Raja Babu’s House and the Temple of Lakshmi Narayana in Lakshmi Bazar
Raja Babu’s House and the Temple of Lakshmi Narayana in Lakshmi Bazar Dhaka
From Singtola we can wend our way and arrive at Raja Babu Ka Maidan, or from Lakshmibazar we can go to Raja Babu’s House by Shyamaprasad Chaudhuri lane. Raja Babu, whose full name was Krishna Prashad, was the grand-son of Bhikan Lal Pande, a Gaur Brahmin who migrated from Panjab to Dhaka in 18th century and served in the Diwani service of East India Company. He rendered meritorious service to the English during Plassey Battle (1757), and consequently received a hereditary reward of landed property and pension in the name of god Lakshmi-Narayana, which he installed in his house.
The main building of Raja Babu’s House stands at one end of a large open quadrangle, called Raja Babu Ka Maidan. In this open maidan was formerly celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi with great festivities and pompous show. The main building is two- storied, the lower portion of which consists of two rooms and a solid mass of brick-work, carried up to the first sahn to the nachghar (dancing hall). A wide flight of steps made of brick-on-edge leads up to the second storey. The nach-ghar is a spacious baradari with verandah in front and an inner apartment (antarala) behind. The floor is made up of wooden planks and the roof has been replaced with galvanised iron sheets. The most splendid object to be seen is the beautiful carving, fine and detailed, worked in plaster on the walls. In the antarala is a handsome simhasana (lion-throne) beautifully worked in wood plaited with silver. There the image of Lakshmi-Narayana is installed in the evening and on festive days. The image is usually kept in a modern temple.
The name nach-ghar recalls its proper use as a dancing hail in the time of Raja Babu. The building is a good example of 18th century work – a harmonious blend of Hindu and Muslim elements. Today thousands of Hindus throng in the evening to pay their homage to the god.