Sunday, November 19, 2006

Northbrook Hall (Lalkuthi)

Northbrook Hall (Lalkuthi) front view as seen from north in 19th century

View from south (Buriganga river side)

Northbrooke Hall, an elegant building popularly known as ‘Lalkuthi’ for its deep red colour, is situated at Farashganj, Dhaka on the north bank of the Buriganga River. It was originally built in late 19th century as a Town Hall and named after Lord Northbrooke, Viceroy of India (1872-1876). His administration was marked by agrarian unrest in Bengal.

Northbrooke Hall combines elements of Mughal architecture blended with architectural styles of the European Renaissance. The building's semi-circular horseshoe arches containing entrances on the north, the four octagonal minars with pinnacles and the ornamental parapet demonstrate the Muslim features. The deep red colour of the grand monument with its graded roofs, pinnacles and parapets presents a magnificent view from the riverfront.

The town hall was later converted into a public library, to which a clubhouse was added and called Johnson Hall. The building, however, has lost its attraction now because of the new structures, such as assembly halls and community centres that have been built on the same premises and surround it from all sides. The premises of the hall now offer facilities for social and cultural gatherings. The library on the premises is a major reading centre for the people of old Dhaka.

No comments: