Given Dhaka's long past, the city is a treasure trove of historic sites and cultural treasures; chief among them are the rambling, crowded streets of Old Dhaka; the ornate Tara Masjid, or Star Mosque; and Lalbagh Fort, the commanding, sprawling structure that served as a symbol of Mughal might and hegemony over the region.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Go to Lalbagh Fort, an unfinished fort dating from 1678, when Dhaka was the regional seat of the Mughal viceroys. Though the fort was never completed, recent excavations and renovations have restored its imposing fortifications and ornamental gates. Several of the interior buildings remain, including a mosque, tombs, an audience hall and the hammam (or Turkish-style bathhouse).
Visit a number of projects supported by the Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist who was instrumental in the development of microcredit financing — the extension of small loans to individuals or organizations who do not qualify for a traditional loan. If Mr. Yunus is available, meet with him and discuss with him his economic philosophy and the vital changes it has brought about in Bangladesh.
Visit the stunning National Assembly Building (Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban), designed by world-renowned American architect Louis Khan. Planned with both contemporary architecture and the aesthetic history of the region in mind, the massive stone building combines clean lines and forms with the monumental feel of a Mughal fort.
Visit the National Museum, home to an excellent collection of sculpture from Bangladesh’s Hindu, Buddhist and Mughal past, as well as an extensive collection of folk art. A curator will take you on a personal tour of the highlights of the collection.
Explore the old city, which runs along the waterfront, and dates from the Mughal Empire, when Dhaka was an important regional trading center. Witness the bustling river life of the Buriganga, where floating merchants ply their trades and people from all walks of life queue for the riverboats bound for other cities in this riverine country.
Tour through the city by cycle rickshaw. Rickshaws are the most popular form of transportation in the Dhaka; there are some 400,000 on the streets, and are typically brightly painted with a riot of images drawn from nature, history, or popular films. Visit a workshop where rickshaws are painted and meet the artists behind these fanciful designs.
Visit the beautiful Star Mosque, or Tara Masjid, in the old city. The mosque’s five domes, porticos and pillars are decorated with hundreds of large and small stars, created by setting pieces of china on white cement. In bright sunlight, this brilliant combination is quite striking and can give the building the effect of floating above the ground. The inside is just as lovely – covered with floral motifs and passages in Arabic calligraphy picked out in the same unusual style of mosaic, known as Chini Tikri.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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Aland with a fascinating and sometimes tragic history, Bangladesh is an undiscovered travel gem still well off the beaten tourist trail and yet home to so many cultural treasures just waiting to be uncovered.
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