List of Places to Visit in Dhaka|Exploring Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh, located in South Asia. It is the largest city in the country and serves as its economic, cultural, and political center. With a population of over 20 million people, Dhaka is one of the most densely populated cities in the world
The city has a rich history, dating back over 400 years, with influences from various empires and cultures, including Mughal, British, and Islamic. Dhaka is known for its mix of modern and traditional architecture, bustling markets, and vibrant street life.
As a major hub of commerce, industry, and education, Dhaka plays a crucial role in Bangladesh’s economic growth. The city is characterized by its chaotic traffic, vibrant rickshaw culture, and a diverse range of cuisines, making it a paradise for food lovers.
However, Dhaka also faces challenges such as overpopulation, traffic congestion, and pollution. The government and various organizations are continuously working to address these issues and improve the city’s infrastructure and living conditions.
Despite its challenges, Dhaka is a city of contrasts, where modern skyscrapers stand alongside historic monuments and traditional markets. It offers a fascinating blend of cultural experiences, historical landmarks, and a glimpse into the daily lives of its friendly and hospitable residents.
Explore Like Unique Traveller in Dhaka
As an intrepid traveler with a passion for off-the-beaten-path experiences, you arrive in Dhaka with an open mind and a sense of curiosity. You decide to forego the usual tourist itineraries and opt for a more authentic and immersive exploration of this bustling city.
Your adventure begins early in the morning, as you step out of your accommodation and head straight to a nearby tea stall. Joining the locals sipping steaming cups of cha (tea) and indulging in crispy parathas, you strike up a conversation with a friendly local. They enthusiastically share their favorite hidden gems in Dhaka and draw you a hand-drawn map to navigate the narrow alleys of the old town.
Following the local’s recommendations, you wander into the heart of Old Dhaka, a maze of centuries-old buildings, colorful rickshaws, and vibrant markets. You stroll through the narrow streets, absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells that define the city’s unique character. Every now and then, you stop to interact with the friendly shopkeepers and artisans, who happily explain the history behind their craft or trade.
With the sun gradually climbing higher in the sky, you make your way to a hidden courtyard where an old haveli (traditional mansion) stands. Now a cultural center, it hosts live music performances and traditional dance shows. The sounds of the sitar and tabla resonate in the air as you sit among the locals, completely captivated by the cultural performance.
As lunchtime approaches, you follow your nose to a nondescript roadside eatery, known for serving the most authentic biryani in Dhaka. You share a table with locals, savoring the fragrant and flavorful rice dish, learning about its significance in Bangladeshi cuisine. The warmth and camaraderie at the table make you feel like a part of the community.
In the afternoon, you decide to visit the bustling river port of Sadarghat, where hundreds of wooden boats and ferries ply the Buriganga River. With the help of a friendly boatman, you board a traditional wooden boat to experience the river’s pulse. The boat takes you to the nearby islands, where you witness the daily life of fishermen, boat builders, and river-dwelling families.
As the sun begins to set, you head to a rooftop café with panoramic views of Dhaka’s skyline. It’s the perfect spot to relax, sip on a fresh fruit juice, and watch the city transform from day to night. The city’s lights flicker like stars, and the rhythmic hum of traffic adds to the symphony of Dhaka’s urban life.
You decide to end your unique exploration of Dhaka with an unexpected twist – an impromptu visit to a local theater for a traditional jatra performance. The lively and colorful play, filled with music, dance, and satire, enthralls you and provides a glimpse into the heart of Bangladeshi culture.
As the day comes to a close, you realize that by stepping away from the typical tourist attractions, you have truly experienced the soul of Dhaka. Your unique exploration has given you an intimate connection with the city, its people, and its way of life. With a heart full of memories, you look forward to more adventures in this enchanting city and beyond.
Exploring Puran Dhaka (Old Dhaka)
Exploring Puran Dhaka, also known as Old Dhaka, is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of Bangladesh. This area of the city is a maze of narrow streets, bustling markets, and centuries-old buildings that reflect the charm of bygone eras. Here’s what you can expect when exploring Puran Dhaka:
As you approach the heart of Old Dhaka, you’ll notice the transition from the modern cityscape to the timeless ambiance of this historic quarter. The chaotic traffic gives way to rickshaw-filled lanes, where these colorful, hand-pulled vehicles serve as the primary mode of transport.
Wandering through the labyrinthine streets, you encounter majestic havelis (traditional mansions) with intricately carved wooden facades and charming courtyards. Many of these grand structures once belonged to affluent merchants and aristocrats during the Mughal and British periods. Some have now been transformed into museums, cultural centers, or boutique hotels, providing a glimpse into the city’s aristocratic past.
As you continue your journey, the aroma of various spices and street food fills the air. Old Dhaka is famous for its culinary delights, and food plays a significant role in the local culture. You’ll find numerous street vendors selling traditional dishes like biryani, kebabs, samosas, and sweets like rasgulla and sandesh. Don’t miss the chance to try the iconic local dessert, firni, served in small clay pots.
The star attraction of Puran Dhaka is the historic Sadarghat river port, one of the busiest and oldest river ports in Bangladesh. This bustling hub is the gateway to the Buriganga River, where numerous wooden boats and ferries transport goods and passengers. Watching the vibrant river life here is a captivating experience, as boats of all sizes come and go, carrying cargoes and people to different destinations.
Puran Dhaka is also home to various religious landmarks. You can visit the Armenian Church, a testament to the Armenian community’s presence in Dhaka during the 17th century. The Star Mosque, with its stunning blue star motifs on the walls and domes, is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture blended with local influences.
One of the highlights of exploring Puran Dhaka is the Shankhari Bazar, a unique street dedicated to traditional metalworking and craftsmen. Here, you can witness skilled artisans meticulously crafting copper, brass, and silverware, continuing age-old traditions passed down through generations.
Another must-see in Old Dhaka is Lalbagh Fort, a 17th-century Mughal fort with beautiful gardens and historic structures. The fort offers a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city and provides a glimpse into Bangladesh’s architectural heritage.
To truly appreciate the essence of Puran Dhaka, consider engaging with the locals. Strike up conversations with shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers, and residents, who are often friendly and eager to share stories about their neighborhood and its history.
Exploring Puran Dhaka is a journey back in time, where the fusion of cultures, traditions, and historical landmarks creates a unique tapestry of experiences. It’s an opportunity to witness the living history of Bangladesh and immerse yourself in the authentic charm of this enchanting part of Dhaka.
List of Places to Visit in Dhaka
Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a rich cultural heritage. Here are some popular places to visit in Dhaka:
Lalbagh Fort, also known as Lalbagh Kella, is one of the most significant historical sites in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Situated along the banks of the Buriganga River, the fort stands as a testament to the Mughal architectural brilliance and the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Built in the 17th century by Prince Muhammad Azam, the third son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the construction of the fort began in 1678 but remained unfinished due to unforeseen circumstances. As a result, the fort is also known as the “Fort of the Unfinished Mystery.”
Approaching the fort, you’re greeted by its massive and majestic main gate, adorned with ornate Mughal motifs and calligraphy. As you step inside, the grandeur of the fort starts to unfold. The vast courtyard, surrounded by high walls and several historical structures, exudes a sense of ancient grandeur.
One of the notable buildings within the fort complex is the Diwan-i-Aam, also known as the Hall of Public Audience. This spacious hall with its massive pillars was intended to serve as a place where the Mughal prince would hold public gatherings and receive visitors. The hall’s elevated platform, intricately designed archways, and decorative plasterwork on the walls are awe-inspiring reminders of the Mughal architectural style.
Nearby, the tomb of Pari Bibi, a beloved daughter of the fort’s builder, lies quietly. The tomb features beautiful terracotta artwork, showcasing delicate floral patterns and geometric designs that were prevalent during the Mughal era.
Beyond the tomb, the highlight of exploring Lalbagh Fort is the central building known as the Mausoleum of Nawab Shaista Khan. Shaista Khan was the Mughal Subahdar (governor) of Bengal during the time of the fort’s construction. The tomb’s design is an exquisite example of the fusion of Mughal and Persian architectural elements, with its marble flooring, intricate marble carvings, and a large dome that stands as a symbol of power and elegance.
As you stroll through the lush gardens surrounding the structures, you can sense the tranquility and historical significance of the place. The greenery and well-maintained pathways provide a serene ambiance, offering an escape from the bustling city just beyond the fort’s walls.
Throughout your exploration, you’ll find local visitors and tourists alike, captivated by the history and architectural splendor of Lalbagh Fort. The fort is not only a favored destination for history enthusiasts and architecture lovers but also a cherished spot for photography and cultural events.
The significance of Lalbagh Fort goes beyond its physical beauty; it holds a wealth of stories and historical events within its walls. It serves as a living heritage, connecting the present-day Dhaka to its illustrious past under the Mughal rule, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in delving into Bangladesh’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace)
Exploring Ahsan Manzil, popularly known as the Pink Palace, is like stepping into a regal past and experiencing the opulence and grandeur of the Nawabs of Dhaka. Situated on the banks of the Buriganga River, this magnificent palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and a prominent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.
The history of Ahsan Manzil dates back to the late 19th century when it was built by Nawab Abdul Ghani, who was a wealthy landowner and a senior official in the Nawab family. The construction of the palace was completed in 1872, and it served as the official residence of the Nawab family.
As you approach the Pink Palace, its distinctive pink hue becomes apparent, setting it apart from the surrounding buildings. The structure is a captivating blend of Mughal and European architectural styles, featuring striking arches, intricate carvings, and elegant domes. The use of pink color earned it the nickname “Pink Palace” and further enhances its charm.
Entering through the grand gate, you find yourself in the sprawling courtyard, which once hosted lavish gatherings, ceremonies, and celebrations. The palace’s unique horseshoe-shaped architecture surrounds the courtyard, with a central dome accentuating the main building’s beauty.
Inside the Pink Palace, each room is a testament to the rich history and lifestyle of the Nawabs of Dhaka. The meticulously preserved interiors boast elaborately designed ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and finely crafted wooden furniture, all providing a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Nawab family.
The most notable feature of Ahsan Manzil is the large Durbar Hall, where the Nawabs held formal meetings and entertained distinguished guests. The hall’s grandeur is awe-inspiring, with its lofty ceilings, arched windows, and intricate glasswork.
