The whispers of history can be felt through the maze of corridors and courtyards of Teota zamindar bari. The sensation intensifies further when one learns that this is the place where Bangladesh’s national poet Kazi Nazrul first met Pramila Debi, who later became his wife.
This once spectacular structure dilapidated over the course of the time is located on the banks of Jamuna river in Shibalaya, Manikganj. Jamuna joins with Padma river a few miles from the site.
The palace includes courtyards and buildings, some dating back to the early nineteenth century. It was home to Teota landlords Hemsankar Ray and Joy Sankar Ray.
There is a four-storied temple Nabaratna set up in the honour of the Sankars’ family god that sits by the palace. The tall and serene structure invokes a sense of peace.
The whole premise blends Mughal and European architecture and houses over 50 rooms. It also includes a large pond.
The once picturesque building is now ramshackle and grabbed by vagrants and careless visitors. The roof is rundown with holes and the ornamented pillars are worn out. Several staircases are also in ruins. Locals often bring their cattle to graze on the premises.
Like all other neglected historic places of Bangladesh, the abandoned Teota zamindar bari requires protection before it is too late.
“We used to come here from our childhood,” Hosne Ara, a local teacher from Manikganj said while visiting the spot recently. She came along with her family to the palace. “Teota zamindar bari is our pride. We urge the government to conserve the site and set up a museum,” she said.