The Curtain Is Parting On Dhaka
ONE OF THE WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING CITIES, BANGLADESH’S CAPITAL, DACCA, IS MORE READY THAN EVER TO WELCOME VISITORS WITH ITS STREETS WHOSE COLORS ARE REMINISCENT OF A CARNIVAL.
With fifteen million people, Dacca, city of mosques, is one of the world’s most heavily populated cities. Situated on the Bengal Delta, which is formed by the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, the city boasts a labyrinthine network of canals. Rich in history, it was transformed into a great trade center in the 17th century. Between 1905 and 1912 and again in 1947 it was the capital of East Bengal, and in 1956 the capital of East Pakistan, which gives it confidence in the future after a long and turbulent past. As a word, ‘dacca’ means ‘concealed’. But there are also those who claim that the city’s name derives from the ‘dhak’ trees that are common in the region, or from the 16th century Dhakeswari Temple. We start our tour of the city from the National Museum. Known as the Pink Palace, this magnificent 19th century building is a museum today where the city’s Buddhist and Hindu past is spread out for all to see. After our museum visit, we are in the new city center at Gulshan.
Embassies, international firms and schools, and restaurants serving examples of world cuisine are located here in this commercial district. Dacca’s mystical markets can also be found in Gulshan, which is really two districts in one. Organized along the lines of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, Gulshan 1 is bursting with shops selling spices, fruits and vegetables, and kitchen items. New Market, on the other hand, in the part of the city known as Old Dhaka, boasts bazaars like the Bangho Bazaar that specialize in local products.
A CARNIVAL OF COLORS
After seeing the University of Dacca, one of the most prominent educational institutions of the Islamic world, we stop at the Liberation War Museum. The museum, on Segun Bagicha Avenue, tells the story of Bangladesh history from the colonial period to independence in 1971. Lying on the banks of the Buriganga River, the city can also be toured on one of the boats that depart from Sadarghat Terminal. Lalbagh Tower, built in the 17th century, is another prominent Dacca structure. Just 500 meters from the tower, the 1706 Khan Mohammed Mirdha Mosque is one of the city’s most beautiful Islamic monuments. Each one of the streets around the mosque is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. We recommend that you make the mosque your headquarters and lose yourself briefly in the streets, an unparalleled experience smack dab at the heart of a rainbow of color enlivened by sounds, sights and faces.. And if you get tired, you can be driven where you want to go in one of city’s many three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws.