Tourism In Bangladesh
Bangladesh is Located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while in the south lays the Bay of Bengal. There is West Bengal border on the west and in the east lie the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram (India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1,47,570 square kilometer criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. Mighty rivers are the Padma (Ganges), the Brahmaputra (Jamuna) & the Meghna and the Karnafuli.
Bangladesh offers many tourist attractions, including archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, longest natural beach in the world, picturesque landscape, hill forests and wildlife, rolling tea gardens and tribes. Tourists find the rich flora and fauna and colorful tribal life very enchanting. Each part of the country offers distinctly different topography, flavors and food. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers, freshwater pink dolphins, historical temples made of red earth.
A. ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
One of the finest specimen of Mughals period is the Aurangabad Fort, commonly known as Lalbagh Fort, which indeed represents the unfulfilled dream of a Mughal Prince. It occupies the south-western part of the old city, overlooking the Buriganga on whose northern bank it stands as a silent sentinel of the old city. Rectangular in plan, it encloses an area of 1082' by 800' and in addition to corners and a subsidiary small unpretentious gateway on north, it also contains within its fortified. Perimeter a number of splendid monuments, surrounded by attractive garden.
These are, a small 3-domed mosque, the mausoleum of Bibi Pari, the reputed daughter of Nawab Shaista Khan and the Hammam and Audience Hall of the Governor. The main purpose of this fort, was to provide a defensive enclosure of the palatial edifices of the interior and as such was a type of palace-fortress rather than a seize-fort.
Ahsan Manzil situated at Kumartoli of Dhaka on the bank of the Buriganga, was the residential palace and the kachari of the Nawabs of Dhaka. It has been turned into a museum recently.
The construction of the palace was begun in 1859 and completed in 1872. Abdul Ghani named it Ahsan Manzil after his son Khwaja Ahsanullah. At that time the newly built palace was known as Rang Mahal and the earlier one was called Andar Mahal.
Ahsan Manzil is one of the significant architectural monuments of the country. Established on a raised platform of 1 metre, the two-storied palace measures 125.4m by 28.75m. The height of the ground floor is 5 metres and that of the first floor 5.8 metres.
The capital city of Sonargaon, obviously of Hindu origin, was situated on the northern bank of the Dhaleswari, close to the confluence of the Dhaleswari and the Sitalakshya, and also close to that of Old Brahmaputra and the Meghna.
The site of the city is lying about 27 kilometers almost southeast of Dhaka city. The area now known as Panam in Sonargaon, about 2.5 kilometers to the north of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway at Mograpara point.
Bangladesh Folk-Art Museum is situated at Sonargaon. It is open for the tourists from Friday to Wednesday from Morning 10-00 am to afternoon 5-00 pm.
The Sixty Dome Mosque (more commonly known as Shait Gambuj Mosque or Saith Gunbad Masjid),a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a mosque in Bangladesh, the largest in that country from the Sultanate period. It has been described as "the most impressive Muslim monuments in the whole of the Indian subcontinent.
The mosque is locally known as the 'Shat Gombuj Masjid', which in Bangla means Sixty Domed Mosque. However, there are 77 domes over the main hall and exactly 60 stone pillars.
It is possible that the mosque was originally referred to as the Sixty Pillared Mosque where Amud meaning column in Arabic/Persian, later got corrupted to Gombuj in Bangla, which means domes.
Mainamati once known as 'Samatata' denotes a land lying almost even with the sea-level. An isolated eleven-mile long spur of dimpled low hill range known as the Mainamati- Lalmai range runs through the middle of Comilla district from north to south.
It is the home of one of the most important Buddhist archaeological sites in the region. Comilla Cantonment is located nearby and houses a beautiful colonial era cemetery.
Mainamati is only 114 km. from Dhaka city and is just two hours drive on way to Chittagong.
Paharpur, Badalgachhi Upazila, Naogaon District, Bangladesh (25°1'51.83"N, 88°58'37.15"E) is among the best known Buddhist viharas in the Indian Subcontinent and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in Bangladesh. The village Mahasthan in Shibganj thana of Bogra District contains the remains of an ancient city which was called Pundranagara or Paundravardhanapura in the territory of Pundravardhana. A limestone slab bearing six lines in Prakrit in Brahmi script, discovered in 1931, dates Mahasthangarh to at least the 3rd century BC. The fortified area was in use till the 18th century AD.
Mahasthangarh is a notable historical tourist attraction of Bangladesh. Many tourists come here to see the glory of Mahasthangarh.
