Dhaka

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Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. It is also the second largest city (after Kolkata) in the historical region of Bengal (today's West Bengal and Bangladesh) and and the 8th largest city in the world. Dhaka, located on the banks of the Buriganga River, is the financial, political, cultural and commercial centre of the country. It is comparable to other South Asian cities, such as Mumbai and Karachi. Locals call it: City of Mosques. Dhaka is also known as "Rickshaw Capital of the World" as over 400,000 cycle rickshaws running on the Dhaka streets every day. It is comparable to other Asian cities such as Mumbai, Karachi or Colombo to which the city share many similarities (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Dhaka

Religious sites

  • Chawk Mosque (also Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is located in the Chowk Bazaar area of the old town of Dhaka, south of the current city centre.[1] The mosque is built above a raised platform. The three domed mosque above the platform, now transformed into a multi-storied structure was originally a copy of Shaista Khan's another three domed mosque at the Mitford Hospital compound near the Buriganga River. Today the original building design has been lost through multiple renovations and extensions.
  • Shahbaz Khan Mosque - A merchant of prince of Dhaka who built the mosque as well as his own Dargah Sharif during his lifetime in - 1086 (h).It is an Islamic architecture. Now its present condition is good. Shahbaz Khan Mosque situated in the old high court area. In 1950 the Eastern circle of the Pakistan Directorate of Archaeology took over both the Haji khwaja Shahbaj Masjid, and the adjacent square mazart. Shah baz khan built mazar,post. This mosque and tomb, constructed in 1679 by Haji khwaja Shahbaz, a rich merchant of Dhaka, remains the city’s most refined mosque.
  • Star Mosque (Bengali: তারা মসজিদ; also known as Tara Masjid), is a mosque located in Armanitola area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The mosque has ornate designs and is decorated with motifs of blue stars. It was built in the first half of the 19th century by Mirza Golam Pir (Mirza Ahmed Jan).
  • The Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque on Lalbagh road is situated less than half a kilometre west of the Lalbagh Fort. Two Persian inscriptions, one over the central archway and the other over the central Mihrab, speak of its construction during 1704–05 AD by one Khan Muhammad Mridha. The large platform is 38.10 m from north to south and 28.96 m from east to west. Its height is about 5.18 m from the ground level. Underneath the platform are vaulted rooms on all sides except the eastern side. In the eastern side, there is a stairway which ends with a gateway aligning the central doorway of the mosque proper. It is through this gateway that one can reach the top of the platform.
  • Baitul Mukarram (Arabic: بيت المكرّم‎; Bengali: বায়তুল মুকাররম; The Holy House) is the national mosque of Bangladesh.[1] Located at the centre of Dhaka, the mosque was completed in 1968.[2] The mosque has a capacity of 30,000, making the 10th largest mosque in the world. However the mosque is constantly getting overcrowded. This especially occurs during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which has resulted in the Bangladeshi government having to add extensions to the mosque, thus increasing the capacity to at least 40,000.
  • Binat Bibi Mosque is the earliest[1] surviving mosque in Dhaka built in 1454 by Bakht Binat, the daughter of Marhamat. It was during the rule of the Sultan of Bengal, Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (r. 1435–1459).[2] The mosque is located beside the Hayat Bepari's Bridge in Narinda area.
  • Sat Gambuj Mosque is located near the north-western outskirts of Dhaka in the Jafarbad area is the Sat Gambuj Mosque which illustrates a fine example of the provincial mughal style introduced in Bangladesh in the 17th Century. The mosque's most notable features are its seven bulbous domes crowning the roof and covering the main prayer hall. Probably erected by Governor Shaista Khan, the monument stands in a romantic setting on a buttressed 4.5 m high bank overlooking an extensive flood plain.
  • Kartalab Khan Mosque or Begum Bazar Mosque situated in the Begum Bazar area in old Dhaka, Bangladesh, was built by Nawab Diwan Murshid Quli Khan alias Kartalab Khan in 1701-04. It is located beside the modern Jail of the city. The mosque consists of a high valuated platform, a mosque with a Dochala annexe on the north upon the western half of the platform and a Baoli or stepped well to the east of the platform.Unlike the three-domed mosques at Lalbagh Fort and Atishkhana, that is, the Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque, it is roofed over by five Bulbous domes resting on octagonal drums. The whole mosque was once reconstructed by the Jamider of Dhaka, Mirza Golam Pir. In accordance to Murshid Quli Khan's wishes, he was buried under the entrance to this mosque.

