Jinjira Palace, Dhaka

Jinjira Palace is a 400-year-old edifice of the Mughal period, located on the banks of the river Buriganga in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The word Jinjira comes from the Arabic ‘Jazira’, which means an island. Jinjira Palace was built in 1689-1697 by the then Subedar Nawab Ibrahim Khan as a recreational building surrounded by water.

Jinjira Palace.
Jinjira Palace, a silent witness to a tragic history.

Jinjira, A Sad Historic Palace

Although built as a pleasure building, Jinjira Palace later became a cruel prison of deep sorrow. The family of Nawab Sarfaraz Khan and the family of the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Sirajuddaula, were imprisoned in this palace for several years. As a result of the conspiracy of the traitor Mir Jafar’s son Miran, Alivardi Khan’s wife Sharifunnesa, Alivardi Khan’s daughter and Sirajuddaula’s mother Amena Begum, Sirajuddaula’s aunt Ghaseti Begum, wife Lutfunnesa and infant daughter Umme Johra were imprisoned.

Subsequent history is even more tragic. One evening in the summer of 1760, many members of the Nawab’s family, including Amena Begum and Ghaseti Begum, were taken on a boat under the pretext of taking them back from Jinjira Palace in present-day Keraniganj, Dhaka to Murshidabad. While the boat was crossing the confluence of Buriganga and Dhaleshwari, Miron’s assassin Bakir Khan sank the boat and drowned all its 73 passengers.

Jinjira Palace, Dhaka
Jinjira Palace, a ruin of about 400 years.

Jinjira Palace Building Style

Much of the Jinjira Palace has evolved over time. The aesthetics of its construction style can be gauged from the ruins that still survive today. The construction style of the palace is very similar to that of Bara Katra. However, the size is not so big. To the west of the Jinjira Palace are two parallel domes. Along the middle is another dome without a lid. The roof of the palace in the east is built in the shape of a two-thatched hut, which has perpetuated the tradition of rural Bengal. A staircase descends from the eastern roof of the palace.

The three parts of Jinjira Palace that still survive are an archway and two separate buildings—one that looks like a gallows, the other was probably an entertainment hall. Jinjira was a small island in the middle of blue waters all around—full of native trees such as coconut, betel nut, mango, jackfruit etc. The palace was built on a few acres of land in that green island as a leisure and recreation center. The historic Jinjira Palace, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, was then an elite palace in Dhaka.

It is said that during the Mughal period, a tunnel was built through the bottom of the Buriganga to maintain communication between Lalbagh Fort and Jinjira Palace. Mughal generals and officials used to come and go through this tunnel. This seems to be true, as historians believe that there was a similar tunnel at Lalbagh Fort. But that tunnel could not be discovered.

Jinjira Palace is a combination of Mughal architecture and Bengali heritage
Jinjira Palace, a combination of Mughal architecture and Bengali heritage.

How to go to Jinjira Palace

To visit Jinjira Palace, first you have to go to Dhaka. You can easily reach Dhaka by train from any part of the country at low cost. Below are some articles with detailed information about train schedule and ticket price to Dhaka from notable district cities:

Then you can take a taxi or city bus from any part of Dhaka city to Sadarghat in old Dhaka. This time, after crossing the river Buriganga and reaching Boro Katara near Soarighat, ask any local where Jinjira Palace is, he will show you your destination.

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