Dhaka: Wikis


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—  Capital City  —
Clockwise from top left: Bashundhara City, Shaheed Minar, Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka skyline, Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban.
Nickname(s): City of Mosques, Rickshaw Capital of the World
Dhaka is located in Bangladesh
Location of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Coordinates: 23°42′0″N 90°22′30″E / 23.7°N 90.375°E / 23.7; 90.375
Country Bangladesh Bangladesh
Administrative District Dhaka District
Establishment 1608 CE
Granted city status 1947
 - Type Municipality
 - Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka
 - Capital City 304 km2 (117.4 sq mi)
 - Water 48.56 km2 (18.7 sq mi)
Elevation [1] 4 m (13.12 ft)
Population (2008)[2]
 - Capital City 7,000,940
 Density 23,029/km2 (59,644.8/sq mi)
 Metro 12,797,394
 - Demonym Dhakaiya
 - Literacy rate 62.3%
Time zone BST (UTC+6)
 - Summer (DST) BDST (UTC+7)
Postal code 1000
National Calling Code +880
Calling Code 02
Website Official Dhaka Website
This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.

Dhaka (Bangla: ঢাকা, pronounced [ɖʱaka]; formerly known as Dacca and Jahangir Nagar, under Mughal rule), is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka District. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, has a population of around 13 million, making it the largest city in Bangladesh.[2] It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and forms the world's 9th largest agglomeration and the largest city within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Dhaka is known as the City of Mosques[3] and renowned for producing the world's finest muslin. Dhaka is also known as the Rickshaw Capital of the World . Approximately 400,000 cycle rickshaws run each day.[4] Today it serves as one of the prime centers for culture, education and business in the region.

Under Mughal rule in the 17th century, the city was known as Jahangir Nagar. It was a provincial capital and a center of the worldwide muslin trade. The modern city, however, was developed chiefly under British rule in the 19th century, and became the second-largest city in Bengal after Calcutta (presently Kolkata). After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka became the capital of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam but lost its status as a provincial capital again after the partition was annulled in 1911. After the partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the administrative capital of East Pakistan, and later, in 1972, the capital of an independent Bangladesh. During the intervening period, the city witnessed widespread turmoil; this included many impositions of martial law, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence, military suppression, devastation during war, and natural calamities.

Modern Dhaka is the center of political, cultural and economic life in Bangladesh.[5] Although its urban infrastructure is the most developed in the country, Dhaka suffers from urban problems such as pollution, congestion, and lack of adequate services due to the rising population. In recent decades, Dhaka has seen modernization of transport, communications and public works. The city is attracting large foreign investments and greater volumes of commerce and trade. It is also experiencing an increasing influx of people from across the nation.



Dhaka was built on the banks of the Buriganga River

The existence of urbanized settlements in the area that is now Dhaka dates from the 7th century. The city area was ruled by the Buddhist kingdom of Kamarupa and the Pala Empire before passing to the control of the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 9th century.[6] The name of the city may have derived after the establishment of the Goddess Dhakeshwari's temple by Ballal Sena in the 12th century.[7] Dhaka and its surrounding area was identified as Bengalla around that period. The town itself consisted of a few market centers like Lakshmi Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar, Patuatuli, Kumartuli, Bania Nagar and Goal Nagar. After the Sena dynasty, Dhaka was successively ruled by the Turkic and Pashtun governors descending from the Delhi Sultanate before the arrival of the Mughals in 1608.[8]

Lalbagh Fort, constructed in the mid 17th century by Shaista Khan

The development of townships and a significant growth in population came as the city was proclaimed the capital of Bengal under Mughal rule in 1608.[9][10][11] Mughal subahdar Islam Khan was the first administrator of the city.[12] Khan named the town "Jahangir Nagar" (জাহাঙ্গীর নগর; City of Jahangir) in honor of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, although this name was dropped soon after Jahangir's death. The main expansion of the city took place under Mughal general Shaista Khan.[10][11] The city then measured 19 by 13 kilometres (12 by 8 mi), with a population of nearly one million people.[13] British East India Company in 1765 gained right to collect revenue (Diwani right) and later took over governing in 1793 when Nawabs of Bengal were forced to abdicate all their authority over Bengal, Bihar & Orissa & the city passed on to total British control.The city's population shrank dramatically during this period as the prominence of Kolkata rose,[14] but substantive development and modernisation eventually followed. A modern civic water supply system was introduced in 1874 and electricity supply launched in 1878.[15][16] The Dhaka Cantonment was established near the city, serving as a base for British and Bengali soldiers.[11]

Ahsan Manzil was once the palace of the Dhaka Nawab Family; it is now a museum.

