At 8/1 Noor Baksh Lane, Becharam Dewri, lies the magnificent house of Zamindar Abul Khairat. For several years, the house has been famous for its royal hospitality. Over the course of years, this house has witnessed the presence of many historical figures, from national heroes like Bangabandhu to foreign dignitaries. All used to come and receive the Mughal hospitality the house offers.
Munshi Md Alam was from the first generation of this ancestry. He came from Yemen to this subcontinent to preach Islam in 1700. Then Munshi Noor Baksh was the second generation Zamindar after whom the road Noor Baksh Lane at Becharam Dewri is named.
After him, Moulobi Abul Khairat Mohammad was the third generation Zamindar of Dhaka and Sonargaon. Then, Moulobi Abul Hasnat was the fourth generation. Abul Hasnat road is named after him. He had a younger brother named Moulobi Abu Zafar.
AM Jahangir is the fifth generation of this Zamindar ancestry and the father of AM Emran who owns Emran's Heritage Home.
From September 18, 2018, the sixth generation of this ancestry A.M. Emran, former Sales Manager of Gulf Air and Philippine Airlines opened Lunch at Emran's Heritage Home.
This house now welcomes everyone to be a part of its ancestral royal heritage and dine in Zamindar style on Mughlai dishes.
The entire heritage home is on 3 bigha of land. The three storied portion including the rooftop which belongs to Emran is open for guests to enjoy and have a memorable time with friends and family like a lavish Zamindar.
Stepping into the place, one will immediately notice the ancient royal architecture. Ivies are spread around the house, hanging from the outer side, making it more luscious.
Open from both north and south sides, the house has plenty of air and light coming in and out to let guests relax at ease. The rooms are huge and ceilings are up high. Beautiful chandeliers steal the heart of the guests that come into the living room.
The entire home feels like a museum of rare antiques. Guests are able to dine like a Zamindar on a telescopic table which is a great innovation of its time and a classic indeed. The table can be folded and divided in many parts.
A similar smaller 300 year old table designated for playing cards for Zamindars is another beauty to look at. The mechanism of such antiques makes people of today's world spellbound. It can be rotated, opened, turned, folded and what not. In foreign countries, people spend millions to buy these beautiful artifacts in auctions.
The list of attractions doesn't end there. From beds and sofas to the paintings and architecture - the entire house itself is a trip back in time to the 1700s-1800s.
There is a gold plated holy Quran in a 200 year old library. A fierce sword hung in the middle of a warm wall adorned by beautiful paintings of Emran's mother done by his father is another treat to the eyes.
One will be delighted to see the 200 year old vacuum plates that have holes on one side to pour warm water into it so that the food remains hot.
Then, a box of 200 year old attars that amazingly smell the same till this very day is sure to allure anyone. Seeing an original silver attar vase, guests will only wish they had something like that.
On the contrary, the house offers a modern side as well. There is a huge swing in a very aesthetically colourful room. There are modern wooden furniture and techs with a modern library too. On the second floor, there is a wall, which is sure to catch everyone's attention, with many holes on it. And in each hole, there is a wine bottle cut and inserted.
On the rooftop, there is a garden and tennis court. It is great for groups to have BBQ parties here.
Now, at Emran's Heritage Home, guests are served what the Zamindars used to have - Mughlai dishes.
One of the famous Mughlai dishes of this house is Murag Khana. It is like Murag Polao, however, with ghee, malai and saffron.
Shammi kebab or tikiya, salad and Borhani complement the Murag Khana. It is a must to have vinegar on salad.
For desserts, there are jorda or firni with saffron and malai.
On the other hand, with plain polao, the Mughals used to have kebab, chicken/beef curry, salad and dolma.
In the afternoon, Mughlai parata, shuti kebab, bakorkhani are in the menu. In the morning Zamindars always had Kashmiri tea, cheese, bakorkhani and kaccha biscuit.
Prawn malai curry, dolma, pineapple hilsha, fulury with hilsa and amchur, kopta curry etc are also served periodically. Each day Emran offers and serves a different menu. He states these Mughlai dishes to be the real beauty of Bengali culinary.
The idea of opening lunch here came from the renowned architect Taimur Islam, Emran said.
Taimur Islam, the Chief Executive Officer of Urban Study Group (USG), has been working to protect the historic colonial structures in Dhaka for a long time. However, the starting point of his work started from Emran's ancestral heritage house.
"He observed that we used to provide royal hospitality to any guest that steps foot here. Hence, he urged us to offer heritage lunch here for guests. Not only it would ensure the preservation of our heritage but also be economically viable. After 7-8 years of requests from him and many ambassadors, I finally opened the heritage lunch from September 18, 2018 and I named it Lunch at Emran's Heritage Home."
He further informed, "This house was famous for three reasons: the royal entertainment and hospitality the house provides, eye-catching beautification that people used to come in line to witness and lastly, many historical figures such as Bangabandhu, Bhashani, Kazi Nazrul, Sher-E-Bangla, Suhrawardy etc used to visit here."
"I want to request the youth to love their heritage. It will bring unimaginable peace and beauty in life. When you try to get in touch with your heritage, you will see how fancy and luxurious your ancestors used to live - in greenery, courtyard and huge open rooms with ceilings up too high. You won't find such beauties now."
"Moreover, preserving your heritage means to preserve your existence. It has been only 48 years that Bangladesh became independent. However our culture and heritage date back to 400 years ago. We need to hold on to it. We need to maintain our manners, culture and tradition," explained Emran.
Guests have to inform Emran 4-5 hours ago before arrival to allow him to prepare. And in case of groups, they must inform 2-3 days ago.
Emran caters to minimum 5-6 persons and maximum 20 persons. 50 per cent down payment by bkash prior to arrival is a must on +8801711646462.
The price of the entire meal is not more than BDT 1000 per person. Kids below 7 years won't be charged.
Lastly, Emran concluded with what his ancestry has always taught him, "Guests do not come on their own, they come by God's grace. So do not hesitate to cater to them, because you are lucky to have them."