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Tuesday, April 7, 2009



Historically, Bangladesh has earned its reputation for being at the crossroads of many cultures. The ruins of magnificent cities and monuments left behind in various parts of the country by the vanishing dynasties of rulers still bear testimony to the richness of its cultural heritage. Scattered throughout the country are countless ancient monuments and antiquities that have survived the ravishes of natural calamities. Today they offer the visitors a glimpse into the history of this country and its rich heritage. Following is a bird’s eye view of the historical places to visit in the various districts of the Bangladesh.

Dhaka :

MOSQUES: Dhaka is known as the city of mosques and thus boasts of having several hundred mosques scattered all over the city. Most of these mosques are old and bear some history. But prominent among these are the Seven Domed Mosque (17 Century), Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Star Mosque, (18th Century), Chawkbazar Mosque and Husaeni Dalan Mosque.

HINDU TEMPLES: Dhaka is not only famous for the growth of Muslim civilization as evidenced by the number of mosques. But the city bears witness to the existence of rich Hindu culture that flourished till the arrival in phases of the Muslim conquerors. Despite the destruction that ensues any conquest there is still evidence of Hindu history through the temples that not only bears historical interest but is still a place of worship and congregation amongst the Hindu population. Famous amongst these are Dhakeshwari Temple (11th Century) and Ramakrishna Mission.

CHURCHES: Many cultures and religions passed through the banks of river Buriganga and left its marks in the city of Dhaka. Christianity flourished in this city as well. And the ancient churches of various orders bear witness to the arrivals of the Christians from different parts of Europe. Prominent among these for historical site visit are the Armenian Temple (11 Century), St. Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former Holy Rosary Church (1677 A.D.) Tejgaon.

LALBAGH FORT: The Muslim rulers were very fond of building forts as a symbol of strength and protection. The advent of Mughals saw the building of forts in this country. And in Dhaka Emperor Aurangazeb’s son Mohammad Azam built the Lalbagh fort in 1678 A.D. The fort was the scene of bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857 A.D) when 260 sepoys stationed here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh are the tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Mosque, Audience Hall and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum.

BUDDHIST MONASTERY: Dhaka’s history is replete with secularism that is evident by the religious sites of the four main religions that co-exist in Bangladesh. Therefore, along with Muslim, Christian and Hindu settlers there were Buddhist population as well that landed at the bank of this city. And hence, a relic of their past can be witnessed at the Kamalapur Buddhist Monastery.

BAHADUR SHAH PARK: As a city seeped in history Dhaka bore witness to conquests, wars and revolutions. Prominent amongst these is the up rising against the British Raj. Although, there are small memorials to the lives lost for the independence but one the landmark to leave history for posterity is the Bahadur Shah Park. Built to commemorate the martyrs of the first liberation war (1857-59) at the site where revolting sepoys and their civil compatriots were publicly hanged. Today it is deemed as a national monument reflecting the process of the country’s present independent status.

CENTRAL SHAHID MINAR: Symbol of Bengali nationalism, this monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the Historical Language Movement of 1952 that was launched to make Bengali the national language of the then East Pakistan. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquets gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at zero hour of midnight.

NATIONAL MEMORIAL: Located at Savar, 35 km. from Dhaka city, the memorial, designed by architect Moinul Hossain, is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation that brought Bangladesh into being as an independent country in the world map.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House) at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, designed, by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, has distinctive architectural features. It may be called an architectural wonder of this region.

NATIONAL POET’S GRAVEYARD: Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 29 August 1978 and was buried hare. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University Mosque.

OLD HIGH COURT BUILDING: Originally built as the residence of the British Governor, it illustrates a happy blend of European and Mughal architecture.

SONARGAON: Located about 29 km. from Dhaka it is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal dating back to 13th century A.D. A Folk-arts and crafts museum now runs here.

Rajshahi :

PAHARPUR: Paharpur is a small village 5 km west of Jamalganj in greater Rajshahi district. Here the ruins of the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas was excavated. This 7th century archaeological find covers an area of about 27 acres of land. The architecture of the pyramid-like cruciform temple has its similarity in the contemporary architecture of Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. A site-museum built in 1956-57 houses representative collection of objects recovered from Paharpur. The excavated objects are also preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi.

Bogra :

MAHASTHANGARH: Mahasthangarh the oldest archaeological site in Bangladesh, is on the western bank of the river Karotoa, 18 km north of Bogra town. It can easily be reached as it is on the Bogra-Rangpur highway. Several isolated mounds surround the fortified city-side, which is of great sanctity to the Hindus. Every year around mid April and once every twelve years in December, thousands of Hindu pilgrims gather at the site for a bathing ritual. A wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to old ornaments and coins can be seen at the site museum.


NAVARATNA TEMPLE: The most ornate among the mediaeval temples of Bangladesh is the one at Kantanagar near Dinajpur town. Built in 1752 under the patronage of Maharaja Pran Nath of Dinajpur, it was originally a Navaratna temple, crowded with four richly ornamental corner towers on two storeys and a central one over the third storey.

Comilla :

MAINAMATI: About eight km west of Comilla, town lies a range of low hills known as Mainamati-Lalmai ridge which is dotted with more than 50 ancient Buddhist settlements from the 8th to the twelve century Ad. Almost at middle of the is Salvan Vihara of 115 cells built built around a spacious courtyard with a cruciform temple in the centre. About 5 km north of Salvan Vihara is Kutila Mura, which is a picturesque relic of a unique Buddhist establishment. Dharma and Shangha –are seen side side by side. Charpata Mura is an isolated small oblong shrine situated about 2.5 km northwest of the kutila Mura stupas. The Mainamati site museum has a rich and varied collection of plate, gold and silver coins and 12 century bronze object.



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