During the abortive Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka was declared to be the capital of the newly established state of East Bengal and Assam, but Bengal was reunited in 1911.[9][10][11] Following the Partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the capital of East Pakistan. The city witnessed major communal violence following the partition of India.[11] A large proportion of the city's Hindu population departed for India, while the city received a large influx of Muslims. As the center of regional politics, however, Dhaka saw an increasing number of political strikes and incidents of violence.[11] The adoption of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan led to protest marches involving large crowds. Known as the Bengali Language Movement, the protests resulted in Pakistani police firing which killed a number of peaceful student demonstrators.[17] Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dhaka remained a hotbed of political activity, and the demands for autonomy for the Bengali population gradually gained momentum.[18]

Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban houses the national parliament.

The 1970 Bhola cyclone devastated much of the region, killing an estimated 500,000 people.[19] More than half the city was flooded and millions of people were marooned.[20] With public anger growing against ethnic discrimination and poor cyclone relief efforts from the central government, Bengali politician Sheikh Mujibur Rahman held a nationalist gathering on March 7, 1971 at the Race Course Ground.[11][17] An estimated one million people attended the gathering, leading to the March 26 declaration of Bangladesh's independence.[17] In response, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight, which led to the arrests, torture and killing of thousands of people.[21] After nine months of bloody battle with Bangladeshi Forces, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Mitra Bahini on December 16 marking the end of the independence war of Bangladesh.[22] As the nation's capital, Dhaka saw a rapid and massive growth of the city population in the post-independence period, as migrant workers from rural areas across Bangladesh moved to the city.[23] The growth of commerce and industry along with the city's population has created further challenges to services and infrastructure.[24] A real estate boom has followed the expansion of city limits and the development of new settlements such as Uttara, Mohammadpur, Bashundhara, Mirpur and Motijheel.[25]


Dhaka is located in central Bangladesh at 23°42′0″N 90°22′30″E / 23.7°N 90.375°E / 23.7; 90.375, on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River. The city lies on the lower reaches of the Ganges Delta and covers a total area of 153.84 square kilometres (59.40 sq mi).[26] It consists of eight principal thanasLalbagh, Kotwali,Sutrapur, Ramna, Motijheel, Paltan, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon – and 16 auxiliary thanas – Gulshan, Mirpur, Pallabi, Shah Ali, Turaag, Sabujbagh, Dhaka Cantonment, Demra, Hazaribagh, Shyampur, Badda, Kafrul, Kamrangir char, Khilgaon and Uttara. In total the city has 130 wards and 725 mohallas.[27] Dhaka district has an area of 1463.60 square kilometres (565 sq mi); and is bounded by the districts of Gazipur, Tangail, Munshiganj, Rajbari, Narayanganj, Manikganj.[27] Tropical vegetation and moist soils characterise the land, which is flat and close to sea level. This leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon seasons owing to heavy rainfall and cyclones.[28]

Dhaka Skyline


Dhaka experiences a hot, wet and humid tropical climate. Under the Koppen climate classification, Dhaka has a tropical wet and dry climate. The city has a distinct monsoonal season, with an annual average temperature of 25 °C (77 °F) and monthly means varying between 18 °C (64 °F) in January and 29 °C (84 °F) in August.[29] Nearly 80% of the annual average rainfall of 1,854 millimeters (73 in) occurs between May and September.[29] Increasing air and water pollution emanating from traffic congestion and industrial waste are serious problems affecting public health and the quality of life in the city.[30] Water bodies and wetlands around Dhaka are facing extinction as these are being filled up to construct multi-storied buildings and other real estate developments. Coupled with pollution, such erosion of natural habitats threatens to destroy much of the regional biodiversity.[30]

