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Kamalakanta Theater Hall. This is the first public hall erected by Kamalakanta Sen on the Sadarghat Road for staging theatrical performances by the amateur groups in Chittagong. Rabindranath Tagore was accorded a grand reception here on 18 June 1907, during his visit to Chittagong. Later on it was purchased by one Bishambar Paul in the early years of the twentieth century and became popular as Bishambar Hall. Film projection regularly started in this hall during the days of the ‘silent cinema’. Mirza Abdul Quader, the proprietor of once famous Lion Theaters of Dhaka staged Urdu drama in this hall consecutively for three years from 1925 through 1927. His entertainment endeavour being successful in this town, he then purchased the hall and renamed it as Lion Cinema to start the first cinema house in Chittagong.27 The oblong interior of the hall has an antique balcony on the east and an entrance lobby. Now the building is thoroughly renovated.

Chittagong Collegiate School. Established as the Zilla School in 1836 in the abandoned Factory and Warehouse of the early Colonial period in the Chandanpura mouza of the city, it was renamed Chittagong Collegiate School in 1910 to bear the memory of it’s association with the establishment of the Chittagong Government College.28 The present building of the school was constructed in 1925 in the Madarbari area on the Ice Factory Road.29

This well conceived initial school building of the city laid on a vast open space is still unparallel in any major urban area in Bangladesh. Facing south, the single storeyed main structure resembles the English alphabet E in plan with a big assembly hall in the middle. The long verandah, from the east entrance to the west passing through the central hall, within the enclosure of a series of true arches on twin pillar from one end to the other, provided an eye-catching facade. The roof of the building was constructed on the iron joists, flat bars and angles. The campus of the school is composed of a hostel building, the Head Master’s quarter and a pond on the west, some subsidiary buildings on the north and east and a big playground on the south. Structural addition was made on the flanking wings with an additional floor on the main school building later on and the size of the old windows was also reduced.31

3.2 Religious Buildings

Colonial architecture is known more by the secular character of it’s monuments than religious. Although the number of mosques and temples is quite large, they in fact continue the older local tradition in their making, and whatever Colonial characteristics are seen in them are concentrated mostly in the decorative aspects of


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27. Pratap Mukhopadhya, Rabindranath Chattagram Ebong, (Kolkata: Pustak Bipani, 1992), p. 36; and Rizvi, Chittagong District Gazetteers. p. 140.

28. Rizvi, Chittagong District Gazetteers, pp. 315-316.

29. Ibid, p. 316.

The author acknowledges with thanks the assistance received from Architect Mobasshir Hossain, Architect K. Neaz Rahman, Architect Zarina Hossain, Principal Md. Fazlul Hoq, Engineer Habib Ahmad, Engineer Shawkat Ali Akand, Engineer Jahangir Hossain Meah, Photographer Shoeb Faruquee, Engineer Mohiuddin and Draughtsman Minhazul Arafin during his fieldwork


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the structure types. The tombs are rare, and did not have much acceptability with the removal of the Turco-Mughal authority. Tomb buildings were not encouraged in the scriptures. Although it started in the Arab period of Islamic history, it gained popularity only in the time of the Turkish rule which tried to glorify their achievements in their historical narratives, and in commemorative structures, emulated from the old Persian and Syrian sources. Churches are a new phenomenon, and was introduced as a functionary structure to perform religious duties of the incoming Europeans. They followed mainly the European tradition with few local incorporations such as corner towers and elongated domes. The few tombs which the


Calcutta: Job Charnock’s Tomb (1695)

(from Sukanta

Choudhuri, Ed., Calcutta)



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