DHAKA, the Capital of Bangladesh, founded in 1608 has an exciting history and rich cultural heritage. Built on the bank of the river Buriganga, and it is now a sprawling modern city. The total area of the city is approximately 1550 sq. km., with a population of 13 million. It was adorned with the glory of being the capital of the region when it was successively under the Mughal and the British rule.
It used to be known as the city of mosques and is called the city of rickshaws. These days it looks chaotic with more vehicles on the roads and streets and building coming up, but the “chaos” is not a decadent one, it is rather solely positive. Paintings on buses and rickshaws are of people’s dream, and the city is really bustling.
It is situated on the bank of the river Buriganga. For a visitor, there awaits an amazing scene with different types of boats – uncovered and covered boats, cargo boats, speed boats, tugs and motor launches going in every direction. Regular services by motor launches including passenger and cargo to Southern towns leave every day in the afternoon. Paddle Steamer service introduced during the colonial period is still in service to most of the towns on its route up to Khulna, is also operated from this river port. Paddle system steamer service for passenger service is obsolete now-a-days in other countries. A trip by Paddle Steamer will enable a guest to enjoy the riverine beauty including the countryside of Bangladesh.
Lalbagh FortLalbagh Fort
Prince Mohammed Azam, 3rd son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, started building the Fort Aurangabad in 1678. As he left Dhaka, he handed it over to Nawab Shaista Khan, the next governor, for completion. He continued the work, but due to premature death of his beloved daughter Bibi Pari, all building activities were suspended, considering it as inauspicious to continue the work.
Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh fort are a small three-domed elegant mosque, the mausoleum of Bibi Pari, and the Audience Hall and Hammam complex is now housing a museum. When the fort was built, the river Buriganga used to flow very close to the Lalbagh Fort to the South.
Open from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Friday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm, during the winter (closed on Saturday & other national holidays). From April to October, opening and closing times are half an hour later.
Star MosqueStar Mosque
Zaminder Mirza Ghulam Pir built this mosque in the early 18th century. Later a local businessman , Ali Jan Bepary renovated this mosque , a glittering star pattern mosaic with Japanese and English china clay tiles during 1926. This is the most beautifully decorated mosque in Bangladesh. It is distinctive for its low-slung style and the absence of minaret.Originally it was built with four corner towers in Mughal style. During the renovation and redecoration, the building was substantially altered. A close look will reveal that the tiles illustrated with pictures of Mt. Fuji.
hsan MonzilAhsan Manjil
Khwaja Alimullah bought some properties including this building from the French traders in 1835, which was originally owned by Zaminder Seikh Enayetullah. Nawab Abdul Ghani named Ahsan Manzil after his son Nawab Ahsanullah. It is a magnificent pink-colored building with an imposing staircase leading to the upper floor, and it is topped by a lofty dome. In each of the 23 grand rooms there is a photograph of the room dating back from around 1902, and these photos allowed the accurate restoration of the furnishings and draperies. Ancestors of the Khwaja Alimullah came from Kashmir in search of fortune.
The Nawabs played a significant role during their regime around 100 year, uplifting the life style of the people as they were the pioneer to provide the following services : Electricity, Health care system, Sanitation, School and colleges, Parks, River-reforms, Banking, etc. It has been turned to a museum which will give a good insight into the life of the ruling classes of Bengal during the British Raj. It can be visited Saturday-Wednesday from 10:30am to 5:30pm and Friday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. closed on Thursdays.
Armenians came to Dhaka in the 17th century and they were concentrated in the old part of the city, which was later named Armanitola after the colony of Armenian families. This church was built in 1781 on the ruins of an earlier chapel. It has a balcony and wooden pews seat for 100 people. In 1837 a steeple serving as a clock tower was added, which collapsed during the earthquake of 1897. The church is in a reasonably good shape. It is open everyday, except when the caretaker leaves the premises.
It is the oldest Hindu temple in Dhaka and was established in the 11th century. By some accounts it is said that Dhaka city originates its name from the Dhakeswari temple. The temple is visited every day by number of devotees to make offering to the goddess. It can be visited any day.
It is a crispy bread very popular with the people of old part of Dhaka city. It is said that the name Bakharkhani is after name of Mr. Bakhar, who first introduced it. Mr. Aga Bakhar or Aga Bakhir khan was a zaminder in the Bakherganj ( also named after him) and it is said that he introduced this special bread probably during the mid-1800.
Now-a-days, this bread is also popular with the people of other districts as a snack.
In the early 17th century, ancestors of the present dwellers started coming to this locality.They were mostly the follower of Bishnu or Krishna. These people were very expert for making “SHAKA” (Bangla from Conch Shell) and the artisans were known as SHAKHARI.The technique used by them was very traditional and unique and is now replaced by modern technique.
To the Hindus, conch shells are symbol of good fortune and purity. As per the Hindu religion,married woman are to wear conch shell bangles on both wrists and to break them when the husband dies. The craft faces an uncertain future. Shells used to come from India and Sri Lanka are not always available and more and more Hindu women are unable to afford these bangles,opting to buy the much cheaper plastic lookalikes.
The New Market was established during 1950′s as the oldest complete shopping complex housing Jeweler, Book shop, Ready made garments, household items, fresh fish, meat and vegetables including fruits. The fresh fish, meat and vegetable section is very popular to the affluent society as one of the best sources. Customers visiting the New Market have declined on the advent of modern markets and shopping complexes in other parts of the city.
Dhaka University started in 1921 with three faculties, twelve departments, sixty teachers, eight hundred and seventy seven students. Initially there were three residential halls of the university.It grew over the years against lot of hindrances and gained a very prestigious position in the Indian sub-continent within few years.
History of Bangladesh is very closely related to the history of the Dhaka University. Since, 1952-1990, all the mass movements originated from and lead by the students of Dhaka University.
Dhaka University has now 7 Faculties, 46 departments with total number of approximately 30,000 students and 1200 teachers. And there are 18 residential halls.
Dhaka Museum established in 1913, was renamed as the National Museum and shifted to its new building at Shahbag in 1983.
It has forty galleries under four departments, namely,
(1) Natural history
(2) History & Classical Art
(3) Ethnography and Decorative art
(4) Contemporary art and world civilization.
The museum contains a large number of interesting collections of Bangladesh’s Hindu, Buddhist and Mughal past. Remarkable among the exhibits are: a mat made from ｉｖｏｒｙ, beautiful and fine embroideries
(Nakshikantha), piece of muslin clothes, a huge number of black stone images, coins of 2nd & 3rd century B.C and ” Liberation gallery “.
Open Saturday-Wednesday from 10:00am to 4:30pm, Friday from 3:00pm to 7:00pm
Closed on Thursdays.
National Parliament House is situated at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. During the Pakistan regime,considering Dhaka as the second capital, it was approved in 1963 to establish a parliament house. Accordingly it was designed by world famous American architect Mr. Louis I. Kahn and the construction started in 1965 but could not be completed due to liberation movement and the ensuing war of liberation. Later, the remaining construction was completed by the government of Bangladesh. This distinctive architecture is one of the few renowned architectures in the world.
During 1870′s, the first hand-pulled rickshaws were introduced in Japan. By 1890 Japan registered a peak number of 200,000. Japan was also the leading manufacturers and exporter of rickshaws. After 1900, rickshaw numbers started to decline in Japan, though they did not disappear there until after the Second World War. But in other Asian countries they continued to increase until 1920′s, which was to be their golden age.
Singapore was the first city to use Cycle-rickshaw on a large scale during 1929. Kolkata’s First cycle-rickshaws appeared around 1930′s and they soon spread to other towns. They reached Bangladesh in mid-1930′s and Dhaka by 1938. In 40-50 years, cycle rickshaws reached all the districts and towns including villages in Bangladesh. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh attracted the people from the rural areas for work and they started pulling cycle-rickshaw as an easy means for their living.