Patenga is a popular tourist spot. The beach is very close to the Bangladesh Naval Academy of the Bangladesh Navy and Shah Amanat International Airport.
Its width is narrow and swimming in the seas is not recommended. Part of the seashore is built-up with concrete walls, and large blocks of stones have been laid to prevent erosion. During the 1990s, a host of restaurants and kiosks sprouted out around the beach area. Lighting of the area has enhanced the security aspect of visiting at night.
Cox's Bazar is a seaside town, a fishing port and district headquarters in Bangladesh. It is known for its wide and long sandy beach, which is considered by many as the world's longest natural sandy sea beach. The beach in Cox's Bazar is an unbroken 120 kilometres (75 mi) sandy sea beach with a gentle slope. It is located 152 kilometres (94 mi) south of the industrial port of Chittagong.
Today, Cox's Bazar is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Bangladesh. It has yet to become a major international tourist destination, and has no international hotel chains because of the lack of publicity and transportation.
Teknaf Peninsula is one of the longest sandy beach ecosystems (80 km) in the world. It represents a transitional ground for the fauna of the Indo-Himalayan and Indo-Malayan ecological sub-regions. Important habitats at the site include mangrove, mudflats, beaches and sand dunes, canals and lagoons and marine habitat. Mangrove forest occurs in Teknaf peninsula both as natural forest with planted stands and mostly distributed in the intertidal zone.
The Teknaf peninsula mangroves supports the habitat of 161 different fisheries species (Chowdhury et al., 2011). Teknaf reserved forest is one of the oldest reserved forests in Bangladesh.
St. Martin's Island is a small island (area only 8 km2) in the northeastern part of the Bay of Bengal, about 9 km south of the tip of the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf peninsula, and forming the southernmost part of Bangladesh. There is a small adjoining island that is separated at high tide, called Chhera island. It is about 8 km west of the northwest coast of Myanmar, at the mouth of the Naf River.
It is possible to walk around the island in a day because it measures only 8 km2 (3 sq. mile), shrinking to about 5 km2 (2 sq. mi) during high tide. The island exists only because of its coral base, so removal of that coral risks erosion of the beaches. Because of this, St. Martin's has lost roughly 25% of its coral reef in the past seven years.
Kuakata is a panoramic sea beach on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. Located in the Patuakhali district, Kuakata has a wide sandy beach from where one can see both the sunrise and sunset. It is about 320 Kilometers south of Dhaka, the capital, and about 70 Kilometers from the district headquarters. The Kuakata beach is 30 km long and 6 km wide.
C. THE SUNDARBANS
In the south western part of Bangladesh, in the district of greater Khulna, lies the Sundarbans, "the beautiful forest". It is a virgin forest which until recently owed nothing to human endeavour and yet nature has laid it out with as much care as a planned pleasure ground. For miles and miles,the lofty treetops form an unbroken canopy, while nearer the ground, works of high and ebb-tide marked on the soil and tree trunks and the many varieties of the natural mangrove forest have much to offer to an inquisitive visitor. Here land and water meet in many novel fashions. Wild life presents many a spectacle. No wonder you may come across a Royal Bengal Tiger swimming across the streams or the crocodiles basking on the river banks. Wth the approach of the evening herds of deer make for the darking glades where boisterous monkeys shower Keora leaves from above for sumptuous meal for the former. For the botanist, the lover of nature, the poet and the painter this land provides a variety of wonders for which they all crave.
The Sundarbans is a cluster of inslands with an approximate area of 6000 sq. km. forming the largest block of littoral forests. It's beauty lies In its unique natural surrounding. Thousands of meandering streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm. Sundarbans meaning beautiful forest is the natural habitat of the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards, rhesus monkey and an innumerable variety of beautiful birds. Migratory flock of siberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, golpatta (round-leaf), fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural beauty of the Sundarbans.
This is indeed a land for the sportsmen, the anglers and the photographers with its abundance of game, big and small, crocodile, wild boar, deer, pythons, wild birds and above all the Royal Bengal Tiger, cunning, ruthless and yet majestic and graceful. For the less adventurously inclined, there are ducks and snipes, herons and coots, yellow-lags and sandpipers. It is also the land for the ordinary holiday makers who desire to rest or wander around at will to refresh their mind and feast their eyes with the rich treasure that nature has so fondly bestowed.
Area: Nearly 2400 sq. miles or 6000 sq. km.
