Architecture Study Trip to North Bengal

Site visit and Hands on exercise are two integral parts of architectural education. The Department of Architecture completed a successful three-day study trip at the North Bengal from 23rd – 25th of July 2009. The students of the courses: Society & Architecture of Bengal and Art & Architecture III, as part of their syllabus have studied the glorious history of Bengal during Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods. After visiting the sites they have become more familiarized and equipped with the knowledge of architectural heritage and factors affecting architectural transformations of that region. Beside the students this venture also set the faculties an opportunity to make out the overwhelming anthology of our architectural heritage. Day one – ‘The magnificent run’ – Thursday 23rd July
Right after our arrival at Bogra City having little refreshment, the students and the faculties were in a run, covering up a range of activities. Our first destination was to the SOS Shishu Palli at Bogra. The complex is designed by Architect Khokon. Students moved around the complex and photographed almost every details of the project.
Then we moved to Gokul Medh, an excavated mound in the village of Gokul under Bogra Sadar Upazila, about two km southwest of Mahastan citadel. It is popularly known as Behula-Laksindarer Basar-ghar,or thenuptial room of the traditional heroine and hero of a popular ballad, Behula and Laksindar. It is also associated with the angry snake goddess Manasa.  
After visiting Gokul Medh we moved to Mahastangarh and Museum. Mahasthangarh so far the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh, lies on the western bank of river Karatoya, about 12 km north of Bogra town.   
Besides we had a quick look into the French Camp, a guest house for the French archaeologists. this small and elegant court-yard type guest house is designed by one of our adjunct faculty Architect Saiful HAque .
After a day long site seeing we anchored to Bogra Parjatan Motel. The first day of the trip was well accomplished by a short cultural program by the students.
Day two – ‘Nirvana’- Friday 24th July   
We started early in the morning for Naogaon district to visit Sompur Vihar at Paharpur. The monastery or Vihar is an important example of the Buddhist tradition. The 8th century A.D. Sompur Viharat Paharpur was the largest in the Pala domain and presumably the largest in the subcontinent. Before the dusk we planned and worked out a quick tour into the older part of Rajshahi town. We could manage to witness few of the elegant colonial buildings there. Second day of the trip was ended with a cozy dinner at the “Aristrocrat”. Day three - day of return - Saturday 25th July
By 7.30 we started for Puthia, an upazila in Rajshahi district. Puthia Jamindars created by the Mughals in the early 17th century is one of the oldest estates of Bengal. We visited the sacred Shiva Temple; a highly decorated and a transcendent structure. Obviously we didn’t miss the famous Puthia Rajbari. The two-storied Puthia Rajbari, which is the most notable structure in the area faces a four-storied large pyramidal Dol Mancha on the north, across an open ground and presents a commanding facade. The squad paid a quick visit to Govinda Temple just behind the Rajbari ornamented by breathtaking terracotta works. Adding Bangla Hut, Ek Chala and Dochala in Puthia tour paid off more than we anticipated.
Then we traveled to our last destination at Natore. Natore Rajbari Complex is situated about 48 km east of Rajshahi in the district of Natore. After the regal tour in the Rajbari Complex we took our lunch and started for Dhaka.     North Bengal tour was indeed a lifetime experience. We believe that the heritage of the past is the kernel that brings forth the harvest of the future. The extensive tour was completed without any sign of hindrance; students were disciplined and behaved well throughout the trip. Luckily nobody reported to be fall sick afterwards, which is surely a good sign of endurance. Department of Architecture is thankful to the AIUB authority for all kinds of administrative and logistic support.