Ahsan Manzil

Ahsan Manzil (Bengali: আহসান মঞ্জিল, Ahsan Monjil) was the official residential palace and seat of the Nawab of Dhaka.[1] The building is situated at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Construction was started in 1859 and was completed in 1872.[1] It was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. It has been designated as a national museum.

Ahsan Manzil
Ahsan Manzil-Front View
Front View of Ahsan Manzil
Architectural style(s)Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture
VisitorsMore than 3 million (in 2003)
Ahsan Manzil is located in Bangladesh
Ahsan Manzil
Located in old Dhaka, Bangladesh


In Mughal era, there was a garden house of Sheikh Enayet Ullah, the landlord of Jamalpur Porgona (district), in this place. Sheikh Enayet Ullah was a very charming person. He acquired a very big area in Kumortuli (Kumartuli) and included it in his garden house. Here he built a beautiful palace and named it "Rongmohol" (Rangmahal). He used to enjoy here keeping beautiful girls collected from the country and abroad, dressing them with gorgeous dresses and expensive ornaments. There is a saying that, the foujdar of Dhaka (representative of mughal emperor) was attracted to one of the beautiful girls. He invited Sheikh Enayet Ullah to a party one night and killed him in a conspiracy when he was returning home. That girl also committed suicide in anger and sorrow. There was a grave of Sheikh Enayet Ullah in the north-east corner of the palace yard which was ruined in the beginning of the 20th century.

Probably in the period of Nawab Alibardi Khan around 1740 century, Sheikh Moti Ullah, the son of Sheikh Enayet Ullah, sold the property to the French traders. There was a French trading house beside this property. The trading house became wealthier after purchasing this property. In that time, French traders could do business here without paying any taxes by a decree from the emperor Aurangzeb. In that time, the French became very wealthy by doing business here in competition with the English and other European companies. They made a big palace and dug a pond for sweet water in the newly purchased property. The pond still exists in the compound of Ahsan Manzil which was called "Les Jalla" in that time. In the English-French war, French got defeated and all their properties were captured by the English. On 22 June 1757, the French left the trading house with a fleet of 35 boats from the river station of Buriganga in front of Kumartuli.

Ahsan Manzil (27125826064)
Side view

In 1785, the French transferred the property to a French tradesman named Mr. Champigni, and retaken it at 1801. According to Paris agreement of 1814, the French claimed all their left properties at Dhaka, and in 1827 the property was again returned to the French. For the increasing power of the English, the French was forced to leave subcontinent. They decided to sell all their properties in Dhaka. So in 1830, the trading house of Kumartuli was purchased by the established landlord of Dhaka Khwaja Alimullah.

After some renovation work, the trading house became the residence of Khwaja Alimullah. In his time, a stable and a family mosque was added in the compound. After his death, his son Khwaja Abdul Gani made a great flourish to the property, and named it "Ahsan Manjil" on his son Ahsan Ullah. In the east side of the old building, he made a new building with a different design, and also done great renovation work to the old building. Since then, the old building was called "Ondor Mohol" and the new building was called "Rong mohol".

In the evening of 7 April 1888, a devastating tornado hit Dhaka city causing great damage. Ahsan Manjil was severely damaged and abandoned. An English engineer from Kolkata arrived here to examine the palace. He gave opinion that except for the "Rangmahal", all the other parts of the palace would have to be reconstructed. So Khwaja Abdul Gani and his son Ahsanullah turned their full attention to rebuild the palace. Both of the buildings were reconstructed during that time with a new design and supervised by the local engineer Gobinda Chandra Roy.

The old French building was reconstructed to a two storied building keeping similarity to the Rangmahal. A gangway was made with wood connecting the first floors of the two buildings. The most beautiful thing made in this time was the dome, which made the palace so beautiful.

