=> Array
[name] => Hajiganj Fort
[post_id] => 10780
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/hajiganj-fort/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Hajigonj-Fort-Narayanganj-011-300x225.jpg
Hajiganj Fort (হাজীগঞ্জ দুর্গ) also called Khizrpur Fort, situated at Hajiganj locality of Narayanganj on the western bank of the Sitalakshya (শীতলক্ষ্যা). Having the characteristics of a water fort, it was originally built just at the point where the old Buriganga (বুরিগঙ্গা) discharged into the Sitalakshya. It may have been built soon after Islam Khan established the Mughal capital at Dhaka, and was intended to countercept the raids of the Magh and Portuguese pirates.
The fort, quadrangular in size, consists of a pentagonal curtain wall machicolated for muskets with rounded corner bastions. On the inner side of the curtain wall there is 1.22 meter high rampart walkway from the base of the curtain wall which is itself pierced by several musketry holes. Each of the corner bastions has staircase inside up to the rampart level and its merlons have wider holes in between meant for gun firing. In a corner of the fort quadrangle there is a free tall square column of brickwork which seems to be a guard tower. The existence of this column links the fort with other water forts of the time. The existence of the elevated platform for the setting of cannons is an important feature of the fort.
The only small gateway of the fort towards the river side suggests that the means of communication was by the river. The pentagonal gateway is placed in a rectangular structure with engraved rectangular arches on the both sides. The top of the gateway is decorated with lotus finial. There having no other structure inside the fort, it seems that the fort was occupied only in the rainy season when the pirates were expected, and that the occupants used tents as their shades. The fort area is now being used as the Fire Brigade headquarters of Narayanganj.
 => 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
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] => Sonarong Jora Moth
[post_id] => 8450
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/sonarong-jora-moth/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/SJM-1-300x240.jpg
Sonarong (means golden color) is a lovely village at Tongibari Upazila of Munshiganj district. This village belong a beautiful "Moth(মঠ)"(a place for praying by Hindu religious people) which is known as "Sonarong Jora Moth" (সোনারং জোড়া মঠ) ("twin moth"). It is used to call twin moth/temple, because it has two towers side by side. It may be around 150 feet high from the ground. There is a large pond just in front of the Moth. This moth is not functioning now a days. Interviewing local people we came to know that, there are no praying activities take place in this moth. Every side of the moth is covered with trees and that gave a lovely golden and green color's illusional view of the moth.
The larger moth was made for "Shiva"(Hindu God), and made during 1843, and the smaller one for "Kali"(Hindu Goddess), and made during 1886. It was built by a Hindu merchant named "Rupchand" (রূপচাঁদ) From stone inscriptions fixed over the temple’s entrance.
The two towers of the moth are not equal sized. One is much larger than another one. The larger tower has hundreds of holes at the top of it, and each hole is occupied by parrots. Visitors may observe hundreds of parrots from the place, and they are making sweet sound together all the day long. During the breeding season, the top of the moth become green for the numerous numbers of parrots. Both the towers of the moth are ornamented nicely with different types of leafs motif and blind alcoves.
Two temples stand side by side on a single masonry platform surrounded by a moat on three sides and an access path on the eastern side.The western temple, loftier than the eastern one, is about 15m high over the square sanctum, and measures 5.35m x 5.35m and has a 1.90m wide veranda. A low hemispherical dome covers the square sanctuary, over which rises an octagonal sikhara(শিখর) crowned by the usual pinnacle with kalasa (কলস) finials. This terminates in a trident fixed with an iron rod. The outer surface of the sikhara is decorated with a semi-circular arched pattern in plaster, which is repeated on all sides. The entire sikhara is dotted with three pigeonholes under each arch pattern. The main sanctuary has two archways, one each on the south and west sides, flanked by arched panels on both sides,and a pattern of three arches on the other two sides. The western entrance consists of a two-centered arch. The top of the archway is decorated with a frieze of blind merlons. In front of the sanctum, the veranda is covered with a flat roof supported on columns, It has three arched openings on the south, one each on its east and west side.
It is one of the important historical & archaeological places in Munshiganj District. Very recently,renovation work is on go,undoubtedly a good initiative to protect this site from further destruction.
 => Array
[name] => Nagar Kasba
[post_id] => 8573
[post_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/places/nagar-kasba/
[thumb_link] => http://offroadbangladesh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Nogor-Kosba-2-300x169.jpg
[post_content] => Kasba (কসবা) is an administrative unit of the Sultani rulers (1342-1576). The administrative units, such as Iqta(ইকতা), Erta (ইরতা), Iqlim (ইখলিম), and Kasba (কসবা) have been mentioned in the contemporary texts.
So far 37 Kasbas could be traced in the region of Bangladesh, most of which had been within or near about the present district towns. The distance between one Kasba from another varied. It is noticed that official titles were associated with some of the kasbas. We can exemplify Kazir Kasba (কাজীর কসবা), Kotowaler Kasba(কোতওয়ালির কসবা), Nagar Kasba(নগর কসবা) etc. Considering the location, distance of one from another, communication system with the central or Provincial Capital, attachment of official titles etc it is assumed that Kasba were administrative units and were equivalent to districts. An administrative officer, a Quazi (কাজী) and a Kotwal(কোতওয়াল) were in charge of a Kasba.
In this complex of many buildings we can detect several names of businessman who built those in different period of time in 19th Century.
While most of the Kasbas lost their former importance during the Mughal period, Munshiganj, or Bikrampur, as it was known earlier, flourished as an important district through a rich combination of education, economy, literary & cultural pursuits. Therefore, the Nagar Kasba of Munshiganj stood with its importance through the course of time. It is believed that during the British rule, especially during the later part of the 19th century, Nagar Kasba was rebuilt as a residential area of wealthy predominantly Hindu business people, who mostly traded through the river port of Mirkadim.
After the Partition of India (1947), it is believed that most of the Hindu wealthy families migrated to Kolkata. Those who decided to stay back, to tend to their established businesses soon began to find it difficult. As sporadic communal riots continued, the exodus continued till the late 1950s. Families often left silently at night, leaving behind all their belongings. Those who still chose to stay, almost completely left for India during our Liberation War in 1971.
During these dire times, most of these full-furnished wealthy houses fell vacant and remained untended for a long time. Gradually, over time, these empty houses began to be taken over by influential locals. The descendents of these grabbers now own these properties, and live in the dilapidated buildings. It therefore is not surprising that a house that looks like it was purposely built for Hindu owners now adorns the names of Muslim people.
Even in its latest hay days in the later part of the 19th century, Nagar Kasba was a row of magnificent houses, mostly of two floors, though not too large, but built in British colonial styles. The intricate designs and motifs that remain on the walls and pillars are testament to the wealth and taste of the owners. Unfortunately, almost all are now in ruins, where some have even been demolished by present day owners.