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POST TIME: 12 July, 2018 12:56:18 AM
Shitlai Palace
M Mahmud Ali

Shitlai Palace

During my visit to Shitlai in Pabna, the outstanding architectural brilliance and surrounding natural beauty of Shitlai Palace delighted me.  

The palace complex is located at Shitlai, a remote village at Chalan Beel in Chatmohar upazila of Pabna district, about 50km Pabna town. There is no good public transport to reach there.

As history tells us, one Chandiproshad Maitra established the Shitlai zamindari (estate) during the time of Rani Bhabani of Natore. Zamindar Loknath Maitra built the palace in the early 18th century. He was given the title of Rai-Bahadur by the British colonial government. Zamindar Jogendranath Maitra was the last descendant of the family.

Shitlai palace was one of the largest in Bangladesh. Once, it had at least 100 rooms. Now, it is an abandoned property, which is in a very dilapidated condition. Only the walls of the palace buildings are standing, while the floors and ceilings have been destroyed in cases.

Later, Jogendranath Maitra left Shitlai and settled in Pabna town, where he built another palace in the 19th century and named it ‘Shitlai House’. The Shitlai zamindari came to an end with implementation of East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act in 1950.

The Shitlai palace is an important site of historical interest. But unfortunately, there is no one to take care of the old palace now. If action is not taken immediately to preserve the building, then we are going to lose a most fascinating palace. The Department of Archaeology (DOA) should pay more attention to repair and maintain the place and turn the little-visited heritage site into a tourist attraction.

References: Historical Edifice of Pabna, UGC, 2002; Archaeological Survey Report of Greater Pabna District, DOA, 1997.

Photos: Writer.