While exploring the palace, you come across an intriguing museum that houses a remarkable collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the Nawab era. The museum showcases historical paintings, photographs, antique furniture, and other relics that offer a deeper understanding of the city’s past.
As you wander through the corridors and rooms, you can almost imagine the grandeur of the bygone days when the palace bustled with life and political intrigue. The serenity of the palace grounds and the picturesque view of the Buriganga River add to the overall enchantment of the experience.
From the rooftop terrace, you are treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the river and the surrounding areas. The refreshing breeze from the river complements the peaceful ambiance, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and contemplation.
Exploring Ahsan Manzil offers a journey back in time, where the charm and majesty of the Nawab era still linger. It is an opportunity to delve into the fascinating history and culture of Dhaka, providing an enriching experience for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking to connect with the city’s regal heritage.
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (National Parliament House)
Exploring Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, also known as the National Parliament House, is an architectural journey that leaves a lasting impression on visitors. Designed by the world-renowned architect Louis Kahn, this iconic building stands as a symbol of modernity and national pride in Bangladesh.
The Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban is located in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, a government administrative area in Dhaka. As you approach the complex, you’re greeted by the imposing sight of the parliament house, a striking blend of geometric shapes and raw concrete. Kahn’s design for the building is often regarded as a masterpiece of modern architecture, showcasing a harmonious union of form and function.
The building’s uniqueness lies in its distinctive appearance, featuring a series of interconnected geometric forms that create a dynamic and visually engaging composition. The main building is a massive circular structure, resembling the shape of a traditional Bengali hut or hut-shaped boat (shaped like a lotus petal). It stands as a central focal point and houses the main legislative chambers and offices.
As you enter the National Parliament House, you are immediately struck by the play of light and shadows created by the carefully designed openings and skylights. Kahn’s use of natural light and innovative architectural elements enhance the building’s interior aesthetics and create a serene atmosphere.
Inside, the grandeur of the legislative halls takes center stage. The Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban features a unique parliamentary chamber, with seats arranged in a circular formation, emphasizing equality among members. The domed ceiling above the chamber is adorned with a star-like pattern, symbolizing hope and unity.
Exploring the surrounding areas of the parliament house is equally captivating. The building is situated amidst a vast artificial lake, known as the Crescent Lake. The tranquil water surrounding the structure adds to the architectural beauty and provides a breathtaking reflection of the parliament building.
The open grounds and well-manicured lawns invite visitors to take a leisurely stroll, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can also find landscaped gardens, sculptures, and fountains scattered around the complex, creating a serene and inviting ambiance.
The Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban is not only an architectural marvel but also a significant symbol of Bangladesh’s political and democratic progress. As the seat of the country’s legislature, it represents the nation’s commitment to democracy and governance.
The building’s design and layout offer a sense of accessibility and transparency, allowing visitors to witness the democratic process from designated viewing areas during parliamentary sessions.
Exploring Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban provides an opportunity to appreciate the brilliance of Louis Kahn’s architectural vision and the ideals the building represents for Bangladesh. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply a curious traveler, this impressive landmark is a must-visit destination that embodies the spirit of a nation and its aspirations.
Dhakeshwari Temple is a journey into the heart of Hinduism and a glimpse into the rich historical and cultural heritage of Dhaka. As the oldest Hindu temple in the city, the temple holds immense religious and symbolic significance for the Hindu community in Bangladesh.
The Dhakeshwari Temple is located in the heart of Old Dhaka, in a peaceful and serene setting that contrasts with the bustling streets outside its premises. The temple’s origin dates back to the 12th century during the Sena dynasty, making it a witness to centuries of history and cultural transformations in the region.
Approaching the temple, you are greeted by an impressive gateway adorned with intricate carvings and statues, a prelude to the architectural grandeur that lies within. The temple complex is centered around the main sanctuary, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Dhakeshwari, an aspect of the divine mother Goddess Durga.
As you step inside the temple, the sacred atmosphere envelopes you, with the fragrance of incense, the soft chanting of prayers, and the flickering lamps creating a spiritual ambiance. The sanctum sanctorum houses a magnificent idol of the goddess adorned with colorful flowers and ornaments, captivating visitors with its divine aura.
The temple’s architecture is a blend of traditional Bengali temple style and influences from various historical periods, including the Mughal era. The intricate terracotta carvings on the temple walls narrate stories from Hindu mythology and depict scenes from epic tales like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
One of the temple’s most iconic features is the 18-armed, gold-plated wooden idol of Goddess Durga, a marvel of craftsmanship and devotion. This sacred idol is brought out for public worship during the annual Durga Puja festival, a vibrant and joyous celebration that attracts throngs of devotees and visitors from all over the country.
Beyond the main temple, the complex includes several other smaller shrines dedicated to different deities, adding to the spiritual significance and diversity of the site. Surrounding the temple, there are beautifully landscaped gardens and courtyards where devotees and visitors can sit in contemplation or participate in religious ceremonies.
The Dhakeshwari Temple is not just a place of worship but also a historical treasure that embodies the essence of Dhaka’s past. Throughout the centuries, the temple has survived various invasions and reconstructions, standing as a symbol of resilience and devotion.
Visiting Dhakeshwari Temple provides an opportunity to experience the fusion of spirituality, art, and history in one captivating destination. The temple is open to people of all faiths, and the warmth and hospitality of the temple priests and devotees welcome visitors from diverse backgrounds.
Exploring Dhakeshwari Temple offers a chance to connect with the spiritual and cultural heritage of Bangladesh, and witness the unyielding devotion of its people to their religious traditions. It’s a place where the ancient past and the present converge, and where the spiritual and historical significance intertwine to create a deeply enriching and memorable experience.
Star Mosque (Tara Masjid)
The Star Mosque, also known as Tara Masjid, is a captivating journey into the world of intricate Islamic architecture and a showcase of artistic brilliance. Located in the Armanitola area of Old Dhaka, this mosque is an architectural gem that reflects the fusion of Mughal and local architectural styles.
As you approach the Star Mosque, the first thing that catches your eye is the stunning facade adorned with countless blue stars. These stars, made of Chinese blue ceramic tiles, cover the domes and the outer walls of the mosque, creating a mesmerizing visual effect that gives the mosque its name.
The mosque was originally built in the early 19th century during the Mughal period. However, it underwent significant renovations and expansions later, adding to its current majestic appearance. The architecture combines Mughal influences with traditional Bengali elements, creating a unique and harmonious design.
As you step inside the mosque, you are greeted by a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The interior is equally captivating, featuring intricate floral motifs, geometric patterns, and calligraphic inscriptions adorning the walls and pillars. The combination of blue and white colors against the pristine white marble creates a soothing and ethereal ambiance.
The central prayer hall is a sight to behold, with a large central dome and smaller domes surrounding it, each intricately decorated with blue stars and floral patterns. The marble mihrab (prayer niche) is a masterful work of art, featuring delicate carvings and inlaid designs.
One of the unique aspects of the Star Mosque is the presence of an ornate and elaborately designed front veranda or porch. The veranda is supported by a series of slender, artistically crafted pillars, adding to the grandeur of the mosque’s facade.
During your exploration, you might have the chance to interact with the friendly mosque caretakers, who can share fascinating stories and historical facts about the mosque’s construction and restoration.
While the mosque is primarily a place of worship, it is open to visitors of all faiths. Remember to dress modestly and be respectful of the religious practices and customs observed within the mosque.
The Star Mosque is not only a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who worked on it but also a symbol of the enduring cultural heritage and religious diversity of Bangladesh. Its unique blend of Mughal and local architectural styles makes it an exceptional example of the country’s architectural richness.
Exploring the Star Mosque allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of Islamic art and architecture, providing a glimpse into the past and the continued reverence of these timeless traditions in contemporary times. It’s an experience that leaves a lasting impression, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art, history, and cultural heritage.
The Armenian Church in Dhaka is like stepping into a hidden oasis of serenity and history. Situated in the Armanitola area of Old Dhaka, this church stands as a remarkable testament to the city’s once-thriving Armenian community and their enduring cultural legacy.
The Armenian Church, also known as the Armenian Holy Church of Christ, was built by Armenian settlers in the 18th century. During that period, Dhaka was a vibrant center of trade, and the Armenians, known for their expertise in commerce, established a significant presence in the city.
As you approach the church, you’ll be captivated by its unassuming yet elegant facade. The church’s exterior features a blend of simple architectural elements, reflecting the Armenians’ understated approach to design. The historic bell tower, added later in the 19th century, adds a touch of charm to the church’s appearance.
Upon entering the church, you’ll be greeted by a tranquil and serene ambiance. The interior is adorned with beautiful religious paintings, intricate wood carvings, and chandeliers that exude a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The arched ceilings and large windows allow natural light to filter in, adding to the spiritual ambiance.
One of the most captivating features of the Armenian Church is the exquisite stained glass windows that depict biblical scenes and saints. The interplay of colors and light creates a mesmerizing spectacle, particularly when sunlight streams through, casting vibrant hues on the church’s interior.
The church’s altar, ornate with carved woodwork and religious icons, stands as the focal point of the interior, drawing the attention of visitors and devotees alike. The peaceful atmosphere encourages introspection and contemplation, making it an ideal place for spiritual solace and reflection.
While exploring the Armenian Church, you might come across informative plaques and memorials that provide insights into the history of the Armenian community in Dhaka and their contributions to the city’s cultural and commercial landscape.
The church compound also houses the Armenian cemetery, where several tombs and gravestones of Armenian merchants and community members can be found. The cemetery bears witness to the Armenians’ enduring presence in Dhaka and serves as a reminder of their contributions to the city’s past.
Visiting the Armenian Church offers a glimpse into the vibrant history and cultural heritage of Dhaka, where different communities coexisted and left their mark on the city’s architectural landscape. It’s a place where tranquility and history merge, providing a unique and enriching experience for visitors interested in exploring the lesser-known historical gems of Dhaka.
Liberation War Museum
The Liberation War Museum in Dhaka is a powerful and poignant institution that pays homage to Bangladesh’s struggle for independence during the Liberation War of 1971. It stands as a testament to the courage and resilience of the Bangladeshi people and serves as a crucial reminder of the sacrifices made during the war.
The museum is located in the heart of Dhaka and is dedicated to preserving the memory and history of the nine-month-long Liberation War, which culminated in the birth of Bangladesh as an independent nation on December 16, 1971.
As you enter the museum, you are greeted by a somber and reflective atmosphere. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated to provide a comprehensive narrative of the events leading up to the war, the atrocities committed by the Pakistani military, and the valiant efforts of the freedom fighters and civilians to secure independence.
The museum’s displays include a wide range of artifacts, photographs, documents, and personal belongings of those involved in the struggle. Each exhibit carries a deeply personal and emotional significance, reflecting the individual stories of bravery and sacrifice that collectively shaped the nation’s history.
As you walk through the galleries, you encounter powerful photographs capturing moments of heroism, grief, and determination. The faces of ordinary men, women, and children who fought for freedom serve as a poignant reminder of the human cost of war.
The museum also houses an extensive collection of testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and veterans, recorded in various forms, including audio and video interviews. These firsthand accounts provide an intimate understanding of the war’s impact on individuals and communities.
One of the most moving sections of the museum is the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, which commemorates the intellectuals who were brutally killed by Pakistani forces just days before Bangladesh’s victory. This solemn monument stands as a tribute to their invaluable contributions to the nation’s intellectual and cultural heritage.
The Liberation War Museum is not only a place of remembrance but also a center for research and education. It hosts seminars, workshops, and events that promote a deeper understanding of the war’s historical significance and its impact on the nation’s identity.
Visiting the Liberation War Museum is a deeply emotional and educational experience, providing visitors with an opportunity to connect with the past and gain a profound appreciation for the sacrifices made to achieve independence.
By preserving the memory of the Liberation War, the museum plays a crucial role in shaping national consciousness, promoting peace, and ensuring that future generations understand the value of freedom and the price paid for it. It stands as a living monument to the resilience of the Bangladeshi people and their unwavering commitment to self-determination.
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, the National Parliament House of Bangladesh, is a masterpiece of modern architecture and a symbol of the nation’s democratic values and aspirations. Designed by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, this iconic building is situated in the capital city, Dhaka, and serves as the seat of the country’s legislature.
The construction of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban began in 1961, after Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan. Louis Kahn, an American architect, was commissioned to design the parliament complex, and he worked closely with local architects and engineers to bring his visionary concepts to life.
One of the defining features of the National Parliament House is its unique and awe-inspiring design. The building’s layout is based on a geometric pattern, incorporating squares and circles, representing harmony and balance. The complex consists of a central circular structure, which houses the main parliamentary chamber, and a series of adjoining buildings and wings that accommodate various offices and meeting spaces.
The central building, known as the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, features massive, exposed concrete walls, lending it a sense of strength and permanence. Kahn’s choice of materials and his innovative use of natural light and shadow create a visually stunning play of light and texture throughout the complex.
Inside the main chamber, you’ll find an intricately designed circular space that symbolizes unity and equality among the elected representatives. The circular shape allows members to face each other, fostering a sense of openness and cooperation during parliamentary sessions.
The design also incorporates large open spaces, gardens, and water features, seamlessly blending the building with its natural surroundings. The serene and tranquil environment encourages open dialogue and reflection, creating a conducive atmosphere for democratic deliberations.
Beyond its architectural significance, the National Parliament House holds immense symbolic value for the people of Bangladesh. It represents the nation’s struggle for independence and its commitment to democratic governance. The building itself embodies the principles of transparency, accessibility, and public engagement in the country’s political processes.
Visiting the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban allows you to appreciate the genius of Louis Kahn’s architectural vision and experience firsthand the ideals and values that underpin Bangladesh’s democracy. Guided tours are available for visitors, providing insights into the building’s history, architectural concepts, and its role in shaping the nation’s political landscape.
As a symbol of the nation’s democratic spirit and a marvel of modern architecture, the National Parliament House stands as a proud testament to Bangladesh’s progress and development since its independence. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the cultural, political, and architectural heritage of this vibrant and dynamic country.
Shankhari Bazar is a vibrant and historic market located in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. This bustling bazar is renowned for its narrow winding lanes, ancient buildings, and a diverse array of goods, making it a fascinating destination for both locals and tourists alike.
The market’s name, “Shankhari Bazar,” is derived from the Bengali word “shankha,” which means conch shell. In the past, Shankhari Bazar was known for being a hub of skilled craftsmen specializing in crafting beautiful conch shell jewelry, which holds cultural significance in Bengali traditions.
As you step into Shankhari Bazar, you’ll immediately be enveloped in the energy and vibrancy of the place. The maze of narrow streets is lined with small shops and stalls, each offering a wide variety of goods. You can find everything from traditional handicrafts, exquisite jewelry, textiles, garments, and household items to spices, sweets, and local snacks.
One of the highlights of exploring Shankhari Bazar is witnessing the skilled artisans at work. The market is home to craftsmen specializing in various traditional arts, such as metalworking, jewelry making, and wood carving. You can observe these artisans meticulously crafting intricate designs and masterpieces, often using age-old techniques passed down through generations.
As you wander deeper into the bazar, you’ll come across historic buildings that exude the charm of bygone eras. Many of these structures date back several centuries and showcase unique architectural styles, reflecting the cultural and historical diversity of Dhaka.