Forest limits: North-Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts; South - Bay of Bengal; East - Baleswar (or Haringhata) river, Perojpur, Barisal district, and West - Raimangal and Hariabhanga rivers, which partially form Bangladesh boundary with West Bengal in India.
Wild life photography including photography of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger wild life viewing, boating inside the forest wild call recordings, nature study, meeting fishermen wood-cutters and honey-collectors, peace and tranquility in the wilderness, seeing the world's largest mangrove forest and the riverine beauty.
Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and natural beauty.Katka for deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and monkey morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali (Tiger Point) provide opportunities for wild tracking. Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer. Dublar Char (Island) for fishermen. It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are often seen to graze.
Water transport is the only means of communication for visiting the Sundarbans from Khulna or Mongla Port. Private motor launch, speed boats, country boats as well as mechanised vessel of Mongla Port Authority might be hired for the purpose. From Dhaka visitors may travel by air, road or rocket steamer to Khulna - the gateway to the Sundarbans. Most pleasant journey from Dhaka to Khulna is by paddle Steamer, Rocket presenting a picturesque panorama of rural Bangladesh. Day and night-long coach services by road are also available. The quickest mode is by air from Dhaka to Jessore and then drive to Khulna by road.
It varies depending on tides against or in favour in the river. Usually 6 to 10 hours journey by motor vessel from Mongla to Hiron Point or Katka.
Hiron Point: Comfortable three-storied Rest- House of the Mongla Port Authority. Prior booking is to be made. Katka: Forest Department Rest- House located here. Prior booking essential. Drinking Water: Drinking water is to be carried. Water available is saline. Journey by Rocket Steamer to Mongla and Khulna Minimum Journey time is 22 Hours for Mongla and 24 Hours for Khulna from Dhaka.
Prior permission must be obtained through written application from the Divisional Forest Office, Circuit House Road, Khulna (Phone 20665, 21173) to visit the Sundarbans. Required entrance fees for visitors, vessel or boat payable at the relevant forest station/range office.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, National Tourism Organization offers all-inclusive guided package tours from Dhaka to Sundarbans and return during the tourist season (October to March). Group size Minimum 12 pax.
For rates and booking please contact :Manager (Tours), Bangladesh parjatan Corporation, 233, Airport Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215, Phone : 817855-59 Fax : 880-2-817235 Telex : 642206 TOUR BJ.
Climate in the Sundarbans is moderate. Air is humid. Full monsoon is from June to September. The annual rainfall average between 65" and 70". During ebb-tide the forest becomes bare by 6-7 feet and at high tide (30 miles an hour) the entire territory of the forest floats on water.
Only means of transportation inside the forest is boat. There is no road, no trail of a path anywhere. The wood-cutters make temporary dwellings at the edge of the forest at a height of 8-10 feet for fear of wild animals - others live on boats. In the Chandpai region it is fascinating to see the nomadic fishermen (living with families on boats) catching fish with the help of trained otters. Exciting activities take place in Dublar Char in the forest where fishermen from Chittagong gather for four months (mid Oct. to mid Feb.) to catch and dry fish. But the most daring and exciting of all activities is presented by the honey-collectors who work in groups for just two months (April-May) and it is interesting to see how they locate a hive and then collect honey.
The Sundarbans is endowed by nature with rich flora and fauna. It is a wonderful place to see or to shoot a Royal Bengal Tiger with Camera if one has the time to wait in the forest. There are a good number of tigers in the Sundarbans. Lovely spotted deer are easy to find. Besides there are a wide variety of wild life for which the Sundarbans is so famous.
Permission from the Divisional Forest Officer, Khulna is required to visit to the forest. Cholera vaccine is to be taken well in advance.
Anti-malarial, anti-diarrhoeal, insectrepellent cream, drinking water, green coconuts, medical kit, light tropical dress, thick rubber soled boots etc. are to be carried with the tourist. It will be wise to take the help of an experienced guide to make the journey fruitful.
Khulna: Khulna is the third biggest industrial city of the country. It is a divisional headquarter which serves as a gateway to the sea port of Mongla and the Sundarbans. Khulna is also famous for shrimp processing and newsprint.
Bagerhat: This little town is 40 km. south-east of Khulna on the northern fringes of the Sundarbans. It is a district headquarter. Bagerhat is famous for SHAIT-GUMBAD MOSQUE (60-domed) built in 1459 and shrine of the Muslim mystic Khan Jahan Ali.
Mongla: Mongla is the second sea port of the country and gateway to the Sundarbans. It lies 38 km. to the south of Khulna. The port authority has got motor launches to go to the forest.
