We had finished our meetings at 4pm and so had a couple of hours before dusk to get out and explore a bit further afield. Out past Uttara, a northern district of Dhaka, the Tongi river can be accessed from where it's possible to hire a small boat for a short while. There is also a bigger pleasure boat moored on the riverside. There was a small entry fee to get onto the quayside and then the boat hire was about £2 for half an hour which is almost certainly an inflated 'foreigners rate' but still worth it.
We chugged along the ink black river for a short while looking out for birds and waving to the other boats with their merry making passengers. As always in Dhaka human activity was very evident. In the distance we could see the tall chimneys and smoke of the brick factories but on the river side there were men perched on ancient style fishing nets interspersed between flat bottomed pumping boats used to propel water to the neighbouring rice fields. Sadly we didn't see the fisherman haul up the nets. I'd have been interested to see how many fish they catch - surely not much could survive in that water, it looked too dark and murky although it didn't smell.
I enjoyed seeing the short herons which were numerous along the river bank. Their camouflage was amazingly effective - one only noticed them when they took flight because their white wings instantly revealed their whereabouts.
The rickshaws are everywhere in Dhaka. I bet there are more rickshaw drivers than any other type of occupation in the city.
The proud drivers decorate the back panel and some fantastic designs can be seen. I expect there is an annual contest for the most attractive rickshaw. There would certainly be amazing competition.
I saw Rickshaws with 3 people on the back seat; rickshaws loaded up with large tins of paint and very occasionally people who didn't appear to be of Bangladeshi origin. I used the rickshaw when I'd been out exploring the city by night but had become slightly lost. I think the driver couldn't believe his luck when I gave him a 100 Taka note - about £1 for a ride of about 5 minutes. It was the smallest amount I had.
Do not expect your rickshaw driver to speak much English - they will probably have a basic minimum of greetings but are unlikely to be able to engage in lengthy conversation - unless it's in Bangla.
During the early morning and around dusk you will find many people out for their power walks round the small lake. In places groups of 15 - 20 men will be working out in group exercises lead by a trainer. Joggers do the circuit around the park once or twice.
Gulshan is the upmarket area of Dhaka where there are many of the embassies and consulates. Consequently the folk working out tend to be fairly cosmopolitan but the place still has a Bangladeshi feel to it with rickshaws parked outside the park gates and street traders on the boundary.
Entry is free and there are one or two guards to be seen - not that it is in any way a dangerous place. In fact during the afternoon the guards seemed to be pre-occupied in blowing their whistles at courting couples who may be spotted getting a bit too friendly in holding hands or other shows of affection.
In December I noticed the fruit bats coming in to roost at dusk in the tree top near to the bridge. They're noisy, argumentative creatures but impressively chubby and with surprisingly big wingspans.
This was the residence of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Situated at Dhanmondi Residential Area, it has been turned into a musuem. It houses a rare collection of personal effects and photographs of his lifetime.
The National Martyrs' Monument at Savar, near Dhaka (35, km. from Dhaka city) is a vey beautiful sight. It takes about an hour fom the Dhaka city. This memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossein, is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 war of liberation.
Lalbagh Fort was built in 1678 A.D. by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort has witnessed a bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857) in India when some sepoys here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Bangladesh was then a part of India. In this Fort one finds the tomb of Pari Bibi (Fairy lady), Lalbagh Mosque, Audience Hall.
Ever know which is the rickshaw capital of the world? Yes, its Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Despite the sophistication, highly developed infrastructure and despite being reckoned as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, more than 4,00,000 rickshaws brightly-painted and decorated run in its streets adding to the traffic jam. Only a fraction of these rickshaws are registered with the local authorities.
The Central Shahid Minar in Dhaka is a monument in honour of the language martyrs of 1952. On February 21, 1952, many students and political activists were killed as Pakistani police force opened fire on some protesters who were demanding equal status to their mothe tongue, Bengali. The place was near Dhaka Medical College and Ramna Park in Dhaka. The minar has five pillas made of pure marble stone upon a 14 feet high stage. The bounday on both sides contains lines from poems of famous poets engaved in iron letters.
Symbol of Bengali nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952(only and one language movement in the world's history so far). Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at zero hour of midnight.
As recognisation of the language movement UN declear 21 February as International mother language day in 1999, which ovsreve all over the world every year on 21 February.
About 27 km. from Dhaka, Sonargaon is the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From then onward till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal during 16th and 17th century. Among the ancient monuments still intact are the Tomb of Sultan Ghiasuddin (1399-1409A.D), the shrines of Panjpirs and Shah Abdul Alla and a beautiful mosque in Goaldi village. The ancient capital of Bangle was called 'Panam Nagar' which is still standing with its past.
This museum has a very moving display on the1971 War of Independence, with lots of English and Bangla newspaper reports, photographs (some quite graphic ) and memorabilia . The lines on the floor take you on a chronological tour of the conflict. It's one of the best museums in the country.
This is the first museum under private initiative and functions very well with good management. In the courtyard there is a cosy cafeteria.
Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall was established in 1940 according to the name of A.K. Fazlul Huq, former prime minister of non-divided Bangla. It is one of the oldest residential Hall of Dhaka University and divided into three parts, i.e. Main Building, South Building and Extension of South Building.
Apart from being an old residential hall of Dhaka University, Fazlul Huq Hall is also the birthplace of language movement of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) by the first organized meeting held on September 15, 1947.
Tamuddun Majlis (Cultural Society, an organization by scholars, writers and journalists oriented towards Islamic ideology) in a booklet titled State Language of Pakistan : Bengali or Urdu? demands Bengali as one of the state language of Pakistan. The Secretary of the Majlis, at that time a Professor of Physics in Dhaka University, [Abul Kashem] was the first person to convene a literary meeting to discuss the State Language issue in the Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall, a student residence of Dhaka University. Supporters and sympathizers soon afterwards formed a political party, the Khilafate-Rabbani Party with Abul Hasim as the Chairman.
Apart from its involvement with Language Movement, Fazlul Huq Hall is one of the oldest student dormitories of Dhaka Universities. It was established to house muslim students in undivided India, in a university established on muslim majority area. The architecture is dominated by Islamic arch motif as well as domes on the roof. This lies adjacant to Curzon Hall, another architecturally distinguished establishment from British era.
These days Curzon Hall is a part of the school of science of Dhaka University. Curzon Hall meant to be a town hall, was named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, who laid its foundation in 1904. A year later Bengal was partitioned and Dhaka or Dacca as it was known then, became the capital of the newly created province of East Bengal and Assam. Following the annulment of partition in 1911 it was used as a premise of Dhaka College, and after the establishment of the University of Dhaka in 1921, the decision that made to please Muslims in East Bengal as a compensation for the annulment of the partition, became part of the university's science section and continued as such til date.
This sculpture installed on TSC roundabout, Dhaka University was funded by private donors and overseen by a left wing student organization to make a point against political violence among the student activists, a serious problem among the public universities in the country. The sculpture is dedicated to a student killed by political violence.
This Sikh temple is out of few still found in Bangladesh and is administered from India. There is no resident Sikh community left in Bangladesh but in recent years has been a good number of Sikh visitors mostly on work in Bangladesh.
The gurudwara was founded by a missionary sent to Bangladesh by Baba Gurditta, Son of Guru Hargobind (6th Guru) within 17th century and was completed in 1830. Religious
celebrations include weekly prayers every friday.Social functions such as Baisakhi are
celebrated. Old relics-an old handwritten volume of Guru Granth Sahib, a copy of the Portrait of Guru Teg Bahadur are preserved here.