Baldha Museum & Garden Dhaka
Baldha Museum is situated in Wan, opposite the Christian Cemetery, about a mile from the Dhaka Railway Station. It was started in the year 1925, as a “Home Museum” by Narendra Narayan Roy, zamindar of Baldha, an estate in Dhaka district. Now it is popularly known as Baldha Museum after the name of the estate.
The collection was made by the personal efforts of the zamindar, and he spent the whole income of the estate for the development of the Museum. At the time of his death in 1944, he executed a will that the whole of the expenditure of the Museum and the garden should be met from the estate. The present Superintendent is Mr. Hannan.
The Museum remains open between 8 A. M. and 1 P. M. on all days except Sundays and gazetted holidays.
No separate building was erected for the purpose of the Museum. The ground-floor rooms in the private residence of the zamindar have been utilised to display the antiquities. They are four in number. In the porch are placed two cauldrons. One long rectangular hall contains a mixed collection of coins, textiles, metal images, household objects, beads and books on art. The second room shows models of village and town life, and ivory and silver- filigree works. In the third room is the richest collection of arms and weapons. In the fourth room are found the coral and other treasures from the sea. This museum collection will soon be transferred to the Dhaka Museum.
The garden is a unique collection of botanical plants. It is better to call it a museum of rare plants than a garden. It is housed in two large enclosures, to which very significant names have been given-one is called “Culture,” and the other “Cybele”. The arrangement in the garden lacks in garden planning. One feels as if one is passing through a trimmed forest of Bengal. The “Culture” enclosure has two divisions. The smaller one is called “Psyche”. On its one side we have rows of small pools containing water—lilies. In the centre is the grassy rectangle surrounded on three other sides with flowery plants. From this place we pass on to the bigger enclosure, the central point of which is occupied by a circular pyramid, each step of which contains cactus plants. Over the head was formerly to be seen powerful light, which needs restoration to the north and south of this central point are greenhouses, and on the east and west are other plants. The Victoria-regia was to be seen on the west. A circular green-house for cactus is very beautifully arranged, where the plants lie in each other’s embrace and whisper the perfect repose that they have found here. Further ahead is the rectangular green-house, where plants have been arranged in two oval forms in the center, and on the extreme ends are to be seen the hilly path going up and down. At many other places in the garden an attempt has been made to copy the hilly path-ways, which go in a winding fashion.
The “Cybele” enclosure was built in the year 1936. From its gateway we pass through an avenue of magnolia. On our right is the grassy rectangle, where at one spot the dead body of the zamindar was cremated. On our left we have groves of trees. In the centre is the swimming pool, to which go down steps from either side. On its opposite bank stands a two-storeyed building, named “Joy” by the founder. Just near this building we have the bigger variety of mimosa, and little further off the century plants, which in Bengal give flowers after sixteen years. After passing this tank, we arrive at (lie last rectangle where a memorial to the murdered son of the zamindar stands.