Buildings

  • Ahsan Manzil (Bengali: আহসান মঞ্জিল) was the official residential palace and seat of the Dhaka Nawab Family. This magnificent building is situated at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga River in Bangladesh. The construction of this palace was started in the year 1859 and was completed in 1869. It is constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. To preserve the cultural and history of the area, the palace became the Bangladesh National Museum on 20 September 1992.
  • Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Parliament of Bangladesh, (Bengali: জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন Jatio Shôngshod Bhôbon) is the Jatiyo Sangshad or National Assembly of Bangladesh, located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the Bangladeshin capital of Dhaka. Designed by architect Louis Kahn, the complex, which accommodates all Bangladesh's seven parliaments, is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world, comprising 200 acres (800,000 m²)(Wikipedia)
  • Sonargaon (Bengali: সোনারগাঁও; also transcribed as Sunārgāon[1]) or Sunargaon or Suratân was the administrative center of medieval Muslim rulers of East Bengal. It became as the capital of Bengal during Isa Khan's ruling. The area falls under present-day Narayanganj District, Bangladesh. Today the name Sonargaon survives as Sonargaon Upazila in that district.(Wikipedia)
  • Lalbagh Fort is located on the banks of the Buriganga River on the outskirts of Dhaka, Lalbagh Fort offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Bangladesh. This magnificent, but unfinished, 17th century Mughal palace fortress consists of a series of structures surrounded by lush lawns and cultivated gardens, complete with a large collection of statues.(Banglapedia)

Monuments

  • Jatiyo Smriti Soudho (National Martyrs' Memorial), Savar, Dhaka District (35km north-west of the city.). The memorial was designed by architect Moinul Hossain, and is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation.
  • The Shaheed Minar (Bengali: শহীদ মিনার Shohid Minar lit. "Martyr Monument") is a national monument in Dhaka, Bangladesh, established to commemorate those killed during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations of 1952.

Parks

  • Ramna Park (Bengali: রমনা উদ্যান Rômna Uddan) is a large park and recreation area situated at the heart of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh from the Mughal period. This park is one of the most beautiful areas in Dhaka with lots of trees and a lake near its center.
  • Baldha Garden is an enriched botanical garden which spans 3.15 acres (1.27 ha) of land located at Wari in the old part of the city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It has a collection of 672 species of plants.[1] The Baldha Garden is now managed as a satellite unit of the National Botanical Garden by the Department of Forestry.
  • Hatirjheel Project includes three bridges have been built across the Hatirjheel Lake along with three viaducts along the peripheral road and four overpasses on the road. Each of them is more than 15 feet high.The 302-acre site stretches between Airport Road and Rampura along Tejgaon, Gulshan, Modhubagh, Moghbazar, Badda and Ulan. The facilities here also include a theatre, viewing deck, landscaping, and park furniture and a police box.
  • Chandrima Uddayan (Bengali: চন্দ্রিমা উদ্যান) is a medium sized park located at the heart of the city. The park is adjacent to the National Parliament Building of Bangladesh. The park was included in the primary design of National Parliament Building by famous Architect Louis I Kahn. It also has a lake named Crescent Lake which is popular to the locals for spending their evening times. A beautiful arched bridge connects both sides of the lake. The park also houses the mausoleum of Late President Ziaur Rahman.
  • Dhaka Zoo Dhaka Zoo, (Bengali: ঢাকা চিড়িয়াখানা) is located in the Mirpur are of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Established in 1974, the 186-acre (75 ha) Dhaka Zoo is the largest zoo in Bangladesh. It contains many native and non-native animals and wild life, and hosts about three million visitors each year.

