Known as the Pink Palace, Ahsan Manzil is situated in the midst of old town, just beside the bank of Buriganga River. The magnificent architecture was the first thing that attracted me to the palace; its rich history is what kept me intrigued. It reflects the lavish lifestyle of the Nawab dynasty, and portrays the economic circumstances it experienced in its earlier life as a trading house for the French. Later on, it became the residence of Khwaja Abdullah after the English-French war in the 18th century. New additions to the old building and renovations has made this beautiful monument into ever popular pink palace it is today.
A huge green lawn welcomed us as we entered the premises and the smell of the old, creaking house enthralled us as to how something so ancient could remain so alive. Everything from the utensils to armours to sofas and beds were put on display Reading through the small notes under each item, I thought to myself: at which point did I begin to appreciate history? Apparently, right then.
The balcony looks out into the river and we could see small boats perched to take on passengers for a ride. I couldn’t help but wonder how it worked for the Nawabs.
Next stop on my list was the ancient capital of Sonargaon, Panam City. It thrived as the major inland port and center of commerce in the pre-Islam period. Governed by the Danujamadava Dasharathadeva, the Hindu ruler shifted his capital from Bikrampur during the 13th century. Most of the existing remains of the city represented residential buildings made by Hindu merchants; European-inspired colonial design demanding admiration. Even after the Muslim invasion, the city was said to have been developed into a commercial metropolis. After the capital was moved to Jahangirnagar in Dhaka to avoid the city’s location becoming too exposed, the fame for the legendary muslin fabric remained undiminished till foreign competition ruined their trade and left the city to oblivion.
As we strolled through the old ruins, I couldn’t help but feel the energy sustained from the busy bazaar of a bygone era. Medieval monuments under the sunny weather made it a superb occasion to take some snaps, which would be suggested as the place looks like it’s falling apart.
Standing on the arched bridge and taking in the fresh air seemed to make a lot of difference to a city dweller like myself. We live in a place where serenity needs to be paid for. In a nerdy sense, it’s a treat for the eyes and the mind.
The rich ethnicity and culture Bangladesh has can only be truly understood if you’ve been to this Bandarban. If thrill and magic of the hill tracts are your idea of a blissful getaway, there is no better place than this small town.
The presence of numerous tribes and flamboyant cultures make the spot even more of a learning occasion, and you can even hike to those villages. For people like myself, the lively lifestyle was an uncharted experience.
One of the tallest peaks and arguably the most beautiful spot is Nilgiri, which is situated at Thanci Thana. To begin with, scenic locations are infinite. The Buddha Dhatu Jadi in Balghata town attracts Theravada Buddhism followers and pilgrims from all over the world. The Boga Lake area shall redefine your understanding of serenity, while the Jadipai Waterfall was the cherry on top.
The cool and transparent droplets bequeathed such tranquility that the difficulties we faced on the way didn’t matter as much. All you need to do is hire a guide and you are good to go.
Home to one of the most important Buddhist archaeological sites in Bangladesh, Mainamati dates back to the 12th century and is named after the Chandra queen Mainamati. Shalban Vihara, found in the middle of the Mainamati Lalmai hill range, consists of 115 cells with a cruciform temple in the middle of the structure, resembling the Paharpur Monastery.
A little north of Shalban Vihara, we landed our eyes on the picturesque Buddhist establishment of Kutila Mura. There were three remarkable monuments representing the Buddhist Trinity - the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The last one we visited was the Charpatra Mura, which an isolated quadrilateral shrine located in the north-west region of the Kutila Mura monuments.
The educational and religious establishment of the Viharas were definitely the largest among the Mainamati monuments. Unfortunately, military establishments near that area damaged the central shrine, which is a pity given the fact that it could have been an emergent tourist spot. The serenity this place has to offer is beyond comparable.
The tourist spots within our country are just as fascinating as the ones we always hear of in other countries, if not better. If you wish to have Bangladesh unlocked, these areas are a must to visit.