Capital City Dhaka
Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital lies on the bank of Burigonga River. The cultural and economical center of the country, the city grew under the rule of mogul emperors of the 17th Century and the British Raj of the 19th century. Today it is known as both the city of Mosque & Rickshaw capital of the world, due in no small part to the nearly half million rickshaws that play the city’s street every day. We can’t guarantee you’ll fall for Dhaka’s many charms, but sooner or later you will start to move to its beat and when that happens Dhaka stops being a terrifying ride and starts to become a unique blend of art and intellect, passion and poverty, love and hate.
Top Things to do in Dhaka
Sadarghat River Port
Sadarghat water font is the largest active river port in Southeast Asia. Nearly fifty thousand people everyday use this port for transportation and trading became the main attraction of Dhaka City. According to the different source, during Sena dynasty people started to travel Dhaka via this port and after the mogul conquer Dhaka, it became so important for transporting as well as British kingdom. Now at Present, more than 100 big boat everyday afternnon travel from Dhaka to different parts destination in south like Barisal, Barguna, Chandpur etc. the famous rocket steamer also leave the port every day afternoon towards Moralgonj. The ideal time to visit Sadarghat water
For tourist, the ideal team to visit is in the early morning or in afternoon when it become most busy. You will find hundreds of wooden rowing boat crossing the river. Taking a ideal boat tour offer a unique photography experience of visiting Sadarghat.
SIGHTS / CASTLES, PALACES & MANSIONS
Dating from 1872, the must-see Ahsan Manzil, aka the Pink Palace, was built on the site of an old French factory by Nawab Abdul Ghani, the city’s wealthiest zamindar (landowner). Some 16 years after the palace’s construction, it was damaged by a tornado. It was altered during restoration, becoming even grander than before. Lord Curzon stayed here whenever he came to visit. After the death of the nawab and his son, the family fortune was dispersed and the palace eventually fell into disrepair. It was saved from oblivion by massive restoration in the late 1980s, aided by photos of each of the 23 rooms, taken during the high point of the palace’s history. The photos are still on display, as are various family portraits and the skull of Nawab Abdul Ghanis’s favourite elephant, Feroz Jung.
National Assembly Building
SIGHTS / ARCHITECTURE
In 1963 the Pakistanis commissioned Louis Kahn, a world-renowned American architect, to design a regional capitol for East Pakistan. Due to the liberation movement and ensuing war, the National Assembly Building wasn’t completed until 1982. The building often features in books on modern architecture, and is regarded as among Kahn’s finest works. It’s a huge assembly of concrete cylinders and rectangular boxes, sliced open with bold, multi-storey circular and triangular apertures instead of windows.
You can enter the building only on a pre-arranged four-hour guided tour , which you must book in advance. You can pick up a booking form at the front gate, or download it from the parliament website (www.parliament.gov.bd). You also need to bring two copies of your passport and visa.
SIGHTS / ARCHITECTURE
This dilapidated Mughal-era structure is about the oldest building in Dhaka, and searching for it among the high-walled, pinched alleyways of this part of the city is a highlight of a wander around Old Dhaka. Bara Katra , once a palace of monumental dimensions, was built in 1644 and now has a street running through its arched entrance (which houses a cool little tea stand). While only a small portion of the original structure remains standing, the building is still occupied, used mostly as storerooms (ask to peek inside), and there’s a small prayer room on top.
To find Bara Katra, walk west along Water Works Rd, then turn left down the alley beside a blue-and-white, mosaic-tiled mosque.
SIGHTS / ARCHITECTURE
This dilapidated Mughal-era structure is about the oldest building in Dhaka, and searching for it among the high-walled, pinched alleyways of this part of the city is a highlight of a wander around Old Dhaka. Chota Katra, which dates from 1663, was a caravanserai for visiting merchants. It was similar in design to Bara Katra, but there’s not much left, save the archways at either end, which now house small shops in their recesses.
SIGHTS / MILITARY
The half-completed Lalbagh Fort and its well-tended gardens are an excuse to escape Old Dhaka’s hustle and bustle for an hour or so. Unlike the Sadarghat area, which is full of raw energy, the fort is a slightly melancholic step back into the misty Mughal past of emperors and princesses. It’s particularly atmospheric in the early morning light.Construction began in 1677 under the direction of Prince Mohammed Azam, the third son of Emperor Aurangzeb, although he handed it to Shaista Khan for completion. However, the death of Khan’s daughter, Pari Bibi (Fair Lady), was considered such a bad omen that the fort was never completed. Three architectural monuments within the complex were finished, though: the Mausoleum of Pari Bibi (in front of you as you enter), the Diwan, or Hall of Audience (to your left) and the three-domed Quilla Mosque (to your right) all date from 1684.The only monument you can enter is the Diwan, an elegant two-storey structure containing a small but excellent museum of Mughal miniature paintings, coins, carpets and calligraphy, along with swords and firearms. In the same building, a massive arched doorway leads to the hammam (bath house). Outside is a huge disused bathing tank.The Mausoleum of Pari Bibi is unusual because of its materials of construction: black basalt, white marble and encaustic tiles of various colours have been used to decorate its interior, while the central chamber, where Pari Bibi is buried, is entirely veneered in white marble.About 500m past the entrance to the fort, Khan Mohammed Mirdha’s Mosque dates from 1706 and is worth a peek, while to the north of the fort is Dhakeswari Temple , the city’s main Hindu Temple, and always a lively, colourful affair.