The zoo is currently home to 2,150 animals from 134 species. The zoo exhibits 58 species of mammals, including elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, waterbucks, otters, hyenas, deer, giraffes, impala, black bears, tapirs, hippos, lions, many species of monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, and Bengal tigers. The aviaries at the zoo house more than 1500 birds representing 91 species, including peacocks, rhea, African gray parrots, cassowary, owls, ostrich, emus, teals, finches, babblers, owls, vultures, and eagles. The two lakes at the zoo also host migratory water birds each winter. Visitors can also see 13 species of reptiles including snakes and crocodiles, and 28 species of fish.

This is a great place for spending a day. You can also enjoy Elephant-back and Horse-back rides here.

Museums

There are a number of Museums in Dhaka and all are very close to the city center. Each of the museums displays exhibits on different areas. Most museums are open 5 or 6 days a week, weekly holiday(s) are usually Thursday and/or Friday. Admission in some of these museums are free and some charges up to Taka 10. These museums offers a wide array of interesting exhibits for the visitors.

Following is a list of notable museums in Dhaka:

  • Bangladesh National Museum, Shahbag. It is one of the largest museums in South Asia and offers vast collection of exhibits for the visitor which range in date from prehistory to the present time. The museum was established in 1913 as Dhaka Museum during the British period. It was later declared Bangladesh National Museum in 1983 and relocated to its current place in Shahbag. The goal of this museum is to collect, preserve, study & exhibit relics, artifacts, objects, specimens etc related to the history, culture & nature of Bangladesh. The museums has 7 departments namely: History & Classical Art, Ethnography & Decorative Art, Contemporary Art & World Civilization, Natural History, Conservation Laboratory, Public Education & Administration, Finance & Security. It also has an auditorium for organizing cultural events. The museum has about 85,000 exhibits for display. Bangladesh National Museum is open on Saturday to Wednesday from 10:30 to 17:30 and on Friday from 15:00 to 20:00; Thursday is weekly holiday. Entry fee is Taka 10 for Bangladeshi citizens & citizens of SAARC countries. Entry fee for other foreign nationals is Taka 10. Admission is free for disable person & children under three years.
  • Ahsan Manzil Museum.
  • Liberation War Museum.
  • National Museum of Science and Technology.
  • Bangladesh Military Museum.
  • Bangladesh Postal Museum.
  • Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.
  • Bijoyketon Museum.
  • Bangabandhu Memorial Museum
  • Postal Museum
  • Bijoyketon Museum

Bangladesh National Museum

Curzon Hall

Bangabandhu National Stadium

Ahsan Manzil

Baitul Mukarram

Shaheed Minar

1857 Memorial

Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban

Bashundhara City Mall

Suhrawardy Udyan

Old High Court Building

Lalbagh Fort (Fort Aurangabad)

Star Mosque

Khan Mohammead Mridha Mosque

St. Mary\'s Cathedral

Katabon Mosque

Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium

Holy Rosary Church

Nakhalpara Sapra Mosque

Banga Bhaban

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Popular events in Dhaka in the near future

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About Dhaka

History

The existence of a settlement in the area that is now Dhaka dates from the 7th century. The area was ruled by the Buddhist kingdom of Kamarupa and the Pala Empire before passing to the control of the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 9th century. The Islamic Mughal Empire soon seized control of the city and turned it into a center of trade and governance. In the years of their vigorous rule, the successive governors and princely viceroys who ruled the province adorned it with many noble monuments, mosques, tombs, fortifications and 'Katras', often surrounded with beautifully laid out gardens and pavilions. The city passed through another phase under the rule of the British, until it became the seat of the eastern division of Pakistan after Indian partitioning. The Liberation War of 1971 gave Bangladesh its independence and Dhaka was declared the country's capital.

Since then, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is the country's centre of industrial, commercial, cultural, educational and political activity. The gap between rich and poor is widening throughout the country, but it's at its most glaringly obvious here. Depending on where you start from, a thirty minute rickshaw ride can take you from impossibly crowded shantytowns near Old Dhaka to the glitzy high-class neighbourhoods of Gulshan and Banani where a meal costs more than most people earn in a week.