The market’s atmosphere is bustling and lively, with vendors calling out their wares and buyers haggling over prices. The air is filled with the delightful aroma of local street food, adding to the sensory experience of Shankhari Bazar.
The market is also an excellent place to interact with the friendly local shopkeepers and artisans, who are always happy to share stories about their craft and the cultural significance of their products.
Shankhari Bazar is not only a shopping destination but also a cultural immersion into the heart of Old Dhaka. It offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history, traditions, and the spirit of entrepreneurship that has thrived in the area for generations.
Exploring Shankhari Bazar provides a unique opportunity to connect with the essence of Dhaka’s cultural heritage, witness the skillful craftsmanship of its artisans, and take home authentic souvenirs that hold a piece of the city’s identity and charm. It’s a place where the old and the new seamlessly coexist, creating a vibrant and memorable experience for all who venture into its bustling lanes.
New Market (Bashundhara City Shopping Complex)
New Market, also known as Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, is one of Dhaka’s most popular and bustling shopping destinations. Located in the heart of the city, this multi-story shopping complex offers a diverse range of products, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
New Market has a rich history, dating back to the British colonial era when it was established in the early 20th century. Over time, it has evolved and expanded to become a modern shopping complex, catering to the changing tastes and preferences of shoppers.
As you enter New Market, you’ll find a bustling marketplace teeming with vendors selling an extensive variety of goods. The complex is divided into sections, with each section specializing in different types of products. You can explore multiple floors, each offering an abundance of choices.
The clothing section is a shopaholic’s paradise, with shops selling traditional and contemporary clothing items, including sarees, salwar kameez, kurtis, shirts, trousers, and more. Whether you’re looking for everyday wear or something for a special occasion, you’re likely to find it here.
Electronics enthusiasts will find a wide selection of gadgets, mobile phones, laptops, and accessories at competitive prices. The electronics section is well-known for its diversity of options, attracting tech-savvy shoppers from across the city.
The handicrafts section showcases a variety of locally-made handicrafts, souvenirs, and traditional items that highlight Bangladesh’s rich cultural heritage. You can find intricate handwoven fabrics, decorative items, artwork, and much more, making it an ideal place to pick up unique and meaningful gifts.
In addition to clothing, electronics, and handicrafts, New Market also offers shops selling footwear, accessories, cosmetics, toys, and household items. The sheer diversity of products available ensures that there’s something for everyone, regardless of their tastes or preferences.
Apart from shopping, New Market is also a bustling social hub. The complex is often crowded with shoppers and visitors, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere. It’s an excellent place to soak in the local culture, observe the hustle and bustle of Dhaka’s daily life, and interact with friendly shopkeepers and fellow shoppers.
With its central location, New Market is easily accessible from different parts of the city, making it a convenient shopping destination for both locals and tourists. Whether you’re looking for bargains, unique finds, or a taste of Dhaka’s vibrant shopping scene, New Market is a must-visit destination that offers a delightful and memorable shopping experience. A popular shopping destination with a wide variety of products, from clothing and electronics to handicrafts and traditional items.
Dhaka University Campus
Strolling around the campus of Dhaka University is like taking a step back in time to explore a place steeped in history, knowledge, and academic excellence. Established in 1921, Dhaka University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Bangladesh, with a rich legacy of nurturing generations of scholars and leaders.
The campus is located in the heart of Dhaka city, and as you enter, you’re greeted by a sense of tranquility amidst the bustling urban surroundings. The university’s lush greenery, well-maintained gardens, and open spaces create a serene environment that offers a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
As you stroll along the tree-lined pathways, you’ll come across beautiful colonial-era buildings that stand as architectural treasures, reflecting the blend of Mughal and British architectural influences. Many of these buildings were constructed during the British colonial period and showcase exquisite craftsmanship, with intricate detailing on the facades, arches, and pillars.
One of the iconic landmarks on the campus is the Arts Faculty building, commonly known as the “White House.” With its grand neoclassical design and white exterior, this building is a prominent symbol of the university’s heritage and academic excellence.
The Curzon Hall, named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India during the British era, is another architectural gem on the campus. Its red-brick construction, Gothic-style windows, and majestic clock tower add to the campus’s old-world charm.
Throughout the campus, you’ll find numerous academic departments, libraries, and research centers. The university’s academic and research facilities contribute to its reputation as a center of intellectual pursuit and learning.
Aside from the academic buildings, the campus also features peaceful ponds and picturesque lakes, creating an idyllic setting for students and visitors alike. The central Shahid Minar, a monument dedicated to the language martyrs of the Language Movement, stands as a poignant reminder of Bangladesh’s struggle for language rights and cultural identity.
Strolling through Dhaka University campus is not just about experiencing the architecture and serene environment; it’s also an opportunity to witness the vibrant student life that thrives within its walls. The campus buzzes with youthful energy, with students engaged in discussions, study groups, and extracurricular activities.
Exploring Dhaka University campus offers a chance to connect with the intellectual and cultural heritage of Bangladesh, as well as witness the country’s commitment to education and pursuit of knowledge. It’s a delightful and enriching experience that showcases the university’s significance as an academic hub and a cherished symbol of national pride.
