Tourism in Bangladesh
General Overview of Bangladesh
1.0 BANGLADESH: Country Profile
Bangladesh as a holiday making land exposes to many flamboyant facets. Its tourist attractions are many folded, which include archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wildlife of various species. Bangladesh offers ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with pristine nature.
Located in the north-eastern part of South Asia, Bangladesh lies between 20º34′ and 26º36′ north latitude and 88º01′ and 92 º 41’ east longitudes. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while in the south lays the Bay of Bengal. The gangetic Plains of west Bengal border the country on the west and in the east lie the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram(India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1, 47,570 sq.km criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. Mighty rivers the Padma(Ganges), the Brahamaputra (Jamuna) & the Meghna and the Karnafuli. This is Bangladesh, a fertile land where nature is bounteous.
Much of the country’s land area has been built up from alluvial deposits brought down by the major rivers. The country is mostly flat except for a range of hills in the south-east. The topography of the country is characterized by wooded marshy lands and jungles with plane lands occupying most of the river basins. There are deep forested regions in Sylhet, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban Hill Districts, Sundarbans (the World Heritage site), Mymensingh and Tangail.
Bangladesh has a long and eventful history as a nation. Although it enjoyed as a free and sovereign state only in 1971, after a nine month-long war of liberation, the land itself and its people, have their origin in antiquity. The earliest nation of Bangladesh in found in the 9th century BC Indian epic the Mahabharata.
There are evidences of story Mongoloid presence at the time. Then in 5th & 6th century BC came the Aryans from Central Asia and Dravidians from western India. The Hindu and Buddhist dynasties of guptas, palas and senas ruled the country until 13th century, when Muslim conquerors took over the reigns of the country.
The Muslim rules either belonging to independent dynasties such as the Hossain Shahi or Ilyas Shahi dynasties or Viceroys exercising power on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi and continued to rule the country until the middle of the 18th century, when the British took over the control of Bengal and eventually the whole of India. The Europeans, mainly Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders had began to arrive in Bangladesh from the 15th century and extended an economic control over the region.
2.1.3. Modern Period
In 1757 British coloniers defeated the last Muslim ruler of Bengal, Nowab Sirajuddoullah at Palassey. After the end of the British rule in 1947, the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. But the movement for autonomy for East Pakistan began within a couple of years because of linguistic and cultural differences and economic disparity between the two wings. The seeds of independence were sown through the great Language Movement of 1952 to recognize Bangla as a State Language. Then East Pakistan emerged as a sovereign and independent state of Bangladesh. After nine month-long sanguinary war of liberation in 1971. In which three million people courted martyrdom. We got the liberation at 16 December of 1971. And so for this, we call the 16 December as our Victory day of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has a population of 133.40 million making it the most densely populated country of the world. 85% population lives in rural areas. Density of population is about 900 per sq.km. There are about 2 million people of 23 tribes. They dwell mostly in Rangamati, Khagrachhari, and Bandarban and in part of northern districts. The tribes have exotic distinct cultures of their own. Their food habit also different from other people.
The state language and mother toung is Bangla. English is widely spoken and understood. Now days some young people are learning other languages like French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese etc. for professional purpose.
Bangladesh is a land of religious freedom, harmony and tolerance. People of all castes and creeds live here in perfect harmony. The percentage distribution of population to religions is as follows: Muslims – 88%, Hindus – 10%, Christians, Buddhists and others 2%.
The country is officially known as The People’s Republic of Bangladesh and has a parliamentary form of Government. The President is the Head of the State while the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government. The country is divided into 6(six) divisions namely Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Sylhet and Khulna. There are 64 districts, 465 upazillas (small administrative unit) and 85,650 villages under the six divisions.
Bangladesh has a 345-seat Parliament called ‘Jatiyo Sangsad’. 300 members of Jatiyo Sangsad are directly elected by the Electoral College and 45 seats are reserved for women, nominated proportionately by the members of different parties in parliament. They are designated as Member of the Parliament.
The Economy is characterized by a large subsistence agricultural sector, which contributes to sum 85% of the country’s population and small modern industrial sector. The total cultivable area is around 24 millions acres and there are a little more than 15 million cultivators. Major agricultural crops are rice, jute (the golden fiber), wheat, potato, pulses, sugarcane, tea, onion, garlic, ginger, tobacco etc. Tea, leather, ready made garments, frozen shrimp, jute and jute products are major foreign exchange earners. Export of handicrafts is booming fast. Remittances from Bangladeshis employed abroad are also contributing significantly towards foreign exchange earnings.
2.2. Historical development
The development of international recommendations concerning the concepts and definitions related to tourism has a long history. In 1937 the Council of the League of Nations recommended a definition of “international tourist” for statistical purposes. This definition was slightly amended by the International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO) at a meeting held in Dublin in 1950. Finally, in 1953, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) defined the concept of “international visitor”.
During the post-Second World War era, tourism demand has rapidly increased and tourism has become a worldwide phenomenon. Not surprisingly, this post-war boom has drawn the attention of many developing countries, and tourisms one of the growing industries of the world economy has enticed many entrepreneurs and governments of various countries to invest in the tourism industry
Bangladesh government also recognized and made policy for the developed of tourism industry in 1972 and 1992 respectively.
