Visit Bangladesh

Dhaka

The Capital City


The SAARC Fountain in Dhaka
The South Asian Asscociation for Regional Co-operation was formed at the
initiative of the Bangladesh Government and the inaugoral meeting was held
in this capital city.


Founded in 1608 as the Seat of the Imperial Mughal Viceroys of Bengal and known the world over for centuries for its fine silk and muslin, Dhaka as the capital of Bangladesh has grown into busy city of about four mi lion people.

Having a happy blending of the old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modem city since 1982 and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life, be it industrial, commercial, cultural or political.


General Information

A long procession of the famous three wheeled rickshaws through Dhaka's high street.
Rickshaws are relied upon for transport and livelihood for a great number of people.
For the casual tourist, they can provide hours of pleasure as they jingle their way
the through the capital, giving one the sense of time as it is in Bangladesh.

Dhaka is home to over 4 million people and covers about 816 square kilometers. The climate is tropical as in the rest of Bangladesh; for most of the year it is warm with bright sunshine, but during the Monsoons there's heavy rainfall. During the winter months (November to March) it is cool and pleasant.

Typical summer temperatures range between 30 to 37 degrees celsius while in the winter it is a lot milder, ranging between 10 to 20 degrees. Annual rainfall is about 250cm and humidity around 80%.

A casual cigarette vendor on Dhaka's public footpath - a common scene.
The poster behind him reads "Our hands are not tied, we have eyes, we can speak out"
This photograph was taken in early 1991, following the public ousting of the military dictator H. M. Ershad

Dhaka is well connected with the important cities and towns of Bangladesh by regular bus and train services run by both state owned and private operators. In addition, there are many routes covered by the meandering waterways of Bangladesh. One of the most enjoyable 'steamer' journeys is the "Rocket" Service between Dhaka and Khulna, the third largest commercial centre of the country.

A "thela gaari" or push cart heavily laden with coconuts shoving its way to the bazaar
through the dense traffic of Dhaka's metropolis. Legend has it, thela gaaris have priority
over all other types of vehicles - specially motorcars !

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Places of Interest

Suhrawardy Uddyan : At a stones throw from Dhaka Sheraton Hotel is the Suhrawardy Uddyan, formerly known as the Race Course, the popular park of the city. It is here that the oath for independence of Bangladesh was taken on the 7th March 1971 and curiously enough again it is here that the commander of the occupation forces surrendered on the 16th December 1971.

Shishu Park : The Child Education & Recreation Park is located in a corner of the Suhrawardy Uddyan.

Central Shahid Minar : This monument is the symbol of Bangladesh Nationalism. It was built to commemorate the martyrs of historic Language Movement of 1952. Although this movement was apparently for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of the then Pakistan, it was in fact, the first outburst of popular feelings against the unpopular and autocratic government. All subsequent movements in Bangladesh leading to her independence in 1971, owe their origin to this movement and, therefore, this monument has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of Bangladeshis.

Banga Bbaban : Tourists can have an external view of Banga Bhaban, the official residence of the Head of the State - the President.

Lalbagh Fort : The Fort of Aurangabad, popularly known as the Lalbagh Fort, was built in 1678 A.D. by Prince Mohammed Azam, son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb, who was then the Viceroy of Bengal. The fort has a three storeyed structure with slender minarets at the south gate. It has many hidden passages and a mosque of massive structure. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh Fort are the Tomb of Pari Bibi (fairy lady) and Audience and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum.

Also see Ancient Archaelogical Sites of Bangladesh.

Boroe Katra : A building of grand scale, now almost in ruins is one of the most important remains of the Mughal period in Dhaka. It is of the type of Katra' (enclosed quardrangle building) with a gigantic frontage towards the river Buriganga. It was built by Abul Qasim, Dewan of Shah Shuja in l644 A.D. It served the purpose of a caravan serai.

Ch'hotoe Katra : Situated about 200 yards east of Boroe Katra, Ch'hotoe Katra was built in 1663 A.D. by Nawab Shaista Khan. This is of similar plan and purpose as the Boroe Katra but smaller in size.

National Museum : The museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods as well as inscriptions of the Holy Quran in Arabic and Persian letters and Bengali works in the Arabic script. The Museum also has a rich collection of old coins metal images, books on art, ivory and silver filigree works.

National Art Gallery : Situated in the Shilpakala Academy premises, this has a representative collection of folk art and painting by artists of Bangladesh.