Number of rickshaws increased like anything in Dhaka as there was no proper control over it by the Government, ultimately making Dhaka a city of Rickshaws. But presently, the Government has imposed a lot of restriction on rickshaws using the roads/streets and trying to restrict rickshaws to lanes and by lanes only.
An isolated eleven mile-long spur of dimpled hills known as the Mainamati-Lalmai range, 8 km west of Comilla and 114 km south east of Dhaka. It was named after the Chandra dynasty King Govinda Chandra’s mother. Exploration on this range has revealed over 50 ancient sites dotting the hills, mostly containing various types of Buddhist remains of the 8th to 12th centuries AD.Excavations revealed interesting and informative finds at a number of sites, locally known as Salban vihara, Itakhula Mura, Rupban Mura, Kutila Mura, Ananda Rajar Badi, Charpatra Mura and Mainamati Ranir Badi. Amongst the sites, visitors take interest mostly on Salban vihara, Itakhula Mura, and Rupban Mura.
A site museum just beyond Salban Vihara houses is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily from Sunday-Thursday and Friday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm and during October to March, 10:30am to 5:30pm from Sunday to Thursday and Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm during April to September.It is closed on Saturdays.
Pottery & Metal Works
Adjacent to Savar lies, two traditional Craftsman village, Dhamrai and Kakran. Dhamrai was famous for metalworks with brass and people of Kakran used to be potters. But the introduction of durable and in some cases low cost substitutes for such metal and pot utensils have monopolised the whole market, pushing away the artisans to change their profession. Only a handful of families are still trying to stick to their old profession and mainly depending on the overseas orders.
About 35km from Dhaka is the National Martyr’s Monument at Savar, built in memory of the millions who died in the liberation war during 1971. This 50M high and beautifully maintained structure was designed by the famous architect Mr. Moinul Hossain.
Sonargaon (means golden city), 27 km. east of Dhaka city, was the capital of Bengal from 13th to early 17th century during the Chandra and Deva dynasty. The Panam was a flourished city in those days. In 1611 the Mughals considered the location too exposed to the Portuguese and the Mogh pirates and established Dhaka as their capital. It was a very flourished centre both for weaving of the muslin and export to different parts of the world. But nothing of muslin can be found now. Folklore Museum at Sonargaon is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm everyday except Wednesday from 10:00am to 2:00pm and closed on Thursdays.
Ruposhi village on the bank of the river Sitalakhya is popularly known as Jamdani village, for,you will find most of the houses are engaged in weaving of Jamdani Saree and Scarf. The weaving of Jamdani is a handloom industry, and it is done in the similar style of weaving muslin.It is known as the legacy of muslin as it requires fine yarn for weaving and various beautiful designs by colored yarn. These expert weavers can create the design mentally during the weaving of the Saris. There is no mechanical technique involved.
Chittagong is the 2nd largest city in Bangladesh with its largest port. It has been a port of supply for ships going to Java, Sri Lanka, and Madras since the 6th Century. Islam spread from this port and Buddhism went to Burma.
Bayazid BostamBayazid Bostami
The Shrine of Sultan Bayazid Bostami, where a Muslim saint was enshrined, in the middle of 9th century, is famous for a pond full of huge turtles covered with soft shell, a unique species surviving in the world, which are believed to be a reincarnation of humans.
Sitakund, which is in about 37km. west of the city, is famous for the Chandranath Hindu Temple and the Buddhist Temple having a footprint of Lord Buddha. Besides,
Enthnological Museum, War Cemetery, Foy’s Lake, etc., are also worth visiting.
Ship BreakingShip Breaking
Chittagong is the gateway to the longest beach city, Cox’s Bazar and the Hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagra-chari. All the three Hill districts are 2 & 1/2 to 3 hrs driving distances from Chittagong by road. Rangamati is 77 km. while Bandarban is 92 km and Khagrachari is 112 km from Chittagong.
