7 months ago

Walking down the heritage heaven of Sharat Gupta Road

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Starting from the Narinda Police Fari, if you walk straight, you will find a pink-coloured house dated back to the British colonial period. A few steps ahead, you will witness nearly a century-old shrine of a saint known to the locals as Peer Saheb. A Zamindarbari-like house will follow next. When you pass the Zamindar Bari and take a few steps further, you see a mosque painted in yellow. This is 'Holud Masjid,' built in the era of the company rule. 


Don't be surprised if you see a shooting spot ahead of Holud Masjid because now you are standing just in front of the Nasiruddin Smriti house. A straight road met with Dayaganj Highway, where you may think, this is it, this is the end, but no; if you look up, you will see Shakti Oushodhaloy. A palace-type building now ruined stands alone at the end of the Sharat Gupta Road, a 500-meter path embracing centuries-old heritages.


An eye-soothing British-period house


Just 20 to 30 steps towards the west of Narinda Police Fari, there is a metal gate coloured faded black. Behind it, a pink-coloured two-story building with a jalousie window standing next to two coconut trees will give one a feeling of nostalgia. The windows might remind one of the Curzon Hall. Not in terms of structure, but the front part of the house has three arched-typed free spaces used as Varanda. A petal design of the arch is followed by the floral design on the upper edge of the pillars.


Rarely any residents will be seen from the other side of the road. The house is the ancestral property of the honourable minister of industries, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun MP.


A white Zamindar baari?


On the same side of the Sharat Gupta Road, there is a white house with a curvy glass window. The windows have a design that shows the rich taste of the owner. If one gets a chance to enter the house, one will see a front yard, which is rare in Old Dhaka. Then, a couple of wide and long cylinder-shaped pillars with arched-shaped designs hold the whole building as if the pillars not only hold the structure but carry the load of its deep-rooted heritage.


On the first floor, one will get to see a series of three windows quite similar to the Mughal-era mosques. The whole structure is not straight or square-shaped but rather rectangular. The house was previously used by the late Dr Mohammad Gias Uddin, who was a cardiologist and a language activist. Currently, the house is owned by Dr. Mohammad Farhad Uddin. 


Dhonu Bepari Holud Masjid


Walking further 70 to 100 yards, you will find a mosque painted in yellow. At a glance, you might take it as just another mosque in the country. Its simplistic design and the renovation that took place in the modern era signify something different from heritage, what general people used to know as heritage. However, the truth is this narrow-spaced six-story building is almost two centuries old; according to some people, it's anything between 200 and 300 years old.


A hugely respected businessperson named Dhonu Bepari lived at the Sharat Gupta Road in the mid-19th century. He died in 1850. The mosque was built from 1840 to 1850. It was a tiny structure when it was built. The modern structure that we see today was reconstructed in 1940. In that sense, the current structure has crossed more than eight decades.


130-year-old Mohammad Nasiruddin Smriti Bhaban


For those who may overlook historically significant figures, Mohammad Nasiruddin might appear as just another name associated with a property. However, consider this: he played a pivotal role in shaping the history of print media in Bangladesh, particularly as the editor of the daily Saogat and the founder of the weekly Begum.


Notably, this was the man behind the house's namesake, making him an integral part of the country's media history. The 38 No. House of Sharat Gupta Road was built in 1890. Nasiruddin Mohammad and later his daughter, the country's first female journalist, Noor Jahan Begum, used to live here. Once the house was charmed with renowned journalists, artists, and politicians, it now stands as a ruined of a bygone era.


The mighty Shakti Oushadhaloy


In the vicinity of the spacious buildings, it's not immediately evident, but within their confines stands a century-old edifice. As one navigates through the intertwining vines, corners of the structure, and narrow lanes, one will come across a grand royal palace that echoes the bygone century. The striking fusion of Greek and English architectural styles was imported from Kolkata. Upon ascending the building, prominent inscriptions reveal its Shakti Oushadhaloy.


If anyone visited Ahsan Manzil or Rooplal House, they might find a common link between these two, both built on the bank of the Buringanga River. Shakti Oushadhaloy was built on the bank of Dholaikhal between 1901 and 1910 by Mathuramohan Chakroborty, the headmaster of Dhaka's Jubilee School.


Known as Mathur Babu, he miraculously recovered from a severe illness under the care of Loknath Baba of Barodi Ashram. Following his advice, Mathur Babu transitioned from teaching to practising medicine, establishing the potent ayurvedic apothecary we see today. The premises also have an ancient temple.

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