Old Jamindar Houses of Nawabganj-Travel Guide
It is said that Nawabganj was the city of Nawabs. Once upon a time, this Nawabganj was bustling with Zamindar and Nawabs. Being centered on the Ichamati River, this district easily caught the attention of the landlords. Rice, pulses, oil, spices, etc. were sent abroad by ship. Kolakopa, Nobabganj is one of the districts of Bangladesh which is full of old zamindar houses and architecture. There were a lot of landlords in this village. Two brothers named Bocha Teli and Bodha Teli first started this oil business. Later their house was named “Teli Bari”. Gradually the business expanded and Kolakopa become the heart of the business.
Many old traditional zamindar houses are scattered all over the Panalia village in Kolakopa union. When you walk along the rural road of the village, you will see all these signs of ancient times. In the war of 1971, many landlords left the country cause they couldn’t unable to bear the brutal oppression of Pakistan, and the rest lost their lives. The whole Kolakopa turned into hell. Even today, their descendants carry that terrible memory. Scattered abandoned old houses in different parts of Kalakopa, and broken temples are reminders of that era.
How to go to Nawabganj Old Jamindar Houses –
The easiest way to go to Nawabganj is through Gulistan. There are lots of bus services like Jamuna, Nobokoli, etc bus directly goes to Nawabganj from Gulistan, Dhaka. The fare is 80 taka per person. Come by bus and get down in front of Ansar Camp or Judge house. From there you can visit all the places on foot.
You can hire a CNG from under the Babubazar Bridge in Gulistan. You can go this way if you want to avoid the journey by bus. Fare is 150-200 taka per person. After coming to Nawabganj, take an auto or rickshaw and come in front of Judge Bari/lawyer’s house/Ansar camp.
Where to eat in Nawabganj-
You will find many food hotels in Nawabganj Bazar or Bagmara Bazar. There are many more food hotels including Bismillah Biryani House and Al-Madinah Hotel. But don’t forget to taste unlimited “Pani puri” with dum tea/ tandoori tea at CHA BARI restaurant and the famous 2 taka puri at Swapan Tea Store.
List Old Zamindar Houses of Nawabganj –
1) Adnan Palace-
This British-era house is now open to tourists as a park. Entry inside the building is prohibited. Apart from the building, there are various rides inside the park. Entry fee- 50 Tk.
2) Judge Bari-
This incredibly beautiful and aesthetic building is called Judge’s House as the current owner of this house is a judge. The owner of the house does not currently live in this house so the house is locked. There is a mini zoo with plants and ponds inside the house.
The lawyer’s house is located next to the judge’s house. Now it has been renamed Jharna Garden Cafe & Restaurant. Tea, coffee, Panipuri, Chotpoti, and various drinks are available in this restaurant. Descendants of the Lawers are currently living here.
4) Kokilpeari Zamindar House –
This house is easily visible from the road and it is next to the lawyer’s house. This old building has not been changed as the house has not been renovated. Currently, the teachers of Kokilpeari High School are living here.
5) Teli Bari or Moth Bari and others-
Zamindar Brajen Saha was the owner of this house. This building is now inside the Ansar camp. Members of the Ansar forces live in this house, so entry is prohibited. Besides, there are many old houses inside the Ansar camp where government employees live and some old houses were abandoned.
6) Madhubabu’s Painna house-
After walking a short distance from the Ansar camp, I saw a huge house on the right side of the road. A member staying in the house said that it is the house of his father Madhuban Zamindar. Now he and his children are staying in this house. They have sold almost the entire part of the house due to poverty. They are somehow living in a small part of this building. The sold part of the house is currently divided by a partition which completely spoils the beauty of the house.
7) Poddar Bari and Kali Bari-
Poddar’s house and Kali’s house stand after Painna house. I entered the house even though I saw a signboard saying that entry was forbidden. This house is amazing and the old windows, doors, and colors have not changed yet. My eyes feel peace when I looked at this house. As entry was prohibited, we did not get too close.
8) Shombhunath’s house-
A small two-storied old house, whose owner was Shaombhunath Saha. They settled in India when they got hints about their consequences. None of his descendants are here so the government has taken over the house. Currently, members of the Ansar forces are living here.
In front of this house, there is a tea hotel named “Swapan tea store”. The famous 2 Tk puri has been made here. You must taste this item. The owner of the shop said that the price of this puri was eight Ana around 2007.
9) Gopinath Chandra’s house, Dewan Bari, and some other old buildings-
The streets of Panalia village in Kolakopa are full of aesthetic old houses. Many of these unknown buildings are now in poor condition. Some of them are totally broken. He currently lives with his family in Gopinath Chand’s house. His grandfather Kali Das Goswami was a zamindar. He was killed by the Pakistanis in the war and his family later stayed here. Currently, he runs his family by selling fruits. Before Gopinath Chandra’s house, I saw the Dewan house and two other unnamed buildings. There are several old temples/Moths in this village.
Andharkota is a temple or palace. It is called Andharkota (Dark house) because it looks dark from the outside. It was built by Rober Khelaram. As he was very charitable, everyone called him Khelaramdata. Its location is slightly inland from Panalia. There is a big pond in front of the temple. Villagers believe that once upon a time, this pond was mysterious. By standing in front of this pond, villagers could get whatever they wanted.
Travel Precautions and Tips-
1) Entry is prohibited inside Andharkota, Judge house, Teli house/Moth house.
2) Food from outside is not allowed inside Adnan Palace.
3) Dhaka buses are not available in Nawabganj after 8 pm. So try to back to Dhaka after the evening.
4) Without buses, you can go back by CNG from Nawabganj to Babubazar Bridge of Gulistan. But it is safe not to come to CNG at night if you are alone.
6) These old houses are our heritage so don’t write on the walls and litter around.
8) Descendants of hereditary landlords are living in the old houses. So don’t disturb them and keep quiet.
5) Avoid shouting and making noise while visiting old houses.
6) Visit the old buildings inside the Ansar camp doesn’t allow for tourists.
7) Visit “Cha Bari Restaurant” in the evening after traveling to all the places. Nawabganj Wikipedia