Bangladesh – An Introduction

Bangladesh – An Introduction

BangladeshIt is located between 20*34′ and 26*38′ north latitude and between 88*0′ and 92*41′ east longitude. Boundary of the country; India is in North and West India, Bay of Bengal is in South and India and Burma in the East. Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh. The population is about 126 million and mother tongue is Bangla. English is widely spoken and understood. The religious division is; Muslims 88%, Hindus 10%, Christian and others 2%.

How to Reach

Bangladesh can be reached by air from any part of the world. Biman Bangladesh Airlines connects Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet with 26 Major cities of the world. More than 20 international carriers fly to and From Dhaka. Bangladesh also can be reached by road through India, Nepal and Burma.

How to Travel

Major cities of Bangladesh are connected by Air and Rail with capital city Dhaka. Bangladesh Railway provides inter city express service to and from important cities at cheaper fares. Express and non stop Bus/Coach services are available to principal towns from Dhaka.

Landscape of Bangladesh is dominated by about 250 rivers which connected the major places of attractions by country boat and motor vessel. Rent-a-car and private taxi services are available in major cities.

Where to Stay

International Standard Hotels are available in Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. Besides there are public and private owned Hotels, Motels and Guest Houses all over the country.

Festivals

Religious Festivals: Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Muharram, Miladunnabi for Muslims; Durga Puja for the Hinddus; Chrismas for the Christians and Buddha Purnima for the Buddhist. Bangla New Year’s Day, Shahid Dibas, Independence Day and Victory Day are celebrated nation-wide.

Flora and Fauna

Mango, Lichi, Banana, Coconut, Palm and other useful trees cover the country side. The largest forest is the Sundarbans where live the Royal Bengal Tiger. Elephants, Bears, Bisons, Monkeys found in Hill Districts. Deer is found in Sundarbans and hilly districts. There are 150 speccies of reptiles, hundred of species of birds and fishes.

Rivers

Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Surma, Kushiara, Karnaphuli.

Communication

Direct dialing system is available for all major towns and cities. Fax service and e-mail facilities also available at important towns and big hotels to communicate any part of the world.

Currency

Taka (Tk.) is the unit of currency. Notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 taka and coins of 5, 10, 25, 50 Paisa and taka 1 and 5 are in circulation.

Temperature and Rainfall

Winter temperature average maximum 29*C, average minimum 11*C. Summer temperature average maximum 34*C, average minimum21*C. Average rainfall is 1194 mm to 3454 mm.

Standard Time

GMT + 6 hours

Seasons

Winter (November -February), Summer (March -June) and Monsoon (July – October).

BangladeshFood

Western food is available in all major hotels and most of the big restaurants in important cities. But local dishes are normally more exotic as cooked with proper spices.

Clothing

Tropical in summer and light-woolen in winter.

Working and Banking Hours

Office Hours: 9.00 a.m – 5 p.m Sunday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday closed. Private business houses work on Saturdays. Banking hour is 9 a.m – 3 p.m on Saturday to Thursday and closed on Friday and Saturday. Selected Banks remain open on Saturdays.

Airports

International: Dhaka (ZIA), Chittagong (Hannan), Sylhet (Osmany).

Domestic: Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Cox’s Bazar, Rajshai, Jessore, Syedpur and Barisal.

Sea Ports

Chittagong and Mongla.

Electricity

220 Volts A.C.

Best Tourist Seasons

October to March.

Dance

Classical, Folk, Tribal and Middle Eastern.

Shopping

Bangladesh is indeed a shopper’s paradise with a rich tradition in handicrafts at throw away prices. Muslin of ancient Dhaka, contemporary paintings, wood works, cotton, silk, gold, silver, jute, reed, brassware, traditional dolls, leather goods and pink pearl receive deep appreciation of the lovers of arts and crafts. Most hotels have their own shopping arcades and there are many handicraft shops in Dhaka and other towns.

