Tag Archive | Mosque

Top Things To Do In Dhaka

bangladeshAs the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka has grown significantly over recent decades and is now one of the most densely populated cities in Asia, a home to over twelve million people.  This bustling city seems to be constantly moving, and although it has seen much turbulence in its history, it is now experiencing a relatively stable period which has drawn significant foreign investment.  The city itself is actually a hotbed for all kinds of Bangladeshi culture, and visitors will find plenty of things to do during their stay.

Explore The City Of Mosques

With much of the Bangladeshi population being Muslim there are many mosques to be found in Dhaka, which has led to it being given the nickname ‘The City Of Mosques’.  The largest and most impressive of these mosques is Baitul Mukarram, which is an ornate and modern mosque that was completed in 1968, and can accommodate up to thirty thousand people at a time.  Another of the beautiful mosques to be found in Dhaka is the Star Mosque, which dates from the late eighteenth century and boasts domes and pillars that are decorated with blue stars on a white background.

For those particularly interested in the mosques of Dhaka, there are plenty more noteworthy buildings to visit in the city, including the Chawk Mosque which is at the heart of the old town, and the Binat Bibi Mosque which is the oldest in the city.

Celebrate The Bangladeshi New Year

The festival of Pohela Boishakh is the New Year in the Bangladeshi calendar, which falls on the fourteenth of April.  This celebration is a national holiday, and many areas of the city will hold fairs where all manner of sweets and crafts are on sale, and many people will watch the sunrise from a riverbank while enjoying a traditional breakfast of green chili, onion, rice and fish.  There are many arts and dances to be enjoyed, and at the University of Dhaka a particularly colorful parade is held.

This is one of the most enjoyable of the Bangladeshi festivals as it is celebrated by all of the city’s residents, and is a truly joyous time to be in Dhaka.

Experience Bangladeshi Folk Music

Although Dhaka like much of Bangladesh is now seeing the increasing of western influence in its music, there are still plenty of examples of traditional music to be seen in the city. This music is often backed using the Ektara or Dotara, both types of stringed instruments, and may also be joined with a bashi which is a type of flute.

For those who are interested in folk music Dhaka has hosted a number of different festivals dedicated to Bangladeshi folk music and international folk music too.

See Dhaka From A Rickshaw

One of the experiences that visitors to Dhaka shouldn’t miss is the chance to ride in a rickshaw, and any journey around the city will reveal that there are thousands of these rickshaws on the streets.  Despite the government’s attempt to introduce petrol and natural gas fuelled rickshaws, it is the cycle rickshaws that still dominate transport in Dhaka, with an estimated 400,000 of these actually operating on the streets of the city.  The rickshaw is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to get around the city, and any public site like a hotel or train station will see rickshaw riders clamoring for your business.

Tingle Your Taste Buds With Traditional Bangladeshi Food

Another of the delights of a visit to Dhaka is to enjoy the local cuisine, and even compared to Indian and Pakistani food these dishes can often be particularly spicy.  Most of the food here is fried using mustard oil, including both vegetables and meat, and usually served with white rice.  Fish is particularly popular because of the abundant fishing to be enjoyed in the rivers of Bangladesh, but for those looking for a sweet treat should look out for the lovely Roshogolla.

The Top Tourist Attractions In Islamabad

Faisal-Mosque-PakistanAlthough Islamabad is a fairly new city, having been founded in the 1960s to become the new capital of Pakistan, it is surrounded by historic monuments and signs of its important location in the region.  Being one of the newest cities in the country it is also the most developed, having been designed to function well as a city rather than the natural haphazard development that is seen in so many cities around the world. As the name suggests, religion plays an important part in the city and there are many mosques and religious sites to be found around the city.

Faisal Mosque

As an important Muslim city it was vital that Islamabad would have a mosque that it could be proud of, and the Faisal Mosque is one of the largest in the world, and has a very contemporary design.  The construction and the design of the mosque were both sponsored by Saudi Arabia to support the fledgling state of Pakistan, and by the time it was finished in 1986, it had been in process for over ten years.  The design itself is more angular than the traditional round dome of older mosques, and the central building has a minaret at the four corners.

Although the Faisal Mosque is frequently visited during the day, it is lit up during the evening making it a popular place to view.  The mosque and the street on which it is located is named after King Faisal of Saudi Arabia who commissioned and sponsored the building of the mosque, but was sadly assassinated before he could even see the beginning of the building work.

Rawat Fort And Pharwala Fort

The Rawat Fort is one of the ancient reminders of the different cultures that have lived in the Islamabad area long before the new capital of Pakistan was built.  The fort itself dates from the sixteenth century, and was built by a belligerent warrior tribe known as the Gakhars who were notorious for raiding and stealing from their neighbors.  The fort is almost square in shape, and has only two gates which would have made it more defensible.  Within the fortifications there is also a mosque with three large rooms beneath each of the large domes.  Rawat Fort is around ten miles outside Islamabad.

