Balia Zamindar House or Palace is once known as a symbol of dignity in this region. Still some of the ancestors of this zamindari estate living in Kolkata. Interviewing local folks ORB team came to about its identity and partial history, which could be possibly will help to rebuild its actual history in near future.
So far we came to know from different sources that, this zamindari was founded by man named Zamindar Malik Muhammad Box (জমিদার মালিক মুহাম্মদ বক্স) who came to this region from Multan. His son Hazi Malik Karim Box (হাজি মালিক করিম বক্স) was chronologically the second successful famous zamindar of this estate who donated a big amount of money from ‘Kashmir & Kyed-E-Azam relief fund’.
According to the old people of Balia this building is more than 400 Years old. There is a little difference between this Zamindar house with others. It’s one of the few Zamindari estate in Bangladesh which was being founded by Muslim zamindars where as rest of others being established by Hindu zamindars.
This old house is on the way to ruin, most of its building material is being removed. Except its tall dome and a triangular pediment rest others element is lost in course of time.There is a three domed Mosque in front this old House which could be possibly built in some later time.
There are a couple of way to move there at the old palatial house from Dhaka. But, the easiest way for a traveler is to take a bus from Gabtoli Bus stop to Saturia Bus stop via Dhaka-Aricha highway. From Saturia Bus stop you may ride on a shared mini bus or CNG auto rickshaw to reach there at Kalighat Bazar via Saturia-Daragram bazar. From there Balia zamindar house is just steps way.
There are so many vehicles approaching to Dhamrai from Dhaka. Among those Public transport, Buses are always available running from Gulistan to Dhamrai. But, whenever you are approaching to Dhamrai, You will have to be careful while riding on a Bus. Because, there are two different ways to go there. You will have to catch one moving toward Islampur or Dolivita Bus stop.
There are a couple of Bus Services moving toward Dhamrai from Gulistan. Among those-
1. D-link (Gulistan to Dhamrai) &
2. Grameen Sheba
1. Dhamrai Dak-Banglo:
Manager: Upazila Executive Officer, Dhamrai
Address: Upazila Parishad Chattar, Dhamrai, Dhaka
There is a cluster of Zamindar houses is just few kilometers away from balia, which is known as Baliati Zamindar Palace. You would rather build an itinerary what could possibly help you to cover all the Heritage sites near Dhamrai and Manikganj area.
There are a number of Hotels & Restaurants available in Balia Bazar. Basically, you will find the local cuisine there at the Bazar. Local sweets & Yogurt will make you feel to be back there once again.
Mirkadim bridge (মীরকাদিম ব্রিজ) spans the Mir Kadim canal (creek) which runs from Mir Kadim to Tangibari. It connects the village Abdullahpur and Panam area of Rampal Union Parishad under Munshigonj District. It is situated at a distance of about 5.50 km from the district headquarters. The local tradition claims it to have been built by King Ballal Sen, but the architectural features belie the local tradition. The bridge can architecturally be attributed to the Mughal period, not earlier than 17th century. The 53m long bridge consists of a central pointed arch of 4.40m span with two side arches of 2.25m span each. The central arch is 0.40m high from the water level of the creek and at present 31m wide. It is 6.15m wide with each wing measuring 16.80m in length. The central arch is flanked by an octagonal pilaster on each side. Similarly each of the side arches has a pilaster each crowned with a cupola. The plasters of the side arches rise above the spandrel of the arch but those of the central arch are shorter and so not reach the archivolt. The pier is 1.85m thick. It is reported that on either end of the bridge there were circular pillars but now these are buried under earth. It appears that there are 6 piers on each side of the bridge. The central arch is loftier and wider than the side ones and is set in a deep rectangular panel with plain plastered spandrel. Base of the arches provided with cut waters. The hump backed bridge rises to a central point from which its back gently slopes to either side. It has a 70 cm high parapet wall on either side. The surviving thickness of the bridge measures 4.34m.
It has been protected and repaired extensively by the Department of Archaeology.)  => Array ( [name] => Mausoleum of Giyas Uddin Azam Shah [post_id] => 11222 [post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/mausoleum-of-giyas-uddin-azam-shah/ [thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/DSC06796-300x225.jpg [post_content] =>
Mausoleum of Giyas Uddin Azam Shah is one of the renowned archaeological features, situated at Mograpara, Sonargaon. Giyas uddin Azam Shah (1390-1411 AD) the third sultan of the Iliyas Shahi dynasty of Bengal earned great name for his ideal character, patronage of learning and for good administration. The events of his life are so variegated that he may be compared to a prince in a fairy tale. Himself a scholar and poet, Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah held literary men in great esteem. He corresponded with the famous Iranian poet Hafiz and inviting him to visit Bengal. Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah contributed a good deal to the development of Bengali literature. He was known for his friendly relations with foreign countries, sent envoys to Makkah, Madina and China. This great sultan died in 814 AH/1410 AD and buried in Mograpara.)  => Array ( [name] => Sonargaon Folk Art and Craft Museum [post_id] => 11157 [post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/sonargaon-folk-art-and-craft-museum/ [thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SAM_00541-300x240.jpg [post_content] =>
There is a folk art and craft museum for the visitors & tourist travelling in Sonargaon. Sonargaon Folk Art and Craft Museum remains open from morning to afternoon (9 AM to 5 PM). Wednesday and the Thursday, this museum is closed for weekend. This is prosperous with several unique collection those you'll never find at any other place. Some are lost from our country, and only those are remains. The main museum building is placed at the "Sardar Bari". "Sardar Bari" was built by a Hindu Zamindar of Sonargaon in 1901. Alike the other Zamindar house of that period, this one also looks like Indian houses, but the shape of the house was looked like the European Palaces. The baroque decoration and the elaborated painting on the plaster of the building are really eye catching.