Climate data for Dhaka
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24.4
Average low °C (°F) 14.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 7.6
Source: weatherbase.com [29] 2008-12-15

Civic administration

The Dhaka municipality was founded on August 1, 1864 and upgraded to "corporation" status in 1978.[31] The Dhaka City Corporation is a self-governing corporation which runs the affairs of the city. The incorporated area is divided into several wards, which have elected commissioners. The mayor of the city is elected by popular vote every five years, and the post is presently held by Sadeque Hossain Khoka.[32] The Dhaka Education Board is responsible for administering all public schools and most private schools with the exception of English-medium schools and madrassahs.[33][34]. All madrassahs in Bangladesh are governed by a central board while English-medium schools are under separate educational and governance structures.[35]

Cresent lake at night

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) was established in 1976 and has 6,000 personnel in 12 police stations.[36] With the rapid population growth of the city, the force has been raised to 23,000 personnel and the establishment of 33 police stations has been completed and the creation of another 18 police stations is underway.

The city is divided into 10 parliamentary constituencies. The two main political parties are the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Ramna contains the Secretariat, which houses most of the government ministries. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh and the Dhaka High Court are located in the city. The Bangabhaban palace has served as the official residence of the Viceroy of India, the governor of East Pakistan and presently the President of Bangladesh.[37] The Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban, designed by renowned architect Louis Kahn,[17] houses the unicameral national parliament. The Baitul Mukarram, developed with a design resembling the Kaaba of Mecca, is the national mosque.[38] Other historical monuments in the city include the Bara Katra palace, the Lalbagh Fort, the Hoseni Dalan and the Ahsan Manzil.[39]

To fight rising traffic congestion and population, the national government has recently implemented a policy for rapid urbanisation of surrounding areas and beyond by the introduction of a ten year holiday on income tax for new construction of facilities and buildings outside Dhaka.[40] Aside from Chittagong, Dhaka has a water-borne sewage system, but this serves only 25% of the population while another 30% are served with septic tanks.[41] Only two-thirds of households in Dhaka are served by the city water supply system. More than 9.7 million tonnes of solid wastes are produced in Dhaka city each year. While private and government efforts have succeeded in collecting garbage city-wide and using it as manure, most solid wastes are often dumped untreated in nearby low-lying areas and water bodies.[30][41]


Kawran Bazar, one of the most important business centers in Dhaka

Dhaka is the commercial heart of Bangladesh.[42] The city has a growing middle class population, driving the market for modern consumer and luxury goods.[10][43] The city has historically attracted a large number of migrant workers.[44] Hawkers, peddlers, small shops, rickshaw transport, roadside vendors and stalls employ a large segment of the population[44][45] — rickshaw-drivers alone number as many as 400,000.[46] Half the workforce is employed in household and unorganised labour, while about 800,000 work in the textile industry. Even so, unemployment remains high at 23%.[47] As of 2008, Dhaka's Gross Municipal Product (GMP) is registered at $78 billion.[48] With an annual growth rate of 6.2%, the GMP is projected to rise to $215 billion by 2025.[48] The annual per capita income of Dhaka is estimated at $500, with 48% of households living below the poverty line,[49] including a large segment of the population coming from the villages in search of employment,[43] with many surviving on less than $10 a day.[50]

Bangabandhu International Conference Centre

The main commercial areas of the city include Farmgate, New Market, Gulshan and Motijheel, while Tejgaon and Hazaribagh are the major industrial areas.[51] Bashundhara-Baridhara is a developing economic area that will include high-tech industries, corporations and a large shopping mall in about 5 years.[43] The Export Processing Zone in Dhaka was set up to encourage the export of garments, textiles and other goods. Dhaka has two EPZ's. They are home to 413 industries, which employ mostly women.[52]

