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Bangladesh Heritage Area

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Home >> Travel Bangladesh >> Bangladesh Heritage Area

Banga-Bhaban

 

The Bangabhaban is the official residence of the President of Bangladesh, the head of state of Bangladesh. Located in the capital Dhaka, the palace was originally the temporary official residence of the British Viceroy of India. From 1947 to 1971, it was the residence of the Governor of East Pakistan.

 

History

During the reign of the sultanate of Bengal, on the site of Bangabhaban stood the establishment of Hazrat Shahjalal Dakhini, a Sufi saint of Dhaka. The saint and his followers were killed by the agents of the sultan and buried there. The place soon became famous as a mazhar (mausoleum) for the devotees of the saint. There is a building called Manuk House within the Bangabhaban compound. It is conjectured that it belonged to an Armenian zamindar named Manuk during British Raj. Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani of Dhaka bought the place from Manuk and built a bungalow there, which he named as Dilkusha Garden.

With the partition of Bengal in 1905, the government of East Bengal and Assam bought the real estate and constructed a palatial house to serve as temporary residence for the Viceroy of India and used for him until 1911. From 1911 to 1947, the palace was called the Governor House, and served as the temporary residence of the governor of Bengal. Following the partition of India and the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, the palace became the residence of the governor of East Pakistan. The building was severely damaged by a storm in 1961; substantial reconstruction was completed by 1964. Following the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Governor House was renamed Bangabhaban on January 12, 1972. On that date, Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury became the first constitutional president of Bangladesh and took the palace as his official residence. The palace has served as the residence of constitutional presidents as well as military rulers such as Ziaur Rahman and Hossain Mohammad Ershad.

 

Status

One of the most important symbols of Bangladesh's government, the Bangabhaban holds a status akin to the White House in the United States and the Rashtrapati Bhavan in India. Maintained amidst extensive ceremony, the palace is an important historical landmark and the centre of media and tourist attraction. Special public ceremonies are held during Independence Day and Victory Day. The Bangladeshi president resides and works in the palace, and frequently holds meetings, conferences and state dinners for Bangladeshi politicians, intellectuals and visiting foreign heads of state. The traditions and pomp of the palace are a symbolic indication of the presidency's ceremonial superiority to other public and political institutions.

 

Structure

The Bangabhaban is largely based on Victorian architecture that typify many buildings of the British-era in Dhaka. With the reconstruction between 1961 and 1964, many elements of Islamic architecture and Bengali styles were incorporated. The palace has high boundary walls on all four sides. The main building is a three-storeyed palatial complex, around which stands extensive greenery and tree cover. The floorspace of the ground floor is 6,700 square metres. The president's residence is on the north-east corner, comprising two storeys of two suites along with five well-furnished spacious bedrooms.

The president's office, the office of the civil and military secretaries and other presidential officials, and separate rooms for audience with local and foreign visitors are also located in the ground floor. In addition, there is a cabinet room, banquet hall, darbar hall (court), state dining hall, a small auditorium and a lounge for local visitors. In addition to the president's residence, there are five rooms for officials, a control room and a studio in the first floor. In the second floor, there are four suites for foreign heads of state and government.

The Bangabhaban has an open compound of 47 acres of land. The security office, post office, bank, canteen, tailoring shop, a three-domed mosque and barracks of the president's guard regiment are located in the vicinity of the main gate of the Bangabhaban. The residential quarters for officers and staff of the President's office are located in three outlying areas of Bangabhaban. There are also two bungalows one for the military secretary and the other for the assistant military secretary.

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