Monday, November 20, 2006

Husainy Dalan - Shi'ite Shrine


Replica of Husainy Dalan at Bakshibazar, Dhaka

Interior design

North view: Nahobotkhana

South view: Jori bldg. Husainy Dalan
Husainy Dalan, is a Shia shrine (Imambara) in the old part of the Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was built in the 17th century during Mughal Period. It is built around a devotional tomb signifying that of the Imam where the Shiite Muslims pay their respects for the two grandsons of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) during the battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 CE).

It is said that one Sayyid Murad built the building during Governorship of Shah Shuja, son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. There was an influence of the Shiite Muslims in India and they were honoured and respected in the courts of the Mughal rulers. Since then, the building has been enhanced and renovated many times. After an earthquake damaged it in 1897, it was further extended and reconstructed.

Although the Sunni sect is a majority in Bangladesh, there is a small number of muslims belonging to the Shia sect in Dhaka. During the first 10 days of Muharram, it becomes a center of mourning and religious celebration in old Dhaka. Both the Sunni and the Shia followers join the mourning, ending in the festival of ‘Ashura’ when a great procession parade through the streets from Husainy Dalan to the symbolic Karbala at Azimpur.

Entering through the gate of the Nohobothkhana, (House where kettle-drums are beaten) one can proceed towards the Jori Bhaban. On the right is the 'Kotoali Ghar' or the room for the armed guards. The central Jori building presents a picturesque view especially at its south side with the shimmering water body. The building has been built on a raised platform with rooms containing symbolic graves underneath. Built in a rectangular plan, the central hall is flanked by two symmetrical octagonal towers at the east and west.

The height of the rooms from the floor to the ceiling is around 40 ft. The upper parts of the doorways are ornamented with Arabic inscriptions. The octagonal towers at the two sides are divided into three storey. There are four Minars at the four corners which are topped by four pillared kiosks, with delicate details to adorn them, while the pattern of the white and red coloured parapet also grab one's attention.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Ershad,

I was wondering... whether you could post some pictures of the Muharram mela, which used to take place in Azimpur, Dhaka. When we were kids, we used to buy some hand-made toys like, noise-makers, gogles made out of papers, etc.

Ershad Ahmed said...

Muharram procession passing through Azimpur, Dhaka may be seen in the post of Sunday, January 20, 2008 'Ashura' procession on 10 Muharram: Dhaka