Motijheel is the financial district of Dhaka

The Dhaka Stock Exchange is based in the city, as are most of the large multinationals including Citigroup, HSBC Bank Bangladesh, JPMorgan Chase, Standard Chartered Bank (Bangladesh), American Express, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, British Petroleum, Unilever, Nestle, DHL Express, FedEx and British American Tobacco. Large local conglomerates such as Concord Group, Rangs Group, Beximco Group, Summit Group, Navana Group and Rahimafrooz also have their corporate offices located in Dhaka. Microcredit also began here and the offices of the Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank[53] and BRAC are based in Dhaka.[54] Urban developments have sparked a widespread construction boom; new high-rise buildings and skyscrapers have changed the city landscape.[43] Growth has been especially strong in the finance, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and services sectors, while tourism, hotels and restaurants continue as important elements in the economy of Dhaka.[44]


Animation showing urban growth in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1972 to 2001. The animation starts with a global view over India using Terra-MODIS 30 km. true color data. The animation then zooms down to Terra-MODIS 1 km. data over Bangladesh, and dissolves into the December 28, 1972, Landsat-1-MSS data of Dhaka. Dhaka can then be seen growing to its present day size by first showing the February 13, 1989 Landsat-5-TM image which then dissolves into the final January 29, 2001 Landsat-7-ETM+ image.[55]

The population of Dhaka city (areas under the jurisdiction of the Dhaka city corporation) stands at approximately 7.0 million. The city, in combination with localities forming the wider metropolitan area, is home to an estimated 12.8 million as of 2008.[2] The population is growing by an estimated 4.2% per annum, one of the highest rates amongst Asian cities.[44] The continuing growth reflects ongoing migration from rural areas to the Dhaka urban region, which accounted for 60% of the city's growth in the 1960s and 1970s. More recently, the city's population has also grown with the expansion of city boundaries, a process that added more than a million people to the city in the 1980s.[44] According to Far Eastern Economic Review, Dhaka will become a home of 25 million people by the year 2025[56].

The literacy rate is estimated at 62.3%.[27] The city population is composed of peoples from virtually every region of Bangladesh. The long-standing inhabitants of the old city are known as Dhakaia and have a distinctive dialect and culture. Between 15,000 to 20,000 of the Rohingya, Santal, Khasi, Garo, Chakma and Mandi tribal peoples reside in the city.[57] Dhaka also has a large population of Chinese, Korean and Indian expatriates working in executive jobs in different industries.

Nearly every resident of Dhaka speak Bangla, the national language. Many distinctive Bangla dialects and regional languages such as Chittagonian and Sylheti are also spoken by segments of the population. English is spoken by a large segment of the population, especially for business purposes.

Islam is the dominant religion of Dhaka's people, with a majority belonging to the Sunni sect. There is also a small, but growing Shia sect, and a Ahmadiya community. Hinduism is the second-largest religion and smaller communities practice Buddhism and Christianity.


The Tara Masjid (Star Mosque) is noted for its star-studded design
Puja celebrations in Dhakeshwari National Temple

As the most populous city of Bangladesh, Dhaka has a vibrant cultural life. Annual celebrations for Independence Day (March 26), Language Martyrs' Day (February 21) and Victory Day (December 16) are prominently celebrated across the city. Dhaka's people congregate at the Shaheed Minar and the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho to remember the national heroes of the liberation war. These occasions are observed with public ceremonies and rallies in public grounds. Many schools and colleges organize fairs, festivals and concerts in which citizens from all levels of society participate.[58]

Pohela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, falls annually on April 14 and is popularly celebrated across the city.[58] Large crowds of people gather on the streets of Shahbag, Ramna Park and the campus of the University of Dhaka for celebrations. The most popular dressing style for women are sarees or salwar kameez, while men usually prefer western clothing to the traditional lungi. The Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr ,Eid ul-Adha & Hindu festival Durga Puja witnesses widespread celebrations across the city.[10]

For much of recent history, Dhaka was characterised by roadside markets and small shops that sold a wide variety of goods.[59] Recent years have seen the widespread construction of shopping malls, multiplexes, hotels and restaurants attracting Dhaka's growing middle-class and wealthy residents.[60] Along with Bangladeshi cuisine and South Asian variants, a large variety of Western and Chinese cuisine is served at numerous restaurants and eateries.[43] Though restaurants offering multinational cuisine and fastfood chains like KFC, Pizza Hut etc have opened up in the city but unique Dhakai delicacies like Glassey, Hajir Biriani(Haji's Biriani), Fakhruddin Biriani, Mama Halim, Borhani etc are still very popular amongst Dhakaiyas. These delicacies are even offered to state guests. Dhakai Bakarkhani is the traditional food/snack of the people of old Dhaka. It is famous for its quality and taste and it was highly praised by the Royal court of the Mughal Empire in Delhi.[61]

