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Imambara Hosseini Dallan, Dacca

Imambara Hosseini Dallan, Dacca

Photographer: Kapp, Fritz

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1904

Shelfmark: Photo 430/31(26)

Item number: 4303126

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken by Fritz Kapp in 1904 with a view of the Imambara Hussaini Dalan in Dacca (now Dhaka), overlooking the tank, part of an album of 30 prints from the Curzon Collection. Lord Curzon was Viceroy of India from 1899-1905. In February 1904, he toured Eastern Bengal and visited Dhaka on the 18th and 19th where he stayed at the Ahsan Manzil Palace. This album of gelatine-silver prints commemorates his Dhaka visit, though it is not a record of it and only presents us with general views. Kapp worked as a commercial photographer from the 1880s onwards and had studios in Chowringhee Road and Humayun Place in Calcutta. From the early 1900s he had a studio in Wise Ghat Road in Dhaka. Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh, became prominent in the 17th century as a provincial capital of the Mughal empire, and was a major centre of trade, particularly in fine muslins. Its history, though largely obscured, is ancient, and it was brought under Islamic rule by the 13th century, first by the Delhi Sultanate then by the independent sultans of Bengal, after which it was taken by the Mughals in 1608. In the 18th century Dhaka was eclipsed by Murshidabad under the Nawabs of Bengal and its population diminished. As the fortunes of the Nawabs declined, the power of the East India Company became a new factor. Queen Victoria’s Proclamation in 1858 brought all the territories held by the Company (including Dhaka) under British rule. The Husseini Dalan building consists of two large halls back to back, the Shirni Hall and the Qutba Hall. The flat roof and Doric columns holding up the verandah were added during the building's reconstruction by Nawab Ahsanullah Bahadur in 1898 after the earthquake of the previous year. Imam Hussein was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed who refused to swear allegiance to Yazd and became a martyr, together with a number of his followers, at the battle of Karbala (in Iraq) in the year 680. During the month of Muharram Shiite Muslims observe ten days of mourning for the Imam, and a procession leaves the Imambara as part of the rites.

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