The Betila (বেতিলা) House in Manikganj was built about a century ago by Jyoti Babu (জ্যোতি বাবু) and Satya Babu (সত্য বাবু), a couple of affluent merchants involved in the trade of Jute, the golden fibre of Bangladesh. This palatial house is located in a remote area named Betila which is within the parameters of the modern day Manikganj proper. Explorers/travelers searching for heritage sites in Manikganj over the internet may come across several links of the famous Baliati Zamindar’s Palace but never find any links on Betila. This is primarily because the Betila House was not a Zamindar’s (Land Owner) palace, and secondly since it is located in such a remote area, people hardly know about it. Rich people of those era are known to build such palatial houses in remote areas and live lavish lives, even though they were not ‘Zamindars’ or royalty.
For someone looking for heritage sites, the Betila Mitra Union of Manikganj would be a fabulous one to come across. It’s situated in semi rural setting (being not too distant from urban areas) and doesn’t seem particularly unique on first impression but once you begin to explore it’s culture and heritage, beautiful places like the Betila House amongst several others begin to surface. The seemingly tame Betila Canal runs across the area, connecting two major rivers Kaliganga (কালিগঙ্গা) and Dhaleshwari (ধলেশ্বরী) but like most waterways of Bangladesh, one can anticipate its ferocity in full monsoon season when rising water levels which is also evident in the way it has eroded both its banks, specially at the lone bridge that was constructed some time back.
On both the banks one will come across a series of heritage buildings, the pinnacle being on the eastern bank, the Betila Palatial house surrounded by rich foliage. It’s a combined structure of two separate buildings both of which are two-storied, standing almost intact, side by side and with an expansive open field before them.
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[name] => Autshahi Mughal Mosque
[post_id] => 9330
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/autshahi-mughal-mosque/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_20150527_1214038541-300x169.jpg
Autshahi Mughal Mosque,is a ruin of Mughal period Mosque, just located beside the Autshahi (আউটশাহী) Graveyard. It’s silently containing the evidences of ancient time. People are avoiding to visit that site frequently as it is inside the boundary of graveyard.
It has two entrances and one bulbous shaped dome on the top. Basically, from the structural remains it would be very difficult to prove how it was being used or how it became so.
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[name] => Bhai Girish Chandra Sen's Old House
[post_id] => 23726
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/bhai-girish-chandra-sens-old-house/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Old-House-of-Bhai-Girish-Chandra-Sen-9-200x300.jpg
[post_content] => Girish Chandra Sen also known as Bhai Girish Chandra Sen ( ভাই গিরিশ চন্দ্র সেন), a Brahmo Samaj missionary, was the first person to complete the translation of the Qur'an into Bengali in 1886. It was his finest contribution to Bengali literature. Born in the village of Panchdona of Narsingdi in 1835 in the famed Dewan Baidya clan, he learnt Persian and Sanskrit in early life and started working as a copywriter in the court of the deputy magistrate in Mymensingh. He also taught for a short while at the Mymensingh Zilla School before engaging wholeheartedly in journalism and literary activities. He was attracted to the Brahmo Samaj under the influence of Keshub Chunder Sen and Bijoy Krishna Goswami and joined it as a missionary in 1871. He traveled through India and Burma to propagate his new faith.
The plasters on the walls of this two floor house have almost completely fallen off, baring the brick work, which is covered in a thick moss. The ceilings on both the floors have entirely caved in. Trees have grown all over the walls, thereby creating large cracks. The wood work from doors and windows is completely stolen. To overcome those destruction and deterioration of this old House owned by this famous Scholar, Government has taken necessary steps to renovate the building immediately.
In the year of 1869, Keshub Sen chose four persons amongst his missionaries and ordained them as professors of four old religions of the world. Girish Chandra was selected to study Islam. The others selected to study different religions were Gour Govinda Ray for Hinduism, Protap Chandra Mazoomdar for Christianity, and Aghore Nath Gupta for Buddhism.
This was a time, when even translating religious scripts from Islam was considered as desecration of the sanctity of the scripts. The Holy Qur’an was considered too sacred for translation, as such most of the Muslim scholars refrained from even trying.
A firm believer in the basic unity of all religions, Girish immersed himself in his studies and later went to Lucknow in 1876 to study Arabic, Islamic literature and the Islamic religious texts. He was involved in intense studies for about five years. His keen interest in different religions and his liberal outlook earned him the respect of followers of other religions.
On completion of his studies, he returned to Kolkata and engaged in translation of Islamic scriptures. After hard labor of six years from 1881-1886, he produced an annotated Bengali version of the Qur’an via Persian.
Girish Chandra wrote and published a total of 42 books in Bengali. His books were greatly appreciated by the Muslim community which referred to him as 'Bhai Girish Chandra'. The Muslim society, in his days, respected him enormously and gave him the title of a Maulavi.
Girish Chandra Sen spoke fluently in Bengali, Urdu & Persian. A simple soft-spoken person, he endeared himself to all those who came in contact with him. His autobiography, 'Atmajivani' (আত্মজীবনী), was published in 1906. He passed away in 1910.
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[name] => Mondol Bari
[post_id] => 9321
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/mondol-bari/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/mondol-bari-1-300x169.jpg
[post_content] => Mondol Bari is about 300 years old house, Closed to Pulghata bridge & Dao Bari, Abdullapur, Tongibari.
It is an old house looks like a traditional Zamindar bari located in Munshiganj District. Its architectural characteristics is very similar to the other merchants house in Munshiganj region, which could be mentioned in name- Dao Bari, House of Tokani Pal, House of Choron Poddar, Old House of Makahati, House of Kamini Pal etc. It is being assumed that those palace like houses erected in contemporary time period. The owners of those palaces were mainly merchant.
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[name] => Bandar Shahi Mosque
[post_id] => 10830
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/bandar-shahi-mosque/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Bondor-Shahi-Mosque-Narayanganj-021-225x300.jpg
Bandar Shahi Mosque (বন্দর শাহী মসজিদ ) is situated in the Bandar Municipal area. It was built in 1482 AD (886 AH) by Malik Al-Muazzam Baba Saleh, a high official under Sultan Jalaluddin Fateh Shah.
It is a square building measuring 6.20 meter a side in the interior and 9.70 meter in the exterior. It has four octagonal corner towers and a large hemispherical dome supported by two engaged black stone pillars embedded in each wall with square bases, capitals and octagonal shafts. The square inches which hold up the dome spring from the top of these pillars. The dome has a lotus and pitcher finial. The raising of the dome on a drum crowned with merlons seems to be part of Mughal renovations. There are three entrances in the east of which the central one is wider, measuring 2.20 meter high and 1.37 meter wide. The two other entrances each on the south and north sides are 2 meter high and 1 meter wide. The side entrances are of the same size as the front central one. Of the three semi-circular mihrabs, the central one is the largest and the northern mihrab is being used as a closet.
The mosque has been renovated and enlarged by verandas on the east, south and north sides. It is presently being used as a jami mosque.