MYMENSINGH, Jan 26: The white- marbled statue, Venus, has been standing at the garden of 'Soshi Lodge' for more than 200 centuries. Soshi Lodge is the name of Maharaja Shashikant Acharya's palace situated in the centre of Mymensingh city. It is locally known as Mymensingh Rajbari.
About one hundred yards away from this lodge old Brahmaputra river is located. Maharaja Suryakantha Acharya, the Zamindar, built a magnificent palace called 'Crystal Palace', also known as 'Rangmahal' in the second half of 19th century.
On June 12 of 1897, the great Indian earthquake destroyed the palace. At the beginning of the 20th century, Maharaja Suryakanta Acharya started the construction of the Shashi Lodge in the same style of Byzantine. Suryakanta Acharya had died before the completion of the building.
Shashikant Acharya, the adopted son of Suryakanta, completed the construction of the building in 1905. The building is named after him as 'Shashi Lodge'. Maharaja Shashikant made some renovations to enhance the beauty of Shashi Lodge in 1911. Shashi Lodge is consisted of 18 large rooms.
The building, with porch and corridor, will not be less than 50,000 square feet. The whole building floor is made of marble stone. There is a carved iron staircase to the roof. The entire building has a line of running water. There is also a modern toilet inside the building. Since the building is used as a teacher training centre, much of it has not been destroyed yet.
Behind the palace, there is a pond. There is a small two-storey building beside the pond for relaxing. The staircase has many features. Two toilets mounted on two sides on each floor. But the commodes are no longer available. But there are still pipes, water lines, commode lines.
There are two round pillars inside the pond. The pillar wrapped in marble stone was once used for seating. There is a clothes changing room beside the pond. Around the lodge, trees still stand as witnesses of some details. The boundary wall was built more than 100 years ago.
It is said that at one time the "Monda of Muktagacha" was only made for the Maharaja. The kings would not allow others to eat 'Monda' except them. Extra Mondas were fed to the two elephants, Shankha and Sambhu. Shankha and Sambhu's some parts of skeleton are preserved in the Momenshahi Museum, adjacent to the Shashi Lodge.
In front of the lodge there is a garden adorned with various species. There are fountains. Among them there is a sculpture of a bathing Greek goddess. There are different types of flowers in the garden.. Shashi Lodge bears witness to the supernatural beauty of all.
Shashi Lodge has been used as a female teacher's training centre since 1952. The building has been acquired by the Department of Archaeology five years back. Currently the renovation work is underway.
Mymensingh Women's Teachers' Training College was established in this palace in 1952. The main part of the palace is used as the office and office of the college principal. Classes were taken at the newly-established building.
So far, around 300 women are taking training in different courses. Many stay in hostels located within the college. In 2015, the Department of Archaeology took control of the building to set up the museum. Now the Depart-ment of Archaeology is working to determine the boundaries of college and lodge.
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