The Bangabhaban is the magnificent Presidential Palace – the official residence and principal workplace of the President. It is surrounded by the Bangabhaban Gardens (formerly Nawab’s Dilkusha Gardens). During British rule, this was the Dilkusha Government House, used by the Viceroy of India and the Governor of Bengal. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, it became the official residence of the Governor of East Pakistan. When President Abu Sayeed Chowdhury (1921-87) became the first Bangladeshi president on 12 January 1971, he took up residence there.
The site was famed as a Mazhar (mausoleum) for the devotees of a Sufi saint, Hazrat Shahjalal Dakini of Dhaka who was killed and buried here with his followers. Later Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani of Dhaka bought the site and built a bungalow called Dilkusha Garden.
When Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal in 1905, a palatial house was built here and served as an occasional residence for the Viceroy until 1911.
The Bangabhaban is a mixture of Moghul architecture with some British influence. It was damaged by a storm in 1961 and substantially rebuilt by 1964, incorporating many elements of Islamic architecture and Bangla styles. The main building is a three-storeyed palatial complex, surrounded by extensive greenery and tree cover, surrounded by high boundary walls on all four sides. The president’s residence is on the northeast corner, comprising two storeys of two suites, with five well-furnished spacious bedrooms.
All the offices, cabinet room, banqueting hall, darbar hall (court), state dining hall, a small auditorium and a lounge for local visitors are on the ground floor. The Bangabhaban is surrounded by an open compound of 50 acres of land.
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