Best time to visit the Sundarbans is from November to March. Exciting honey collection season is during April-May. Hunting is prohibited by law in the country for the preservation of wild life. Certain species of birds, however can be shot with prior permission of the Divisional Forest Officer, Khulna (Phone : 20665 & 21173).
D. HILL DISTRICTS
Chittagong, the second largest city of Bangladesh and a busy international seaport, is an ideal vacation spot. Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches and its fine cool climate always attract the holiday-makers. Described by the Chinese traveller poet, Huen Tsang (7th century A.D.) as "a Sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water" and given the title of "Porto Grande" by the 16th century Portuguese seafaers. Chittagong remains true to both the descriptions even today. It combines the busy hum of an active seaport with the soothing quiet of a charming hill town. Chittagong is the country's chief port and is the main site for the establishment of heavy, medium and light industries. Bangladesh's only steel mill and oil refinery are also located in chittagong. Climate: Pleasant and cool in winter and warm and humid in summer. Language: Bangla, English is spoken and understood. Wearing Apparel: Tropical in summer and light woollen in winter. Communication & Transport: Chittagong is connected by roads and rail with rest of the country.
Chittagong, lies an interesting place known sitakunda, served by a railway station of the same name. Famous among the many temples in this place are the Chandranath Temple and the Buddhist Temple has a footprint of Lord Buddha. These places particularly the hilltops are regarded as very sacred by the Buddhists and the Hindus. Siva-chaturdashi festival is held every year in February when thousands of pilgrims assemble for the celebrations which last about ten days. There is a salt water spring 5 km. to the north of Sitakunda, known as Labanakhya. Parjatan facilities for tourists in Chittagong: Motel Shaikat at Station Road is a good Motel for budget tourists. It has 2 AC suites; 13 AC Twin Rooms; 13 non-AC Twin Rooms; Shaikat Resturent 60 seating, Tourist Information, Phones: 619514, 619845, 611046-8. Other hotels in town are Hotel Agrabad, Hotel Shahjahan, Hotel Miskha, Hotel Safina & Hotel Hawaii. Car rental: Rent-A-Car facilities are available for city sightseeing and trips to Rangamati, Cox's Bazer, Sitakunda and other important places.
Rangamati, the focal point of Rangamati Hill District, is connected with Chattogram by a 77 km. metalled road. The township is located on the western bank of the Kaptai Lake. Rangamati is a favourite holiday resort because of its beautiful landscape, scenic beauty, its flora and fauna, homespun textiles, bamboo handbags, flower vases and silver jewllery and the tribal men and women who fashion them, are other attractions. The tribal handicraft factory and sales centre run by BSCIC produces many varities of souvenirs made of bamboo, cane, straw, textile and leather. For the tourists the attractions of Rangamati are numerous tribal life, fishing, speed-boat cruising, water-skiing, hiking or merely enjoying nature as it is.
Other places worth visiting include, Tribal Museum, Bein Textile Factory and Sales Centre, Kalpataru, Ivory product shop, Hanging Bridge, Tribal village, Chakma Raj Bari (King's palace), Weekly Hat (market). Above all tribal dance and music captivate visitors which can be organised by Bangaldesh Parjatan Corporation if prior notice is given.
A pleasant and picutresque drive of 64 km. from Chattogram brings you to a huge expanse of emerald and blue water ringed with majestic tropical forests. It is the famous Kaptai Lake.
Only 3 km. from Kaptai along the Chattogram Road, Lies the ancient Chit Morong Buddhist Temple where there is beautiful Buddhist statues. An annual Buddhist festival is held here on the last day of Bengali year (Mid-Aprill).
Fortyeight Kilometer from Chattogram, on the Kaptai Road is Chandraghona where one of the biggest paper mills in Asia is located. Close to the paper mill there is a rayon factory which produces synthetic fibres from bamboo.
Khagrachari is the district headquarters of Khagrachari Hill District. A drive of 112 km. from Chattogram, by an all-weather metalled road through the green forest brings you to Khagrachari, abode of fascinating clam. For the tourists seeking nature in here restful mood, Khagrachari is an ideal spot.
Ninetytwo kilometer from Chattogram by metalled road, Bandarban is the district headquarters of the Bandarban Hill District. Bandarban is the home town of the Bohmong Chief who is the head of the Mogh
Bandarban is also the home of the Murangs who are famous for their music and dance. Far into the interior there are several other tribes of great interest for anyone who cares to make the journey.
To know more about the tourism of Bangladesh, please click here.