Motijheel is the main commercial area of the city. Dhaka's main waterfront, Sadarghat, is on the banks of the river Buriganga in Old Dhaka and is crowded with various ferries, yachts, paddle steamers, fisherman's boats and floating dhabas all bustling with activity.

Climate

The weather is subtropical - hot and very humid during the summer monsoon season (April–September) and drier and cooler in the winter (October–March). Visitors from colder countries might want to visit in the winter when temperatures are around 20C and humidity is low (around 60-70%).

Activities

Visit the following famous places in Dhaka:

Ahsan Manzil (Bengali: আহসান মঞ্জিল) was the official residential palace and seat of the Dhaka Nawab Family. This magnificent building is situated at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga River in Bangladesh. The construction of this palace was started in the year 1859 and was completed in 1869. It is constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. To preserve the cultural and history of the area, the palace became the Bangladesh National Museum on 20 September 1992.(Wikipedia)

Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Parliament of Bangladesh, (Bengali: জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন Jatio Shôngshod Bhôbon) is the Jatiyo Sangshad or National Assembly of Bangladesh, located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the Bangladeshin capital of Dhaka. Designed by architect Louis Kahn, the complex, which accommodates all Bangladesh's seven parliaments, is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world, comprising 200 acres (800,000 m²)(Wikipedia)

Sonargaon (Bengali: সোনারগাঁও; also transcribed as Sunārgāon[1]) or Sunargaon or Suratân was the administrative center of medieval Muslim rulers of East Bengal. It became as the capital of Bengal during Isa Khan's ruling. The area falls under present-day Narayanganj District, Bangladesh. Today the name Sonargaon survives as Sonargaon Upazila in that district.(Wikipedia)

Lalbagh Fort is located on the banks of the Buriganga River on the outskirts of Dhaka, Lalbagh Fort offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Bangladesh. This magnificent, but unfinished, 17th century Mughal palace fortress consists of a series of structures surrounded by lush lawns and cultivated gardens, complete with a large collection of statues.(Banglapedia)

Amusement Parks

There are a number of amusement parks for children as well as elders in and around Dhaka City.

  • Shahbag Shishu Park
  • Shaymoli Shishu Mela
  • Fantacy Kingdom
  • Nandan Park
  • Novo Theatre (Planetarium)

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre is a planetarium located on Bijoy Sarani Avenue of Tejgaon area in Dhaka. The theater opened to public on 25 September 2004. Built on 5.46 acres of land, its spaces range in size from its 21-meter dome, seating 275 people; to three-meter inflatable and portable domes where people sit on the floor. The Planetarium dome simulates Earth and its cool blue sky. This dome-shaped theater was built with the latest equipment, enabling visitors to soar into space as well as experience the thrills of an interplanetary journey in a three-dimensional environment. The curved ceiling represents the sky and shows moving images of planets and stars through projection onto a large-screen dome at an angle of 120 degrees.

This planetarium features three kinds of exhibits. They Journey to Infinity presents a celestial show of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies in virtual reality. The ai amader Bangladesh features Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman`s 7 March lecture, while The Grand Canyon describes North America`s settlement clan, Garikhad, which existed in The Grand Canyon four thousand years ago. The planetarium also has a 30 seated Space Ride Simulator.

The Planetarium is open on Thursday to Tuesday - 6 days a week; Wednesday is weekly holiday. Shows starts from 10:30 to 16:30 on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and from 10:00 to 18:30 on Friday. Ticket price is 50 Taka per ticket for the Planetarium and Taka 20 for Ride Simulator.

Food

Dhaka has an enormous variety of food catering to all budgets. Old Dhaka is overflowing with cheap Bangladeshi food where a meal can be had from Tk 50 ($0.70), while in the upscale neighborhoods like Gulshan and Banani you can find just about any type of cuisine you can imagine - Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, and franchises such as Pizza Hut, KFC are abundant - at prices that the majority can't afford. Reservations are usually not required in most restaurants. A lot of the Buffet-style restaurants in this neighborhood have Taka: 250 to 400, fixed price menu.

