Gateway to History

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An iconic arch from a bygone era

Ashikuzzaman Ashik

The iconic Nimtali Arch, known as Nimtali Deuri, is situated in Dhaka and holds a fascinating tale from the glorious Mughal era. Steeped in history, this arch served as the majestic entrance to the magnificent palace of the Naib Nazim of Dhaka, the esteemed deputy governor of Bengal Subah in the Mughal Empire.

History

Nimtali Palace, once the prestigious residence of the Naib Nazim (Deputy-Governor) of Dhaka-Niabat, holds a captivating history that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Back then, the Dhaka Division encompassed vast areas of eastern Bengal, including present-day Dhaka, Comilla, Noakhali, and Chittagong, making it a crucial revenue source for the illustrious Mughal Empire. From handling revenue collection and managing foreign trade relationships to overseeing the Mughal Navy, the Naib Nazims were key figures in the region’s administration.

Constructed circa 1765–1766, the Nimtali Palace served as a testament to their influence and affluence. However, with the ascendancy of the British East India Company in Dhaka in 1793, the status and authority of the Naib Nazims gradually waned. Despite the decline of their power, they continued to enjoy opulent lives alongside the prominent members of Dhaka society.

Alas, the office of Naib Nazim met its end in 1843 as the British tightened their grip over India, marking a significant turning point. Consequently, the once majestic palace, which had witnessed grandeur and prestige, succumbed to a state of ruin.

Remarkably, the only surviving remnant of this grandeur is the enchanting gateway, known as Nimtali Deuri in Bengali.

Museum

This exquisite museum which offers a captivating glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Dhaka’s aristocracy during the 18th and 19th centuries now graces the three floors of the magnificent arch. The establishment unveiled its doors to the public in January 2019, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a fascinating journey through time.

Upon stepping into the museum’s first floor, visitors are treated to a delightful blend of multimedia presentations, a treasure trove of historical records, and heartfelt tributes paying homage to the visionary founders of the esteemed Asiatic Society. The rich history of Dhaka comes alive, creating an immersive experience that transports visitors to an era filled with grandeur and significance.

On the second floor, visitors are welcomed into a realm that showcases the cherished possessions of the Naib Nazims. Stunning paintings, ornate chest boxes, and delicate teacups take center stage, creating an enchanting display that offers a window into the elite’s refined taste and sophistication.

The third floor of this remarkable museum boasts the largest and most impressive collection of exhibits, spanning both the illustrious Mughal and British periods. A remarkable re-creation of Naib Nazim’s court greets visitors, setting the stage for a truly immersive historical encounter. Mingling with this vibrant display are porcelain marvels, ancient coins, evocative clippings from the renowned Lloyd’s Evening Post, breathtaking paintings, delicate muslin textiles, and a plethora of other captivating items that bear witness to Dhaka’s storied past.

Location

Nimtoli (Old Dhaka) 

Visiting Hours

Thursday and Friday 
10:30am to 4:30pm

Entry Fees

Tk 20 general entry
Tk 10 for students
Tk 200 for foreign nationals

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