Tour the Impressive Ruplal House

Standing majestically on the northern bank of the Buriganga River in the Farashganj locality of old Dhaka, Bangladesh, the 19th century mansion known as Ruplal House is an architecturally unique historical treasure. Overlooking a riverfront promenade, Ruplal House was once the venue for many high profile events attended by influential people of the time, and while the mansion is no longer inhabited, an air of dignity and splendor remains.

Ruplal House was built by two brothers, Ruplal Das and Raghunath, who were successful merchants in Dhaka. The mansion is divided into two unequal sections, each with its own unique style. The south side of the two-storey Ruplal House leads onto the riverfront and is a superb example of the late Renaissance European architectural style introduced into Dhaka during the colonial period. The north side of the mansion resembles the shape of the letter ‘E’ with the three wings of unequal length extending toward the city. Incorporated into the mansion is a grand portico supported by a series of fluted and ornately decorated columns and topped with a triangular Renaissance-style pediment. The public road running alongside the north side of the mansion has older houses of varying heights and sizes built right up to the street line, which is typical of housing in old Dhaka and enhances the historical value of the area.

Ruplal House has more than fifty rooms of varying sizes with the western wing boasting an elegantly decorated ballroom with a magnificent wooden floor. It was in this ballroom that many prestigious events took place, such as the ball that was arranged in honor of Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy of India, when he visited Dhaka in 1888. On both the north and south sides of Ruplal House, broad verandahs supported by semi-Corinthian columns and rectangular brick pillars run the entire length of the buildings and one can imagine that during its hey-day, these verandahs were humming with activity as guests enjoyed one another’s company.

The historical value of this Ruplal House has been recognized by the Bengali Department of Archaeology, which has recently given this fascinating building (also known as Jamall House) the status of being protected, ensuring that future generations will also have the benefit of enjoying this little piece of Dhaka’s history.