Thursday, October 7, 2010

Curzon Hall – Architectural Masterpiece of University of Dhaka

It’s just two blocks from Shaheed Minar. My rickshaw turned to a grass-covered lawn, until I saw an elegantly designed brick building with Mughal-style arches, adorned with minarets. It was the Curzon Hall, University of Dhaka’s architectural masterpiece. The hall is the campus’ science faculty, sitting at the heart of the main campus. It was erected after the first partition of Bengal in 1905.

I roamed around the hall and saw no other tourists. There were few students sitting down the floor of an almost empty hallway. The arches inspired visions of rajbaris (zamindar’s raj-style palaces) and conveniently transported me back in time. I wistfully walked along the deserted veranda while waiting for Mafuz who headed to the loo. I relished on the calm and silence, as well as the spacious and carefully maintained garden right outside the building.

It’s easy to daydream of those exciting times when Lord Curzon (George Curzon), British Viceroy of India (1899-1905), used to walk these grounds. He laid the foundation of the building in 1904. It was then meant to be a town hall. Dacca College came in 1911. With the establishment of the University of Dacca in 1921, Curzon Hall was integrated as part of the science faculty.

The architecture has a projecting façade with horse-shoe and cusped arches, combining European and Mughal elements that harmoniously blend. Instead of the usual red sandstone, red bricks substituted to render its form. The chhatris (those elevated dome-shaped pavilions at the corners of the building) blend red and white colors. I sometimes wish those grandiose designs lived to this day. But it’s all wishful thinking. Man has conveniently settled with easy-to-make, mediocre designs.
This is the Eye in the Sky.

Up next: Memorial of 3 Heroes

Gorgeous chhatris rising from corners.

Horse-shoe and cusped arches. This north entrance leads to the examination room.

Lord George Curzon, British Viceroy of India.


Trotter said...

Hi Eye! This one is stunning! It's definitely not such a small world... How can we see it all? ;)

I’m going to be offline working in a «remote» location next week, but left you in a new destination in Blogtrotter Two... Enjoy and have a great week!

eye in the sky said...

It is stunning, like a misplaced beauty in a not too gorgeous area of Dhaka.

pamatayhomesick said...

simple but ellegant!
again, the beauty speaks out when you take a photo.:)

eye in the sky said...

salamat, ever. I kinda like the arches and the reddish color, with white corners.