Despite the growing popularity of music groups and rock bands, traditional folk music remains widely popular.[62] The works of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and national anthem writer Rabindranath Tagore have a widespread following across Dhaka.[63] The Baily Road area is known as Natak Para (Theater Neighborhood) which is the center of Dhaka's thriving theater movement.[64] Indian and Western music and films are popular with large segments of Dhaka's population.[65] This area is also credited for the revival of the Jamdani due to the many local saree stores selling and promoting these locally hand-made age old traditional Bengali sarees. Jamdanis are 100% hand weaved and originate from the Persian and Mughal era. Jamdanis are produced by a traditional high quality cottage industry, which is slowly dying out due to the slow production process. A single medium range Jamdani saree may take as long as 3 months to complete.[66]

Pohela Baishakh (Bangla New Year) celebration in Ramna park.

Bangladesh Betar is the state-run primary provider of radio services, and broadcasts a variety of programming in Bangla and English. In recent years many private radio networks, especially FM radio services, have been established in the city such as Radio Foorti FM 88.0, Radio Today FM 89.6, Radio Amar FM 101.6 and ABC Radio FM 89.2. Bangladesh Television is the state-run broadcasting network that provides a wide variety of programmes in Bangla and English. Cable and satellite networks such as Ekushey Television, Channel I, ATN Bangla, RTV, NTV and STAR TV are amongst the most popular channels. The main offices of most publishing houses in Bangladesh are based in Dhaka. The Prothom Alo and The Daily Ittefaq are the most popular amongst the large number of Bangla language dailies, periodicals and other publications in the city. The Daily Star and The Independent are the largest English-language dailies published.[67] Although cellular phones are gaining popularity, less than 10% of households have telephone access.[44]


Dhaka is known as the rickshaw capital of the world.[68][69][70] Approximately 400,000 rickshaws run each day.[71]
A BRTC Volvo double-decker bus in Dhaka

Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport, with close to 400,000 rickshaws running each day – the largest number for any city in the world.[43][45] However, only about 85,000 rickshaws are licensed by the city government.[44][72] Relatively low-cost and non-polluting cycle rickshaws nevertheless cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. Public buses are operated by the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and by private companies and operators. Scooters, taxis and privately owned automobiles are increasingly becoming popular with the city's growing middle class. The government has overseen the replacement of two-stroke engine taxis with "Green taxis" locally called CNG, which run on compressed natural gas.[73]

Dhaka has 1,868 kilometers (1,161 mi) of paved roads.[74] It is connected to the other parts of the country through strong highway and railway links. Highway links to the Indian cities of Kolkata and Agartala have been established by the BRTC which also runs regular bus services to those cities from Dhaka.[75]

The Kamalapur Railway Station, Airport (Biman Bandar) Railway Station and the Cantonment Railway Station are the main railway stations providing trains on suburban & national routes operated by the state-run Bangladesh Railway.[76] Bangladesh Railway also runs a regular train service between Dhaka and Kolkata. The Sadarghat Port on the banks of the Buriganga River serves the transportation of goods and passengers upriver and to other ports in Bangladesh.[77] Dhaka has domestic air links to Chittagong, Sylhet, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Barisal, Saidpur and international air links to major cities around the world. The Shahjalal International Airport[78] is the largest and busiest in the nation.[79] It handles nearly 52% of the country's international and domestic arrivals and departures.


