Motijheel Buildings Dhaka
The name Motijheel (Jheel meaning lake) takes its origin from the serpentine rivulet which flows on one side of this area. It was later applied to a small pond within the Dilkusha palace of Dhaka Nawab family, now only a single red double-storeyed building and a mosque with a few graves are left behind. The whole area has been cleaned and well laid with roads and joined by D.I.T. Avenue with Jinnah Avenue [now named Bangabandhu Avenue], the fashionable shopping centre of Dhaka. This Jinnah Avenue leads, on the southern side, to Nawabpur Road and, on the northern, gives a magnificent view of the new mosque of Al-Baitul Mukarrarn, now under construction. At its southern extreme stands the Government House, where the old wooden structure has been pulled down and a new residence for the Governor is being built.
At the northern end stands the circular stadium. In between the stadium and the Government House lies the Purana Paltan Maidan, of old, where momentous meetings of political nature were held in the past. This Maidan is now divided into two parts by the D.I.T. Avenue and used for sports. Opposite the Maidan, on another side of the Jinnah Avenue, are aligned shops, the main attraction being the Gulistan building, which accommodated, besides shops, two air-conditioned cinema houses and Chou Chin Chow Restaurant, the famous haunt of the gay youths.
At the head of the D.I.T. Avenue stands an old Mughal cannon. Its name is given as ‘Bibi Marium’. Mr. S. M. Taifoor conjectures that it is one of the guns captured by Mir Jumla from Assam during his expedition (1661-62). Originally this gun was placed in front of Bara Katra in the place now called Sawari Ghat. In 1832 Mi Walters, the Collector of Dhaka removed this gun to Chouk where it was placed on a platform, still standing a little way north of the Chouk Mosque. [The platform is not to be seen now.] This was again removed to Sadarghat in 1907 by the Archaeological Department. At that place the Hindu women held it in high veneration and anointed the breech of the gun with vermillion and grease. In 1957 Dhaka Improvement Trust brought the cannon to the present site. [The cannon has again been removed from the Gulistan crossing and has now been placed in the Osmani Udyan in front of the Osmani Hall, to the south of the Secretariat Buildings on Abdul Ghani Road.]
Passing beyond the cannon we arrive at the Dhaka Improvement Trust building, which rises up in four tiers, each succeeding tier being reduced in length till we come to the topmost tier which consists of a tall square clock tower. The tower rests on a stumpy shoulder and raises its head aloft, like a crane, to give a wide view from afar. The entrance variation and the tall pillars over the balcony in the second stage do not improve the plan which is defective in its very inception. The building does speak of the grandeur which was visualised by the then chairman of the Trust, Mr. G. A. Madani, but his vision could not be properly translated in architecture.
Next to D. I. T. building the most important structure, that attracts our eye, is Adamjee Court which is primarily meant for business deal. But its facade, with its semi-circular bend and tall height broken by high inclines meant for supporting the eves over the windows, has a touch of magnificence, and when this vision is combined with the side wings of similar height, the idea of grandeur at once strikes our imagination and leads us to believe that the Court is really a huge construction.
Next to this building we come to the office of Pakistan International Airways Corporation, which has a pleasing grace in its plain facade. Moving onward we come to the huge structure of Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation – a building which tries to improve upon Adamjee Court by providing an extra porch in front, Willie its other features are an adoption from the earlier building.
This winding D. I. T. Avenue joins the main road which comes from Ramakrishna Mission Road, and goes straight to Purana Paltan. On tills main road, with their backs to the Motijheel stream, are now being built large number of commercial shops, which in course of time would develop into a great commercial centre.