Ahsan Manzil (Bengali: আহসান মঞ্জিল, Ahsan Monjil) was the official residential palace and seat of the Nawab of Dhaka. The building is situated at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Construction was started in 1859 and was completed in 1872. It was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. It has been designated as a national museum.
Ahsan Manzil is one of the most significant architectural monuments of Bangladesh. The building structure was established on a raised platform of 1 meter, the two-storied palace measures 125.4m by 28.75m. The height of the ground floor is 5 meters and the height of the first floor is 5.8 meters. The thickness of the walls of the palace is about 0.78 meters. There are porticos of 5 meters height on the northern and southern sides of the palace. The building has a broad front-facing the Buriganga River. On the river side, an open spacious stairway leads right up to the second portal and on their stands the grand triple- arched portals. There was once a fountain in the garden in front of the stairs which does not exist today. All along the north and the south side of the building run spacious verandahs with an open terrace projected in the middle.
The palace Ahsan Manzil is divided into two parts: the eastern side and the western side. The eastern building with the dome is called the Rangmahal and the western side with the living rooms is called Andarmahal. The high octagonal dome is placed on the central round room. There is a large drawing room, card room, library, state room and two other guest rooms are located on the east side of the palace. The ballroom, the Hindustani room and few residential rooms are situated on the western side. A beautiful vaulted artificial ceiling, made of wood, decorates the drawing room and the Jalsaghar. A splendid dining hall and few smaller rooms are placed on the west part. The floors of the dining and Darbar Halls are decorated with white, green and yellow colored ceramic tiles. The famous store room, where the valuables of the Nawabs used to be stored, was in the middle of the five rooms located in the western half of the ground floor. Along with those rooms a Darbar Hall or assembly hall and a chest room is also place there.
Dome of Ahsan-Monzil
There are attractive wooden stairs in the room that is attached to the north of the domed room. The balusters were ornamented with vine leaves made of iron along the railing of the stairs. The wooden ceiling of the room, decorated with geometric designs, is very elegant. The verandas and rooms are covered with marble. The doorways are placed within semicircular arches. The inner doors had multi-colored glasses. Wooden beams supported the roof of these rooms. The architecture and the decoration is one of a kind in whole Bangladesh.
The construction of the famous dome of the Ahsan Mazil, which is at the center of the palace, took a lot tedious planning. The square room on the ground floor was built with a round shape and brickworks were done around the corners. To give the room an octagonal shape, squinches were given around the roof corners. The eight corners of the octagon was slanted gradually to make the dome look like the bud of a lotus ( kumud kali). The peak of this dome is 27.13 m above the ground. Ahsan Manzil was severely damaged during the tornado that occurred on 7 April 1888.the western block of Andermahal was completely demolished and later it was entirely rebuilt. The present day dome, which is situated on the top, was built during the time of reconstruction. This place was also damaged during the earthquake of 1897 but Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah repaired the whole place again.