Ahsan Manzil is the former official residential Palace and seat of the Nawab of Dhaka. The building stands at the Latif Complex on Islampur Road, along the banks of the Buriganga River. Building work in the style known as Indo-Saracenic Revival began here in 1859 and it was finished in 1872. It is now a national museum.
The Palace is considered one of Bangladesh’s most important buildings. It stands two storeys high, with a magnificent central dome and faces the Buriganga River. Here a spacious open stairway leads to the second portal and the grand triple-arched portals. Along the north and south sides of the building run spacious verandahs. The Palace is divided into two parts – the eastern and western. On the eastern side, there is a large drawing room with a vaulted ceiling, card room, library, stateroom and two other guest rooms. The western side has a splendid dining hall, a ballroom, a Hindustani room and some residential rooms.
The construction of the famous dome in the centre of the palace took a lot of careful planning. The eight corners of the octagonal room were slanted gradually to make the dome look like the bud of a lotus (Kumud Kali). The peak is 27.13 metres above the ground.
The Palace was badly damaged by a tornado on 7 April 1888, but later entirely rebuilt, the present dome being built at that time. An earthquake in 1897 did further damage, but this was repaired by Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah. Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, stayed here in 1904 when engaged in the proposed partition of Bengal. The Palace was to be sold in 1974 but was considered of such national importance that it was saved as a museum, restored between 1986 and 1992, and then opened to the public.
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