Sports

Football, Cricket, Volley ball, Basketball, Boat Racing, Ha-do-do, Kite Flying, Swimming, Badminton, Tennis, Chess, Golf, Shooting.

Principal Industries

Jute and Cotton Textiles, Garment making, Tea processing, Paper, Newsprint, Cement, Chemical Fertilizers, Light Engineering, Sugar.

Exports

Readymade garments, raw jute, jute goods, tea, fish, hides and skin.

Places of Tourist Attractions

Dhaka

BangladeshDhaka as the capital of Bangladesh has grown into a busy city of about eight million people with an area of about 1353 sq. km. known the world over as the city of mosques and muslin. It was founded in 1608 A. D. as the seat of the imperial Mughal Viceroy of Bengal. Having a happy blending of old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life. It is the centre of industrial, commercial, cultural, educational and political activities for Bangladesh. It has attracted travelers from far and nears through ages. Some of the outstanding tourist attractions of Dhaka are:

Lalbag Fort:

Prince Mohammad Azam built it in 1678 A. D. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh are the tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Mosque, Aucience Hall and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum.

Central Shahid Minar:

This monument commemorates the martyrs of the historic language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquets gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere.

National Memorial:

Located at Savar, 35 km. From Dhaka City, the memorial is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation.

National Museum:

Established in 1913 as Dhaka Museum. Renamed as the National Museum and was shifted to its new building at Shahbag in 1983. It has forty galleries under four departments, namely, (1) Natural History (2) History of Classical Art, (3) Ethnography and Decorative Art and (4) Contemporary Art and World Civilization. The valuable articles of the heroic liberation war of Bangladesh are also there.

Mukti Juddha Museum:

Located at Segun Bagicha area of the city. The museum contains rare photographs of Liberation War and items used by the freedom fighters during the period.
Ahsan Manzil Museum:

On the bank of the river Buriganga, this pink majestic building was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka. It has 31 rooms and 23 galleries displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawabs.

Folk Art Museum:

Established in 1975 and has a very rich collection of folk objects of different materials.

National Assembly:

An architectural wonder designed by the famous architect Louis I Kahn.

National Assembly

Baldha Garden:

Located in Wari area, its rich collection of indigenous and exotic plants attract naturalists.

National Botanical Garden:

Located at Mirpur with an area of 205 acres of land and 100 species of plants.

Dhaka Zoological Garden:

Established on 230 acres of land with 1400 animals and birds of 124 species.

Sonargaon:

About 29 km. from Dhaka, it is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal of 13th century. A Folk-arts and Crafts Museum attracts tourists with its collection of folk-art, paintings and handicrafts.
Ornamental Star Mosque, Dhaka

Mosque:

Dhaka has several hundred mosques. Prominent are the Seven Domed Mosque (17th century), Star Mosque (18th century), Baitul Mukarram – National Mosque, Chawkbazar and Huseni Dalan Mosque.

Hindu Temples and Buddist Monastry:

Dhakeshwari Temple, Ramkrishna Mission, Kamlapur Monastry.

Churches:

Armenian Church (1781 A.D), Church of Bangladesh (1677 A.D) and St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Other Attractions:

Suhrawardy Uddyan (Garden), Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, Science Museum, National Poet’s Graveyard, Bahadur Shah Park, Old High Court Building, Banga Bhaban, Ramna Green, Baridhara Diplomatic Zone, National Park.

Rajshahi: A natural silk producing centre

On the bank of the river Padma, Rajshahi is famous for attractive and cheaper silk products, variety of mangoes and lichees. At the heart of the Rajshahi town, the Varendra Research Museum has rich collections contain interesting objects of past Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim heritage.

Paharpur: Largest Buddhist seat of learning 

Paharpur is a small village in the greater Rajshahi district where the remains of the most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas has been excavated. This 8th century A.D. archaeological find covers an area of 27 acres of land, occupying a quadrangular court, measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12ft. to 15ft. in height. There are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of other three sides with a total number of 177 rooms. A site museum is built to houses the collection of objects recovered from the area.