2.3. Definition of Tourism
The World Tourism Organization defines tourism as ‘the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes’. This broad definition of tourism is then broken down into six categories1 according to the purpose of the trip:
Ø Leisure, recreation and holidays
Ø Visiting friends and relatives
Ø Business and professional
Ø Health treatment
The term tourism could be viewed from different angles like economic, managerial, marketing, social, and environmental and so on. However the international association of scientific experts in tourism (AIEST) adopted the following definition of tourism:
Tourism is the some of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents in so far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity.
In this definition, a broad concept has been developed which included various forms of business and vocational travel and identified a “travelers is a pure consumer”.
2. 3.1. Classification of Tourist:
2.4. Tourism in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the few countries in South Asia, which remains to be explored. Bangladesh has a delicate and distinctive attraction of its own to offer and it is definitely not a tourist haunt like Nepal or India. Bangladesh is like a painter’s dream come true with a rich tapestry of colors and texture. The traditional emphasis of the tourist trade has always been on the material facilities offered by a country rather than on its actual charms. This may be a reason why Bangladesh has seldom been highlighted in the World’s tourist maps.
It’s a land of enormous beauty, hundreds of serpentine rivers, crystal clear water lakes surrounded by ever green hills, luxuriant tropical rain forests, beautiful cascades of green tea gardens, world’s largest mangrove forest preserved as World Heritage, home of the Royal Bengal Tiger and the wild lives, warbling of birds in green trees, wind in the paddy fields, abundance of sunshine, world’s longest natural sea beach, rich cultural heritage, relics of ancient Buddhist civilizations and colorful tribal lives, – Bangladesh creates an unforgettable impression of a land of peace.
2.5. Tourism Policy
Promotion of tourism in Bangladesh under the aegis of the government started in 1972. Recognizing the contribution of tourism to the socio-economic development of the country, the government framed the National Tourism Policy in 1992. In the Tourism Policy, status of tourism industry in Bangladesh was described, aims and objectives were defined and implementation strategies were suggested.
The National Industrial Policy 2005 has recognized tourism as an industry and declared it as a “thrust sector”. As per the Industrial Policy, foreign investors have been offered various incentives to invest in tourism industry, which include:
(a) Tax exemption on royalties;
(b) Tax exemption on the interest of foreign loans;
(c) Tax exemption on capital gains from the transfer of shares;
(d) Avoidance of double taxation in case of foreign investors on the basis of bilateral agreements;
(e) Exemption of income tax on salaries up to three years for the foreign technicians
(f) Remittance up to 50% of the salary of the foreigners employed in Bangladesh
(g) Facilities for repatriation of invested capital, profits and dividends;
(h) Guarantee against expropriation and nationalization of foreign private investment (as per Foreign Private Investment Promotion & Protection Act 1980);
2.6. Tourists Baggage Rules
Tourist Baggage (Import) Rules -1981 shall apply to visitors staying in the country for more than 24 hours but not for more than 06(six) months on condition that the visitors shall not intend to reside in the country nor shall get remunerated from within it and in that event she/he shall be allowed to import the following items without duty or tax:
|Personal imitation jewellery of value not exceeding BDT 3,000.00;
|One in use wrist watch;
|One cigarette lighter, two fountain pens, one penknife or instrument of similar use that can be carried in pocket or on person;
|One electric iron, portable electric plate, a hair drier and an electric shaver;
|One still camera;
|One movie camera;
|One cinematographic camera and a projector;
|Pair of binoculars;
|One portable sound recording machine;
|One portable music system;
|One portable type writer;
|One wheel/invalid chair in use;
|One perambulator or go cart;
|Fire arms or shooting and other sports accessories;
|Metal objects trophy, medallion, crests etc;
|Clothing for personal use;
|Handbag and goods essential for traveling;
|Other personal wearing apparels, makeup and cosmetics;
|Spectacles, physical aid and travel clock;
|Five photographic films and 10 film plates;
|Reasonable quantity of film for movie camera;
|Two rolls of film for cinematographic camera;
|Reasonable quantity of toys for use of accompanying children;
|200 sticks of cigarette or 50 cigars or half lb. of tobacco or less than half lb. of hand made cigarettes;
|Not more than one third gallon of alcoholic beverages;
|Half lb. of perfume and toiletries;
|Not more than BDT 100 of confectionery and non alcoholic beverages.
The exemption is made with the understanding that a tourist shall re-export items 1-15 listed above. In addition he/she may import non-professional video camera and/or microcomputer with less than 1 megabyte initial random access memory and C&F value not exceeding BDT 100,000 provided the intention to re-export the said computer and/or video camera is endorsed in passport and also a written declaration of such intentions is made to the Assistant Commissioner of Customs.