Pharwala Fort is another of the Gakhar tribe’s forts in the area, and dates from the early sixteenth century.  The fort is located with one wall facing the river, with the bank from the river to the fort being particularly steep and rocky, meaning attack would be unlikely to come from this side.  Because of the fragile nature of the site, foreign visitors are only allowed to view the site from the outside.

Pakistan Monument

The PakistanMonument is a site that has been developed over the last decade to celebrate the flourishing of Pakistan as an independent nation.  The design of the monument itself is said to represent a blossoming flower, a metaphor for the growth of Pakistan, and has four large petals and three small ones to represent the four provinces and the three territories of Pakistan.  The interior of each petal has been elaborately decorated with images from across Pakistan, and since it was completed in 2007 has attracted many visitors.

The Shrine Of Bari Imam

Bari Imam was one of the most important Muslim figures in the history of the region, and is also the patron saint of Islamabad.  Bari Imam was a particularly well traveled and knowledgeable Muslim teacher, and is noted for converting the people of Chorpur Shahan to Islam.  There is a large gathering held at the shrine every year, and it is estimated that well over a million visitors come to the site every year.

 Rawal Lake

This is an artificial lake that has been created in the hills above Islamabad to collect water from the streams flowing from those hills, but has also become an important site for wildlife in the area.  With a wide variety of parks and attractive gardens set around the lake it has become a popular place to relax for the people of Islamabad, and is also a hub of many of its recreation activities.

It is also a good place to enjoy water sports such as diving, sailing and water skiing, and for those looking for a more peaceful way to spend the afternoon it is also a pleasant fishing spot.

The Top Historic Sites In Bangladesh

Shat-Gambuj-Mosque-Sixty-Dome-Mosque-BangladeshThe country of Bangladesh is one that is dominated by water, with much of the nation lying at a very low altitude, and with a series of Himalayan rivers flowing through the country into the Bay of Bengal.  The country itself has a varied history having changed hands a number of times between a variety of Empires, before its current borders were established in 1947 as East Pakistan, but the country gained liberation and independence in 1971.  This varied history as a part of other nations has left a number of historical sites in the country, but many important historical areas have been lost due to the annual floods and cyclones that hit the country.

Somapura Grand Monastery

Dating from the eighth or ninth centuries, the Somapura Grand Monastery is one of the most important sites in Bangladesh, and would have been a part of a greater network of monasteries across the region.  The site is made up of a large central shrine and would have been surrounded by a large number of cells for the monks to stay in.  The inscriptions around the Monastery do date the monastery to the Pala Dynasty, and according to Tibetan records it was one of the five great monasteries and centers of Buddhist learning at the time.

Today the cells around the monastery are little more than ruins, but the large central shrine has been significantly excavated and lovingly restored, with many of the carvings exposed.  Its importance in the greater Buddhist culture has led to the Somapura Monastery being recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Sixty Dome Mosque

The Sixty Dome Mosque lies in the district of Bagherat, and is one of the most important Islamic sites to be found in Bangladesh, dating from the fifteenth century.  The mosque is formed of four circular towers at the four corners of the building, with the large number of domes making up the roof.  The building itself actually has seventy seven domes, but it is believed the name may have originally been the Mosque of Sixty Pillars, which is an accurate description of the building.

The thick walls and the towers at each corner of the building may have been a sign that the mosque was built by a military man, and was one of the first Muslim outposts in the area.

 Ahsan Manzil

This elaborate palace was the seat of the ruling family during the nineteenth and the start of the twentieth century, and is typical of Bangladeshi building as it lies on a raised platform.  This is to deal with the potential flooding that can happen from the nearby BurigangaRiver, and also to provide a more prominent position.

Today Ahsan Manzil has been fully restored and is now home to the BangladeshNationalMuseum, and shows off the beautiful building along with many exhibitions tracing the history of this fledgling country.


This archaeological site is believed to be the oldest example of a settlement in Bangladesh, which has been dated to at least the third century BC, although many historians believe it is significantly older.  This ancient city was the capital of Pundravardhana, and the citadel was at the very centre of the site.  A number of discoveries including terracotta tiles, sculptures, pottery and coins have all been found in the excavations of the site.

Although there have been a number of mounds excavated on this archaeological site, there are many that are yet to be explored.

Lalbagh Fort

This fort dates from the seventeenth century, and is notable as it was never finished by Prince Muhammad Azam Shah who commissioned the building.  The daughter of the successor to Prince Shah died at the site, and her tomb is to be found on this site.  It is believed that he then abandoned building feeling that the site brought poor fortune.

Today the fort itself is a popular visitors site, and there is also the ornate tomb of Para Bibi is another of the features that attract people to the area.  There is also a mosque and the ruins of the fortifications that were built around the fort itself.