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in imitation of a Bengali dochala hut roof, forms thence on a Mughal combination character noticed in a number of subsequent buildings. The Mughal character of the Sangi Dalan is still noticed in some of the plaster ornamentations, but those on the Diwan-i-Khas have been damaged by the restoring modern cover.

3.1.3 Hammams

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Hammam or bath house was an important structure-type of Islamic architecture from it’s beginning in the Umayyad period in Syria. The origin of the institution is traced back to the Aegeans, Greeks and Romans. It was first brought to Asia Minor by the Romans and thence it spread to Syria and gradually to other Islamic countries including India. At one time it was regarded as an important mark of civilization. Umayyad spain is reported to have boasted of it’s hammams in hundreds. Khirbet at- Mafjar in the Jerico quarter of West Bank was adorned with a bath, eulogised by archaeologists and art historians as one of the best ever known from early Islamic history. So were the hammams of Fathpur-Sikri– the ‘Turkish Sultana’s Baths’ the ‘Hakims Baths’, ‘Maryam’s Baths’ described by E.W. Smith as ‘unique and about the finest of their kinds to be found in Northern India’. The walls of these baths, the soffits of the arches, and the panels formed above the springing of the arches, he continues, are enriched with rare and most difficult patterns of geometrical figures in plaster. Needless to say that Fathpur-Sikri baths exercised a strong influence on the subsequent baths in the Mughal capitals

and also in Bengal under their administration. The existence of the elaborate water systems within the baths noticed in the remnants of the bath houses of Rajmahal, Gaur, Dhaka and Mirzanagar and their tile and stucco ornamentations within speak of the continuation of the central Mughal style in the province. All these baths it appears had central domical rooms connected with water reservoirs through pipes at sides. The domes were in the Roman fashion constructed with an opening in the apex for light and air. The ceilings were decorated with intricate geometric patterns in lozenges evidently of the central Mughal types in Northern India. The best representative example of their type is that now exists in Mirzanagar in the Keshabpur Upazilla in Jessore.


Hammam Khana (17th century)



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