Taherpur Rajbari

Tahirpur is a municipal town of Bagmara upazila under the district of Rajshahi. From Puthia upazila-town, situated on the Rajshahi-Natore highway Tahirpur is about 17 km north to it. It is situated on the bank of the river Barahi or Barnai. It is said that, Tahirpur has been named after a certain Pathan fief-holder Tahir Khan. It is a very old zamindari. It came into being in the beginning of the 15th century. Its founder was one Kamdev Bhatta, a Barind Brahmin who ousted the Pathan fief-holder Tahir Khan and laid the foundation of the zamindari during the independent Sultanate period (1338-1538) of Bengal.

 

After the death of Kamdev Bhatta, his son Bijoy Lashkar became the zamindar of Tahirpur. He had a good relation with the Sultans of Gaur. Utilizing this amicable relation he managed to get 22 pargana and the title of Shingha from the Gaur Sultan. That is why the territorial jurisdiction of Tahirpur zamindari was greatly extended during his time. He built his Rajbari in the village of Ramrama which is situated on the east bank of the river Baranai. In the village of Ramrama the ruins of his residence and some temples are still visible. So, it may be assumed that Thairpur zamindari was established through the joint efforts of father Kamdev and son Bijoy Lashkar. The most noted zamindar of Tahirpur was Raja Kansa Narayan, son of Hari Narayan. It is recorded that by spending taka nine lakhs he arranged for the gorgeous celebration in modern fashion of Durga Puja festival in Bengal. During the zamindari period of Surja Narayan, son of Raja Indrajit, Tahirpur zamindari was attacked by Subadar Shah Suja (1639-1660) and consequently the residence of Ramrama was destroyed. Then his son Lakshmi Narayan built the present palace on the west bank of the river Baranai. Among the other zamindars of Tahirpur, Raja Chandrashekhreswar and his son Shashishekhareswar earned fame through the various beneficial activities for their subjects. Raja Shashishekhreswar got the titles of Raja in 1889 and Raja Bahadur in 1896 by the British Government for his public munificence. He died in 1928. After his death, this zamindari also witnessed a rapid deterioration. Leaving the administration of the zamindari estate to the officials, the Raj family left Tahirpur for Calcutta in 1930. Like other zamindaries, this zamindari was also abolished under the East Bengal Estate Acquisition Act, 1950. At present, the Tahirpur Rajbari is being used to accommodate Thairpur Degree College. But most of the buildings of this Rajbari have fallen. In the vicinity of Rajbari, however, there still exist some beautiful temples. Among these, the octagonal Shiva temple is very attractive for its novel architectural features.

Palace

Tahirpur palace covers an area of about 3.84 acres of land. On the east and north the palace is protected by ditches. On the south and west it is surrounded by some tanks. At present within the palace can be found the main palace rooms and a number of ruined temples. Besides these, other buildings of the palace such as Andar Mahal, Kitchen, Mahafez Khana, Hawa Khana etc. have been destroyed long back. In 1967 Tahirpur College was established in this Rajbari which then underwent some structural changes. Rectangular in plan, this east facing and double storied palace with its external verandahs measures 26.2221.04 m. The entire palace was built on a platform. The palace is composed of ten rooms which are arranged centering around the main hall room. This hall room and its adjacent east and west verandah each has three rooms of different sizes, the middle one being slightly larger than the rest. For communication between the hall room and verandah there are three parallel entrances. For inter communication between these rooms there are entrances on the partition walls. The room situated on the south-west corner of the building contains a hexagonal staircase extending up to the upper storey. The arrangement of rooms in the upper storey is same as those in the lower storey. While the rooms of the ground floor are without any window, those of the upper storey have windows on the external wall. Besides this, in the east and west verandah of the upper storey can be found four sets of engaged pillars of Ionian variety for bearing the load of the roof. While the roof of the hall room has iron beams, for the roof of the other rooms wooden beams have been used. This palace is virtually without any ornamentation. The wall surfaces have been simply coated with layers of plaster.

Shiva temple

It is situated to the north of main palace. The south facing temple is octagonal in shape. Its inner roof is covered with semicircular ribbed dome but externally it is covered with some small turrets like the Shiva temple of Puthia. The whole wall surface of the temple both inner and outer is simply plastered. According to an inscription showing on the door it was constructed in 1860.

 

Reference for further details:

Kazi Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Rajshahi Zamidarder Prasad-sthapatya (1793-1950) Dhaka: Bangladesh Asiatic Society, 2009.

M M Rahman and K M Rahman,  "Palaces of zamindars (Rajshahi District)", ABM Husain (ed.), Architecture, Cultural Survey of Bangladesh Series-2, Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 2007.