Balapur Zamindar House
Published: 08:37 PM, 4 October 2019
A couple of centuries ago, a busy river port grew up in a small village named Balapur in Narsingdi. According to local legend, about hundred years ago, a Zamindar named Nobin Chandra Saha built a palatial house here named Balapur Zamindar House, on a plot measuring over a hundred acres. It is one of the old palatial buildings in this district. It is situated at Balapur village, Madhabdi Upazila of Narsingdi district.
Steamers coming from Kolkata regularly docked at the Balapur port which is very close to the Zamindar House. The Zamindar used to oversee the loading and unloading of his goods, sitting on horseback.
This Zamindar House was built in 1906. It is also known as Zamindar Kali Babur Bari. It’s a complex of buildings scattered in a particular zone. Basically, most of the buildings are three-storied and some are one or two-storied. This huge complex had 103 rooms, lined with mosaic and decorated tiles. The doors and windows had intricate wood carvings. The verandah railings & arches were decorated with wrought iron frames, fitted with colored glass pieces. The grills still show the image of Krishna & Radha engraved at the center.
A large pond was dug to the west of the house, and a temple was built to the north. These artistic buildings, puja pavilion, and temples have proved the richness and splendor of the Zamindar house in that era. The two temples of this house are still witnesses of the past. At that time there was a more beautiful building for guests to stay at. A separate guest house with 31 rooms was also built on the premises.
The traditional Balapur Nobin Chandra High School established in 1913 is just alongside the Zamindar House. There is a large playground in front of this school. Meghna Ghat is just a short distance from this house. Traditionally steamer came from Kolkata and unloaded the goods at the ghat. And for this reason, the place is now popular as Steamer Ghat.
Kali Mohan Saha, Ashutosh Saha, and Manoranjon Saha are the three sons of Nobin Chandra. Kali Mohan Saha, popularly known as Kali Babu took over the reins of the Zamindari after his father’s death.
After the partition of the country in 1947, Zamindar Kali Babu moved to Kolkata with his family. As they left, they directed the staff to oversee the estate and its huge property. In the long absence of the Zamindar Babu and their relatives, the supervisors of the estate forged papers in their names and started claiming possession of the land and other property.
Later, 26 landless families took shelter in Zamindar's house. The Narsingdi district administration removed them from the area in June 2013 due to the risk. The local puissant has since occupied some part of this traditional Zamindar Bari due to the lack of renovation and maintenance of the house.
Large cracks are evident throughout the building. The ceilings have caved in and walls are crumbling in a few rooms. With the supporting walls falling off, the roof is still precariously resting on the cantilevered steel frames! The Zamindar house that bears the testimony of Zamindar Kali Mohan is now on the verge of total destruction due to neglect by the government agencies concerned.
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