2.7. Currency Regulations
A tourist may bring in any amount of foreign exchange in the form of Traveler’s Cheque, foreign currency notes or other foreign currency instruments provided he/she fills up a Declaration in Form FMJ obtainable from the customs at the port of entry. However, no declaration is required for bringing in of foreign exchange up to US$ 5,000.00 by foreign tourists. While leaving Bangladesh a tourist can take out unspent balance of the foreign currency borough int.
2.8. How to reach
Bangladesh can be reached by air from any part of the world. Biman Bangladesh except Israel Airlines connects Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet with 26 major cities of the World. International carriers such like British Airways, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Indian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Gulf Air, Uzbek Airways, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Sri-Lankan Airlines, Thai Air, Yeaman Air, China Eastern Airlines and Malaysian Airlines fly to and from Dhaka. For further details please contact Bangladesh Biman, Dhaka (Phone: 880-2-9560151-81) and the concerned Airline Office.
2.9. The National Tourist Organization in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation as National Tourist Organization (NTO)
The principal channel of Government involvement in the tourism sector is the national tourism organization, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, which is a semi autonomous government agency reporting to the Ministry of civil Aviation and Tourism as its administrative Ministry. Importantly, the national airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines, forms a separate division within the same Ministry, which allows integration and of tourism initiatives. Many of BPC’s managerial matters are handling through the national Tourism Facilitation committee headed by the secretary of the ministry of Aviation and Tourism. BPC was created on the 27th November 1972 by order of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and commenced business in January 1973. It was established as a Corporation under the laws of the country with an authorized capital of Tk one crore (roughly US$ 1.3 million then) and initial share capital of Tk five lakhs (roughly US$ 65,000 then). It has created 42 tourism units (hotels. motels, restaurants, tourism centre, picnic spots, duty free shops, drinks corner, etc.) at different places of tourist attractions of the country in order to offer facilities to the tourists. It also runs a National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI), which to date, produced more than 24,000 trained manpower.
2.9.1. Objectives of National Tourist Organization in Bangladesh
The objectives are as follows:
- To introduce Bangladesh globally as a top tourist destination and develop its tourism prospects and facilities.
- To establish tourism infrastructures in Bangladesh.
- To develop, expand and promote tourism business.
- To create tourism awareness among the people.
- To publish tourism publications.
2.9.2. Functions of National Tourist Organization in Bangladesh
- To promote and develop tourism
- To provide facilities to undertake measures and carry out all kinds of activities connected with tourism
- To acquire, establish, construct, arrange, provide and run hotels, restaurants, rest houses, picnic spots, camping sites, theatres, amusement parks and facilities for water skiing and entertainment.
- To establish institutes for instruction and training of potential tourism personnel.
- To bring out tourism publication.
2.10. Government Investment in Tourism
Despite the low priority given by the Government to tourism at a national level there have been some important investments in both Parjatan and Biman.
2.10.1. Government investment in BPC
The audited, consolidated balance sheet of the Corporation as at 30 June 1984 (the latest available at the time of preparation of the master plan report) shows total government investment of over Tk 20 crore. That amount, equivalent to us$ 6.7 million was composed of fully paid capital of Tk 345 lakhs (us$ 1.15 million), grants Tk 281 lakhs (us$ 0.93 million), and loans Tk 14.4 crore (us$ 4.82 million). Of the total investment at the balance sheet date, net assets account for Tk 13.9 crore (us$ 4.62 million) and operating losses (including depreciation) for Tk 9.2 crore (us$ 3.07 million). The operating losses occurred in the years from 1972 to 1983 and have been partially offset by profits since then.
2.10.2. Government investment in Biman Bangladesh airlines
The government as sole stockholder in Biman was not primarily making an investment in tourism but in an airline with potential to become an important contributor tourist flows. Substantial levels of investment have taken place both in Biman and in the rehabilitation and development of domestic airports. In TFYP, for example an allocation is made to Biman of Tk 140 crore (us$ 47 million), and to domestic airport development to Tk 70 crore (us$ 23 million), for improvements at Sylhet and Chittagong and for further capital works at Zia international Airport in Dhaka. Such investments are supportive to tourism development aspirations particularly those investments in the national carrier although clearly the investments have wider implications than for tourism alone.
2.10.3. Private Investment in Tourism
A range of concessionary investment incentives are offered to the private sector in tourism activities, in line with other special capital depreciation regulations, etc. In addition, the tourism sector receives significant loan finance from the commercial banks. The starting date for the period of income tax exemption for companies in the tourism sector has been extended to June 1990. The period of exemption varies with the district in which the activity is arrived on and portions of the profits must be reinvested in the activity or in government bonds. Recent private sector investment initiatives appear limited to Dhaka, however. The primary reasons for this would appear to be demand deficiency rather than any institutional constraints. One of the examples of private investment in tourism is Fantasy Kingdom.
2.11. Manpower Development and Training
It has been recognized by BPC that the Corporation is short of professional staff in its hotel operations division particularly and that the development of tourism in Bangladesh will require training of management cadres. In order to establish and develop a professional training programme within the tourism industry in Bangladesh, BPC established the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI), which was jointly funded in 1978 by the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the International Labor Organization (ILO) as executing agency.