National Assembly Complex :

"Jatyo Sangsad" or the National Assembly - an architectural wonder
was designed by none other than Luis Kahn

Sangsad Bhaban, the National Assembly Complex in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar designed by the famous architect Luis Kahn has distinctive architectural features.

Baldha Garden : Baldha Garden has rare collection of botanical plants and flowers.

Ramna Green : Ramna Park is a vast stretch of green surrounded by a serpentine lake.

Zoological Garden : Called Mirpur Zoo, it is situated in Mirpur, 16 km NW of Dhaka, on 230 acres of land.

Botanical Garden : Built over an area of 205 acres of land at Mirpur, just east of the Zoo for the purpose of botanical education, research, preservation of plant and recreation.

National Park : Situated in Rajendrapur, 40 km north of Dhaka, within Joydevpur Upazilla in the magnificent Bhawal region on Dhaka - Trishal - Mymensingh highway, this is a vast (1,600 acres) national recreational forest, ideal for those who love nature.

National Memorial :

"Jatyo Sritee Shoudhow" - The National Memorial

Located in Savar, in the suburb of Dhaka city is the National Memorial. It was built to commemorate the martyrs of the war of independence. Jahangir Nagar University and its sprawling campus is also locted nearby. An attractive village bazaar (hut) is held at Savar very Saturday and Tuesday where typical Bangladeshi sweets, vegetables, fish, seasonal fruits and handicrafts are available.

Institute of Arts and Crafts : Situated in the picturesque surroundings of Shahbagh, the Institute of Arts and Crafts has a representative collection of folk art and paintings by artists of Bangladesh.

Sonargaon : About 29 km. from Dhaka, Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From then onwards till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was a subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal. Among the ancient monuments still intact, are the tomb of Sultan Ghiasuddin (1399 - 1409 A.D.), the shrines of Panjpirs and Shah Abdul Alla and a beautiful mosque in Goaldi village. A Folk Art and Crafts Museum has also been established in Sonargaon.

Picnic Spots : There are good picnic spots in the area around Savar and Mirzapur. Other beauty spots connected by road with Dhaka include Joydebpur, Sripur, Modhupur, Rajendrapur National Park, Chandra and Salna, all of which have rest houses that can be used by tourists on request to the Forest Department. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation owns two picnic spots with Bungalows at Chandra and Salna which can also be hired by tourists.

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Clubs & Entertainment

A Bengali Classical Dancer in action

Name Address Facilities Telephone Notes
Dhaka Club Ramna, Dhaka Accommodation, Restaurant & Bar, Swimming Pool
Indoor Games, Tennis and Squash
502165-6 Opened in 1851
Golf Club Kurmitola, Dhaka Golf, Restaurant & Bar 604592 Temporary membership available for tourists
Australian Club Rd. 83. Gulshan Swimming, Tennis, Squash and Volleyball 600091-5 Membership open to all Australians and New Zealanders
American Club Gulshan Swimming, Tennis, Squash, Volleyball, Basketbal and Restaurant 602111
602643
Membership open to all Americans
and their families
Swedish Club Rd. 47, Gulshan Swimming, Squash, Tennis 601043 Open to all Swedes and their guests
Netherlands Recreation Centre Rd. 71, Gulshan Swimming, Tennis and Restaurant 602039 Members must be Dutch
Scottish Dancing American International School foyer 606258 Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, 8-10pm
Dhaka Chorus American International School Singing and music 606258 Mondays at 8pm

"Ektara" or a single stringed musical instrument is an integral part of folk music.

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Shopping in Dhaka

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Guided Tours & Accommodation

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation runs conducted sight-seeing tours from its Tourist Information Centre at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. The duration oF the Dhaka Ciry tours is about three hours. The Corporation operates a number of other interesting sight-seeing tours around the Dhaka City. For the transit passengers, the Corporation also runs special city sight-seeing tours from the Tourist Information Centre at Zia International Airport, the prime gateway to Bangladesh.

In addition, the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation also offers attractive river cruising facilities specially during tourist season at reasonable rates.

For details please contact: Manager (Tours), Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, 233 Airport Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215, Phone 325155-59. Telex 642206 TOUR BJ.

There are a number hotels ranging from world class five star accommodation down to unranked guest houses to suit the business traveller as well as the adventurous backpacker.

Here is a brief list :

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Last, but not least, I present you the bemused "thola"
yes, he's our equivalent of the "cop" (US) or the "pig" (UK)


Photographs by:Shabbir A. Bashar and BPC.



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