After the death of Khwaja Ahsanullah in 1901, the glory of Ahsan Manjil was ended. His successors couldn’t continue the glory because of the internal family quarrel. They rented different parts of the palace to tenants, who actually made it a slum. In 1952, govt. acquired the property and left in supervision of the Dhaka Nawab court. In 1985, Dhaka National Museum acquired the property and made it a museum following a massive restoration programme which utilised historic photographs of the property.[2]

Description and construction

Ahsan Manzil is one of the most significant architectural monuments of Bangladesh. The building structure was established on a raised platform of 1 meter, the two-storied palace measures 125.4m by 28.75m. The height of the ground floor is 5 meters and the height of the first floor is 5.8 meters. The thickness of the walls of the palace is about 0.78 meters. There are porticos of 5 meters height on the northern and southern sides of the palace. The building has a broad front-facing the Buriganga River. On the river side, an open spacious stairway leads right up to the second portal and on their stands the grand triple- arched portals. There was once a fountain in the garden in front of the stairs which does not exist today. All along the north and the south side of the building run spacious verandahs with an open terrace projected in the middle.

The palace Ahsan Manzil is divided into two parts: the eastern side and the western side. The eastern building with the dome is called the Rangmahal and the western side with the living rooms is called Andarmahal. The high octagonal dome is placed on the central round room. There is a large drawing room, card room, library, state room and two other guest rooms are located on the east side of the palace. The ballroom, the Hindustani room and few residential rooms are situated on the western side. A beautiful vaulted artificial ceiling, made of wood, decorates the drawing room and the Jalsaghar. A splendid dining hall and few smaller rooms are placed on the west part. The floors of the dining and Darbar Halls are decorated with white, green and yellow colored ceramic tiles. The famous store room, where the valuables of the Nawabs used to be stored, was in the middle of the five rooms located in the western half of the ground floor. Along with those rooms a Darbar Hall or assembly hall and a chest room is also place there.

Dome of Ahsan Manzil

There are attractive wooden stairs in the room that is attached to the north of the domed room. The balusters were ornamented with vine leaves made of iron along the railing of the stairs. The wooden ceiling of the room, decorated with geometric designs, is very elegant. The verandas and rooms are covered with marble. The doorways are placed within semicircular arches. The inner doors had multi-colored glasses. Wooden beams supported the roof of these rooms. The architecture and the decoration is one of a kind in whole Bangladesh.

The construction of the famous dome of the Ahsan Mazil, which is at the center of the palace, took a lot tedious planning. The square room on the ground floor was built with a round shape and brickworks were done around the corners. To give the room an octagonal shape, squinches were given around the roof corners. The eight corners of the octagon was slanted gradually to make the dome look like the bud of a lotus ( kumud kali). The peak of this dome is 27.13 m above the ground. Ahsan Manzil was severely damaged during the tornado that occurred on 7 April 1888.the western block of Andermahal was completely demolished and later it was entirely rebuilt. The present day dome, which is situated on the top, was built during the time of reconstruction. This place was also damaged during the earthquake of 1897 but Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah repaired the whole place again.

Glory days

With his family the beared Nabab on Eid day.
Nawab Sir Salimullah with his family in front of Ahsan Manzil

In 1874, Lord Northbrook, Governor General of India attended an evening function in the palace when he came to lay the foundation of a water works installed by Nawab Abdul Ghani. In 1888, Lord Dufferin also accepted the hospitality offered at Ahsan Manzil. In 1904 Lord Curzon, on a visit to East Bengal, stayed in this palace on 18 and 19 February to win public support for the proposed Partition of Bengal.

Ahsan Manzil, an architectural treasure, is a witness to many historical events of Bangladesh. From the last part of the 19th century to the initial years of Pakistan, the Muslim leadership of East Bengal emerged from this palace. The nawabs of Dhaka used to conduct their court affairs here as chief of the panchayet (village council) everyday. Many anti-Congress meetings were held here under the patronization of Nawab Ahsanullah, a staunch believer in Muslim identity. Almost all the Viceroys, Governors and Lieutenant Governors of British India who visited Dhaka spent some time at the Ahsan Manzil. Almost all political activities of Nawab Khwaja Salimullah centred round this palace. Ahsan Manzil was the cradle of the All India Muslim League. With the decline of the Nawabs of Dhaka, Ahsan Manzil also started to decline.