Lok Shilpa Jadughar (Folk Art and Craft Museum) of Sonargaon was established by Bangladeshi painter Joynul Abedin on March 12, 1975.
It will cost you 10 taka to enter the museum area. Its a vast area, and will take you lots of time to round the area. You'll find a art gallery of "Zainul Abedin" inside the museum area. There are two Exhibition Galleries inside the museum. Both of them consist of some status showing the local life of Bangladeshi people, for example farming, woman working etc. Also you'll find the miniature version of the several boats from my country, which are now a days vanished after competing with the mechanical vehicles.)  => Array ( [name] => Tokani Pal House [post_id] => 8643 [post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/tokani-pal-house/ [thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/TPP-12-300x200.jpg [post_content] =>
Munshiganj, or Bikrampur as it was formerly known as home to a number of rich landlords and merchants, who lived in palatial houses, built on large estates. Most of these perished in course of time as the mighty Padma River devoured most of Bikrampur. Of all that remain in today’s Munshiganj, the largest is the house at Abdullahpur, known as Tokani Pal House (টোকানী পাল বাড়ি). There isn’t enough source to know about who built this house, but Tokani Pal, an elderly merchant from Barisal, bought this 7 acre estate and moved in here sometime in the early 1890s. His second wife Nabanga Sundary and all six sons from his two marriages accompanied him.
The estate now consists of 11 buildings and six ponds. The sprawling gardens have hundreds of trees – fruit bearing, medicinal, or for wood itself. And there were once several hundreds of flowering plants. But when Tokani arrived, the estate was in a mess. Kamini Pal, the eldest son of Tokani,took charge of cleaning up the estate. He chose a place to set up a temple, dedicated to Radha-Shyam, of whom they had been followers for generations. By this time, the masons of Abdullahpur had made a name in craftsmanship and expertise, and Arfan Ostagar was the most revered of all. He was hired, for a daily fee of five quarters and a pack of tobacco. His designer had to be paid an additional three quarters. A 15X6 feet room was planned to build, with a wide sprawling varanda, where followers could sing devotional songs every evening. The room would have a large platform, on which would rest a large metal statue of Radha-Shyam. The exterior wall would be decorated with fine ceramic designs. Once completed, the temple became a marvel, people from far and wide came over to see.
The Pal’s principal business was surrounded around the Kamala river port of Bikrampur, which was known as the Second Kolkata. Betelnuts, mustard, lentils etc would arrive from Barisal or Chandpur, and would be traded with Kolkata. Almost 20,000 laborers worked daily at this port, where the second largest wholesalers were the Pals. They set up warehouses at places as far as Barisal, Jhalokathhi or Shwarupkathhi, or Chandpur. Kamini Pal also became the most prominent money-lender. Dwarkanath became a prominent dealer in Kerosene oil. Other brothers also chipped in here and there. Business for the Pals was running well.
After the Partition of India, a large section of the family moved to Kolkata. Those who remained to protect the family businesses, soon found it difficult, as business with Kolkata became complicated. They had to explore new business avenues, but that wasn’t too easy.
In 1971, Hindus were being tortured or killed, their businesses were being shut down, their houses were being torched. The Pal estate being protected with a strong high boundary wall became a safe refuge, not only for members of this family, but for members of extended families, and also for friends and their families. About 500 people had found safe shelter here, until one dark night, when the Pakistani Army entered the compounds, killed several family members, and set the main houses of fire. The entire clan moved to India through Agartala.
Almost two years later, Shashadhar Pal, the second son of Dwarkanath Pal, who by then was head of the clan, returned with his family. But by this time major parts of the estate had been grabbed and taken over by others. He tried to revive some of the businesses, but did not quite succeed. His family members went back to Kolkata, but he decided to stay back, reminiscing his childhood memories, and gradually selling off part of their properties. He lived either in one of the houses within this estate, or in the other Pal House, which also was built by his uncle Kamini Pal several decades ago. He passed away in the late 1990s.) )
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