Mahastangarh: The oldest archaeological site

About 18 km. from Bogra town, Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh on the western bank of river Karatoa. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified long enclosure. This 3rd century B.C. archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. A wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to gold ornaments are the attraction of museum.

Kantaji Temple:

The most ornate among the late medieval temples of Bangladesh near Dinajpur town.

Shahjadpur Kutibari:

Also a historic place at Pabna, where poet Rabindranath Tagore made frequent visit.

Mujibnagar Memorial:

The first revolutionary government of Bangladesh was declared on 14 April, 1971.

Gandhi Asram:

It was established in the memory of historic visit of the Mohatma Gandhi to Noakhali.

Trisal:

As he was a student of Darirampur High School under Trisal Police Station, an academy has been established in memory of the great Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Shilaidah Kuthibari:

Located 20 km. from Kustia town, it carries memory of the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagor who made frequent visit and used to stay to this place.

Chittagong: Gateway to the Bay of Bengal

Chittagong is the second largest city of Bangladesh and the biggest international seaport. Its green hills and forests, broad sandy beaches and fine cool climate always attract holidaymakers. Chittagong is connected with Dhaka by rail, road, air and water. It is also connected with Cox’s Bazar, Calcutta and Dubai by air.

Foy’s Lake:

Visitors throng the panoramic surroundings of this ideal spot for outings and picnics.

Bayazid Bostami:

A large pond with tortoises of this holy place attracts a large number of visitors.

World War II Cemetery:

Here lie buried over 700 soldiers, who died during the Second World War.

Potenga Beach:

Sandy beach at the meeting place of the roaring sea and the river Karnaphuli.

Sitakund:

About 37 km. from Chittagong. This is famous for the Chandranath Hindu Temple- one of the oldest temple in the subcontinent and the Buddhist Temple having a footprint of Lord Buddha.

Ethnological Museum:

It is recognized as one of the best specialized museums in South-East Asia to carry out ethnological research with objects of 12 different tribes of Bangladesh and other countries tribes.

Cox’s Bazar: The tourist capital

Cox’s Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world, having the worlds longest unbroken (120km.) beaches slopping gently down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hill covered with deep green forests. The beach is good for bathing, sunbathing and swimming. Cox’s Bazar is connected both by air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong.

Ramu:

This is typical Buddhist village, about 10 km. from Cox’s Bazar. There are monasteries, Khyangs and Pagodas containing images of Buddha in gold, bronze and other metals inlaid with precious stones.

Teknaf:

The southernmost tip of Bangladesh, situated on the bank of Naaf river. Myanmar is on the opposite bank of Naaf River. Wide sandy beach, journey on the river, wild animals and birds are interesting.

St. Martin Island:

Forty eight kilometer from Teknaf, the dumb-bell shaped St. Martin’s with an area of eight sq. km. is the country’s only coral island and an unspoiled paradise with genuinely friendly people.

Moheskhali:

An island of the coast of Cox’s Bazar with an area of 268 square kilometers. In the hills on the coast is built the temple of Adinath, dedicated to Shiva, by its side on the same hill is Buddhist Pagoda.

Rangamati: The heart of the lake district

From Chittagong a 77 km. road amidst green fields, Rangamati is a favourite holiday resort because of its beautiful landscape, scenic beauty, lake, colourful tribes, its flora and fauna, tribal museum, hanging bridge, homespun textile products, ivory jewellery and the tribal men and women who fashion them. The Kaptai Lake is a wonderful spot for fishing, boating, cruising, water skiing, hiking, bathing or merely enjoying nature as it is. The tribal cultural museum preserves valuable objects and articles of different tribes.

Bandarban: Roof of Bangladesh

Ninety-two kilometers from Chittagong by metalloid road, Bandarban is the hometown of the Bohmong Chief who is the head of the Mogh tribe. It is also the home of the Murangs who are famous for their music and dance. Several other tribes of great interest live in the remote areas of the district. The highest peak of Bangladesh – Tahjindong (4632 ft) is located in the Bandarban district.