Dhanmondi Lake, also known as Dhanmondi Lake Park, is a picturesque and popular recreational spot in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Located in the residential area of Dhanmondi, the lake offers a serene and peaceful environment amidst the bustling city life, making it a favored destination for both locals and visitors seeking relaxation and leisure activities.
The lake was originally created in the 1950s as part of an urban development project, and over the years, it has evolved into a beloved public space that caters to people of all ages. The well-maintained lake and its surrounding park provide a refreshing escape from the city’s noise and pollution.
One of the main attractions of Dhanmondi Lake is the boating facility, which allows visitors to rent paddle boats and rowboats. Taking a leisurely boat ride on the tranquil waters of the lake is a delightful experience, offering beautiful views of the surrounding greenery and the cityscape in the distance.
The lake’s walking paths and jogging tracks are perfect for those looking to enjoy a leisurely walk or a refreshing morning jog. The lush green lawns and shady trees provide a pleasant atmosphere for picnics, family outings, and gatherings with friends.
Throughout the day, you’ll find locals enjoying various recreational activities around the lake. Families often come to spend quality time together, children play on the playgrounds, and couples enjoy romantic walks along the water’s edge.
As the sun sets, the lake takes on a different charm, with the shimmering reflections on the water and the soft evening breeze creating a soothing ambiance. The illuminated pathways and park lights add to the romantic and enchanting atmosphere, making it a popular spot for evening strolls and casual gatherings.
Dhanmondi Lake is also a hub for street food vendors, offering a variety of snacks, street delicacies, and beverages. You can indulge in local treats and enjoy the flavors of Dhaka while sitting by the lakeside.
The lake and its surroundings are well-maintained by the authorities, ensuring a safe and clean environment for visitors. The park is a designated no-smoking zone, contributing to the overall comfort and well-being of those enjoying the space.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, a place to bond with family and friends, or simply a spot to enjoy the natural beauty of Dhaka, Dhanmondi Lake offers a refreshing and rejuvenating experience. It’s a cherished destination that exemplifies the city’s efforts to provide recreational spaces for its residents and visitors alike.
Hatirjheel is a captivating man-made lake and an urban oasis located in the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is a modern marvel of urban planning and a popular recreational destination that offers a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The project to create Hatirjheel began in the early 2000s as part of the city’s efforts to address traffic congestion and waterlogging issues. The lake was designed to serve as a stormwater retention basin, helping to mitigate flooding during heavy rains while also enhancing the city’s landscape and providing a recreational space for residents and visitors.
Hatirjheel spans approximately 320 acres and comprises several interconnected lakes, canals, and water bodies, beautifully integrated into the city’s urban fabric. The name “Hatirjheel” translates to “Elephant Lake,” a reference to the lake’s shape, which is said to resemble an elephant’s footprint when viewed from above.
One of the most striking features of Hatirjheel is its meticulously designed walkways and pedestrian bridges that encircle the lake. These well-maintained walkways offer a scenic route for leisurely walks, jogging, and cycling, allowing visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the serene waters and the city’s skyline in the distance.
The lake’s surroundings are adorned with well-manicured parks, lush greenery, and vibrant flower gardens, creating a serene and visually appealing environment. Benches and seating areas are strategically placed along the pathways, providing spots for relaxation and contemplation.
As you stroll along the lake’s edge, you’ll come across charming bridges and pavilions that add to the park’s charm and provide excellent photo opportunities. The play of lights and reflections on the water during the evenings makes Hatirjheel an enchanting place for an evening walk.
Boat rides are also available on the lake, allowing visitors to explore the waterways and enjoy a different perspective of the surrounding scenery. Boat tours offer a leisurely and pleasant way to experience Hatirjheel’s beauty while gliding across the tranquil waters.
Hatirjheel has quickly become a beloved destination for both locals and tourists, attracting people of all ages seeking a respite from the urban congestion. Families come to have picnics, friends gather for outdoor gatherings, and photography enthusiasts capture the lake’s picturesque landscapes.
The presence of several food stalls and street vendors adds to the charm of Hatirjheel, offering a variety of local snacks and beverages for visitors to enjoy during their outing.
Hatirjheel is a shining example of sustainable urban planning, where the city’s vision to address practical concerns resulted in the creation of a stunning recreational space that enhances the quality of life for its residents. It has become an integral part of Dhaka’s identity, providing a refreshing urban escape and a cherished destination for all who seek solace and leisure within the heart of the city.
Bangladesh National Museum
The Bangladesh National Museum, located in Shahbagh, Dhaka, is a treasure trove of the nation’s rich history, diverse cultural heritage, and artistic accomplishments. Established in 1913, the museum is the oldest and largest in Bangladesh, and it plays a pivotal role in preserving and showcasing the country’s heritage to visitors from around the world.
As you enter the museum, you are immediately greeted by a grand and imposing facade, giving a sense of the institution’s significance. The museum’s vast collection is spread across multiple galleries and exhibition halls, each offering a unique perspective on different aspects of Bangladesh’s past and present.
The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts dating back to ancient times, including archaeological finds, pottery, coins, and sculptures from various historical periods. These artifacts offer insights into the country’s ancient civilizations and provide a glimpse into the cultural practices and artistic expressions of its early inhabitants.
One of the highlights of the Bangladesh National Museum is the Folk Art and Craft Gallery. This section showcases a remarkable array of traditional crafts, indigenous artworks, and folk objects, reflecting the diversity and craftsmanship of the country’s ethnic communities.
The Ethnography Gallery provides an immersive experience into the lifestyle, traditions, and customs of various indigenous groups and tribal communities living in different regions of Bangladesh. The exhibits include traditional clothing, musical instruments, household items, and ritual objects, shedding light on the country’s cultural pluralism.
The museum’s Fine Arts Gallery boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and modern artworks by prominent Bangladeshi artists. This section provides visitors with a glimpse into the evolution of contemporary art in Bangladesh and the creative expressions of its people.
The Liberation War Gallery is a poignant section that narrates the events and struggles of Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971. Through photographs, documents, and personal belongings of the freedom fighters, the gallery honors the sacrifices made during the Liberation War and commemorates the nation’s journey to independence.
Throughout your exploration, the museum’s knowledgeable guides and information panels provide context and historical background, enhancing your understanding of the exhibits and their significance.
Visiting the Bangladesh National Museum is a journey through time, where you can witness the evolution of the nation and gain a deeper appreciation for its cultural diversity and artistic heritage. The museum’s dedication to preserving and presenting the country’s historical and cultural legacy makes it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, art lovers, and anyone curious about Bangladesh’s rich and storied past.
These are just a few of the many places to visit in Dhaka. The city offers a mix of historical, cultural, and modern attractions, making it a fascinating destination for travelers.
Transportation for Exploring Dhaka
In Dhaka, there are several types of vehicles available for exploring the city and its surroundings. Each type of vehicle offers a unique experience and level of convenience, depending on your preferences and travel needs. Here are some common types of vehicles available for exploring Dhaka:
Rickshaws: Cycle rickshaws, also known as “pedal rickshaws,” are a popular mode of transportation in Dhaka. They are ideal for short distances, especially in the narrow lanes and congested areas of the city. Riding a rickshaw allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, as the rickshaw pullers often serve as informal guides, sharing insights about the city and its landmarks.
CNG Auto-Rickshaws: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) auto-rickshaws are a common sight on Dhaka’s roads. These three-wheeled vehicles offer a more comfortable and faster option for traveling short to medium distances within the city. They are especially useful for navigating through heavy traffic and reaching destinations quickly.
Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Dhaka and are a convenient mode of transportation for private and comfortable travel. Metered taxis are common, and it’s best to negotiate fares in advance or use the meter to avoid any discrepancies. Traditional yellow taxis and ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Pathao, are also popular options.
Buses: Dhaka has an extensive bus network connecting different parts of the city. Local buses are a budget-friendly option for traveling longer distances. However, they can be crowded and experience traffic congestion during peak hours. There are also air-conditioned buses and tourist buses that offer more comfortable and guided tours around the city.
Rental Cars: Several car rental companies operate in Dhaka, offering self-drive or chauffeur-driven options. Renting a car allows you the flexibility to explore the city at your own pace and visit places outside the city center. However, traffic in Dhaka can be challenging, so be prepared for occasional delays.
Cycle Sharing: Dhaka has recently introduced cycle-sharing services in some areas. These services allow you to rent bicycles for short rides, providing an eco-friendly and leisurely way to explore the city.
Walking: Depending on your interests and the proximity of your destinations, walking can be an enjoyable way to explore Dhaka. Walking allows you to soak in the local atmosphere, discover hidden gems, and interact with locals.
Uber and Pathao are popular ride-hailing services in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both platforms offer convenient and reliable transportation options for getting around the city. Here’s an overview of each service:
Uber: Uber is an international ride-hailing company that operates in Dhaka and several other cities in Bangladesh. Users can book rides through the Uber app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. To request a ride, you need to enter your pickup location and destination, and the app will display available drivers nearby. Uber offers various vehicle options, including standard cars, larger vehicles for groups, and premium options for a more luxurious ride experience.
Pathao: Pathao is a homegrown ride-hailing and logistics service that originated in Bangladesh. Initially launched as a motorcycle ride-sharing service, Pathao has expanded to include car rides, food delivery, and parcel delivery. Similar to Uber, users can book rides through the Pathao app, which is available on Android and iOS devices. In addition to cars, Pathao also offers “Pathao Moto,” a popular option for quick and affordable motorcycle rides, which can be particularly useful for navigating through Dhaka’s traffic.
Both Uber and Pathao provide fare estimates before confirming a ride, allowing users to get an idea of the cost of their trip. The services are known for their safety features, including real-time tracking of rides, and riders and drivers can rate each other after each trip, encouraging accountability and good service.
In addition to ride-hailing, both Uber and Pathao offer food delivery services, allowing users to order food from a variety of restaurants and have it delivered to their doorstep. Pathao also provides parcel delivery services, making it convenient for sending packages and documents across the city.
For tourists and visitors to Dhaka, Uber and Pathao offer a hassle-free and accessible means of transportation, providing a sense of familiarity in a new city. Whether you need a quick ride to explore tourist attractions or a convenient way to get around town, these ride-hailing services are popular choices among both locals and tourists in Dhaka.
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