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Jinjira Palace


Jinjira Palace situated on the southern bank of the buriganga almost opposite to the bara katra Palace of Dhaka. It was built by Mughal subahdar ibrahim khan II (1689-1697) as his recreation resort. The site of the palace with the outlying area having been surrounded by rivers had the natural characteristics of an island, and hence the palace erected therein was named Qasr-i-Jazirah, meaning palace of the island. The palace having originally been built just on the riverbank is said to have been connected with the Dhaka city by a wooden bridge thrown across the river at Bara Katra point.

The Palace consisted of the palace edifice, two-storied rectangular extensive hammam complex, the two-storied gateway with provision for guard rooms and two octagonal side towers on the south. The rooms of the palace were rectangular in size with plastered walls and hut-type chauchala vaulted roof. The broad foundation of the defense wall and the surrounding moat with strong defense arrangements of the palace are indicative of its characteristics of a palace fort.

The Palace is now almost extinct. The seven rooms of the original palace still survive in a poor state of conservation. The other survivals are the two octagonal side towers, the dilapidated gateway (dewri) and the remains of its broad foundation with the surrounding moat. The site of the palace is now indicated as howli (corruption of haveli) by the local people, and is encircled by dense habitation and commercial establishments.

The recreation resort of Nawab Ibrahim Khan became the residence of murshid quli khan on his getting the diwani of Bengal, and continued as such till the transfer of the seat of his revenue administration to Maqsudabad (1703). He used to stay in this palace while on official visits to Dhaka. This palace had been the family residence of Husain Quli Khan, a deputy to nawazish Muhammad Khan, absentia naib nazim of Dhaka under Nawab alivardi khan.

The Palace had played its melancholy role during the closing years of the Murshidabad nizamat. After the fall of Nawab sarfaraz khan (1739-1740) his mother, wife, sister and children along with some women of his harem were kept confined in the Jinjira Palace. On the murder of Husain Quli Khan (1754) in the street of Murshidabad, his family members who were living in this palace suffered the similar fate. Ironically, after the fall of Nawab sirajuddaula, Alivardi's wife Sharifunnessa, daughters ghaseti bagum and amina begum, Sirajuddaula's wife lutfunnisa begum with her daughter Qudsia Begum alias Umme Zohra were sent to the Jinjira Palace where they were kept under strict surveillance. Tradition goes that Ghaseti Begum and Amina Begum were embarked on a barge by one Jamadar Bakr Khan on the plea of taking to Murshidabad, and were drowned with their barge into the River Dhaleswari (June 1760) by the machination of Mir Sadeq Ali Khan alias Miran, son of Nawab mir jafar ali khan. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]