Nusaira Amreen Hassan
As the unpredictable weather patterns in the country swings between hot and cold, the average Bangladeshi enjoys the quintessential fruit of the season that is mainly mango. With Eid knocking on the doors, the modern Bengali family rushes to the major fashion outlets, and one of their favorite sartorial choices include silk clothes. This silk and the fruit have one thing in common, which is the fact that they both belong to Rajshahi, one of the biggest divisions of Bangladesh.
Rajshahi is especially renowned for delicious and mouth-watering mangoes. In the monsoon season, not only the people of the region, but also those of the entire country enjoy these tasty fruits. In fact, in the western part of the main city of Rajshahi, in close proximity to the railway station, a garden known as Kashia-Danga is located, which is comprised of groves of mango trees . As a result, the city has also paid tribute to this delicious type of fruit by constructing a landmark of concrete mangoes.
The sumptuous list of delicacies does not stop at mangoes. Rajshahi is also famed for its characteristic sweetmeats, which are unique to the region.
Rajshahi has a roaring silk trade; the sarees are especially famous and are bought by people from all over the country along with being coveted by foreigners. As a matter of fact, Rajshahi is home to numerous silk industries and the Silk Research Institute. Also, the division’s sericulture or silk farming output accounts for almost the entire silk output in Bangladesh.
Another virtue of Rajshahi is that it is known as the “Education City” of Bangladesh and is one of the most important centers of spreading knowldege in the country.The University of Rajshahi is the second oldest public university in the country and also happens to be have one of the largest campuses in Bangladesh. Built in 1953, the massive establishment overlooks a glistening body of water.
Rajshahi University is also responsible for the maintenance of the oldest museum in the country, Varendra Research Museum. Built over a hundred years ago, this ancient museum is dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the region.
The educational institutions of the division of Rajshahi are engulfed by verdure. Whether it is the Polytechnic Institute or one of the main colleges, Rajshahi College, the buildings are flanked by trees and the former establishment overlooks a glistening body of water.
Rajshahi College, one of the oldest establishments in the country, not only serves as a place to sharpen the future minds of the country, but also stands as a relic of the Colonial era. The British style of architecture makes this college a historical site. The greenery is not just restricted to the educational institutions but also extends to the parks of the division, with the Central Park being a sight for sore eyes with acres of tall trees which provide shade to passers-by.
Recently, Rajshahi was credited as being the least polluted region of the country. Before, the northern division of the country was infamous for being one of the most polluted cities in this part of the world. In accordance to recently published United Nations data, Rajshahi has created history by getting rid of harmful air particles that were detrimental to human health. Funnily enough, the residents of Rajshahi were pleasantly surprised to discover the feat achieved by the people of this region. As a matter of fact, there was a whopping 67.2% decrease in the concentration of the chemical particle PM10, a dangerous pollutant. This amazing deed was attained largely due to a green-drive initiated almost fifteen years ago in the city, which involved tackling traffic issues by importing battery-powered rickshaws from China as well as banning the mobility of large vehicles such as trucks on the main roads of the city during the daytime. Efforts were also made to veritably cover every inch of soil with trees in an initiative known as “zero soil”. The collective endeavour to save the environment also involved the construction of pavement for the benefit of pedestrians. And Rajshahi did not stop there; they are also building the first bicycle lane in the country, to reduce the number of private cars on the roads.
Modern Rajshahi is located in the ancient region of Pundravardhana. An examination of historical remains has revealed that the foundation of Rajshahi city goes back to the early 1600s. The region has more than its fair share of ancient buildings, with the Shiva temple in Puthia (a place in Rajshahi), which is particularly noteworthy. The Puthia Temple complex is comprised of the oldest and the largest number of historical temples in Bangladesh. The unique architecture of these temples, coupled with the intricate terracotta designs that adorn the walls of the places of worship, attract many visitors to the temple complex.
Starting from mangoes to silk sarees, Rajshahi has it all. In fact, whether it is the fresh air or the historical attractions that have caught your attention, Rajshahi is the place to be at right now.