Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Dhaka -Narayanganj Road Khaled

The first monument on this road is a five-domed mosque of recent date built in the old style. At the fifth mile come the most important ruins of old – the Pagla Pul (pl. I&II). In 1666 the French traveller, Tavernier, came here and wrote, ‘Half a league lower, appears another river called Pagalu, upon which there is a fair bridge of brick, which Mirza-Mola (Mir Jumla) caused to be built. This river comes from the north-east; and half league upward appears another river called Qadamtali, that runs from the north, over which there is another bridge of brick. On both sides of the river arc several towers, as it were enchased with several heads of men, executed for robbing upon the highway.”
Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

In 1824, Bishop Heber wrote, “Another evening I went in a beautiful boat of Mr. Mitford’s to the “Pagla Pul”, or Mad Bridge, a rum four miles from Dhaka. It is a very beautiful specimen of the richest Tudor gothic, but I know not whether it is strictly to be called an Asiatic building, for the boatmen said the tradition is that it was built by a Frenchman.”
 
The builder’s name has already been given by Travernier, and the tradition recorded by Heber has no foundation. The Tudor Gothic, referred to by Heber, is the shape of the arch, i.e., pointed four-centered arch. By the time Charles D’Oyly made his drawings, the bridge was already in ruins.
 
Originally, the bridge had three open arches, flanked at each end by a smaller closed arch, above which the road climbed in a steep camber. On the spandrels there are prominent rosettes boldly projecting from the surface. At the four corners of the bridge stood originally octagonal hollow towers with arched Openings below chhajjas, above which could be seen ribbed domes on cylindrical drums. The building is now encumbered with modern structures, but even in its ruins it retains many of its original features.
 
Next we come to a place called Fatulla (correctly Fatehullah) who was a Mughal officer. He built a mosque here during his life time. There was also a fort at this place. After passing about a mile or so, we see on our left large number of tall spired monuments. These are death memorials of the Jaina merchants who have been trading in Narayanganj. Finally we come to Narayanganj.
 
The name Narayanganj is derived from the image of Narayan (i.e. Vishnu) installed here by Bhikhan Lal Pande, who served the English loyally during the Plassey war and got this land as Lakhraj from the East India Company “for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the Thakoor (i.e. the god), for feeding the poor and for my support.” The older name of its eastern locality was Khizirpur, which even today is called Hajiganj. In that locality, behind the Fire Brigade station, can be seen the remains of an old Mughal fort, which is wrongly attributed to Mir Jumla. It was a river fort guarding the passage into the Buriganga, which then joined the Lakhya at this spot. A little to the south-west of the fort is another group of Mughal monuments standing within an enclosed quadrangle. One of them is a three-domed (pl. III) mosque showing Shaistakhani style of architecture, and the other is a tomb elaborately built with a square room in the centre and covered verandahs (now fallen) on all the other sides. This is the tomb of Bibi Biban, the daughter of Shaista Khan.
Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Dhaka -Narayanganj Road

Since the last quarter of the 18th century the importance of Narayanganj has been growing. Today, it is really a commercial and industrial suburb of Dhaka, where we have the cotton and jute mills, and other industrial concerns. It stands at the head of the river Lakhya, where also meet Dhaleswari, Brahmaputra, Meghna and Buriganga.

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