallery rooms spread over them. Green, yellow and white -very colorful ceramic tiles are garnishing the Darbar Halls.
Interestingly, all of the building’s railings, lamp stands, pipes- all the iron came from England!Round arches characterize large verandas on the north and south, and the rooms are covered with marble. From the middle of back verandah, a room containing steps leads down to the ground floor, where the similar arrangement of rooms is kept.
At the verandah on the second floor, you can feel the breeze and admire the sight of boats wandering in and out of the river port. It is no wonder that all the governors and chiefs of British India who visited Dhaka spent their stay at this very palace.The spacious front of the monument faces the river commanding a magnificent and scenic view.
Upon request and special permission, visitors are allowed to see the collection of museum specimens. Among them are paintings, photographs, arms, and weapons, coats of mail complete from head to foot. There is furniture like beautiful wooden dressing tables, Italian panel discussion, ivory mat, animal head, and skeletons. If you want, you can take a look at the silver filigree work of the Husaini Dalan and Ahsan Manzil.