The first phase of the project finished in 1983 and the second phase commenced in February 1986. The Institute and the hotel are housed in purpose-built facilities having, in addition to 20 bedrooms and usual hotel facilities, classroom areas, a training restaurant, training and demonstration kitchens, a front office reception area, a conference room, offices and administrative areas. The ILO, besides helping the Government to develop the hospitality industry, is also helping to develop human resources by providing in-depth training programmes. The full-time courses, supervised by international experts and consultants, cover the following specializations:
??Hotel and Restaurant Kitchen Training
??Front Office and Secretarial
??Bakery, Pastry and Confectionery
??Tour Operation and Travel Agencies.
??Multi destination holiday packaging
??Development of market identity
??Creation of job titles for sector personnel to replace the currently used civil service names
??Budgetary and financial management including hotel accounting
??Tour operator and ground handling courses.
??Improvement of staff attitudes and capability
There will also be part-time of day-release courses in various aspects of the industry, according to identified needs, such as:
??Hygiene and Sanitation for Food Handlers
??Short on-the-job Instructor Training Courses
??Communications and Social Skills
??Short courses in different aspects of catering for nonprofessionals.
??One-year scholarships, to be given for overseas training at university graduate level.
??The development of a series of three six-week regional training courses.
2.12. Manpower of BPC and total tourism sector
The Board of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, established in the year 1973 consists of a Chairman and 3 whole- time Directors.
The National Tourism Organization has a total manpower of 871 personnel. Category-wise position of the manpower is:
2.14. Marketing Strategy of BPC
If we want to attract more tourists then new directions, new strategy and an integrated tourism marketing effort are needed. The products offered by Bangladesh tourism industry must be unique and competitive in the target market.
Marketing strategy consists of decisions on marketing expenditure, marketing mix and allocation of fund to different elements of marketing mix. Marketing mix comprises of four elements:
1. Product Strategy
2. Place Strategy
3. Price Strategy
4. Promotion Strategy
2.14.1 Product Strategy
The product strategy in tourism marketing involves in deciding what tourism product, services and facilities to offer to target market. Product strategy also involves in deciding of the type of packaging (tours) to be offered. To attract the Japanese and Korean visitors we have no alternative but to develop our Paharpur, Mainamoti and Mahasthan Garh.
2.14.2. Pricing Strategy
Pricing is an important factor from marketing viewpoint as consumers in general are price sensitive. The market for international tourism industry is so competitive that nothing bad and unattractive product can be sold. As a strategy for enhancing the receipts from international tourism, we may offer some very high standard package tour for the top market at a reasonable price.
2.14.3. Promotion Strategy
Millions of prospective tourists must be made aware about our product. The BPC prints a large number of brochures, folders, posters etc and sends these to different tour operators, overseas Biman offices, Embassies and High Commission offices for exhibition and distribution. However, we feel that the present promotional strategy of BPC is neither appropriate nor satisfactory. We did not get any folder or booklet on the attraction of Bangladesh.
The BPC should open its own office in some big potential markets like- Tokyo, Seol, Bangkok, New Delhi, London, New York, Berlin etc. And also should publish its booklets, journals, posters etc in different languages.
2.14.4. Distribution Strategy
As tourism marketing is service marketing so the distribution system of tourism products differs from that of a tangible product. Again tourism marketing although a service marketing differs from the marketing of typical service goods. In the tourism marketing the distribution channels are usually airlines, travel agents, tour operators, travel wholesaler, travel clubs etc.
In the following table we represent a proposed service product mix for successful marketing of Bangladesh tourism products.
Table-1: Table showing the product/service mix for tourism market of Bangladesh.
|Market segment by category of travelers
|First class air service, 5&3 star hotels, special mode of transport for domestic travel.
|Specialized professional magazines, in-flight magazine.
|Travel agents, Tour operators, Professional clubs.
|Package tour programs, star category to hotels, special standard food and entertainment
|Premium price for affluent segment, Discount prices for middle segment, special prices for package tourists.
|Image building promotion, special brochures, folder and posters. Advertising in popular magazines, video cassettes
|Travel agents Tour operators. Travel whole salers travel clubs and professional clubs. Educational. Cultural and religious institutions, other organizations.
|Cheaper air services, sight seeing package tours good transport modes.
|Discount price penetration price special price
|Our embassies airlines offices, Ethnic clubs Videos cassettes Direct Mail
|Ethnic Travel agents, airlines office Travel agents dealing with this sub-continent direct mail
|Standard/ cheaper hotels, cheaper hotels, cheaper but clean restaurants cheaper but reliable transport cheaper sight seeing package tours
|Special discounted price survival price
|News papers, magazines, television, clubs, organizations, Educational Institutions Offices direct mail
|Travel agents, BPC offices, Direct Mail
2.15. Number of Tour operators
There are 48 private tour operators working in the tourism sector of Bangladesh. Their name and address are attached in the annexure- 2.
2.16. Growth Trends of Bangladesh
Graph- 1: Growth Trends of Tourism in Bangladesh
In the above graph the horizontal axis represents the years visitors arrived and the vertical axis represents the amount of international tourist arrived currency received. The blue line indicates the international tourist arrival (thousand) and the black line indicates the international tourism receipts (US $ million).
