|Lanch Ghat, Sadarghat, Old Dhaka|
Even early on a Friday morning, what passes for a weekend in Bangladesh, the Sadarghat launch centre on the banks of the famous Buriganga River throngs with travellers.
|Launches at Buriganga, Sadarghat, Old Dhaka|
If anywhere in the country can be said to be the pulsing heart, it is surely here. Beside the restored residence of the Nawabs of Dhaka, the descendents of late 18th Century Armenian Jewellers and financiers, who, early in the 19th Century acquired the tax gathering rights to this ancient, although then, fairly small city, this launch ghat has, for centuries, been the destination and departure point for the river journeys across Bangladesh. And, despite railways and road transport development, it remains, not only the cheapest means of travel, but clearly, also the most environmentally sensitive.
|Launch ghat at Buriganga, Sadarghat, Old Dhaka|
To every main riverside town throughout the land, the ‘launches’ depart in every direction. Locally constructed, often simply on the banks of the great rivers themselves, the safety record of these craft is not, perhaps, all that it might be, especially in adverse weather, or at night, but there must be few, if any, countries in the world, like this one with its 800 rivers and tributaries, that are so reliant on this, the most ancient of means of transport and communication.No visit to the many attractions of Old Dhaka that are slowly disappearing under the weight of ‘progress’ can be complete without this exciting experience.
|People at Sadarghat, Old Dhaka|