4 years ago

Alexandra Castle — tale of a 150-yr-old building

Alexandra Castle in Mymensingh town — FE Photo
Alexandra Castle in Mymensingh town — FE Photo

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Mymensingh is a land of natural beauty and diversity. The local zamindars had a great contribution in building the Mymensingh division as a place of education, literature, culture and heritage. The Brahmaputra river flows through the city of Mymensingh.

In many of the establishments here, there is a touch of ancient structures. In 1879, Suryakant Acharya Chowdhury, a zamindar, built a magnificent building on eight bighas of land on the bank of the Brahmaputra in the centre of the Mymensingh city.

The zamindar had oil paintings of the then British ruler of India, Edward VII, and his wife, Alexandra, made on the building and named it Alexandra Castle.

According to some, the name Alexandra came from the then district collector of Mymensingh N.S. Alexandra.

Behind the construction of the building, the Maharaja's aesthetic sense and interest is seen. Selection of space was also a part of his aesthetic vision. Realistic patterns of pleasant surroundings fascinate the visitors.

The house is surrounded by gardens. The beauty of the house was the combination of various rare trees, shrubs, artificial water body, hills, valleys, fountains, various livestock, reptile farms, etc.

The main building has a two-storeyed wooden staircase made of iron, wood and various metallic accessories. The building has so much iron. So it is still known as the Iron Cottage locally.

There are two Greek statues placed on both sides, though those are now broken. The whole house stands on a huge pillar.

It was probably to protect the house from the floods of the Brahmaputra. The sloping roof of the house is made entirely of wrought iron.

In 1926, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi stayed here. Also George White, the then Chief Justice of India, Cromer Pathram, Chief Justice of India, Lord Curzon, Francis Malcolm, Francis Duke Morris of Russia, Lord Wisbourn of Ireland, Duke of Penbenda of Spain, Yuvraj Prasad Yousi of Egypt, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Wazed Ali Khan Panni and Sir Salimullah.

The Teachers Training College was built around the building in 1948.

At first Alexandra Castle was used as a training college. Later, when the college building was further expanded, the authority made the castle as teachers' hostel.

Then for a long time Alexandra Castle has been used as a college library. Now about 15,000 books are kept in eight rooms on the ground floor of the Castle.

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