From the above graph it is clearly seen that 150 thousand international tourists arrived in 1995 and there was a gradual increase of tourist arrival till 2002. In 2004 more than 250 thousand tourists arrived and this was the highest number of tourist arrival in Bangladesh and in the following year it sharply decreased by more than 50 thousands.
There was no significant growth in international receipts during 1995 to 2005. In 1995 the receipts was $ 25 million and in 2005 it raised to more than $ 50 million.
TOURIST SPOTS, CULTURE & CUSTOMS OF BANGLADESH
3.1. Tourist spots Map
There many tourist spots in Bangladesh which are shown in the following map
3. 2. Classification of tourist spots:
Tourist spots can be classified in the following ways:
3. 3. Tourist’s spots – Beaches:
Miles of golden sands, towering cliffs, surfing waves, rare conch shells, colorful Pagodas, Buddhist Temples and delightful sea-food – all this makes what Cox’s Bazar is today , the tourist capital of Bangladesh. The World’s longest uninterrupted (120 km.) beach slopes here down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hills covered with deep green forests. Cox’s Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world. The warm, shark free, waters are good for bathing and swimming & while the sandy beaches offer opportunities for sun-bathing.
The beauty of the setting-sun behind the waves of the sea is simply captivating. Locally made cigars and handloom products of the tribal Rakhyne families are good buys.
Located at a distance of 152 km. south of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar is connected both by air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong. Visit to the fascinating picnic spots at Himchari and Teknaf, the Buddhist Temple at Ramu and nearby islands of Sonadia and St. Martin’s, Inani Beach and Moheshkhali are certain to become unforgettable experiences for every visitor.
Inani is within Ukhia Thana, 35 km. to the south of Cox’s Bazar. With green hills to the east, the golden beach of Inani casts a music spell on anyone stepping on to its fine golden sands. The clean blue waters of the Bay are ideal for swimming
Forty-eight kilometers from Teknaf, St. Martin’s is the country’s only coral island and an unspoilt paradise. Named Narikel Jinjira (Coconut Island) by the locals, the dumbbell shaped St.Martin’s has an area of only 8 sq. km. which reduces to about 5 sq. km. and in places from 1-4 meters during high tide. The Cox’s Bazar Holiday Complex of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation on the island is a shore tourist resort having comfortable accommodation, catering, sightseeing and other facilities.
The Patenga beach at Chittagong is one of the most popular beaches of Bangladesh, stretching for miles near at the meeting place of the Bay of Bengal and the river Karnaphuli. Nature lovers come around here to enjoy the scenic sunrise and sunset.
Parki beach is situated in Gahira, Anwara Thana under southern Chittagong region. The beach lies about 28 km. away from Chittagong city. As the beach is situated at the Karnaphuli river channel, visitors can view both the Karnaphuli River and the sea together. Tourists enjoy the views of big ships anchored at the outer anchor, fishermen catching fish in sea, sunset, various colored crabs at the beach, and quiet environment. In the picnic season, many visitors come to the beach for celebrating the picnic.
Location and transportation
Parki beach lies at Karnaphuli river channel, which is about 8 km. from Anwara thana and 28 km. away in the southern part of Chittagong city. This sandy beach is about 15 km. long and 300 – 350ft. wide with 20 km tamarisk forest created by the forest division. Anwara Thana is 20 km from Chittagong. Anwara Thana is connected by road with Chittagong – Cox’s Bazar highway and is accessible from all over Bangladesh including Dhaka city. The beach is located 8 km. away from the Chatri Choumuhoni point in this highway.
A rare scenic spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh in Patuakhali district Kuakata has a wide sandy beach from where one can see both the sunrise and sunset. Kuakata is located at a distance of 70 km. from the district headquarters of Patuakhali.
Parjatan Holiday Homes at Kuakata offers a number of facilities for the tourists. This sandy beach slopes gently to the Bay of Bengal and bathing here is as pleasant as is diving or simply lazing on the beach. The virgin beaches of Kuakata, lined by coconut trees, are a sanctuary for migratory winter birds. Kuakata has a picture perfect setting where life is laid back and time seems unhurried. The Bay is alive with colorful sail boats, surfing, fishing or walking on the beach – Kuakata offers something for everyone.Kuakata is a place of pilgrimage for the Hindu and Buddhist communities.
Devotees arrive here during the festival of ‘ Raash Purnima’ and ‘Maghi Purnima’– two sacred full moon festivals. A bath in the Bay is a part of the ritual. Fairs are also held where one can buy handloom and other handicraft items. A visit to a Rakhyne family and the hundred year old Buddist temple should be on each visitor’s itinerary.Kuakata has road communication with Dhaka, but the journey may be long and a bit stressful. A much easier way is to go to Barisal by air and from there travel by road or water to Patuakhali or Kuakata. BRTC runs a direct bus service from Dhaka to Kuakata via Barisal. Besides, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation may organize guided package tours from Dhaka to Kuakata on demand.
