Presidential Palace of Bangabhaban
Bangabhaban is more than just a palatial building that currently serves as the residence of the President of Bangladesh. It is a building that has played a vital part in the heritage of Bangladesh and holds many fascinating and interesting secrets. The area on which Bangabhaban is constructed is mentioned as far back as 881 AH, and from this time the land has told a story of tragedy, triumph and of independence. Few visitors to Dhaka realize that this breathtaking palace is as much an attraction as it is a significant tale of the past and present of the city.
The temple area of Thatari Bazar Jaykali was located on the outskirts of the city and was inhabited by one of history’s most famous saints, Hazrat Shah Jalal Dakhini, during the sultan era. Here, Dakhini and disciples lived in isolation until the sultan sent his followers to have Hazrat Shah Jalal Dakhini and his disciples slain. They were buried together in a tomb building which features a single dome and is still located on the property of the Bangabhaban. It is believed that the tomb was constructed years after their burial, as the inscription makes no mention of the saint’s name and only indicates that date 1271 AH. The actual construction of the magnificent Bangabhaban only commenced in 1905, after the estate was purchased by Assam and East Bengal after the partition. The Viceroy of India made use of the residence until 1911, after which it became the temporary residence of the Governor of Bengal until 1947. A fierce storm in 1961 saw extensive damage done to the structure, but by 1964 reconstruction work was almost complete.
In Bangladesh, the Bangabhaban is the equivalent to the White House of the United States, as the president works and resides in the palace. Beautiful manicured lawns and gardens surround the three storey main building, while the wing in which the president resides is two storeys. In addition, the Bangabhaban also has a visitors’ lounge area, banquet hall, a dining hall, cabinet room, auditorium and a court hall. The grounds surrounding Bangabhaban contain a mosque, canteen, post office and tailoring shop, staff and security quarters. Bangabhaban will continue to play a vital role in the future of the country, as it has in the past.