Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ramna Park - Dhaka

man in deep sleep on the bench beside park

East gate of park- 'Arunodoy'

Entry through 'star gate' - the first guards room and office built for park in the 50's

Old godown at left for Zoo animals in the 50's

Childrens' park - south west of Kakrail mosque

walkway of the park

Park scene - cool place

for joggers

picnic spot

Central college girls in park pose for camera

lonely path- north south

place to rest

70' tall water tower built in 1965

park canal carries water east to segunbagicha storm sewer

cozy corner

lake water pumped out for improvement

platform built in 1960 for civic reception to Queen Elizabeth II in Dhaka

park central road (east-west)

Park info billboad

curve inthe right place is pleasing to eyes- (north-south bend away from lake)

Ramna park botomul famed for 1st baishakh - south of lake

Ramna Park: The history of Ramna starts about 1610 AD during Mughal rule, when the city of Dhaka was founded by Subehdar Islam Khan under Emperor Jahangir. At that time two beautiful residential areas were developed in the northern suburb of Dhaka city. New residential houses, gardens, mosques, tombs and temples were built in this area during that period. After the fall of the Mughal rule, Ramna gradually lost much of its glory. There were very few references of Ramna in official documents of the East India Company. Ramna was then a barren area with bushes, abandoned or dilapidated buildings, tombs and old temples.

Ramna area began to regain its glory since 1825, when Mr. Dowes, a British collector of Dhaka initiated a series of steps for development of the city. Engaging convicts, he cleared up the bushes and demolished most tombs and monuments except the Ramna Kali Mandir. The old mosque and tomb that now stand by the western side of old High Court building were spared. The renovated area was given the name of 'Ramna Green' and was fenced by a boundary for using it as a race course. In 1908 he began the work of a garden that took 20 years to take a shape.

The Nawabs of Dhaka developed the racecourse area as a beautiful garden and named a part of it as Shahbagh, the royal garden. The Nawabs also set up a zoo at Ramna. In 1851, the European civil servants established the Dhaka Club on the northern corner of the racecourse and after the Partition a good number of beautiful residential houses were built at Minto road area for the High Court judges and top bureaucrats.

After creation of Pakistan in 1947, Ramna area continued to occupy an important place in the history of Dhaka city. A new road from Shahbagh to the Eden Building was constructed and the eastern side of the road was developed as the Ramna Park. The miniature zoo with a few animals and different kinds of birds were still there at the northeastern side of the present Supreme Court building. The zoo was later shifted to its present location at Mirpur.
Ramna Park was officially inaugurated in 1949 with an area of 88.50 acres of land with 71 species of plants. The large open spaces on the southwest facing the lake were used for holding National Fairs and Exhibitions. Famed magician P.C. Sorcar (senior) staged his performance here. In February 1961, Queen Elizabeth II was accorded a rousing civic reception at the Ramna park with colouful display of local fireworks. The concrete rostrum built for the Queen still exists in the park near lake.

The present shape of Ramna Park was drawn up in 1952 by the then C & B Dept (now PWD) and the lake was excavated and extended. Narrow pathways were built by phases. To water the rare variety of saplings, deep tube well and a bud-shape water tower were built on the northern side. The park now covers an area of 68.50 acres of which the lake takes 8.76 acres. Ramna Park now boasts with 71 species of flowering plant, 36 species fruit bearing plant, 33 species medicinal plant and 41 species of forestry and 11 other species. Apart from these, Nageswarchapa, Swarnachapa, Camphor, Rita, Naglingam, Arjun, Mohua, Kusum, Telsu and Ashok etc. trees adorn the park. Walkways inside park have been widened and five new gates built for entry from different sides. The Park has lot of beautiful sheds and kiosks to relax with toilet facilities.
It is unfortunate that such a beautiful spot in the heart of city is not visited by many except the officials and elites of Bailey and Minto road who live closeby. One reason might be the floating sex traders and their cohorts in the park. The park and its gardens are maintained by the office Arboriculture Dept. PWD.
(Ref: Banglapedia, PWD)


Shireen said...

Thank you so much for such an informative article on ramna Park. Brought back beautiful memories of my childhodd, I used to live at 10, Minto rd in the 60's, and would often visit the park with my family.

I vividly remember the Queen's visit too, though only about 3 years old at the time!!

Thank you so much for such a lovely blog :)

Shireen Hussain

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