Monday, January 29, 2007

28 Jan 07- life Dhaka

Baldha Garden Dhaka

Cybele part of Baldah garden

Sankhanidhi pond

Students of Botany, examining plants


Udoypadda plant in the middle

Green house


Baldha Garden: The philanthropic naturalist landlord of the Baldah estate, Narendra Narayan Roy Chaudhury, established a miniature botanical garden in Narinda, near Christian Cemetery, having a rich and rare collection of plants from 50 countries in 1909. It took more than three decades to give a full shape to this garden. The garden housed about 15,000 plants covering more than 600 species of around 335 genera belonging to 87 families. Among those, the famous Baobab plant (Adansonia digitata) was collected from Africa and adapted in this garden. There are the famous camellias that inspired poet Rabindranath Tagore to compose his famous poem 'Camelia' during his visit to this garden in late 1920s. The garden is divided into two parts, Psyche and Cybele.

In the Psyche part, there are some nicely arranged lily pools with our national flower and some other interesting hydrophytic plants. There is a house only for Aloe plants. The unique plants, climbing Ivy (Ficus ripens var. heterophylla) and Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), the Egyptian paper plant was collected and planted here. The lotus tank housed the famous Amajan lotus (Victoria regia) and blue nympheas. The famous pond, Sankhanidhi and the Sundial are located in the Cybele part of the garden.

After the death of the Roy Chaudhury on 13th August 1943, problems arose on the maintenance of this garden. The condition since then began to deteriorate. In 1962, the responsibility of maintenance and improvement of the garden was given to the Forest Department. In the name of collecting funds for maintenance of the garden, the Cybele part has been handed over to a private agency and it has worsened the situation. This portion has been opened to common visitors making it a pleasure garden, and taking this opportunity, some unsocial elements allegedly are doing nuisance there. It remains open from 9-12 am and 3-5 pm. Ticket price for individual is Tk.5/- only.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dhaka river bank scene viewed from Keraniganj

Bangladesh China Friendship Bridge - viewed from Keraniganj


Naval station

Boat maintenance made easy

River scene- near Jinjira, Keraniganj

Sir Salimullah Medical College (Mitford hospital) viewed from Buriganga 2nd bridge

Ahsan Manzil pink dome in the background

Rocket service stationed at Badamtali jetty

River bank view - west of Sir Salimullah Medical College

Towering Minaret of historical Chawkbazar Shahi Masjid in the background

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Christian Cemetery at Narinda, Dhaka

Main gate of cemetery, Narinda

Old picture of Narinda Cemetery 1875 (unknown photographer)

Original gate now stands deep inside

tomb stone of an unknown person

old graves site

tomb structure resembling Islamic style

Old dilapidated tomb structure

Tomb structure similar to Hindu style

God's Acre Cemetery, Wari (west of Narinda cemetery)

Tomb stones in Orthodox Armenian church, Armanitola. The church has about 350 graves.

Christian Cemetery, Narinda:
The 16th century cemetery is currently under the jurisdiction of St. Mary's Cathedral, with 22 churches in the city having representatives as its board members. The cemetery maintained by the committee of churches is situated at Narinda, Dhaka east of Baldha Garden.

Away from the old city, initially it was small, as is evident from the main gate of the old cemetery that stands deep inside. The gate design resembles Moorish architecture. More than 50% of the grave area looks vacant. Graves of various shapes and sizes are lying scattered mostly of indigo farmers, their family members and British soldiers. Some graves have imposing monuments and towers as seen in Muslim and Hindu shrines. Most tombstones and epitaphs eroded due to gathering of shrubs, weathering action and lack of maintenance. Prof Muntasir Mamun’s book refers a list that mentions some important persons, the oldest of 1725 AD belongs to one Nathaniel of ‘English Kuthi’. The cemetery has grave of Maj. Gen. Hamilton Wetch of Bengal Army 11 June 1856 and some English soldiers who died in the fight at Lalbagh Fort during Sepoy Mutiny.

God's Acre: There is another small size graveyard near Narinda Cemetery, size hardly bigger than a basket ball court, on a by-lane from Tipu Sultan Road where the mortal remains of Rev William Robinson (Baptist Church, Sadarghat) and some others are buried over hundred years ago. The tombstones are intact but the epitaphs partially eroded due to weather and lack of maintenance.

for Muslim Graveyards see:
Dhaka Graveyards for Muslims

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dhaka Graveyards for Muslims


Azimpur graveyard boundary wall on Peelkhana Road

South entrance of Azimpur graveyard

Central walkway

Tomb of a revered ( Mari Shah) at entry point on the left

Language movement martyr Safiur at right, Artist Hamidur Rahman (L) and Begum Sufia Kamal (C)

View of east side

view of Azimpur graveyard


Banani graveyard entry gate

Central area

East side


Entry gate

Old graves of some Pakistani soldiers


Area earmarked for 'Shaheed' freedom fighters

Mirpur general area

Beggars sit at the intersection of graveyard

Girls making best use of intellectuals' arena

Guide boys show skill on tops (spinning toys)

There is no space left for eternal rest for the majority of the people living in Dhaka city in the five graveyards for Muslim burial. The space crisis is due to heavy influx of city's population and corresponding increase in the number of deaths. In average, daily more than 100 bodies are buried.

Another reason is the purchase of permanent burial space for the dead (also advance reservation) by the rich whose numbers have greatly swollen during last 2 decades. The area thus left for ‘common burial’ is now so shrunk that the graves have to be reused within 8-12 months against normal gap of 2-3 years. Islamic Shariah does not encourage ‘permanent space’ in the graveyard.

The number of permanent graves in Azimpur graveyard alone (old and new) established in 1850 on 32 acres now exceeded 3,900. In Banani graveyard, less than a third area is left for common burial.

The space for a permanent grave at Uttara was sold for Tk.100,000, at Banani for Tk. 60,000, at Azimpur for Tk. 35,000 and Tk. 25,000 at the Mirpur and Jurain graveyard. DCC has now stopped selling space for permanent graves.

Dhaka City Corporation maintains 5 burial grounds for Muslims in the city. Azimpur graveyard (recorded officially since 1850) is the oldest which covers 32 acres of land. Mirpur graveyard divided into several exclusive zones (Shaheed, freedom fighters, intellectuals and common) is the largest on 65 acres is the largest, Jurain on 10.1 acres, Banani on 4.5 acres and Uttara on 0.5 acres. Bangladesh Army maintains its own graveyard north of Banani Municipal graveyard.

In 1868, a list of graveyards within the municipal limits of Dhaka, both private and public, was prepared. In that list, 12 burial places at Champatalli, Begum Bazar, Becharam Dewry, Bangshal, Agha Masih lane and other places were mentioned. There were also many minor burial places within residential areas. This made the city atmosphere filthy and alarming to health. Dr. Wise, Graham and Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah signed an agreement for closure of such burial places. The place where Azimpur graveyard is now situated, was away from city limits and was full of bushes. It was selected as the first municipal graveyard. Yet, the practice of burying bodied in houses and ‘mahalla’ continued for long. Another graveyard later was established on the eastern side in Jurain.

To cope with the growing pressure, the City Corporation has drawn schemes for more burial grounds in the city, with new sites at Aftabnagar for 25 acres, at Badda and Goran, and 25 acres at Mirpur.