3.4. Tourist’s spots – Archeological sites:
About eight km to the west of Comilla town and 114 km south east of Dhaka lays the low hills known as Mainamati-Lalmai ridge an extensive centre of Buddhist culture. On the slopes of these hills lie scattered a treasure of information about the early Buddhist civilization (8th to 12th century). At Salban in the middle of the ridge, excavations laid bare a large Buddhist Vihara (monastery) and imposing central shrine.
It has revealed valuable information of the rule of the Chandra and Deva dynasties which flourished here from the 8th to 12th century A. D. The whole range of hillocks run for about 18th km. and is studded with more than 50 sites. A site museum housed the archaeological finds which include terracotta plaques, bronze statues and casket, coins, jewellery, utensils, pottery and votive stupas embossed with Buddhist inscription. .Museum is open Sunday-Friday and closed on Saturday.
Mahasthangarh – The oldest archaeological site
Located at a distance of 18 km north of Bogra town, Mahasthanragh is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh on the western bank of river Karatoa. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified long enclosure. Beyond the fortified area, other ancient ruins fan out within a semi circle of about 8 km. radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parsuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city.
This 3rd century B. C. archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. Every year (mid-April) and once in every 12 years (December) thousands of Hindu devotees join the bathing ceremony on the bank of river Karatoa. A visit to the Mahasthangarh site museum will open up for one a wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to gold ornaments and coins recovered from the site. Also noteworthy are the shrine of Shah Sultan Bulkhi Mahisawary and Gokul Medh in the neighborhood of Mahasthangarh.
Paharpur – The largest Buddhist seat of learning
Paharpur is a small village 5 km west of Jamalganj railway station in the greater Rajshahi district where the remains of the most important and the largest known monastery, south of the Himalayas has been excavated. This 8th century A.D. archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment, occupying a quadrangular court,s measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12 ft to 15 ft in height with elaborate gateway complex on the north, there are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of other three sides with a total number of 177 rooms. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of south-east Asia, especially Myanmar and Java. It had taken its name from a high mound, which like Pahar or hillock. A site museum houses the representative collection of objects recovered from the area. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi. The antiquities of the museum include terracotta plaque, images of different gods and goddesses, potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other minor clay objects. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Interested tourists may avail package tours offered by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation to visit Bangladesh.
Sitakunda – Chandranath Hindu Temple
It is approximately 37 km far from Chittagong city. This is famous for Chandranath Hindu Temple – one of the oldest temples in the subcontinent. There is also Buddhist Temple having a footprint of Lord Buddha. These places particularly the hilltops are regarded as very sacred by the Hindus and Buddhist. Shiva Chaturdashi (14th) festivals are held every year in February when thousands of pilgrims assemble which lasts for ten days. There is also a hot-water spring 5 km to the north of Sitakunda.
Sri Chaitanya Temple – Hindu Temple
About 500 years old famous temple of Sri Chaitanya Dev is located at Dhaka Dakhin nearly 45 km south-east from Sylhet town. The place is revered for being the ancestral home of the famous Vaishnava saint. Yearly fair is organized on the full moon day of the bangla month Falgun. Hundreds and thousand of devotees from home and abroad attend this colorful fair.
3.5. Tourist’s spots – Historical places:
Located at Savar, about 35 km from Dhaka, the national memorial was designed by architect Moinul Hossain. It is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs’ of the war of liberation in 1971.
Central Shahid Minar
Symbol of Bengali nationalism, this monument was built to commemorate the martyrs’ of the historic language movement on 21st February, 1952. The day is also now observed as International Mother Language Day across the world. Hundreds and thousands of barefooted people with floral wreaths and bouquets gather at this monument from the first hour of 21st February every year to pay homage to the martyrs.
The fort was built in 1678 by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangozeb. The fort was the scene of a bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857) when 250 soldiers stationed here backed by people revolted against British forces. Besides the main structure, Lalbagh Fort also has a number of other buildings and monuments such as the tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh mosque, audience hall and hammam khana (bathing place) of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum.
Martyred Intellectual Memorial
Located at Mirpur, the memorial was built to commemorate the intellectuals who were killed in 1971 by the Pakistan’s occupation forces just two days ahead of the Victory Day.
National Poet’s Grave
Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on 29th August 1976 and was buried here. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University Central Mosque.
Old High Court Building
Originally built as the residence of the British Governor, the High Court Building illustrates a fine blend of European and mughal architecture. The building is situated north of the Curzon Hall of Dhaka University.
About 29 km. from Dhaka, Sonargaon dating back to 13th century is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. A folk-art and craft museum has been established here. Among the ancient monuments still intact are the tomb of Sultan Abdul Alla and a beautiful mosque in Goaldi village.
Natore – Dighapatiya Rajbari (Palace)
Natore lies about 40 km. from Rajshahi and is an old seat of the Maharajah of Dighapatiya, now serving as the Uttara Ganabhaban (The Official northern region residence of the President of the Republic). The palace has large, spacious grounds and is surrounded by a fine moat. The palace has well-equipped guest-house, an imposing gateway and a fine garden decorated with statues of white marble.
