Potential of tourism in Bangladesh03 January 2023
Mohammad Amjad Hossain :
There is hardly any exaggerated to publicize the need for tourism in Bangladesh which is about 55126 square miles having a population of about 129 million. Historically Bengal now Bangladesh had been ruled by Portugal, France, Holland up until captured of Bengal by the British at the battle of Plassey in 1757. The Region remained under British rule until 1947. After the division of the Indian subcontinent into the Indian union and Pakistan, Pakistan in fact was divided into West Pakistan and East Pakistan. Former East Pakistan and West Pakistan are 1200 miles apart; between them lies India. Geographically, the two wings of the former Pakistan are vastly different.
Dacca city during the rule of Mughal emperors remained famous for refined Muslin clothes which had royal customers in Europe and other oriental countries. There is a historical record of the visit by world travellers such as Huen-Tsang and Marcopolo who wrote in their memories that a muslin fabric of about seven yards could be pressed through a finger ring while its streets were full of mosques and Muslin clothes. Ibn Batuta also travelled directly from Saldkawan to Assam in breaking his journey to the Far East to meet Sheikh Jalal al-din in Sylhet. He was surprised to witness that both Hindu and Muslim alike gave gifts to Sheikh Jalal. Incidentally this writer also paid respect to the late Sheikh Jalal wherever this writer visited Sylhet. Ibn Batuta also visited Sonargaon but not incidentally refused to meet Sultan Giasuddin Azam Shah who was the best ruler of Bengal who served more than twenty years. Ibn Batuta had mentioned that Bengal was rich in economy and prosperous. As a matter of fact, Giasuddin Azam Shah was an excellent administrator in Ellias Shah Dynasty.
Bangladesh has a rich heritage of a thousand years old. For example Paharpur Buddist monastery is as old as the 3rd century BC while I witnessed a broken pagoda in Kumarkhali municipality. Nobody now knows about the broken pagoda in Kumarkhali. The Paharpur Buddhist monastery, declared by UNESCO as world heritage, was built during the Pala dynasty in the seventh century. I have had the privilege to visit Rajbari of the maharaja of Dighapatia during the rule of Governor late Monem Khan who declared it as Governor House. Governor late Monem khan was a funny man indeed.
Having selected by Central Public Service commission of Karachi I was appointed as Sub-editor in the News section of Radio Pakistan in 1964 in Chittagong. Puthia estate actually originated during the rule of Emperor Jahangir. A large number of Hindu temples were established in Puthia. Fifteen domes mosque was a really interesting place to visit in Bagerhat. Bagerhat is known as the city of mosques which has 360 mosques. Of them sixty domed mosques is the largest. In fact, this is the most impressive mosque in the subcontinent which has been declared as an UNESCO world heritage site. Bagha mosque which was built in 1523 by Nusrat Shah bears the history and rich cultural diversity during the rule of the sultanate in Bengal. Manikganj is famous for Baliati Zamindar Palace which is located at Saturia upazila. Central Kachi-kachar mela organized picnic in this palace in 1984.
Buddists also had ruled in Bengal which is reflected in Mahasthangarh which is archaeological site.It was old capital of the Pundra Kingdom during 3rd century B.C It is held to be grate sanctity by both Buddists, Hindus and Muslim alike while Paharpur Buddist monastery which was built during the Pala dynasty during 7th century. UNESCO declared as world heritage. This writer has had the privilege to visit Kannagar temple in Dinajpur. It is a beautiful Hindu temple which is made every inch plagued with wonderful terracotta. Apart from Dinajpur, Shalbon Bihar in Commillah is a worthy place which is located in the middle of Lalmai and Moinamati. It was established in the eighth century by the Deva dynasty. It was a famous Buddhist Monastery. On top of the hill there was a graveyard of the death of soldiers of the Second World War. This writer has had the privilege to visit the area along with the Commila Kachi-kancher mela led by Dada bhai alias late Rokunuzzamn khan in mid seventeen. It is interesting to visit Panam city which was the capital of Bengal along the Silk Road from Bengal to China and Central Asia. Around Panama City there are many old mosques which were established during the rule of Emperor Aurongjeb.
It is equally important to mention the Sundarbans which is located in Khulna District. The total forest area is about 2400 sq miles. It is the place of Royal Bengal tiger along with birthplace of potted dears plus sombur deer plus leopard and wild bear that lives in the Sundarbans. I recalled that BBC television was permitted to take a photo of the Royal Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans from the Bangladesh side but failed to take a picture of the Royal Bengal tiger. I was informed by BBC Television that they succeeded in taking a photograph of Royal Bengal tiger from the Indian side.
(Mohammad Amjad Hossain, retired diplomat from Bangladesh,former Joint Director of Central Kachi-kachar mela and past President of Nova toastmaster International club of America writes From Falls Church, Virginia).