Thursday, 27 January, 2022

Gol Pukur: A soul-soothing water body in Old Dhaka

  • Rajib Kanti Roy
  • 3rd January, 2022 11:02:11 PM
  • Print news
Gol Pukur: A soul-soothing water body in Old Dhaka

In the midst of numerous multi-storey buildings, there lies a round-shaped pond by the Nawabbari Market Road in Islampur area of the capital with the Buriganga River being in the south and Ahsan Manzil in the north.

The amazing pond, which is popularly known as ‘Gol Pukur’ or ‘Gol Talab’ or ‘Nawabbari Pukur’, offers a relief to the locals. The whole pond is surrounded by about 50 coconut trees of the same height.

These trees add greenery to the area and soothe the eyes of the nearby inhabitants. The reflection of the tree falls in the water of the pond. Standing on its bank, people can refresh their bodies and minds enjoying the cool breeze.

There are also benches for visitors to take rest and arrangements for bathing and swimming in the transparent water of the pond spending only Tk 5 though the use of soap and shampoo is strictly prohibited for bathers.

However, there are separate arrangements for washing clothes and bathing with WASA water on the bank of the pond.

The whole area around the pond is well-maintained as no garbage on the water or on all four sides of the pond can be found. Besides, the four sides of the pond are surrounded by grills on three-foot walls.

Many types of fish, including Rui, Katal, Mrigel, Kalobaush and Chital, have been cultivated in the pond owned by Moulvi Khawaja Abdullah Welfare Trust and run by the Nawabbari Tank Committee consisting of members of the Nawab family.

They also organise fishing festival with tickets more than once a year where outsiders can take part along with members of the Nawab family.

The pond on seven and a half bighas of land was dug by Nawab Abdul Bari in 1610. Enduring hundreds of storms, the pond still survives as a symbol of glory and tradition.

According to the locals, people working in different shops or establishments in Islampur, Badamtali, Babubazar, Shankharibazar, Patuatuli, Tantibazar and Nayabazar areas usually bathe in ‘Gol Pukur’. “I work in a fruit shop at Babubazar. The Buriganga River is not far away from my shop. But the water of the river is so polluted that I’ve been bathing in this pond for the last seven years,” said Mojibur Mia.

Many residents of Old Dhaka regularly take bath in the pond while children and teenagers of the area can learn how to swim. Apart from this, the pond is opened for use during various occasions like puja and other festivals of the Hindu community.

At that time, women are allowed to bathe on a temporary basis. Currently, about 500 people bathe in the pond every day and four people work to maintain the pond.

Nawab Family Young Men’s Association General Secretary Imran Hasan said, “There’s a deep well in the middle of the pond which is a source of water. When it rains, the pond gets rest of the necessary water. The pond is not connected with any drain.”

Locals say there is no other reservoir in Old Dhaka than ‘Gol Pukur’. Therefore, in case of any fire incident, it is not possible to supply enough water apart from this pond. A few years ago, when a fire erupted in two markets in Islampur, firefighters used water of this pond to extinguish the fire.

“A large portion of the money earned from fishing festivals and bathing is spent on pond renovation, cleaning and staff salaries. The rest is deposited in the account of Moulvi Khwaja Abdullah Welfare Trust,” said Khwaja Mohammad Wasim Ullah, general secretary of the Nawabbari Tank Committee.

He said the government has declared the Nawabbari reservoir as a traditional pond. But since the announcement, no initiative has been taken to preserve and renovate the pond.