Munshibari stands on 39 acres of land in Dharanibari Union, about 2 km north of Ulipur upazila of Kurigram district. This magnificent Munshibari was built in the eighteenth century under the supervision of Shri Brajendra Lal Munshi, the foster son of Binodi Lal.
It is known from history that Krishnanath Nandi, the seventh zamindar of Kashim Bazar Estate, committed suicide at his residence on 31st October, 1844, considering it disrespectful to stand in the court room in a murder case. After the death of zamindar Krishnanath Nandi, his wife Maharani Swarnamoyi became the zamindar of Kashim Bazar Estate. Swarnamoyee was an educated woman and a landlord. A munsif or munshi named Binodi Lal used to work as an accountant under Maharani Swarnamoyi Devi.
It is said that one day Binodi Lal Munshi went for hunting on the back of an elephant and saw a frog eating a snake. In the past, people believed that if you build a house in a place where frogs catch snakes, you can own a lot of wealth. So Binodi Lal Maharani built a house in this place with the permission of Swarnamoyi. There are various rumors about the house. Many people call the house Banwari Munshibari. The reason for this is believed to be that a farmer named Banwari lived in this house.
In any case, it is mentioned as Rajbari on the official web of Dharanibari Union Parishad. With the installation of the Mughal period, a beautiful house of various works of art was constructed in combination with the British style. When you see the house, you will think that it is a picture painted by an artist.
Ashalata Munshi, wife of Brajendra Lal Munshi, gave birth to two daughters. The eldest daughter was Suchi Rani (Titu) and the youngest daughter was Susman Kanti (old woman). Susman Kanti (old woman) died at an early age. When Titu grew up, Munshi thought, I am from Dharanibari, Begumganj, Mughalbasa, Gaibandha and Malibari, but if my house is not good, I will not be able to get my daughter married in a good house.
With this in mind, when the two-storey Atralika was built, he married his daughter in Calcutta with great pomp. Many years have passed since then. Brajendra Lal Munshi died in 1970. He had no son. His wife Ashalata Munshi adopted a son named Biharilal.
Later, when Ashalata Munshi died, the descendants of Munsilal moved to Calcutta during the war of liberation in 1971. Due to various greedy lawsuits, the ownership of the house changed several times. At present Ulipur Munshibari is registered as a preserved antiquities under the supervision of the Department of Archeology of Bangladesh. And the two rooms of the main building have been used as Dharnibari Union Land Office for many years. The land office was later shifted to a newly constructed building in the courtyard of Munshibari.
In addition to the original Atralica, there are several temples here. To the west of the temple is an open stage, Tulsi Path, to the north-west of the temple. Due to lack of preservation, the temple’s Nat Mandir, Durga Mandir, Vishnu Mandir, Govinda Mandir, Shiva Mandir, Bed Room, Dining Room, Kitchen Room, Drawing Room, Upstairs Rest Room and Bath Room have been badly damaged.
One of the rock fragments of the constructed building mentions 160 AD. From this it is thought that Munshibari was built in 160 AD.
Turning to the ground, it is seen that when it rains, the roof leaks and the rooms and verandas are filled with rain water. Some families living nearby keep cows and goats tied on the verandah of the main building. In addition to this, on the verandah of Durga temple, there are piles of wood and dried leaves for use in fuel. Above all, it is seen that he is using the house as he can.
Speaking to Punk Chandra Mahanta, the priest of the Govinda temple, he said, “I have been worshiping three times a day for 39 years. The famous Ulipur Munshibari, a witness of history and tradition, is being destroyed due to negligence.”
The locals claim that if the previous cases of the house were settled and necessary renovations were made to preserve the Athralika as a historical place and make it a place of interest, the memory of Dharanibari of Zamindar period, a witness of history and heritage, would survive for ages.
At present the building is in dilapidated condition due to lack of proper renovations.