Located on the banks of Old Brahmaputra River at Jubilee Road in the district town, the quaint two-storey100-year-old Gouripur House continues to attract attention.
Unfortunately, the ground floor of the house is now used only for the disbursement of allowances by Sonali Bank Principal Office. The wooden second floor is used as the 'guest house' for senior officials of the bank.
The architectural beauty of the century-old house with a beautiful garden as the centre-piece continues to announce the presence of the erstwhile zamindars of the Gouripur dynasty.
The authentic date of its construction is unknown. The consensus is that Brajendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, a zamindar of Gouripur established the 'Gouripur House' for the use of the family.
Brajendra Kishore Chowdhury (1281-1364 Bengali Year), also a renowned classical music maestro, held programmes in Gouripur. Leading classical masters of the sub-continent such as Enayet Khan (father of Ustad Vilayat Khan), Mohammad Ali Khan, the heir of classical master Tansen; Ustad Masid Khan, Ustad Uzir Khan, Hafiz Ali Khan, Dabir Khan performed at functions organised in Gouripur.
Brajendra Kishore's son Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, a classical maestro was also adept at musical instruments like Surbahar, Sursringar, Esraj and Beena. Birendra published a monthly newspaper 'Sangeet Bigyan Probeshika' from Kolkata. He wrote two books on classical music -- “The status of Tansen in Hindustan Music” and “Raga Sangeet”.
During the British regime, the house was very regal with presence of zamindars, and should be preserved as a part of history of architecture, said centenarian Sohrab Uddin Sarker, a resident of Char Gobindapur village in Mymensingh sadar.
After partition in 1947, the house was used as a branch of National Bank of Pakistan. Later, the house was made a branch of Sonali Bank after Liberation War and the branch continued at the house till 1985. After constructing a new building for bank's principal office in 1985, the house was left abandoned, according to sources.
During a visit, this correspondent discovered that five rooms on the second floor are being used as a 'guest house' for senior officials and their bearers, and as a kitchen. It is hazardous to cook food on the second floor of such a historical house, said insiders.
On a request to hand over the house to Department of Archeology (DoA), a senior official of the bank said the house was the bank's property and they could not transfer it to DoA.
While the DoA expressed interest a few years ago in taking the house under its wing, the bank authorities did not respond, said Dr. Ataur Rahman, regional director of DoA.
According to the Antiquities Act-1968, the house is a national heritage now as it is a 100-year-old structure and no quarter can demand it as their own property, said an official.