Chittagong Hill Tracks（CHT）
With its perennial forest, a thrilling drive through the hilly road is quite a contrast from the other regions of Bangladesh. It will be interesting to take a boat trip on the emerald blue water of Kaptai Lake, climbing the Chimbuk hill or a hike through the deep green jugle-hill in Khagra Chari.
It will also be interesting to meet the Tribal people consisting of 14 groups of indigenous people who are Mongoloid in this region and each group having its own culture and customs. Chakma, Tripura, Mru and Taungchengya constitute the largest groups from these aboriginal people. Foreign nationals interested to visit the Hill districts, will need special permit from the District authority.
Khagrachhari is surrounded by rainforest. It is an important habitat for birds and animals. A perfect place to enjoy nature in a relaxing atmosphere.
Khagrachhari town is surrounded by mountains in every direction. Try delicious local natural food, which is only cooked in this hilly area. You can also try an alcoholic drink made of rice if you’re lucky. Also recommended is to walk around at “New Zealand”, a rural field.
Bandarban is 95 km from Chittagong. It is a place where the Mog tribe chief lives in. The Mog tribe is a Buddhist group who came from Myanmar. People here are simple and cheerful. Babdarban is also famous for the Morong tribe whose music and songs are famous in Bangladesh. Some other tribal groups live in this hilly area. Chimbuk is recommended to be visited as its accommodations are run well. The Tajindon mountain in this region is the tallest mountain in Bangladesh. (1300m)
150 km south to Chittagong is the town of Cox’s Bazar, popularly known as the town with world’s longest unbroken (120km) beach. It is a natural sandy beach sloping gently down to the blue water of the Bay of Bengal.。
The background is covered with green forest with the chain of Arakan Hills. Miles of golden sands, surfing waves, Conch shell and sea fish markets, colorful Pagodas, Buddhist Temples,and colorful tribes. All these make Cox’s Bazar a unique spot for retreat. Jeep drive on the beach in the afternoon and watching a gorgeous sunset from the beach will be an enjoyable highlight.
A daylong excursion either to Maheskhali or Sonadia island, a drive to Teknaf, and a visit to the Lamarpara Buddhist Temple at Ramu will also be interesting.
From Cox’s Bazar, Teknaf is at 2-hrs driving distance. Then by Sea Truck or Engine boat it will be around another 2&1/2 hrs journey through the Naf River and the Bay of Bengal to reach the St. Martin’s Island.
Inani BeachInani Beach
Inani beach is located in 35km south of Cox’s Bazar. There is a green hill along with the beach. Sand plays a sound once stepping into the beach.
St. Martin’s Island
St. Martin’s IslandSt. Martin’s Island
It is a small Island with a population of about 7/8 thousand people and they are dependent on fishing directly or indirectly. There are beautiful corals on the south-eastern corner of this island. The water around this Island is emerald green and always invites one to take a relaxing bathe. It will be possible to snorkel here, if you carry your own snorkeling gear. This trip will be fairly demanding and participants should note this before joining the trip.
Moheshukari is an island of 268km2, across the sea from Cox’s Bazaar. A low hill is at the center of the island, in the north and west there are mangrove forests. Monanikku Hill has Adinas temple which enshrine Hindu God Shiva. and also has a Buddhist temple next to it.
Ramu is a typical Buddhist village, located in about 16km from Cox’s Bazar.
The village has beautiful temples, and Buddhist statues in bronze, silver and gold inlaid with precious stones. One of them is the 4m bronze statue on the 6 feet pedestal in the Bankari area. You can find some rare relics of the 17th century and Burmese handcrafts. Morong, Chakma, Marma tribes live here.
Rajshahi experienced the rise and fall of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam through changing eras.
Rajshahi is also known as a centre of silk industry in Bangladesh and there are outlets both in the Government and Private sector selling various Silk products. Varendra Museum in Rajshahi is also worth visiting.
