My fingers tingle as I begin to pen this down; I’m a Bangladeshi by descent and the closest living link, is only a Bangladeshi friend staying in London. Every conversation with him is like taking a trip to the land I have sworn to visit at least once, the land where my roots lie.
And it might be his routine amuse to laugh at my polished, anglicized and rather broken Bengali and me arguing about a certain comforting ring it has to it but I’m only aware that he’s closer to my land than I am. Anyway, I got emotional and carried away; though I’m not going to let this emotion die and give you 5 reasons why I feel that just like me, you all MUST visit Dhaka too.
5 Basics to Dhaka it Better
How to reach Dhaka
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (formerly Zia International Airport) is the primary airport serving both the city and the country. Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the flag carrier of Bangladesh, and is connected to approximately 18 international destinations, including London and Rome. The Maitree Express was reopened in 2008, and is a direct train service from Kolkata, India to Dhaka. There is also travel through waterways although since they aren’t in Dhaka, it might be inconvenient.
Commuting in Dhaka
Apart from cars and buses, there are auto-rickshaws, cycles and the most popular, cycle rickshaws. The cycle rickshaws are so popular that Dhaka is actually called the Rickshaw capital of the world.
The weather is subtropical – hot and very humid during the summer-monsoon season (April–September) and drier and cooler in the winter (October–March). Most rainfalls occur between May and October.
Bengali is commonly spoken although there is a stark difference between the Bangla of West and East Bengal hence, it might be a bit of a problem even for Bengali speakers. Urdu/Hindi speaking population reside mainly in Old Dhaka while the youth are fluent in English.
Currency: The Taka (টাকা) is the currency of Bangladesh and is subdivided into 100 poisha. 100 INR= 117.09 BD T.
5 Reasons to Dhaka It
- Great Heritage for Food
Let’s not forget who’s writing the article after all. The beauty about food in Dhaka is the evident inter-fusion of two cultures and the resulting rich cuisine that had emerged. Food in Dhaka is rich in flavors, represent a great heritage and is cheap as well.
- Threshold of Art and Culture
A rather common trait in people from Bangladesh is their strong patriotic feeling: not just in the typical sense but also for art, both literary and visual, and music as well as theater. It is a definite treat for culture patrons.
The architecture of Dhaka is a confluence of many architectural styles. Mughals, Indo-Saracenic with certain colonial influences, now that’s a rarity. The newer architectural pattern is progressive with the progressive times but hasn’t lost the cultural touch to it.
Shop Till You Drop
While Bangladesh’s garment export industry is worth a staggering HK$147 billion each year, Dhaka is where the seconds and rejects remain. The hectic New Market and Banga Bazaar are good places to bargain hard, but if you’re not the type that likes to haggle – or you don’t trust yourself to judge good quality from the bad – take a trip to fair trade fashion outlet Aarong (on Tejgaon Link Road in the Gulshan area).
Rocket Launcher from Dhaka
Being a land of rivers, sitting on a deck at sunset and savoring the lush backdrop with a cuppa, is the ideal way to end the trip. A trip on the Rocket would bring you so much closer to the rivers that you’d be in the heart of them, watching them come alive for you.
Dhaka is such a wonderfully lively and welcoming city that not spending time here is time wasted indeed. Hope you make Dhaka plans after all. Until then, stay well and Happy tripping!