SIGHTS / MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
The excellent National Museum, sprawling over several floors, begins with the geological formation of Bangladesh, whisks you through a rundown of the nation’s flora and fauna, saunters through a Buddhist and Hindu past, and brings you up to date with the War of Liberation and the creation of the modern state. Opens and closes an hour later from April to September.
SIGHTS / NEIGHBOURHOODS & VILLAGES
A crash of drums, a cloud of incense and a bursting paintbox of colours signal a welcome to so-called Hindu Street . Lined on either side with old houses, garlands of lurid orange marigolds, and dark doorways leading to matchbox-sized shops and workshops, this can be an extremely photogenic part of Old Dhaka, as the shankharis (Hindu artisans) , whose ancestors came here over 300 years ago, busy themselves creating kites, gravestones, wedding hats, and bangles carved out of conch shells. Particularly flamboyant during Hindu festivals, but colourful year round.
Ornamental Star Mosque
This unusual mosque, with its striking mosaic decoration, dates from the early 18th century, although it has been radically altered. It was originally built in the typical Mughal style, with four corner towers. Around 50 years ago a local businessman financed its redecoration with Japanese and English china tiles, and the addition of a new veranda. If you look hard you can see tiles illustrated with pictures of Mt Fuji!
Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection
This small area is known as Armanitola, and is named after the Armenian colony that settled here in the late 17th century. The white- and lemon-painted Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection, dating from 1781, is the soul of this now almost extinct community, and is a tranquil spot. Mr Martin (731 6953), the caretaker who lives in a house within the grounds, has done much to restore the church, and delights in giving personal tours. In any case, you’ll need him to let you in as the gates are always locked.
A block north of the central jail is Hussaini Dalan, looking more like a Hindu rajbari (landowner’s palace) than an Islamic building. It was built in 1642 as the house of the imam of the Shi’ia community. Though the architecture seems baroque in inspiration, the original building was purely Mughal. It changed somewhat with restorations after the 1897 earthquake, when the roof collapsed. You can see a silver filigree model of the original building in the National Museum.
Introducing Sonargaon (Old Capital)
Sonargaon, or Golden City, was the eastern capital of Bengal at various times in history. It slipped into decline when Muslim rulers decided to move their capital to Dhaka in the 17th century, and is now little more than a couple of villages with a scattering of ruins. It makes an excellent day drip from Dhaka, though, combining countryside, culture, archaeology and adventure in one easily accessible bundle.Very little remains of the original city – a couple of mosques and some indistinguishable mounds of earth, most of which are found around the small village of Mograpara to the west of the main highway. What most people now visit for is Painam Nagar, a charmingly decaying street of dilapidated mansions built by wealthy Hindu merchants just over a century ago, and Sadarbari, a beautifully restored rajbari (Raj-era palace) with a gorgeous pondside setting and an interesting folk-art museum.
Lost city – Panam
Panam city was built by the upper-middle class Bengali businessmen, mainly Hindu cloth merchants, in the 19th century. It was built in the once capital of Bangladesh – Sonargaon. This city is now in ruins.In the last of 19th century, Panam city was built in Sonargaon. That time, business of cotton and other cloths were developed based on the Panam city. That time, Sonargaon got it heritage back a little. In the first part of the 20th century, some rich Hindu businessmen started to live permanently in the city. The still remaining ruins of the buildings were the residence of those businessmen. In those days, no city at the east Bengal was near as wealthy as Panam.All the buildings in the city was built facing a single road, which is 5 miter long and 600 miter wide. In the city still remains 52 buildings. The whole city is surrounded with artificial canals. These canals was dug to protect the city from any outside attack. There was only one bridge to enter the city in the west side. Back of every building is a pond. These ponds was used for household works.After the 1965 war of India-Pakistan, Hindu businessmen started to leave, and the city was deserted. World monument fund listed Panam city in the World 100 ruined city in 2006.Dhaka is more than just a city; it’s a giant whirlpool that sucks in anything and anyone that comes within its furious grasp. Around and around it sends them, like some wildly spinning fairground ride bursting with energy. Millions of individual pursuits constantly churn together into a frenzy of collective activity – an urban melting pot forever bubbling over.Dhaka is a city in perpetual motion and the glorious chaos is perhaps best viewed from the back of one of the city’s half-a-million fabulously colourful cycle-rickshaws, which fight for space on the city’s overcrowded streets with taxis, buses, auto-rickshaws and even horse-drawn carriages.We can’t guarantee you’ll fall for Dhaka’s many charms, but sooner or later you will start to move to its beat and when that happens Dhaka stops being a terrifying ride and starts to become a unique blend of art and intellect, passion and poverty, love and hate.Among all the large ships are the tiny wooden ones that you can hire. These are available almost everywhere along the waterfront, though most people hire them from around Sadarghat boat terminal . An increasing number of foreigners in Dhaka are starting to hire boats out, so things are becoming more organized and most boatmen will know what you want to do (a lack of a common language isn’t much of a hindrance). It does however mean that prices are starting to rise and touts are beginning to come to life. The standard rate is Tk 100 per hour but many boatmen will push for a higher price.