Tajhat Palace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Coat of Arms of Maharaja Gopal Lal Roy as depicted on a ground floor French Door window panel.

Tajhat Palace is a historic palace of Bangladesh, located in Tajhat, Rangpur. This palace now has been turned into a museum. Tajhat Palace is situated three km. south-east of the city of Rangpur, on the outskirts of town.

Structure

The palace, with about 76 meters frontage, rises two storeys and faces east. An imposing broad staircase in the center, paved with imported white marble, leads directly above the portico to the upper storey.

The palace is crowned by a ribbed conical dome in the centre of the roof with a tall octagonal neck, partly supported on a series of slender semi-Corinthian columns. The balustrade on either side of the imposing staircase was originally embellished with various sculptures of classical Roman figures in Italian marble, but now these are missing. There are two semi-octagonal projections at each end of the front face and a central projecting porch. The balcony roof above the porch is carried on four graceful Corinthian columns with round shafts, whilst two similar columns on each of the projecting ends of the building support a triangular gable.

The palace is laid out in the form on a “U”, with its open end to the west. Beyond the entrance at ground-floor level there is a very large hall, measuring more than 18 x 13 meters. A 3 meter wide corridor runs the entire length of the inner block. Two broad wooden staircases provide access to the upper floor. There are about 22 apartments on two floors.

Tajhat Palace from front

Tajhat Palace as seen from left hand side

History

The palace was built by Maharaja Kumar Gopal Lal Roy in the beginning of the 20th century. He was a descendent of a Hindu khatari who emigrated from the Punjab. He was a jeweler by profession. It is believed that from the conspicuous appearance of his Taj or jeweled crown, his estate derived the name of Tajhat.

From 1984 to 1991 the palace was used as a Rangpur High Court Branch of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. In 1995 the palace was declared as a protected monument by the Department of Archaeology. Recognizing its outstanding architectural value the Government of Bangladesh shifted the Rangpur Museum to the second floor of the palace in 2005. The main room at the top of the marble stairs have a number of display cases which show 10th-11th century terracotta artifacts. There are a number of fine examples of Sanskrit and Arabic manuscripts, including copies of the Mahabharat, Ramayan, and a Quran whose provenance is attributed to none other than the Mughal Aurangzeb. The back rooms have several splendid examples of black stone Hindu carvings in its back rooms, mainly of the deity Vishnu. Photography is not permitted in the museum itself.

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