Saturday, 18 August 2012

Jahaj Bari or boat house(Chistia Palace):amazing architecture on Dhanmondi lake side

Jahaj Bari or boat house
Lake side view of  Jahaj/Jahaz Bari or Chistia/Chistiya Palace
Chistia/Chistiya Palace or Jahaj Bari

Close view of the main tower or minaret of the Jahaj/Jahaz Bari

Partial view of the roof and inside the boundary space
Partial view of the roof and other side of the Jahj Bari
Close view of the Jahaj/Jahaz Bari
Close view of  Jahaj Bari or Chistia Palace
Full view of Jahaj/Jahaz Bari or Chistiya Palace
Back side of the Chistiya/Chistia Palace
Front view of the Jahaj Bari shaped as a ship
Partial view of the front side of Jahaj Bari or Chistia Palace
Walking way beside the Jahaz/Jahaj Bari and the boundary wall
Night view on the Dhanmondi lake side Jahaj/Jahaz Bari or Chistiya Palace
View of Jahaj Bari or Chistia Palace without boundary wall in 1997

A aerial view of Jahaj/Jahaz Bari or Chistiya Palace in 1997

This red house with a tall tower like minaret besides the Dhanmondi lake is locally known as “Jahaj Bari”(boat house). But the owner of this house has named this house “Chistiya/Chistia Palace”. He adopted the name of the silsila or spiritual order of the Chistia founded by Khwaja Mainuddin Chisti(R.A.). This magnificent palace is owned by Mr. A.K.M. Anwarul Huq Chowdhury popularly known as Sher-e-Khwaja - a religious leader cum business tycoon, a charismatic person with high connection abroad and widely traveled.
This is one of the nice house and popular spot of the locality. While passing by Shatmasjid road it is hard not to notice the red-brick castle near old road 13, now road 5, overlooking Dhanmondi Lake. The huge majestic structure with its domes and pyramid-like protrusions reminds one of Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom or a palace right out of the Arabian Nights. Dhaka City Corporation Authority broke down the side construction on the bank of the lake of this house. DCC made a walking road besides the lake. Then the owner made the boundary wall shaped like a ship. Before that there were coconut trees on the lake’s bank side of the house and no boundary.
 This type of palace is a renaissance to Islamic architecture, it is outlined to show the name of God ‘Allahhu’ in Arabic from particular angle. The tall tower regards as ‘alif’ and the two adjacent structures representing ‘laam’ and ‘he’.
 So far as we can know that Sher.e-Khwaja was a student of the then Jagannath College and claimed himself that he took part in the liberation war of Bangladesh. He was the Chairman of the ‘Chistia Group of Industries’ with trading businesses in Bangladesh and England. His business includes garments, household goods and a construction consultancy. He was also the founder of WPEDO NGO.
He breathed his last on the 15th November 2011, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on Tuesday at the age of 59.  He left behind his wife, one son and one daughter.
This colossal structure has been designed, architect and engineered as claimed by Sher-e-Khwaja even the unbelievable designs and lay out inside this palace has been done by himself . In an interview he told that the entire concept and mode of the project came to him in a trance.(The Bangladesh Observer, April 11, 1997). The impressive complex was probably started to build in the year 1993 and completed in the year 1994. This complex has about 40 rooms. This house is now used as Sher-e-Khwaja’s family resident and as head office of Chistia Group and WPEDO.

S:;; some photos); The Daily Star, september 9, 1994.

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