Chamely House - Dhaka

Saturday, 11 June 2011

After a long time, today I have managed to free some times from life to make a hasty excursion inside the Dhaka city. I have started with the sweet Chameli(চামেলী) House that is located at Topkhana(তোপখানা) Road. Some people used to call this as Chummery House. I don't know what is the exact nomenclature behind this aesthetic beauty.

This masterclass building was built during 1920. A British architect "Robert Luis Proudolk" has designed the overall layout of that area(Karzon Hall, Ramna garden, Court buildings). I am not sure, but may be that guy has designed that building too. Whoever it was, undoubtedly was a consummate architect. It is a cottage type of building which looks like the other British buildings around the world.

Initially the building used as a residence for the unmarried female officials of British Government who were working at Dhaka. After 1938, the building has used as the girl's dormitory(starting with 12 girls initially) of Dhaka University for several years. During the Pakistan period and few years after the independence of Bangladesh, this building was used by the Public Service Commission(PSC) as their head quarter. After 1985(some people contradict 1975) it was handed to the Center for Integrated Rural Development of Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP).

The building was renovated during 2006 by replacing the tiles from the roof top. Originally it was made of red slats(we people used to call this "red tali"). During the renovation, unfortunately we didn't take any special care to retain the antiquity and the modification didn't go 100% with primordial design.

This Colonial edifice is locate at the Topkhana(তোপখানা) Road of Dhaka. It is at the opposite side of the Old High Court building, beside the National Press Club. Also opposite of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The exact coordinate of the Chammely House is (23°43'45.25"N, 90°24'19.93"E). There is a circle in front of the Chummery house, people used to call that as Kodom Fowara(কদম ফোয়ারা) circle.

There is always a security guard in front of the main entrance of the Chameli House premise. It depends upon his mood to allow you an entry. So be polite, and ask your permission. I have introduced myself as a writer who writes on old buildings from Dhaka and it worked for me.


  1. The word Chummery means the house for bachelor people. That's why it is called Chummery house. But latter on somehow we have converted the name into Chamely house. Possibly first one was harder for us to pronounce.


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