Mahasthan is an old fortress city dating back to the 3rd Century BC, situated on the western bank of the Karatoa River. Excavations revealed its ruins spread out within a semi circle of about 8km radius. Several isolated mounds, locally named as Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda, etc., surround the fortified city. Besides, the shrine of Shah Sultan Bulkhi Mahisawar,Gokul Medh, Vasu Bihar, etc., in the neighbourhood are also noteworthy. It is said that the Buddha himself visited this area for preaching.
The ancient Buddhist temple in Paharpur ( 8th-12th AD) is the single largest vihara in the south of the Himalayas. This grand and impressive Buddhist monastery would remind that Bengal was a prosperous Buddhist centre. The architectural design of Paharpur later had influences on Pagan and Angkor Wat and has been declared a World Heritage Site.
Putia is the famous temple city where you can find the magnificent Govinda Temples (1823), and the largest Shiva Temple in Bangladesh.
Kanthanagar temple, the most ornate among the mediaeval temples of Bangladesh, is situated in Birgang, near Dinajpur. Built by Maharaja Pran Nath in 1752, every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terracotta plaques, representing flora and fauna, geometric motif, mythological scenes, and an astonishing array of contemporary social scenes and favorite pastimes.
Chapai Nawabganj is famous for high quality Mangoes. Among the best mangoes are the Langra, Him Sagar, Lakhan Vog, Ashina, Surma Fazli,etc., which are popular varieties found abundantly during the mango season. The season for this fruit is the months of June to August.
This region offers a variety of historical and archaeological monuments, including numerous Mosques, Hindu temples, Zamindar’s palaces and British-era buildings. Gaud was a center of great activities during the Sultanate and the Mughal period. Great historical site Gaud can boast of its remarkable mosques; Chhota Sona Masjid, Khania Dighi Mosque, Darasbari Mosque,Dhanichak Mosque, Tahkhana, etc .
Among the remarkable historical sites in Rajshahi district it is worth visiting Kusumbha Mosque (1558), and Bagha Mosque (1523) built during the Sultanate period.
The Padma (Ganges) passes through Rajshahi towards the south, where its water and that
Main city of the southwest. The third largest city of Bangladesh. There is the second largest port. It is renowned for jute plants, and shrimp processing plants.
Jessore is an old town which has the only airport in southwest. Near to Indian border, Kolkata is about 100 km from here (to the border towns – about 50 km).
Greater Sylhet is virtually one broad valley, fringed by the Khasi and Jaintia hills to the north and the hills of Tripura to the south.
TeaTea plantation in Sylhet
The Surma and the Kushiara rivers, which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and the south, form the Sylhet valley. There are good numbers of haors, which are big natural depressions. During the winter season these haors are vast stretches of green land but in the rainy season they turn into turbulent seas. These haors provide a sanctuary to millions of migratory birds that fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid severe cold there.
This region is famous as tea growing area and the majority of the tea estates belong to Srimongol. For miles and miles around, visitors can see the tea gardens spread like green carpets over the plain land or on sloping hills. The region has very high precipitation and its rainforests are habitat of primates and other rare species of wild animals and birds. Near Lawacherra Forest in Srimongol, the movie ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ was shot.
Tamabil & Jafflong
Just to the north from Sylhet is Tamabil, the border outpost with Meghalaya of India. There exists a convenient route to make travel to this part of India through Tamabil border and we organise regular tours to Shillong and adjoining areas both for the local and foreign guests.。
Cherrapunjee, the wettest place on earth is in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Jafflong, with picturesque surrounding, lies just adjacent to Tamabil and the area is also famous for stones and boulders. Every day hundreds of people are found collecting stones and boulders from this area, which are exported to other districts as quality construction materials.
Added attraction is the high percentage of ethnic people, belonging to the colourful Monipuri,Khasia, Garo and Tripura living in this region.