Hajiganj Fort is considered to be one of the most astounding architectural masterpieces of the Mughal era. Alternatively known as the Khijirpur Fort, we came to know from the local people that the fort was established during the reign of Bangla Subedar Mir Jhumla in 1650. The fort is located in the mysterious town Hajiganj at the western bank of the Shitalakshya river.
After the emergence of Mughal capital in Dhaka, three forts or castles were constructed during the Sultani era to repel Portuguese and Mogh pirates and safeguard the invaluable treasures of Bengal. Also, to monitor enemies passing through the waterways and to keep track of them, the fort was created by the bank of the river. Henceforth, people also call it Waterfront Fort.
A deep tension existed amongst the Subedars of Bengal regarding how a resistance would be created against the enemies. They started planning, sitting with different engineers and finally, formulated a scheme to construct a fort. Also, this is how Subedar Mir Jhumla planned and executed the blueprint of the three waterfront forts.
This quadrilateral fort, made of brick and mortar, is surrounded by a wide wall. There are holes on the walls of the fort for cannons to aim through. There are rounded domes on each of the four corners. On the outer parts of the wall, you can still see the gaps for rifles to fire from. For instance, these holes were used by the soldiers to make secret attacks with gun pointers.
On the two sides of the entrance are carved arches, where the upper part is adorned with a lotus flower. To enter the fort, you need to enter through a passage and walk twenty stairs up. The fortress is about 2 kilometers wide. The entire middle portion of the fort is an open field. It is speculated that soldiers posted in the area used to camp here and used to fight the enemies after getting commands.
The once fearful Hajiganj Fort is now a silent ancient tale. The fort is on the verge of destruction due to lack of renovation and maintenance. As a result, it is high time we need to preserve such a precious witness of our glorious past.
The Tomb of Bibi Mariam
Another very significant architectural site of the country, Bibi Mariam’s Tomb, is located at Killarpur of this very Hajiganj. It is speculated that Subedar Shayesta Kha created Bibi Mariam’s Tomb between 1664 and 1688 AD. Bibi Mariam who lies in the tomb was Sayesta Kha’s daughter in this mysterious town Hajiganj.
Surrounded by high-walls, the tomb was built in the center of a square yard. The tomb, engraved with leaves and vines, is made of white stones. Aside from tombstones and tombs, there are also a number of regular graves in the balcony. The three-domed mosque constructed by Shayesta Kha – named Bibi Mariam’s Mosque – can be seen on the west side of the tomb. To ensure women’s education and empowerment in the area in this mysterious town Hajiganj, a girls’ high school was constructed beside Bibi Mariam’s Tomb. As a result, it was named after Bibi Mariam.
There is a hidden tunnel on the west side of the tomb. People speculated that the tunnel used to lead all the way to the Shitalakshya River. Due to insufficient renovation, the walls of this ancient architectural masterpiece are collapsing, along with the tomb. If this continues, all these memorials from the Mughal era will go extinct one day.
Get into a train or a bus that takes you to Narayanganj from Dhaka. After reaching there, hire an auto-rickshaw that goes towards Gudaraghat or a rickshaw from the bus stand near Metro Hall. The autorickshaw will cost Tk. 10 per person and the rickshaw will cost you Tk. 15. Apart from this, you can go from Narayanganj railway station or port by auto or rickshaw. Or you can get into a Dhaka-Narayanganj route bus from Gulisthan and get down in the roundabout of Chashara. From there hire a rickshaw and go to Killarpur. There you can find the fort.
There are many more beautiful places in this area to look around and visit. If you have enough time in hand, you can also visit Chourangi Fantasy Park, Sonakanda Fort beside the Waterfront fort which is a witness of the Sultanate era at the mysterious town Hajiganj.