World War II Cemetery
In this well-preserved cemetery, in Chittagong lie buried over 700 soldiers from Commonwealth countries and Japan, who died during the Second World War.
Shilaidaha Kuthibari, Kushtia
The beautiful mansion carries memory of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) who made frequent visit to this place and used to stay here, in connection with administration of his Zamindari and enriched Bengali literature through his writings during that time. It is located at a distance of about 20 km. from Kushtia town.
The birth place of the celebrated poet Micheal Modhusudan Dutta. By most accounts the first modern poet of Bangla Literature? Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has built a rest-house and other tourist facilities in the place.
Located at a distance of about 7 km. from the town of Meherpur. The beautiful memorial dedicated to the first provisional revolutionary government of Bangladesh that was declared here on 14 April 1971 during the liberation war.
It is the place where innumerable boyhood memories of our national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam are found around. It is situated 20 km. away from Mymensingh town. Nazrul was a student of Darrirumpur High School under Trisal police station. Here a cultural organization styled as Nazrul. Academy has been established in memory of the great poet. Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul, the Shelley of Bangladesh is in eternal sleep besides Dhaka University Central Mosque.
Situated about 23 km. north-west of Choumuhani town and 2 km. east of Chatkhil at Jayag in Noakhali district. This asram was established in the memory of historic visit of the Mahatma Gandhi to Noakhali and devoted to his ideology. In 1946-47 Mahatma the protagonist of Ahimsa ideology visited this region with a view to preach peace. Historical Charka and other valuables used by Mahatma are preserved in this asram and those evoke deep respect to the unique memories of the great soul.
About 75 km. from Pabna town. It is also a historical place connected with the frequent visits of poet Rabindranath Tagore
Ahsan Manzil Museum, Dhaka
On the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka the Pink majestic Ahsan Manzil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an epitome of the nation’s rich cultural heritage. It is the home of Nawab of Dhaka and a silent spectator to many events. Todays renovated Ahsan Manzil a monument of immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms with a huge dome atop which can be seen from miles around. It now has 23 galleries in 31 rooms displaying of traits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
Shat-Gambuj Mosque, Bagerhat
In mid-15th century, a Muslim colony was founded in the inhospitable mangrove forest of the Sundarbans near the seacoast in the Bagerhat district by an obscure saint-general, named Ulugh Khan Jahan. He was the earliest torchbearer of Islam in the South who laid the nucleus of an affluent city during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1442-59), the city was known as ‘Khalifatabad’ (present Bagerhat). Khan Jahan built numerous mosques, tanks, roads and other public buildings, the spectacular ruins of which are focused around the most imposing and largest multimode mosques in Bangladesh, known as the Shait-Gambuj Masjid (160’x108′). The serene and imposing monument stands on the eastern bank of a vast sweet-water tank, clustered around by the heavy foliage of a low-lying countryside. The mosque roofed over with 77 squat domes, including 7 chauchala or four-sided pitched Bengali domes in the middle row. The vast prayer hall, although provided with 11 arched doorways on east and 7 each on north and south for ventilation and light, presents a dark and somber appearance inside. It is divided into 7 longitudinal aisles and 11 deep rows by a forest of slender stone columns, from which spring rows of endless arches, supporting the domes. Six feet thick, slightly tapering walls and hollow and round, almost detached corner towers, resembling the bastions of fortress, each capped by small rounded cupolas, recall the Tughlaq architecture of Delhi.
The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal
The great Muslim Saint, Hazrat Shah Jalal (R.A.) is said to have brought the message of Islam to the region in the early 14th century. His shrine is located at Dargah Mahalla in the heart of Sylhet town. At about 6 km away lies the shrine of another great saint Hazrat Shah Paran (R.A.), who is said to be a nephew of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R.A.).
Dhaka has several hundred historic mosques. Prominent are the Seven Domed Mosque (17th century), Baitul Mukarram – National Mosque, Star Mosque (18th century), Chawkbazar Mosque and Huseni Dalan Mosque.
This holy place in Chittagong attracts a large number of visitors and pilgrims. At its base there is a large pond with several hundred huge tortoises and fishes floating on the water.
The most ornate among the late medieval Hindu temples of Bangladesh Kantaji temple is situated near Dinajpur town. It was built by Maharaja Pran Nath in 1752. Every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terracotta plaques, representing flora and fauna, geometric motifs, mythological scenes and an astonishing array of contemporary social scenes and favourite pasttime. The Maharaja’s palace with relics of the past and the local museum are well worth a visit.
Important temples of the Hindus community in Dhaka included the Dhakeshwari Temple (11th century) and Ramkrishna Mission.
Armenian Church (1781 A.D.), St. Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former Holy Rosary Church (1677 A.D.) at Tejgaon.
