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.
Ishwar Chandra High School (ঈশ্বর চন্দ্র উচ্চ বিদ্যালয়) is situated at Saturia Upazila of Manikganj District, very near to the Baliati Palace. This school was named after Ishwar Chandra Ray Chowdhury, one of the famous Zamindars in Baliati. According to the locals, this school was found by Horendra Kumar Ray in the year 1915-1916. From the history, it can be said that Horendra Kumar Ray was the Son of Ishwar Chandra Ray Chowdhury. Once, this school was named as Ishwar Chandra English High School, but in later time, the name has been changed.
It is said that Horendra Kumar Ray Chowdhury spent around fifty thousands taka at that time to build this ornamented & large school building. which was certainly a big amount to pay at that contemporary time. In recent time, this school has been conducted by a committee consisting of local people.)  => 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.)  => Array ( [name] => Pal Bari [post_id] => 8538 [post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/pal-bari/ [thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PB-2-300x225.jpg [post_content] =>
Pal Bari (পাল বাড়ি) is one of the renowned historical places in Munshiganj. According to the current inhabitants of the Pal House at Abdullahpur, Kamini Pal and Dwarkanath Pal, the eldest two sons of Tokani Prasad Pal, possibly one of the richest business persons of Bikrampur, established this house around the end of the 19th century.
They added a few more blocks to the house over the years, but lived within the compounds of their father's house, several miles away.
During the liberation war, many of their family members were brutally tortured and killed, prompting the entire clan to leave for Kolkata,India. A few years later Dwarkanath returned, to wind up his businesses here. Dwarkanath Pal, therefore chose to spend his last few years at this house. He decided to stay back in Munshiganj, but could not live in his own house. Many others had occupied most of that property.)  => Array ( [name] => House of Jyoti Basu [post_id] => 11600 [post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/house-of-jyoti-basu/ [thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Jyoti_Basu2-300x225.jpg [post_content] =>
Jyoti Basu (জ্যোতি বসু) was an Indian politician belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from West Bengal, India. He served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal state from 1977 to 2000, making him the longest-serving Chief Minister in the country's history. After suffering from Pneumonia, he died on 17 January 2010 in Kolkata.
Jyoti Basu was born 8 July 1914 in Kolkata (India) into an upper middle-class Bengali family. His father, Nishikanta Basu, was a doctor from the village of Barodi in Narayanganj District, Bangladesh, while his mother Hemalata Basu was a housewife. Basu's early life was started in Kolkata.
Specially after his death in 2010, the place has being highlighted. Bangladesh government willingly made a memorial library which is maintained under District Administration. The seminar hall can be rent by the local people paying a small fee on daily basis.
This two storied building (House of Jyoti Basu) is still habitable. Some local people are living in it. The place is situated very near to Barodi bazar. It is almost a walking distance and you can also hire a rickshaw for 20 taka.) )
Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!