In 1952, the Dhaka Nawab State was acquired under the East Bengal Estate Acquisition Act; it became impossible for the successors of the Nawabs to maintain the palace due to financial constraints. Nawab Khwaja Habibullah started living at Paribag Green House soon after the acquisition of the zamindari. The palace was soon on the verge of collapse as successors rented out rooms without considering its dignity. Over the years illegal occupants turned the place into a filthy slum. After the independence of Bangladesh, most of the nawab family went to abroad in search of a better livelihood and work. On 1974, the owners of the palace decided to put it up for auction.


Recognizing the historical and architectural importance of the Ahsan Manzil, the government of Bangladesh took the initiative to renovate it. In 1985, Ahsan Manzil and its surroundings were acquired. After the completion of the renovation work in 1992 under the supervision of the Directorate of Public Works and Architecture, it was brought under the control of Bangladesh National Museum (20 September 1992). A museum has been established there.

Exhibits inside Ahsan Manzil
Rare Exhibits inside Ahsan Manzil

Considering the historical importance and architectural significance of Ahsan Manzil palace, the government was trying to conserve it since the later part of the Pakistani rule. The father of nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman canceled its auction proposal option. On 2 November 1974, he ordered to establish a museum and tourist center after its proper conservation.

After the implementation of the work on the museum started, most of the nawab's house area along with the half of the portion of the Andarmahal remained beyond acquisition. The total area of acquired land was 5.65 acres. Out of that 0.68 acres from northern side was given to Dhaka City Corporation to establish a super market and 4.96 acres of land with the palace buildings remained for museum purpose. In 1986, the work began according to the above order keeping the original structure undisturbed and reconstructing the old environment as far as possible. After the completion of the renovation work in 1992, under the supervision of the Directorate of Public Works and Architecture, it was brought under the control of Bangladesh National Museum (20 September 1992). A museum has been established there.

Photo gallery

Ahsan Manzil 1965

Ahsan Manzil in 1965


  1. ^ a b Mohammad Alamgir (2012). "Ahsan Manzil". In Sirajul Islam and Ahmed A. Jamal. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ "Ahsan Manzil in Dhaka, Bangladesh". Lonely Planet.

Further reading

  • Taifoor,S.M. Glimpses of Old Dacca, Dhaka, 1956
  • Dani, A.H. Muslim Architecture of Bengal, Dhaka 1961

External links

Media related to Ahsan Manzil at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 23°42′30.95″N 90°24′21.81″E / 23.7085972°N 90.4060583°E

Architecture of Bangladesh

Architecture of Bangladesh is intertwined with the architecture of the Bengal region and the broader Indian subcontinent. The architecture of Bangladesh has a long history and is rooted in Bangladesh's culture, religion and history. It has evolved over centuries and assimilated influences from social, religious and exotic communities. The architecture of Bangladesh bears a remarkable impact on the lifestyle, tradition and cultural life of Bangladeshi people. Bangladesh has many architectural relics and monuments dating back thousands of years.

Architecture of Dhaka

The architecture of Dhaka is a confluence of many architectural styles. From the Sena temples built by Ballal Sen, to the Mughal architecture of the Mughals, to the Indo-Saracenic style (pioneered in Madras) of the colonial era, to 20th century steel and chrome of skyscrapers. Dhaka has a colonial core in the river port area, surrounded by progressively newer areas as one travels away from the Buriganga, punctuated with old temples, churches and mosques.

Bangladeshi art

Bangladeshi art is a form of visual arts that has been practiced throughout the land of what is now known as Bangladesh. Bangladeshi art has a perennial history which originated more than two thousand years ago and is practiced even to this date. Among the various forms of Bangladeshi art, photography, architecture, sculpture and painting are the most notable.


