A 100-year-old inn lost in time
The story of Jagat Chandra Mahajaner Panthoshala starts around 100 years ago. Those were the times when locals mostly travelled on foot or boat.
Merchants used to load their goods on boats and take them to distant markets by the river, while small traders carried their goods on their shoulders to the weekly market on foot.
One such market was the weekly market in Dengapara in Dakkhin Bhurshi Union under Patiya Upazila of Chattogram.
Situated on the opposite side of Krishnakhali canal, this Krishnakhali Bazaar came to life every Monday and Friday, said locals.
At the close of this weekly market, traders would prepare for their next destination.
However, they needed to spend the night somewhere on the way, but hotels or rest houses didn't exist back then.
So, late philanthropist Jagat Chandra Mahajan built the inn beside the canal bank to offer shelter to weary passersby.
This century-old inn can still be found in the village of Dengapara, or at least what's left of it.
During the inn's construction, a huge pond, about four acres in size, was dug next to it to provide drinking water to people taking shelter.
The road beside the inn had recently been named after revolutionary nationalist Pritilata Waddedar. She was born in a village named Dhalghat, in the neighbouring union of Dengapara.
It's rumoured that anti-British revolutionary Masterda Surya Sen and his companions used to use this road quite often while travelling.
During a recent visit, this correspondent saw that the two-storey, tin-roofed inn is in a dilapidated state due to negligence. It was left abandoned.
Locals said the successors of Jagat Chandra live in the city and seldom visit the place.
The name of the inn and its year of establishment were written on the inn's front. It was mentioned that the inn was built in 1334, based on the Bangla calendar, meaning that it was built in 1927.
With time, all the doors of the inn were gone. The ceiling of the first floor was cracked and damaged.
However, the seating arrangement inside the inn and the pond outside are still there.
Meer Ahmed, a local who runs a shop beside the inn, said although Jagat Chandra was not a landlord, people called him a zamindar for his philanthropic activities. He was a successful merchant and did a lot of philanthropic activities in the area, said Ahmed.
"I have heard that travellers used to pass their night at the inn. A total of 12 people could stay on the ground and first floors," he added.
Pankaj Chakraborty, a trustee of Bir Konya Preetilata Trust in Dhalghat, said the inn is historically important. "It's a testament to history, and the government should take a step to preserve the inn," he added.
Contacted, Motaherul Islam Chowdhury, chairman of Patiya Upazila Parishad, said, "I wasn't aware of the inn's existence. I'll talk to the chairman of South Bhurshi Union Parishad to know the details. I will visit the place soon."