Ruplal House – The Grandeur of Old Dhaka

screenshot_413Ruplal House is a 19th century neo indo-classical style grand chain mansion of Old Dhaka. It is situated at Shyambazar of Farashganj District at the southern part of Dhaka City and northern Bank of Buriganga River. Ruplal House is the only edifice in entire old Dhaka region which could compete with the pink majesty-Ahsan Manzil in terms of grandeur.

The house was initially owned by a non-popular Armanian landlord named Aratun. He built the house in 1825. Later it was bought and constructed combinedly by two prosperous merchant brothers named Raghunath and Ruplal Das in 1835. They collected the design from an architect of Martin & Company and invested a large amount of money during renovation. The total repair and renovation was performed by Martin & Company, an engineering firm from Calcutta. During the visit of Lord Dafrin in 1888 a competition held between the Ahsan Manzil and Ruplal House to show the guests about their superiority and Ruplal House was successful in the run because that time they won by the vote of Elite Panel. At that time Ruplal Das invested 45000/- for decoration and ornamentation of the mansion. The Ruplal House was severely damaged during 1897 earthquake. The watchtower of the house broked during this disastrous phenomenon and the Das family shifted into their another residence. The royal house became abandoned for next 50 years. After the partition of 1947 when the Das family moved to Calcutta permanently, Mr. Mohammed Siddique Jamal and his younger brother Mr. Ibrahim Siddique Jamal occupied the house claiming that they had the power of attorney and renamed the Ruplal House to ‘Jamal House’. Within 1976 Mr. Mohammed Siddique Jamal and his family shifted to India and west. A part of Jamal House block was also being used as Prince Karim Aga Khan Preparetory School since 1958 which was also extended into a college but lasted only for 16 days. Further it was started using as resident of JCO and NCO officers of army. The Raghunath block came under private ownership since 1959.

The majestic Ruplal House has three distinct blockes with variety of architectural styles. The blockes are called Ruplal Block, Raghunath Block and Central Block. The amazing fact about the house is that, all the blockes are separate from one another at the ground floor but are interconnected at the upper floor. The blockes are interconnected by extended arched ways from the ground floor. Ruplal Block is designed in neo-classical style. The square shaped grand wing was planned with square central courtyard. For maintaining privacy the rooms were arranged around this courtyard. The main entry from northern portion supported by triangular basement with heavy corinthian columns. Raghunath block is architecturally different compared to the rest of the blockes. It situates at the eastern portion of the complex and the façade has no arches. The capital columns of this block are mostly indian origin but not Corinthian. Floors are covered with burnt clay tiles. This block has two rectangular shaped courtyards and the rooms are elongated. The central block shows architectural similarity with Ruplal Block but looks alike with the same period building Ahsan Manzil. Two arches from the Central block connectes the Ruplal Block and Raghunath Block. The western archedway seems to be roofed by an oriental detailed ceiling whereas the eastern archedway represents the same style of the central block. There are double verandahs on both side of the block which makes way for proper air and light.

The Historic Ruplal House has been declared as protected by the Department of Archaeology but yet it is under the possession of illegal tenants.

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