Dhaka ( DAH-kə or DAK-ə; Bengali: ঢাকা, pronounced [ɖʱaka]), formerly known as Dacca, is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. It is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world, with an population of 18.89 million people in the Greater Dhaka Area. Dhaka is the economic, political and cultural center of Bangladesh. It is one of the major cities of South Asia, the largest city in Eastern South Asia and among the Bay of Bengal countries; and one of the largest cities among OIC countries. As part of the Bengal plain, the city is bounded by the Buriganga River, Turag River, Dhaleshwari River and Shitalakshya River. The city is located in an eponymous district and division.

The area of Dhaka has been inhabited since the first millennium. The city rose to prominence in the 17th century as a provincial capital and commercial center of the Mughal Empire in South Asia. Dhaka was the capital of Mughal Bengal for 75 years. As the center of the muslin trade in Bengal, it was one of the most prosperous cities in the Indian subcontinent. The medieval city was named in honor of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and hosted the seat of the Mughal Subahdar (governor), Naib Nazims and Dewans (prime ministers). Medieval Dhaka's glory peaked in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was home to merchants from across Eurasia. The Mughals decorated the city with well-laid out gardens, tombs, mosques, palaces and forts. The city was once called the Venice of the East. Under the British Empire, the city saw the introduction of electricity, railways, cinemas, Western-style universities and colleges and a modern water supply. It became an important administrative and educational center in Eastern Bengal and Assam after 1905. In 1947, after ending of British rule, it became the administrative capital of the East Pakistan. It was declared as the legislative capital of Pakistan in 1962. In 1971, it became the capital of an independent Bangladesh. Article 5 of the Constitution of Bangladesh declares Dhaka as the capital of the republic.Since its establishment as a modern capital city, the population, area, and social and economic diversity of Dhaka have grown tremendously. Dhaka is now one of the most densely industrialized regions in the country. By the 21st century, it emerged as a megacity, which is now listed as a Beta- Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC). Dhaka is a major financial center in the region, being home to many local and international companies. Its stock exchange has over 750 listed companies. The city hosts over 50 diplomatic missions and the headquarters of BIMSTEC. The city's culture is known for its cycle-rickshaws, cuisine, art festivals and religious diversity. The old city is home to around 2000 buildings from the Mughal and British periods, including notable structures such as the Bara Katra and Choto Katra caravansaries. The city's modernist national assembly is one of the largest parliaments in the world.

Dhaka District

Dhaka District (Bengali: ঢাকা জেলা, Dhaka jela) is a district in central Bangladesh, and is the densest district in the nation. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, rests on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River which flows from the Turag to the south of the district. While Dhaka (city corporation) occupies only about a fifth of the area of Dhaka district, it is the economic, political and cultural centre of the district and the country as a whole. Dhaka District is an administrative entity, and like many other cities, it does not cover the modern conurbation which is Greater Dhaka, which has spilled into neighbouring districts, nor does the conurbation cover the whole district, as there are rural areas within the district.

Gol Talab

Gol Talab or Gol Talaab (talab means tank) also known as Nawab Bari Pukur, is a small oval-shaped water tank/pond in Islampur, Old Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh, located immediately to the north-west of the Ahsan Manzil Palace and north of the Buriganga River. Gol Talab is an official heritage site, designated by the city government of Dhaka.

Khwaja Abdul Ghani

Nawab Bahadur Sir Khwaja Abdul Ghani Mian (1813–1896) was the first Nawab of Dhaka recognized by the British Raj.

He introduced the panchayat system, gaslights, water works, newspaper, and the zoological garden to Dhaka. He established Ahsan Manzil, the residence and seat of power for Dhaka Nawab Family, Victoria Park, the gardens at Dilkusha and Shahbag, where he initiated many annual events like Boli Khela and agricultural and industrial fair to celebrate the Christian New Year. He was also responsible for the Buckland Bund and the first female ward in the first hospital in Dhaka, and was a founding commissioner of Dhaka municipality.

Khwaja Alimullah

Khwaja Alimullah was the first Nawab of Dhaka. He was the founder of the Dhaka Nawab Family.

He was the nephew and heir of the merchant prince Khawaja Hafizullah, son of Khwaja Ahsanullah, and father of Khwaja Abdul Ghani, the first Nawab of Dhaka to be recognized by the British Raj.

