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Mughal Eidgah in Dhaka

M Mahmud Ali
Mughal Eidgah in Dhaka

After a month of fasting for Ramadan, the day finally comes for celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr on the first day of Shawal. The festival starts with special prayers, which often take place at an Eidgah.

An Eidgah is a huge open space where a large number of people can congregate to pray together. That is the why an Eidgah holds great importance for Muslims. I would like to share the story of a Mughal-era Eidgah, which is located on Sat Masjid Road in the capital’s Dhanmondi area. It is one of the oldest Mughal structures in Dhaka that still attracts a large number of heritage lovers an

d visitors, because of its historical value and architectural wonder.

During Mughal rule, the subahdar of Bengal, diwan and other high officials used to live in Dhaka. They used to come to the Eidgah for Eid prayers twice a year, along with other residents of the city. According to a Persian inscription, the Dhanmondi Eidgah was built by Diwan Mir Abul Qasim on the order of Subahdar Shah Shuja in 1640 AD. A channel flowed beside the Eidgah, connecting it to the river near Sat Masjid at that time.

The Eidgah is spread over around 3.5 bighas (about 1.4 acres) of land. It consists of a red coloured, raised earthen platform and an elegant masonry wall on the west. The western wall contains a central mihrab (a wall niche) and three other subsidiary mihrabs on each side.

The Eidgah was a well-known landmark of Dhanmondi and could be seen from a great distance until the early 1950s. Since then, different types of buildings have sprung up around it, hiding the Mughal structure out of sight. Residences, offices and some illegal structures now completely overshadow the Eidgah. This is one regrettable outcome of unplanned urbanisation.

Even now, the residents of Dhaka gather at the Eidgah to say their prayers on Eid day. The Department of Archaeology has declared it as a protected monument. But due to some ill-conceived restoration work, the 377-year-old structure has lost its originality.

Reference: Muslim Antiquities of Dhaka by Syed Mahmudul Hasan (2004); Glimpses of Old Dhaka by Syed Muhammed Taifoor (1956); and The Romance of an Eastern Capital by FB Bradley Birt (1906).

Photos: Writer

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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