Venice Of The East

7 spots to hit up in Barisal

By Ashik Uz Zaman Ashik

Established in 1797, Barisal is a district in south-central Bangladesh, an important port location in the Ganges delta. The abundance of rivers and canals criss-crossing through the entire district, and the volume of trade conducted through its ports, have earned it the moniker of Venice of the East. But it has more to offer than just waterways. Let’s look at some sites of interest.

OXFORD MISSION CHURCH (EPIPHANY CATHEDRAL)

The Oxford Mission Epiphany Church, commonly known as Oxford Mission Church, is an Anglican church in Barisal, a southern city in Bangladesh. It is one of the oldest and arguably the second largest church in Asia by land area. Also sometimes referred to as the Epiphany Church, it was established in 1903 based on a sketch of Sister Edith and inaugurated on January 26 that year. Father EL Strong, chief of the solidarity, oversaw the completion of the church’s design, final shape, and construction through a second phase in 1907. Frederick Douglass served as the engineer. The church was built on 35 acres of land surrounded by walls and rows of palm trees.

The building has been preserved as a cultural heritage and has survived many natural disasters that have occurred in the country.

Again, it is possible to get to the church via CNG, rickshaws, or auto-rickshaws.

BARISAL COLLECTORATE BUILDING

The old Collectorate Building, a colonial-style building built during the British Raj, was in 2003 declared a protected archaeological site by the government. In 2005, work on transforming it into a museum began, and today, it is known as the Barisal Divisional Museum.

There are nine galleries in the museum. The galleries display the pictures of centuries-old archaeological and historical landmarks, along with some 200 artefacts. Various archaeological patterns, ancient furniture, stone statues, various terracotta plaques, decorative bricks, inscriptions, coins, and various types of utensils are exhibited here.
Apart from these, the geographical, natural, and administrative history of the whole country including Barisal has been highlighted in this museum.

The history of Barisal Collectorate Building, a brief description of its architectural features, and various types of construction materials has also been presented in the galleries.
The museum can be accessed by CNG, auto-rickshaws, and rickshaws.

MIAH BARI MOSQUE

Miah Bari Mosque is one of the most beautiful and historic mosques in Barisal. It is located in the heart of the city and is a very popular tourist destination. The mosque was built in the year 1660 by Miah Abu Bakr, a wealthy merchant from Baghdad. The mosque is very beautiful and is made of white marble. It has two minarets and a large dome. The mosque is open to all Muslims and is a place of worship for many.

Miabari Masjid is accessible by easy bike, 9km from Chaumatha, adjacent to Hatem Ali College in Barisal city.

LAKHUTIA ZAMINDAR BARI

Lakhutia Zamindar Bari is a historic Zamindar house in Barisal, Bangladesh. It was built in the early 19th century by Zamindar Shamsul Huda Lakhutia. The Zamindar Bari complex consists of a number of buildings, including the main house, an audience hall, a mosque, a tomb, and various other buildings. The complex is surrounded by a brick wall with several gates.

The main house is a two-storey building with a courtyard. It has a number of rooms, including a large dining room, a drawing room, and a number of bedrooms.

The audience hall is a large open space where the Zamindar would meet with his subjects. The mosque of the estate is a small building with a single dome. The tomb is a simple structure with a single grave. The complex also has a number of smaller buildings, including a school, a hospital, and a library.

HOW TO GO

From Nathullahbad bus stand in Barisal city, it will cost 50 taka to go to Lakhutia Zamindar’s Bari on an autorickshaw, tempo to Lakhutia Babuhat.

QASBA MOSQUE

The Qasba Mosque is a nine-domed mosque located in Qasba village under Gournadi upazila. It has a square shape like the 60-domed mosque at Bagerhat. The mosque measures 11.68 meters x 11.68 meters and the walls are 2.18 meters wide. The front of the mosque is richly ornamented with floral and geometrical motifs. There are four round terraces in the four corners of the mosque. The tracks are lined. Notable features of the mosque include square cornices, and arched entrances to the north and south.

There are three ways to enter the mosque on the east side. There are three arches on the west wall. The mosque looks like it was built in the middle of the fifteenth century during the reign of Khan Jahan.

SHER-E-BANGLA MEMORIAL MUSEUM

The Sher-e-Bangla Memorial Museum has been set up on a 28-acre site in the home of Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque in Chakhar union of Banaripara upazila, 24km away from Barisal district. To the locals, this museum is known as the Archaeological Museum of Taste. Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque, the Chief Minister of undivided Bengal and an unforgettable leader, came to Barisal in 1901 after the death of his father to pursue law in the Calcutta High Court. In addition to the law business, he looked after the zamindari of Chakhar. The museum was set up in 1983 under the Department of Culture to present the history and memory of Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq to future generations.

The five-room Sher-e-Bangla Memorial Museum has three exhibition rooms, an office room, a restroom, and a library. On the left side of the museum there is a huge portrait of Sher-e-Bangla and next to it there is a brief history of life’s work, and social, political, and family pictures and various features and pictures of Sher-e-Bangla Fazlul Huq published in newspapers. The Sher-e-Bangla Memorial Museum also has rare photographs, used furniture, letters, crocodile mount hunted in the Sundarbans, octagonal Marichi Devi statues, black stone Shiva lingas, bronze Buddhist statues, gold coins, small stone Shiva linga statues, silver coins, copper coins, and various archeological specimens. The museum, which is currently under the Department of Archeology, attracts a large number of visitors every day.

HOW TO GO

Arrive at Chakhar village by local bus in Barisal city and visit Sher-e-Bangla Memorial Museum. Or you can go with CNG reserve.

BROJOMOHUN COLLEGE

The Govt Brojomohun College (BM College) Barisal is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Bangladesh. It is located in the city of Barisal in southwestern Bangladesh. The first principal of the college was Babu Gyan Chandra Chowdhury. While Ashwini Kumar Dutta taught English and logic, Kali Prasanna Ghosh taught history and Kamini Kumar Bidya Ratna taught Sanskrit and Bengali.

In 1898, BM College was transformed into a First Grade College from a Second Grade College. In 1912, the college went under government management. In the beginning, the college used the BM school campus and was relocated to its own present complex sometime later.

You will get CNGs, autorickshaws, and rickshaws to visit Brojomohun College in the divisional city of Barisal.

HOW TO GET TO BARISAL

Barisal is directly accessible from Dhaka by road, river, and air. The most popular and comfortable water transports are the launches, water buses, and steamers that take about five to seven hours. By road, it is about a six-hour drive. There is also an airport located near the city of Barisal and daily flights are operated by many reputed domestic airlines of Bangladesh.

WHERE TO STAY

There are some excellent quality residential hotels in Barisal where you can easily spend the night. Residential hotels include Hotel Hawk International, Hotel Grand Plaza, Richmart Guest House, Rodela Hotel Paradise, International Hotel, Hotel Athena International, to name a few. There are also several low budget hotels in the vicinity of Port Road and Sadar Road.

WHERE TO EAT

You will find local fare at any standard hotel in Chakhar. Besides, there are various Chinese, Bengali, and fast-food restaurants in Barisal. Malida and Gournadi Dadhi are the famous popular dishes of Barisal.

+ posts

Come Back to Me

Bowling Over Barriers

Blossoms of Existence

A Regal Rendezvous