Khwaja Atiqullah

Khwaja Atiqullah (1876–1945) was a Bengali British Indian politician and member of the Dhaka Nawab Family.

Khwaja Habibullah

Nawab Khwaja Habibullah Bahadur (1895–1958) was the fifth Nawab of Dhaka. He was the son of his more prominent father, Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah Bahadur. Under his rule, the Dhaka Nawab Estate went into decline until its actual relinquishment in 1952 by the East Pakistan Estates Acquisition Act.

Khwaja Hassan Askari

Nawab Major Khwaja Hassan Askari (21 August 1921 – 9 August 1984), the last Nawab of Dacca was born at the Ahsan Manzil Palace in Dhaka. The eldest son of Nawab Habibullah Bahadur of Dhaka and Shahryar Begum (the granddaughter of Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah), he became the Nawab of Dhaka after his father's death in 1958.

Khwaja Salimullah

Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah Bahadur (1871–1915) was the fourth Nawab of Dhaka and one of the leading Muslim politicians during the British Raj. In 1906, the Muslim League was officially founded at the educational conference held in Dhaka. The convention was held at Ahsan Manzil, the official residence of the Dhaka Nawab Family. Sir Salimullah was a key patron of education for the Eastern Bengal. He was one of the founders of the University of Dhaka and the prestigious Ahsanullah School of Engineering (now the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology). Sir Salimullah was a staunch supporter of the Partition of Bengal and was a member of East Bengal and Assam Legislative Council from 1906 to 1907. He was also a member of Bengal Legislative Assembly from 1913 till his death in Calcutta in 1915 at the age of 43. He was the founder President of Bengal Muslim League in 1907.

Khwaja Wasiuddin

Khwaja Wasiuddin (1920–1992) was an army general and diplomat. He started his career as a young officer in the British Indian Army and later became a senior general in Pakistan Army. He was the permanent representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.

List of museums in Bangladesh

This is a list of museums in Bangladesh.

List of Museum

Ahsan Manzil

Bangladesh National Museum

Birshreshtha Munshi Abdur Rouf Library and Museum

Bogra Zila Parishad Museum

Bangabandhu Memorial Museum

Birisiri Upajatya Cultural Academy Museum (Near Mymensingh)

Chandpur Fisheries Museum

Comilla Rammala Museum

Cox's Bazar Fisheries Museum

Children's Museum (Shishu Academy)

Dhaka Nagar Jadughar

Dinajpur Museum

Ethnological Museum of Chittagong

Fish Museum & Biodiversity Centre

Folk Heritage Museum (Bangla Academy)

Faridpur Museum

Jiraz Art Gallery

Kushtia Museum

Kishoreganj Museum

Liberation War Museum

Museum of Rajas'

Museum of Independence, Dhaka

Mymensingh Museum

Museum of Science and Technology

Museum of Geological Survey of Bangladesh

National Art Gallery (Bangladesh)

National Museum of Science and Technology

Natore Rajbari

Osmani Museum

Philatelic Museum

Bangladesh Police Liberation War Museum

Postal Museum

Rangpur Museum

Sunamganj Hasan Raja Museum

Sonargaon Bangladesh Folk Art Museum (Near Dhaka)

Shilaidaha Kuthibari Memorial Museum (Near Kushtia)

Shahjadpur Kacharibari Memorial Museum (Near Pabna)

Tajhat Palace

Varendra Research Museum

Zainul Abedin Museum

Tribal Museum

Lalbagh Fort




Panchagarh Rocks Museum

Lokayon Museum

Bangladesh Air Force Museum

Bangladesh Maritime Museum

Zia Memorial Museum

Currency Museum

Bangladesh Military Museum

Osmani Museum

Sreemangal Tea Resort and Museum

Bengal Center

K.B. Ahsanullah (R:) Museum

Michel Modhusudhan Dutt Museum

Khulna Divisional Museum

Meherbanu Khanam

Meherbanu Khanam(1885-1925) was a Bengali noblewoman and artist.

