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  DHAKA The Capital City
   

Throughout the Mughal and the British rule many magnificent tombs, fortifications, mosques and other beautiful monuments and gardens had been built in Dhaka. Some of those still exist to attract great admiration from tourists.

Lalbagh Fort The most attractive of the Mughal monuments is the Aurangabad Fort, commonly known as Lalbagh Fort, situated in the southwestern part of the old city on the bank of the river Buriganga.

Sonargaon Take a walk along the narrow roads and ancient buildings of one of the oldest capitals of Bengal- Sonargaon. Situated about 27 km east to Dhaka, it was the capital of Deva Dynasty until the 13 century and from then the subsidiary capital of the Sultans of Bengal. After the Mughals, Sonargaon lost its glory and prestige. But even now some ancient monuments remain as witness to its glorious past. One can visit the Jainul Folklore Museum- a good collection of the folk crafts of Bengal.

 
     
 

Ahsan Manzil Built in 1872 and situated on the river Buriganga on the southern part of the old city, this stately building offers a feel of the life style of the Nawabs. If you have time, take a leisurely walk along the busy narrow roads of the old city- on crossing the textile and jewelry shops of Islampur road visit Tantibazar and see the artists producing beautiful works on jewelry and shell materials.

 
     
 

Shahid Minar A few minutes walk from Curzon Hall will take you to Shahid Minar- pride of our nation- a beautiful monument commemorating the courageous sacrifice of young lives in defense of the national language Bangla against the aggression by the Pakistani rulers back in February 1952. Each year, on 21 February, thousands of people come in procession with floral wreaths singing dirges.

 
     
  Cultural Life  
     
 

Bangladesh has a rich cultural history. The cultural and linguistic characteristics of the Bangalee race mark them out as different from other ethnic races living in the subcontinent. The rise of Bangalee nationalism which culminated in the emergence of Bangladesh had its fondest impetus from the sense of cultural distinctness. The Bangalees (along with the people of West Bengal living across the political borders) have a well-developed language which has produced a Nobel Laureate like Rabindranath Tagore (1913). The people of Bangladesh fought for the rights of their language in 1952. Every year the Language Day is commemorated on 21 February and the martyrs remembered.

Bangladesh has a tradition of folk art exemplified by the `Nakshi Kantha' or embroidered quilts produced by village women. These are artistically done fabrics with various patterns and motifs taken from rural life. They are used as trousseau, and the embroidery depicts and keeps alive local history and myth. You are sure to be tempted to take one of them with you as a souvenir.

Folk songs comprise the Baul songs, the Bhatiali (boatmen's songs), the Bhawaia (the song of the carters of the north), the Murshidi (devotional mystic songs), the Jari (usually narrating the sad story of the martyrdom of Hussain at Karbala in the early years of Islam) and the musical songs sung at the bridal parties by the bridesmaids. Besides, live performances are frequent, both in the rural areas and in the cities.

Folk theatre or `the Jatra', mainly portraying social or political themes is common at the village level, `Kabigan' is a form of poetic debate.

 
 
     
  Tribal Life  
     
 

The tribal population of Bangladesh numbering more than a million is spread over the hilly regions north of Mymensingh, the Sylhet area and the three districts of the Hill Tracts Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban. Some tribal groups are scattered over the north-western district of Rangpur, Dinajpur, Bogra and Rajshahi.

 
     
 

The dominant tribes in the Chittagorig Hill Tracts, mostly originating from Mongoloid background, are Chakmas, Moghs, Murangs, Lushais, Kukis, Tancharayes and Tripuras. The Chakmas constitute the major tribe here and next to them are the Moghs, who are also found in Cox's Bazar and the Khepupara region near Patuakhali. These people, mainly Buddhist by religion, have preserved the elements of primitiveness which is strongly displayed in their rites, rituals and everyday life. You can still see the working of a matriarchal society with your own eyes. The womenfolk weave their own colorful clothes while the men go hunting with bows and arrows. You can visit the tribal villages, join their various festivals and enjoy their dances and songs.

The Manipuris of Sylhet, within their colorful life style, present a dance having exotic beauty and artistic grace. It has been institutionalised as a part of classical tradition of dancing in India and Bangladesh. The taros, Hajongs, Dahuls, live in the hilly regions north of Mymensingh.

The Santals, Orangs and Mundas, living in the north-western border districts possess ethnic similarities with the aborigines of India and have a distinct cultural and social life.

 
 
     
 

Cuisine

 
     
 

A Bangalee lives on `rice and fish'- so the saying goes. Nowhere else will one find such variety of sweet water fishes with such diverse ways of preparation boiled, smoked and fried. If you are a salmon lover, don't forget to taste the national fish- the Hilsa, found in almost every restaurant catering to native cuisine.

 
     
 

The ceremonial foods of Bangladesh mainly follow the Mughal tradition with a strong influence from the Hindu and other indigenous Indian culture. The main dishes are Polao (a kind of fried rice), Kurma (a meat curry prepared with gravey), Kofta (fried meat-cakes and meat balls) and varieties of Kababs. For the busy visitors there are numerous fast food shops selling along with cosmopolitan things like cakes, sandwiches and cold beverages, many local snacks like Chotpoti, Singara, Samosa, Puri, Mughlai parata and desserts like Dodhi (sweet yoghurt), Rasgollah and varieties of sweetmeats. Besides these, the main cities of Bangladesh have a number of Chinese restaurants. As evident from the list of restaurants at the end of this brochure Italian, Thai, English, Japanese, Korean and Continental food are available in Dhaka.

A variety of seasonal fruits like Mango, Banana, Pineapple, Liclus, Jack-fruit, Watermelon, Papya, Green coconut, Guava, etc. are widely available.

 
 
     
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