Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is the land of dhak trees, where the people worship Dhakeshwari goddess and enjoy the music of dhak instrument – one of which led to the city being named “Dhaka”.
This bustling city is known to have a number of notable mosques, ancient palaces, and other monuments of great importance.
Being cricket enthusiasts,people of Bangladesh love watching their favorite sport at the main national stadium which is in Dhaka.
This city that loves its tea has so much to offer for its visitors. Here’s a list of 11 amazing places to visit in Dhaka while you are on a vacation in Bangladesh.
1. Ahsan Mansil
The Ahsan Manzil, an ancient palace is one of the popular places to visit in Dhaka. It is situated picturesquely along the banks of River Buriganga. This historic monument was the presidential palace of the Nawab of Bengal, Abdul Ghani. “Nawab” was the term used to address the “zamindars” or aristocrats of the olden days, during the British rule.
The palace, built in Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture is divided into two wings – the eastern side called the Rangmahal and the western side called the Andarmahal.
The major attraction of this ancient palace is its central dome. The palace that looks pink from afar paints a pretty picture against the blue skies with white fluffy clouds, and the lush green gardens of the palatial grounds.
2. Lalbagh Fort
The Fort Aurangabad, popularly known as the Lalbagh Fort is a royal palatial complex, built scenically with the River Buriganga flowing adjacent to it. The construction of the fort was initiated by the Mughals in the 17th century; however, it was never fully completed. The construction was abruptly halted with the death of the then-Mughal ruler’s daughter which was considered as a bad omen.
The Lalbagh fort is one of the most visited places of interest in Dhaka.
With its beautiful gardens and the cool winds that seem to always blow here, the fort and the surrounding area portray a calm and peaceful ambience to all its visitors. Visitors are allowed to enter only one out of the three buildings within the royal complex – the Diwan, also called the Hall of the Audience.
The Diwan is currently a museum containing many Mughal paintings, carpets, artifacts and royal swords and weapons.
The Lalbagh fort is one of the historically significant places to visit in Dhaka.
Yet another interesting spot among the amazing places to visit in Dhaka is Sonargaon, nicknamed as the “City of Gold”. It was the old capital before the Mughals came into power. The area is pre-dominantly Muslim and has a number of notable mosques.
One of the most famous mosques here is the Goaldi Mosque, a beautiful, rustic16th century mosque which has been subject to destruction and restoration. It is always open to visitors.
Another place of interest in Sonargaon is the Sonargaon Museum. It is basically an art museum. There are two museums within the complex. The museums display many historic artifacts of interest that portray the essence of Bengal heritage and culture. They also exhibit the traditional hand-made sarees.
The museum grounds also offer one of the best picnic spots in Dhaka. Visitors can also go on short boating trips across the lake adjacent to the museum complex.
4. Dhakeswari Temple
One of the most important Hindu temples of Bangladesh, the Dhakeswari Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Dhaka. The temple is always filled with devotees of the Goddess Dhakeswari. It is even said that the city of Dhaka got its name due to the strong religious fervor of the locals towards the goddess.
The temple is surrounded by dense jungle to its north. The temple also consists of tombs of some important saints of olden days.
It is interesting to know that the national flag of Bangladesh is religiously hoisted every day within the temple complex. Regular prayers are held for the nation, its people and rulers.
The temple celebrates many festivals ardently and is a cultural site promoting harmony among the people of Bangladesh.
It is quite unfortunate that the liberation wars of the 20th century resulted in parts of the temple being damaged beyond restoration.
5. Shaheed Minar
The Shaheed Minar is a politically and historically important among the most interesting places to visit in Dhaka. It is a monument built in honor of the brave souls who gave their lives up during the Bengali Language Movement in 1952.
Bangladesh has declared 21 February as Martyr’s Day, a day of national mourning along with parades and cultural activities marking the day as International Mother Language Day as well.
The Shaheed Minar has been constructed to signify a standing mother with her fallen sons, with a red sun shining in the backdrop.
It is one of the popular tourist destinations of Bangladesh.
6. Armenian Church
It is an interesting fact that there existed an Armenian community in Bangladesh during the 17th and 18th centuries. They’ve made their mark in the history of Bangladesh by leaving behind one of the best architectural monuments in Bangladesh, the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Holy Resurrection.
The street in which the church is located is called the Armenian Street. Before the church was built, the land was actually a graveyard. If the earthquakes of 1897 hadn’t destroyed it completely, visitors would’ve been able to view a beautiful clock tower adjacent to the church.
The major attraction of this church is its architectural magnificence. There is a beautiful spiral staircase within the church which has been of utmost interest to tourists.
7. Dhaka Lit Fest
The famous Dhaka Lit Fest (Lit, short for Literary), as its name suggests is the biggest Bangladeshi literary fairs conducted in Dhaka annually.
Numerous literary events are conducted, with a large number of local and international public figures taking part in it each year. The fest is also a stage for debates and discussions on various topics of relevance in today’s world.
The fest also witnesses a large number of new book releases and book reviews.
It gives visitors an insight into the cultural heritage of the people of Bangladesh and the importance they place on language and literature.
Tourists must definitely pay a visit to the Bangla Academy grounds where the fest is held to witness this literary fiesta.
8. Bashundhara City
The Bashundhara City is the best shopping destination in Bangladesh and definitely makes it to one of the top entries of the list of places to visit in Dhaka.
It is one of the biggest shopping malls in the country, with countless shops selling everything and anything!
For the convenience of the shoppers, the mall has been separated into floors on the basis of the category of items for sale. The mall also has a number of well-equipped cinema halls, and a food court serving everything from fast food to traditional Bangladeshi food.
This mall which is the second largest shopping mall in the country also has an ice rink, a theme park and a large gymnasium within it.
It is a popular place of interest for locals and tourists alike.
9. New Market of Dhaka
Situated on Mirpur Road in the city of Dhaka is one of the busiest markets in Bangladesh. The market which is spread across a triangular shaped plot of land has a large number of shops selling mainly household goods, groceries and items of daily use.
The marketplace also has a park for young kids, a part of which has been recently turned into a mosque.
It is quite a fascinating sight to see the marketplace crowded with families loudly bargaining for vegetables and other goods.
It is said that the market is not as popular among residents as it used to be before. However, it is still a place of interest for tourists.
10. Sadarghat River Port
Another interesting place to visit in Dhaka is the Port of Dhaka, known as the Sadarghat River Port. This port that was established during the rule of the Mughal Empire mainly harbors passenger boats and ships.
This river port, built along the River Buriganga is always bustling with the coming and going of ships and liners. The area is always busy with activity here!
An amusing sight here is the floating market of Sadarghat, consisting of fruit and vegetable sellers, selling their produce on boats.
From the Sadarghat River Port, one can easily spot the beautiful Ahsan Manzil in the backdrop.
11. Khan Mohammad Mridha’s Mosque
Another major tourist attraction of Bangladesh is the Khan Mohammad Mridha’s Mosque located at Dhaka. This Persian architectural brilliance is located in the region of Dhaka commonly referred to as “Old Dhaka”.
The main attractions of the mosque are the two Persian inscriptions – one on the central archway and the other on the semi-circular niche on the wall of the mosque, called the mihrab.
The interior of the mosque is simply magnificent. The grounds of the mosque are decorated with colorful, fragrant flowers.
This architectural beauty is a must-visit place for tourists.
On the whole, the nearly 400-year old city of Dhaka is simply a wonderful city with beautiful mosques, ancient palaces, markets, and definitely worth a visit! So don’t forget to explore this amazing city when you’re in Bangladesh!!