Bangladesh is a tiny, lush nation in South Asia, formally known as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Dhaka, the nation’s capital and largest city, serves as the country’s political, financial, and cultural hub. The busiest port on the Bay of Bengal is Chittagong, the second-largest city in the country. Bengali is the official language. The historical and linguistic territory of Bengal, which was partitioned in 1971, is divided into Bangladesh, a sovereign state. Muslim Bengalis make up the majority of this nation.
Pala Buddhist Architecture
From the eighth to the twelfth centuries, the Pala Empire was the first Indian Buddhist Empire to rule Bengal, including modern-day Bangladesh. The Pala era gave rise to a new subgenre of a mass building known as the “Pala Sculpture School.” Shalban Bihar, Somapura Mahavihara, Subishal Vikramshila Bihar, Odantapuri Bihar, and Jagatdal Bihar also contain some of the important works of the Palas. The monasteries were the most remarkable element of their architecture. These monasteries, which were constructed by the emperor roughly a thousand years ago, resembled residential colleges. One distinctive aspect of the architectural design of this time is the square layout or construction of Shalban Vihara. Long, stretched-out verandas and elaborate arches were other features of the Palas’ architectural design. Archaeologists have discovered some Jain monuments inside some Buddhist monasteries from the Pala era, which were built on top of a Jain monastery in the fifth century.
Islamic and Mughal Architecture
The Sultanate of Bengal lasted from 1342 until 1576. Bengal was then ruled by Muslim Nawabs of Central Asian ethnicity outside of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire started to encircle most of Bengal around 1576. The Mughals established Dhaka as their “military base.” Urbanization and habitation boomed after Subadar Islam Khan the First proclaimed that Dhaka was the “Capital of Bengal Subah” in 1806. It was common to build forts and mosques.
Persian culture had an impact on Mughal architecture. Nearly all noteworthy Mughal structures have domes, elaborate roofs, and large entrances. Emperor Jahangir’s rule marked the beginning of the use of marble. On the floor of the hammam of the Lalbagh Fort, the gleaming blue-and-white marble decorations from the Mughal era are still present. The practice of creating plaques on walls and writing various directions on them was also common in Mughal construction. A Shaduddin Muhammad Siraji-written stone slab on the Bara Katra arch provides unforgettable proof of Mughal construction.
The Kusumba mosque, the gold mosque, and the mosque with sixty domes are just a few notable examples of Sultanate architecture. Lalbagh Fort, Chawk Bazar Mosque, Saat Gombuj Mosque, Bara Katra, Chhota Katra, and other structures are notable examples of Mughal architecture in Bangladesh.
Sultanate architecture clearly shows Tughlaq architectural influence. The sixty-domed mosque, which has a wall that is around eight feet wide, is one notable example of Sultanate architecture. The Sultanate architecture also features multiple doorways, arches at the front and back doors, and minarets in the corners of the roof. There are 26 doorways, including one right next to the main arch, to the west of the mosque’s sixty domes. A substantial arch and five smaller ones are also present on either side of the mosque’s entrance. Three sizable domes and one nuclear dome are located at each of the four corners of the seven mosques on Mohammadpur’s roofs.
Terracotta Temple Architecture
A large portion of Bangladesh’s terracotta temple architecture originates from the late Islamic and early British eras when affluent Hindu zamindars funded the construction of these buildings. By smoldering mud, these temples were created from clay. There are various roof types in Bengal’s terracotta temples. According to the shape of the rice or the ceiling, the temple’s construction is diverse, and its architectural design varies according to the type of gemstones used.
From the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, merchants from many different European nations, including the English, Dutch, and French, established their own “East India Companies” in Dhaka under the flags of their respective nations. The colonial style of architecture has advanced the most since the Company Raj’s inception. Due to the long British occupation of Bangladesh, colonial architecture has had a significant influence on the development of Bangladeshi architecture. There are numerous historical landmarks located all around Dhaka, even if the colonial architecture is less obvious than in Kolkata.
Although Bengali province is where bungalow architecture first appeared, the British gave it many other iterations. These homes were often compact. Only one storey, remote, and with a big yard. In addition to being used by the British as tea gardens and recreational spaces, these homes served as provincial administrators’ residences outside of the suburbs of Indian provinces. In rural Bengal, bungalow-style homes are still well-known. Grooved steel sheets are the primary building material in contemporary architecture.
The Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Indo-British colonial era, which is a synthesis of Central Asian (Islamic), Indian, and European features, is still evolving. ‘Mughal ornaments on European bodies’ – this is also known as colonial architecture. Ahsan Manzil in Dhaka and Tajhat Rajbari in Rangpur City are two examples of renowned architecture. Even though the pillars and chamber designs are in the British style, Mughal crafts have been used to embellish them.
Modern Bangladeshi Architecture
Bangladeshi architecture has grown more diverse in the modern era, reflecting modern architectural characteristics as well as aesthetic and technologically cutting-edge elements. Since Bangladesh’s founding, economic development has propelled the country’s architecture from its traditional forms to a contemporary setting. The architectural form is evolving into modernism as a result of expanding urbanization and modernization, including many aspects of its history and tradition. Bangladesh’s architecture can shed light on the culture and history of the Bangladeshi people. The greatest structural engineer and architect of the 20th century, Fazlur Rahman, has had a profound and long-lasting impact on the industry both domestically and internationally. He enabled people to live and work in “cities in the sky” by bringing in a resurgence in skyscraper development throughout the second half of the 20th century. By fusing the articulation of interior spaces with highly developed structural systems, Khan left behind a legacy of breakthroughs and rose to fame in both structural engineering and architecture.
Notable Architectural Marvels of Bangladesh
NATIONAL PARLIAMENT BUILDING, DHAKA
One of the world’s most celebrated architects, Louis I. Kahn, designed the National Parliament Building, one of Bangladesh’s most exquisite architectural marvels. This amazing work of art was created to capture the legacy and culture of Bangladesh, which it has done so elegantly by adding local aesthetics. One of them is the placement of man-made lakes all around the building, which represents Bangladesh’s beautiful riverine landscape. However, the regular geometric shapes that can be seen all over the walls of the structures have a significant influence on the exterior of the construction. Amazingly, the structure’s outside characteristics have an impact on the interior’s aesthetics.
LALBAGH FORT, OLD TOWN, DHAKA
Old Dhaka’s Lalbagh Fort, built in the 17th century, is an amazing feat of architecture. This Mughal structure was never finished and remained one of Bangladesh’s most stunning architectural wonders despite being abandoned for a considerable amount of time. It radiates a feeling that transcends time and has all the peculiarities of traditional Mughal architecture. Red sandstone and rare white marble were mostly used in the construction of the buildings. The exact total area of the fort at that time is still uncertain because some portions were long ago demolished.
The mosque, Bibi Pari’s mausoleum, and the Diwan-i-Aam were the three primary structures that made up the fort complex. Diwan-i-Aam was the most intriguing of these buildings for a variety of reasons. Shaista Khan, the Subadar of Bengal, used to reside here, and it was stocked with luxuries including a Hammamkhana (bathroom) with terracotta pipes and a water heating system. In addition, a tunnel is claimed to be so enigmatic that anyone who enters it is said to never return.
KANTAJEW TEMPLE, DINAJPUR
The Kantajew Temple in Dinajpur, which Maharaja Pran Nath constructed in the 18th century, is one of Bangladesh’s most stunning religious buildings and architectural marvels.
The terracotta artwork that is seen on its walls and in the turrets on either side of the pediment is what distinguishes it as unique. One of the most intricate and ornate pieces of architecture to have ever existed in Bangladesh is the temple, which also features large multi-cusped arches, Persian muqarnas artwork, and a substantial amount of terracotta art on the outside and interior. Each of these buildings has a cultural importance that ties into the incredible engineering feats that go along with it.
THE SIXTY DOME MOSQUE, BAGERHAT
This piece of medieval splendor, which dates back to the middle of the 15th century, predates the Lalbagh Fort. It is not only the largest mosque in Bangladesh from the sultanate era but also one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The fact that this mosque is nicknamed the Sixty Dome Mosque even though it has 81 domes in all is what makes it so perplexing. This mosque’s wall is made of tapering bricks and is quite thick. The interior of this mosque in the Tughlaq style is divided into many aisles and bays by 60 thin stone columns that support the roof. The outside has a hut-shaped roofline. To enter the spacious prayer room, there are 18 arched doors. This mosque is one of Bangladesh’s most spectacular architectural wonders, exemplifying the majestic grandeur of Mughlai-style architecture.
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