Nawab of Dhaka

The Nawab of Dhaka was the largest Muslim zamindar in British Bengal & Assam based in Dhaka city. The title of Nawab, similar to the British peerage, was conferred upon the head of the family by the British Raj as a recognition of their loyalty in the time of the Sepoy Mutiny. The self-definition is a family instead of an estate due to certain legal considerations imposed by the East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act of 1950.They were not sovereigns, but played an important role in the politics of South Asia. The family was owner of Dhaka Nawab estate, and were seated at Ahsan Manzil palace. Nawab of Dhaka was the title of the head of family and estate. Khwaja Alimullah was the first Nawab of Dhaka instated by the British Raj.

Considerable infighting within the Nawab's family lead to the decline of the estate. In 1952 the East Pakistan Estates Acquisition Act formally abolished the estate. Khwaja Habibullah Khan Bahadur was the last reigning Nawab of Dhaka. Successive land reform in Pakistan and Bangladesh brought an end to the remaining landholdings of the Nawab family.

Pink Palace

Pink Palace may refer to:

Ahsan Manzil, also known as the Pink Palace. A palace in central Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Hawa Mahal, a palace in Jaipur, India.

Jayne Mansfield's Pink Palace

Nickname for 363 Copa De Oro Road, Los Angeles, former home of Dean Martin and Tom Jones

Lake Stevens High School, located in Lake Stevens, Washington and nicknamed Pink Palace

Ontario Legislative Building, known colloquially as the Pink Palace because of its sandstone hue.

Pink Palace, the iconic Don CeSar Hotel in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla, built by Thomas Rowe during the height of the Roaring Twenties

Pink Palace Family of Museums, Memphis, Tennessee

Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium, Memphis, Tennessee

Pink Palace (Washington, D.C.), a house listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel, aka Pink Palace of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Pink Palace, located in the Old Louisville neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, one of the most distinctive houses in the St. James-Belgravia Historic District

Victoria Park Golf Clubhouse, Brisbane, Australia, later known as a nightclub named "The Pink Palace"

Port of Dhaka

The Port of Dhaka is a major river port on the Buriganga River in Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. The port is located in the southern part of the city. It is Bangladesh's busiest port in terms of passenger traffic. The port has services to most of the districts of Bangladesh. In 2013, a container terminal opened 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the city to handle ocean-going ships. Along with Barisal, Chandpur and Narayanganj; the Dhaka port handled 53 million tonnes of cargo and 22 million passengers in 2013-14.

Tourism in Bangladesh

Bangladesh's tourist attractions include historical monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wildlife of various species. Activities for tourists include angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, and sea bathing.In the northern part, comprising the Rajshahi division, there are archaeological sites, including the temple city Puthia in Rajshahi; the largest and most ancient archaeological site, Mahasthangarh in Bogra; the single largest Buddhist monastery, Paharpur in Naogaon; the most ornamental terracota Hindu temple, Kantaji Temple, and many rajbaris or palaces of old zamindars.

In the south-eastern part, which is the Chittagong Division, there are natural and hilly areas like Chittagong Hill Tracts, along with sandy sea beaches. The most notable beach, in Cox's Bazar, is a contender for the title of longest unbroken sandy sea beach in the world.

In the south-western part, mainly the Khulna Division, there is the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world with royal Bengal tiger and spotted deer. The historically and architecturally important sixty domed mosque in Bagerhat is a notable site.

In the north-eastern part, Sylhet division, there is a green carpet of tea plants on small hillocks. Natural reserved forests are great attractions. Migratory birds in winter, particularly in the haor areas, are also very attractive in this area.

Ministry of Tourism and The Civil Aviation Ministry designs national policies for the development and promotion of tourism. The Ministry also maintains the Beautiful Bangladesh campaign. Bangladesh Government has formed Tourist Police unit to better protect local and foreign tourists as well as look after the nature and wildlife in the tourist spots.

Places of historical interest in Dhaka and Dhaka District
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