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     Volume 1 Issue 9 | October 28 , 2006 |


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Journy through Bangldesh

From Rangpur

Tajhat Jamidar Bari

Tanim, Prodip, Likhon & Moni

One of the most out- standing and recognisable archeological monuments in Rangpur district is 'Tajhat Jamidar Bari'. In fact, its unique design distinguishes it from the other ancient palaces in Bangladesh.

The founder of this palace was Mannalal Roy who was an adherent of Sikh religion. Mannalal Roy had emigrated from Punjab and settled at Mahiganj which was the headqurter of Rangpur at that time. He was a professional jeweller. It is said that his estate derived the name 'Tajhat' from the conspicuous appearance of his 'Taj', the jewelled crown. The long line of Mannalal Roy's family succession ends with a grand-grand-son, Giridharilal Roy. Since Giridhari had no children, he adopted Gobindalal of Calcutta who succeeded to the estate in 1879.He was well-known for his public spirit and liberalism. His first house was at mollabari in Rangpur. After he came to live in Tajhat, because of his mass popularity he was conferred the title of 'Raja' in 1885; 'Raja bahadur' in 1892 and 'Maharaja; in 1896. Raja Gobindolal met a tragic death by being buried alive under the debris of his own house during a devastating earth quake in 1897. He was succeeded by his son Maharaja Kumar Gopal Lal Roy in 1908. Gopal lal Roy was the last of the 'Raj-family and of the Jamidar Bari. Diring his reign he made some further developments to the palace.

The palace is situated at the outskirt of the town of Rangpur, 3 km to the east. This magnificent edifice with about 76.20m frontage, rises in two stories and faces the east. A 15.24m imposing broad staircase in the centre paved with imported white marble, leads directly to the upper story above the portico. The palace is crowned by a ribbed conical dome at the centre of the roof-top. The dome stands on a tall octagonal neck partly supported on a series of slender semi-Corinthian columns. The stone ballast on either side of the staircase was originally embellished with various sculpures of classical Roman figures in Italian marble, but all these are now missing.

Beyond the entrance at the ground floor level, there is a very large hall measuring about 18.28m x 13.71m. A 3m wide corridor runs the entire length of the inner block. Two broad wooden staircases, one on the middle of the north wing and the other on the south of the eastern main block provide access to the upper floor. There are about twenty-two apartments on the two floors.

there was a building beside the palace that was built for the wife of Maharaja Gopal Lal Roy. The name of the wife could not be known. She had two sons, Rabi and Bhairab. Rabi died at an early age. After Her son's death, the 'Rani-ma' became abnormal. The second building is now totally destroyed. After Maharaja Gopal Lal roy's death, his younger son Bhairab Lal Roy became the lord of this palace.

From 1984 to 1991 the palace was used as the Rangpur High Court branch of Bangladesh Supreme Court in 1995, the palace was declared as a protected monument by the department of archeology.

Recognising the outstanding archeological value of the palace 'Tajhat', the government of Bangladesh decided to
shift the Rangpur museum to the palace in 2002. Accordingly, part of the palace is now being used as Rangpur museum.

A large number of visitors come every day to visit not just the museum but also to get the feel of an ancient palace of a Maharaja.

Photographs by
Rafi Hossain


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