Chandranath Hindu Temple – Sitakunda
It is approximately 37 km. far from Chittagong city. This is famous for Chandranath Hindu Temple – one of the oldest temples in the subcontinent. There is also Buddhist Temple having a footprint of Lord Buddha. These places particularly the hilltops are regarded as a very sacred by the Hindus and Buddhist. Shiva Chaturdoshi (14th) festivals are held every year in February when thousands of pilgrims assemble which lasts for ten days. There is also a hot-water spring 5 km. to the north of Sitakunda.
Sri Chaitanya Temple
About 500 years old famous temple of Sri Chaitanya Dev is located at Dhaka Dakshin nearly 45 km. south-east from Sylhet town. The place is revered for being the ancestral home of the famous Vaishnava saint. Yearly fair is organized on the full moon day of the bangla month Falgun. Hundreds and thousand of devotees from home and abroad attend this colorful fair.
Kamalapur Buddhist Monastery, International Buddhist Monastery, Merul, Badda.
3.6. Tourist’s spots – Hills & Island:
From Chittagong, a 77 km. winding road that passes through lush green fields and forested hills take you to Rangamati at the heart of the Lake District. The township is located on the western bank of Kaptai Lake. Rangamati is a favourite holiday resort because of its scenic beauty and its lakeside location, its colourful tribes, homespun textile products, ivory and jewellery. For tourists the attractions of Rangamati are numerous, speedboat cruising, water skiing, bathing or merely enjoying nature as it is. It is a rare spot for eco-tourism. Visitors are fascinated by the rich culture of its ethnic people. A visit to the tribal museum and the hanging bridge on the lake a must.
Khagrachhari – the hilltop town
Khagrachhari is the district headquarters of Khagrachhari hill district. Connected to Chittagong by a 92 km. all-weather metalled road, Khagrachhari is ringed by thick rain forests that shelter a wide variety of birds and animals. For the tourist seeking nature in a restful mood, Khagrachhari is the place.
Bandarban – the roof of Bangladesh
92 km. from Chittagong by a metalled road, Bandarban is the district headquarters of the Bandarban hill district. It is home town of the Bohmang Chief who is the head of the Mogh tribe. The Moghs are of Myanmar origin and Buddhists by religion. The Moghs are a simple and hospitable people. Bandarban is also the home of the Murangs who are famous for their music and dance. Several other tribes of great ethnogical interest live in the remote areas of the district. The highest peak of Bangladesh – Tahjin dong (4632 ft.)- is located in the Bandarban district.
Blessed with a beautiful and bountiful nature, Sylhet is one of the popular tourist destinations of the country. For most part plain land , Sylhet is ringed by low hills on northern and southern boundaries. These are the foot hills of the Khasia and Jaintia range. Sylhet is dotted with lakes, thick forests and fruit gardens, Abounds in wildlife. The reserved forests have different species of birds and animals and ideal for bird watching and trekking. The Sylhet valley is formed by a beautiful, winding pair of rivers named Surma and Kushiara both of which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and south. The valley has a good number of haors which are big natural depressions. During winter these haors are vast streches of green land, but in the rainy season they turn into turbulent seas. The haors provide sanctuary to millions of migratory birds who fly from the north across the Himalayas every winter.The patron saint of Sylhet is Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA). Sylhet town draws thousands of devotees and visitors every year. The tea gardens stretch for miles like a green carpet spread over the slopes of the hills. There are excellent rest-house facilities in many of these tea gardens.
About eight km. to the west of Comilla town and 114 km. south-east of Dhaka lie the low hills of Mainamati-Lalmai ridge – an old centre of Buddhist culture. On the slopes of these hills lay scattered runis that testity to as a early Buddhist civilization (8th to 12th century). At Salban in the middle of the ridge, excavations have laid bare a large Buddhist Vihara (monastery) and an imposing central shrine. Further explorations have revealed valuable information on the rule of the Chandra and Deva dynasties which flourished here from the 8th to 12th century A.D. The whole range of hillocks run for about 18 km and is studded with more than 50 such sites. A site museum houses the archaeological finds that include terracotta plaques, bronze statues and caskets, coins, jewellery, utensils, pottery and votive stupas embossed with Buddhist inscriptions.
The greater Mymensingh district stretches from the plains north of Dhaka to the Garo foothills that edge the northern border with India. Along the frontier line many tribes such as Garos, Hajongs and Kochis who are ethnically quite distinct from the people around them. Mymensingh has earned an important position in Bangla literature for its rich folklores and folk songs. On the road from Dhaka to Mymensingh there is a national park and game sanctuary at Madhupur about 160 km. from Dhaka. There are a number of reserve forests in the area with rest-houses and picnic spots. The famous painter Zainul Abedins Art Gallery at Mymensingh town is worth visiting.
Set amidst panoramic surroundings of small hills and islands in the suburbs of Chittagong, this ideal spot for outing and picnics attracts hundreds of visitors every day.
An island off the coast of Cox’s Bazar, Moheskhali has an area of 268 sq. km. Through the center of the island and along the eastern coastline rises a range of low-hills, about 300 feet high, but the coast to the west and north is low-lying and fringed by mangrove forest. Atop Moinak Hill lies the old temple of Adinath, dedicated to Shiva. By its side on the same hill is a Buddhist pagoda.
Ramu is a typical Buddhi