The houses in fairy tales often came in weird shapes and sizes -- one was shaped like a shoe, some were high up in the trees, and another was made out of chocolate. It’s almost impossible to find such structures in the real world, but there is one house in Chattogram that comes close to the whimsical architecture of fairy tales: Hati Bungalow.
The duplex house is shaped like a giant elephant, located at the side of a cliff at CRB hill beside Lalkhan Bazar in the port city. Surrounded by green cliffs, and a range of Gurjan trees at the backyard, this bungalow does not interrupt nature, rather blends in beautifully.
Looking at Hati Bungalow from the front, it seems as though the entrance is the mouth of an elephant, while the front porch is under the shade of its trunk. The opening of the trunk itself is the balcony of the top floor, while the roof is somewhat oval-shaped like the back of an Asian elephant.
The main entrance leads to the hall room while there are two other doors for master bedrooms. A dining space is situated at the back of the house with a platform for a stove.
Ascending the stairs on the left of the dining space, there is a huge conference room at the top floor with the attached “elephant trunk balcony” at the front and a pantry at the back.
There are seven windows with sunshades -- three at the front and two on each side of the building.
The bungalow was established in 1981. “The idea of this structure came from the intention to create something interesting and making the most out of a limited space,” said Tarun Kanti Bala, divisional manager of railway (east zone).
Hati Bungalow was originally meant to serve as a lodge for gazetted officers of railway, but nowadays many of them prefer to stay in places with air conditioning and other modern facilities, added Tarun.
“If such modern facilities are added, the bungalow may lose its original look and feel,” he said.
It is currently being used as a rest house for the officers, informed Jakir Hossain, caretaker of the bungalow since 1996.
“Many people come here to visit the bungalow. Some also come to shoot films or dramas. It’s become a popular place to visit among young people as the place is safe, with the residence of the railway police superintendent beside it,” he said.