From Coxbazar we took a local flight to Dhaka. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh is sprawling but very densely populated . The traffic jam is almost legendary , on the way to hotel it almost felt like getting out of the cab and walking would be lot quicker. I was staying at “Hotel Star City” near Kamalapur.
We reached the hotel around evening , as with previous hotels, rooms were barely liveable. Dhaka Ramkrisna misson was nearby and we walked there to watch puja and Sandharati.
Next morning we woke up and got ready pretty early , breakfast was not available that early . We took a cab to Zya Uddan , this is opposite to Dhaka parliament . This is probably one of the very few open green public places . We then took a glance from outside of parliament building and then off to Dhakeshwari Temple.
This is one of the Shaktee Pithas, here the gem of Sati’s crown had fallen . It is also the goddess of Dhaka, from which name of the city came. This is now national temple of Bangladesh and very well guarded. From there we took a cycle rickshaw to Khan Mohammad Mirda Masjid. This is an archaeological site and was closed but I was allowed to enter the Mosque. From here we walked to Lalbagh fort. This fort sits next to Buriganga river and was never completed. Ajam Shah started the construction and his son Shaista Khan lived there.
There are some tunnels in the fort which are now sealed. It is said that two of the tunnels lead to now ruined Zinzira Fort which was on the other side of the Buriganga River. Another passage was made as a maze. It is claimed that many defeated sepoys (soldiers) of the Sepoy Revolution of 1857 tried to run away through the passage and lost their lives. The British soldiers who chased them to arrest also did not return. To investigate the claim, British researchers sent an elephant and dogs to the tunnel but they did not return either. After that, the tunnels were sealed.
After spending sometime here we took another rickshaw to Star Mosque ( Tars Masjid) . It is decorated with star motif’s and is famous for Chinitikri style mosaic decoration . From here next we went to Armenian Church . This is a historically significant building and testimony to a thriving Armenian population in this area.
From here we walked though the super congested and narrowest lanes and by-lanes of old Dhaka to Islampur cloth market and then to Shankhari Bazar . The area was dominated by the Shankhari community, who derived their name from Shankha. It is primarily a hindu area with many temples.
We had very nice lunch in Bengali mess hotel. After that we walked to Ahsan Manjil . This pink palace was official residential for Nawabs of Dhaka. It has long history of ownership transfers between French traders and English . Today it is renovated and converted to a Museum after Government acquired it from illegal occupants.
It was a very long day and we decided to return to our hotel from Sadarghat , the bustling river port of Dhaka. Next day morning after check out we went to Gabtoli bus station for our onward journey to Rajshahi