Local sweets (misti/mishti) like rasogollah and golap jam/pantuya/ledikeni are excellent. To the uninitiated these are bite-sized soft milk curd balls dipped (drenched) in syrup, coming in white and red varieties. Shops throughout the town (and especially near Gulshan) sell imported condiments from the U.S., Dubai and Malaysia at a premium. Imported chocolate is especially expensive - and usually not in the best condition as it gets melted and re-solidified daily in the tropical heat. Fresh is better.

Be careful when buying food from street vendors as health and hygiene standards are not always top notch. Unlike Bangkok—street food in Dhaka is only for locals. Foreigners should stick to larger, organized (and unfortunately a little expensive) food outlets.

Drinks

There is a party network between the different expat clubs (Dutch Club, Canadian Club, Nordic Club, International Club, American Club, etc.) and some Bangladeshi clubs (Heritage, Privilege, etc.). These clubs usually require membership to enter, or befriend a member and have them sign you in. From there, you can purchase a book of tickets or a cash card and then use it to order your drinks.

Although alcohol is most easily available at the international clubs and top hotels, there are quite a few local places to find a drink for the enterprising traveller. Local bars are to be found in most neighbourhoods but can be difficult to locate due to lack of advertising. Popular brands of beer (Heineken, Carlsberg, Tuborg, Foster's etc.) and major types of spirits are available at these places, and at much lower prices than at hotel bars.

You can try:

  • La Diplomat at Road 20, House number 7, near Gulshan 1. Don't expect to be rubbing shoulders with any French ambassadors, however.
  • The Dip, like most other Bengali bars, is a smoke-filled darkened room where many of its patrons would rather not be recognized too easily. Definitely an experience, nonetheless. Beers cost upwards of Tk 150 and "tots," which are single ounce servings of gin, vodka or whisky, are available from Tk 70 (local brands)-Tk 200. Female patrons may feel slightly uncomfortable.

There is a duty paid shop in Mohakhali (the name of the company is H. Kabir & Co., Ltd.) which is only permitted to sell alcohol to passport-bearing foreigners or their drivers who bring their passports in when they purchase. The address is 12 Abbas Garden, New Airport Road, phone +88 2988 1936-9. Their stated opening hours are from 09:30 - 16:30, and closed on Fridays and Saturdays. To get there you need to go towards the flyover as if you were going to Banani, but instead of going on to the flyover, you take the second left after it begins. You will see a small sign labelled "Abbas Garden." Turn left and tell your transport to wait while you purchase.

  •    North End Coffee, Kha-47-1 Pragati Sarani, Shahzadpur, North Badda (Around the corner from US Embassy, across from Cambrian College and above the DBBL ATM),  01741055597. Seven days 8am-9pm, except Tuesday closed and Friday 14:00 to 21:00. Definitely the best coffee in Dhaka. With foreign ownership, an onsite roasting machine and big huge sacks of coffee in the back, this is definitely the place to get your caffeine fix. Prices reasonable. No meals yet, just muffins and brownies. cappuccino Tk125.

Shopping

If you go shopping ready to bargain then there are certainly bargains to be had among the bazars and markets of Dhaka. To get a feel for what things should cost in the local markets check prices in the western-style fixed price shops and then deduct 10%. If you prefer hassle free shopping then head to Bashundhara City, a huge shopping centre with more modern shops and other ameniteis you would expect to find in a mall.

  • Garment seconds, Banga Bazar and Pallwell Market (BB: Gulistan area, just West of Motijheel); PM: Purana Paltan area (just beside Jonaki Cinema Hall). Many items only have minor defects, but do not meet export requirements.
  • Aarong. A well known chain with several outlets around Dhaka and one in London. It is owned by BRAC (the largest Development Organisation in the world) and sells handicrafts and clothing at moderately high prices.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Dhaka on Wikivoyage.

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