Curzon Hall of the University of Dhaka. The university served as the prime centre for political activism amongst the youth and intellectuals during the Bengali freedom struggle

Dhaka has the largest number of schools, colleges and universities of any Bangladeshi city. The education system is divided into 4 levels: Primary (from grades 1 to 5), Secondary (from grades 6 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary.[80] The five years of lower secondary education concludes with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Examination.[80] Education is mainly offered in Bangla, but English is also commonly taught and used. A large number of Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education, which is imparted in Bangla and Arabic in madrasahs.[80]

There are 52 universities in Dhaka. The Dhaka College is the oldest institution of higher education in the city and amongst the earliest established in British India, founded in 1840. Since independence, Dhaka has seen the establishment of a large number of public and private colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a variety of doctoral programs.[81] The University of Dhaka is the largest public university[82] in the nation with more than 30,000 students and 1,300 faculty staff. The university has 18 research centers and 70 departments, faculties and institutes.[83] Eminent seats of higher education include the Jahangirnagar University and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). The Dhaka Medical College and the Sir Salimullah Medical College are amongst the largest and most respected medical schools in the nation.[84] Dhaka's college campuses are often hotbeds of political conflicts.[85] Protests and strikes, and violence amongst police, students and political groups frequently disrupt public university campuses.[86][87]

Media & Communications

  • Postal Service: The Bangladeshi postal service, commonly known as Bangladesh Post Office, headquartered in Dhaka, is responsible for providing postal service in throughout the country.[88]
  • News Agency: The national news agency of Bangladesh is Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha[92]. BSS handles national news including the activities of the government, diplomatic affairs, socio-political happenings, economy, finance, sports, culture, law and parliamentary affairs. Newspapers throughout the country, radio and television authorities, and some government agencies subscribe to the news service of BSS.[93]. The first privately-owned news agency in Bangladesh Eastern News Agency was established in Dhaka in March 1970. Another private sector news agency United News of Bangladesh was launched in 1988 in Dhaka with the Associated Press (AP) of the United States as its principal anchor.


Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in Dhaka and across the nation.[96] Teams are fielded in intra-city and national competitions by a large number of schools, colleges and private entities. The Mohammedan Sports Club and Abahani are two of the most famous football and cricket teams, maintaining a fierce rivalry.[97]

Dhaka has the distinction of having hosted the first official test cricket match of the Pakistan cricket team in 1954 against India.[98] The Bangabandhu National Stadium was formerly the main venue for domestic and international cricket matches, but now exclusively hosts football matches.[98] It is a potential host for the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cricket World Cup as well as host to 6 matches to be played in Bangladesh.[99] The Bangladesh Sports Control Board, responsible for promoting sports activities across the nation is based in Dhaka. Dhaka also has stadiums largely used for domestic events such as the Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium (in Mirpur), the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium and the Outer Stadium Ground.[100] The Dhaka University Ground hosts many intercollegiate tournaments.[101]

See also


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  2. ^ a b c "Statistical Pocket Book, 2008" (pdf). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. http://www.bbs.gov.bd/dataindex/pby/pk_book_08.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  3. ^ http://www.dhakacity.com.bd/
  4. ^ Lawson, Alastair (2002-10-05). "Dhaka's beleaguered rickshaw wallahs". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/2300179.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
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  6. ^ Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud (2001). South Asia: Eastern Himalayan Culture, Ecology and People. Dhaka: Academic Press and Publishers. ISBN 9840801651. 
  7. ^ Nagendra K. Singh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh (Hardcover). Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd. p. 19. ISBN 8126113901. 
  8. ^ Taru Bahl & M.H. Syed (2003). Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World. Anmol Publications PVT. p. 55. ISBN 8126114193. 
  9. ^ a b "Dhaka". Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9030205. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Chowdhury, A.M. (2007-04-23). "Dhaka". Banglapedia. http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/D_0145.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Roy, Pinaki (2008-07-28). "Golden past of olden Dhaka". The Daily Star. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=47801. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  12. ^ Francis Bradley Bradley-Birt (1906). The Romance of an Eastern Capital. Smith, Elder, & Co. p. 264. 
  13. ^ M. Atiqullah and F. Karim Khan (1965). Growth of Dacca City: Population and Area (1608–1981). Social Science Research Project, University of Dacca Press. p. 6. 
  14. ^ M. Atiqullah and F. Karim Khan (1965). Growth of Dacca City: Population and Area (1608–1981). Social Science Research Project, University of Dacca Press. p. 7. "With the growth of Calcutta (founded by Job Charnock in 1690), the business centres started moving to Calcutta followed by flight of capital and labour force from Dacca. By 1800, Calcutta became a city of 500 thousands, (Ghosh, 1950 pp 53–54) and Dacca declined to 2000 thousands, the population of 160 years before." 
  15. ^ H Furumai, F Kurisu & H Katayama (2008). Southeast Asian Water Environment 2: Selected Papers from the Second International Symposium on Southeast Asian Water Environment. IWA Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 1843391244. 
  16. ^ Mohammad Atiqullah & Fazle Karim Khan (1965). Growth of Dacca City: Population and Area, 1608–1981. University of Dacca. p. 10. 
  17. ^ a b c d Richards, John (2002). "Calcutta and Dhaka: A tale of two cities". Inroads. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4014/is_200201/ai_n9028755/pg_2. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  18. ^ The Feminist Review Collective (28 Mar 1991). Feminist Review (Issue 37). Routledge. pp. 40. ISBN 0415065364. 
  19. ^ "Timeline: Major tropical cyclones". BBC News. 2008-05-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/7384545.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  20. ^ Srivastava, H. N.; G. D. Gupta (2006). Management of natural disasters in developing countries. Centre for Science & Techonlogy of the Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries. pp. 14. ISBN 8170354250. 
  21. ^ Archer Blood. "Transcript of Selective Genocide Telex" (pdf). Department of State, United States. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB79/BEBB1.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
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Further reading

