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Sightseeing in Dhaka

Most of the museums are housed in buildings with historical lineage. To start your sightseeing trip, it is a good idea to begin with a trip to Lalbagh Fort built in 1678 AD by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. On the banks of the Buriganga River, this fort was never completed because Mohammad Azam lost his beloved daughter, Pari Bibi. In the 1857 mutiny against the British, this fort was the scene of a bloody battle. When you are there, single out the outstanding monuments such as the tomb of Pari Bibi (Fairy lady), Lalbagh Mosque, the Audience Hall and the Museum.

Bangabandhu Memorial Museum is housed in the erstwhile residence of the father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at Dhanmondi Residential Area. It contains a collection of personal effects and priceless photographs of his life and times.

Mukti Juddha Museum is situated in the Segunbagicha area of the city and contains rare photographs of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1972 and arms used by the freedom fighters during the period. The National Museum has a large number of sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods. Worth taking a look at is the huge collection of Arabic writing, such as inscriptions of the Holy Quran in Arabic and translations of Persian and Bengali writing. The Museum also has a rich collection of old coins, books on art, ivory and silver filigree works.

JBM Ahsan Manzil Museum lies on the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka. The pink majestic Ahsan Manzil (building) has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It belonged to the Nawab (Muslim king) of Dhaka and was partially destroyed by a cyclone in 1888. Today’s renovated Ahsan Manzil is a monument of immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms with a huge dome atop which can be seen from miles around. It now has 23 galleries in 31 rooms displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.

Visit the Baldha Gardens for its collection of rare plants and flowers. It has a few specimens of the Amazon Lily, rarely seen in this part of the world.

For a picnic and a glimpse of flora and fauna, visit the Botanical Gardens built over an area of 205 acres of land at Mirpur, just east of the Zoo.

At Sher-e Bangla Nagar is the National Assembly Complex or the “Sansad Bhavan”, designed by the famous American architect Louis Kahn. It is a colossal modern complex of geometrical design.

The National Memorial , located at Saver, in the suburb of Dhaka was built to commemorate the martyrs of the war of independence. Jahangirnagar University and its sprawling campus are also located nearby. An attractive village bazaar (“haat”) is held in Saver every Saturday and Tuesday where typical Bangladeshi sweets, vegetables, fish, seasonal fruits and handicrafts are available.

Dhaka is known as the “city of mosques” and your trip isn’t complete if you haven’t seen the best of them. Along Islampur Road is the Tara (Star) Masjid , which shines with its glittering mosaic of broken china. Originally built in the 18th century, the mosaic was added in recent times by a pious businessman. The Moghul architecture is visible in the 17th century mosque, Shaat Gombuj (Seven domes), built by Shaista Khan. This mosque is in the northwestern corner of Dhaka city called Jafarabad. Renowned for its beautiful domes, this mosque is on the banks of the Buriganga River.

The Central Shahid Minar has become a place of pilgrimage for 120 million Bangladeshis because it is the symbol of the first uprising in Bangladesh. This Monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of historic Language Movement of 1952.

Moving to the newer parts of the city, to buildings and sights from the British era, the Curzon Hall in Ramna is a happy blend of European and Moghul architecture built in 1905. Almost opposite is the Old High Court , built in neoclassical European style also in 1905.

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