Khagrachari: Hilltop town

A drive of 112 km. from Chittagong, by an all weather metalloid road through the green forest brings one to the district headquarters of Khagrachari, abode of fascinating calm. For the tourists seeking nature in restful mood, Khagrachari is an ideal spot

Sundarbans: The home of the Royal Bengal Tiger

Located about 250 km. south-west of Dhaka and spread over an area of about 600 sq. km. of deltaic swamps along the coastal belt of Khulna, is the worlds biggest mangrove forest, the Sundabans-the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. These dense mangrove forests are crossed by a network of rivers and creeks where tides flowing in two directions in the same creek. Often tigers swimming across a river or huge crocodiles basking in the sun with other wildlife such as cheetahs, spotted deer’s, monkeys, pythons, wild bears and hyaenas. Main tourist spots are Hiron Point, Katka, Dublarchar and Tin Kona Island. Water transport is the only means of communication for visiting the Sundarbans from Khulna or Mongla.

Kuakata: Rare beauty spot of sunrise and sunset

A large scenic beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladeh in the district of Patuakhali. It has a wide sandy beach from where one can get the unique opportunity of seeing both the sunrise and sunsetting. Kuakata is truly a virgin beach-a sanctuary for migratory winter birds, a series of coconut trees, sandy beach of blue bay, a feast for the eye. The unique custom and costumes of the ‘Rakhyne’ tribal families and Buddhist Temple of about hundred years old indicate the ancient tradition and cultural heritage.

Sylhet: Land of two leaves and a bud

A drive of 344 km. from capital city Dhaka, picturesque Surma valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, it is a prime attraction for all tourists. Its terraced tea gardens, eye-soothing orange groves and pineapple plantations and hills covered with tropical forests from a beautiful landscape. Sylhet, the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens but also proudly possesses the three largest tea gardens in the world, both in area and production. Monipuri, Khasia andGaro tribes live in Sylhet. It is also well-known for Monipuri tribal dance, wide variety of cane and bamboo handicrafts. Sylhet is linked with Dhaka by rail, road and air.

Tamabil-Jaflong:

Tamabil is a boarder outpost on Sylhet-Shilong road, about 55 km. away from Sylhet town. Besides enchanting views of the area one can also have a glimpse of the waterfall across the border from Tamabil. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rare beauty of rolling stones.

Srimangal:

Srimangal in Sylhet is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh, is the main tea centre of the area. For miles and miles around, the visitor can see the tea gardens spread like green carpet over the plain land or on the slopping hills. A stay in one of the rest houses of the tea gardens is a fascinating one.

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA):

Sylhet is also known as the land of the famous Muslim saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA), the great torchbearer of Islam to this region. The shrine is located at Sylhe town.

Madhabkunda:

About 65 km. from Sylhet, Madabkunda is the countries famous waterfall. It attracts large number of tourists every year.

Mainamati: Seat of lost Dynasties

About 114 km. southeast of Dhaka lies a range of low hills known as Mainamati-Lalmai ridge, an extensive centre of Buddhist culture. On the slopes of these hills lie scattered a treasure of information about the early Buddhist civilization (8th-12th A.D). At Shalbon in the middle of the ridge, excavations laid bare a large Buddhist Vihara (Monastery) and imposing central shrine. A site museum housed the archaeological finds which include terracotta plaques, bronze statues and casket, coins, jewellery, utensils, pottery and votive stupas embossed with Buddhist inscriptions.

Mymenshing: The heart of Bengal’s folklore

About 192 km. from Dhaka, Mymensingh is a seat for many aboriginal tribes such as Garos, Hajongs and Kochis. On the road from Dhaka to Mymensingh there is National Park, game sanctuary at Madhupur and a number of reserve forests with rest house and picnic spots. World famous painter Zainul Abedin’s Art Gallery at Mymensingh town is worth visiting.

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