  • Ahmed, Sharifuddin (1991). Dhaka: Past, Present and Future. The Asiatic Society, Dhaka. ISBN 984-512-335-0. 
  • Karim, Abdul (1992). History of Bengal, Mughal Period (I). Rajshahi. 
  • Pryer, Jane (2003). Poverty and Vulnerability in Dhaka Slums: The Urban Livelihood Study. Ashgate Publishing. OCLC 123337526 OCLC 243482310 OCLC 50334244 OCLC 50939515. ISBN 0-7546-1864-1. 
  • Rabbani, Golam (1997). Dhaka, from Mughal outpost to metropolis. University Press, Dhaka. ISBN 9840513745. 
  • Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1948). History of Bengal (II). Dhaka. 
  • Taifoor, S.M. (1956). Glimpses of Old Dacca. Dhaka. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Dhaka hdr
Dhaka hdr

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh.


Dhaka is a thriving, colorful and congested metropolis of some 12 million people, and growing steadily. Given the number of people that live there, Dhaka is one of the most frenetic places on Earth. The streets and rivers are filled with colorful chaos. It also plays host to the highest number of rickshaws in any city, totaling around 400,000; you certainly won't miss them. Experiencing the city for the first time can often seem overwhelming.

According to recorded history it was founded in 1608 A.D. as the seat of the imperial Mughal viceroy of Bengal. Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is the country's center of industrial, commercial, cultural, educational and political activity. The gap between rich and poor is widening throughout the country but it's at its most glaringly obvious here. Depending on where you start from, a thirty minute rickshaw ride can take you from impossibly crowded shantytowns near Old Dhaka to the glitzy high-class neighborhoods of Gulshan and Banani where a meal costs more than most people make in a week.

Motijheel is the main commercial area of the city. Dhaka's main waterfront, Sadarghat, is on the banks of the river Buriganga in Old Dhaka and is crowded with various ferries, yachts, paddle steamers, fisherman's boats and floating dhabas all bustling with activity.

The weather is tropical - hot and very humid during the monsoon season (April-August) and drier and cooler in the winter (October-March). Visitors from colder countries might want to visit in the winter when temperatures are around 20C and humidity is low (around 60-70%).

Visa extensions are available at the Immigration and Passport Office on Agargaon Rd in Central Dhaka. Most drivers know where it is. An auto-rickshaw from Old Dhaka will cost about Taka (BDT)50. Su-Th 10AM-1PM receiving applications, 3-5PM delivery.

Map of Dhaka Division
Map of Dhaka Division

By air

Zia International Airport (ICAO: DAC) is well served by international flights from most continents.

Thai Airways has direct flights from Bangkok. There are also gateways from Nepal on GMG Airlines, Hong Kong on Dragon Air, Malaysia, Singapore, Delhi, Kunming and Kolkata. You can also travel to Dhaka from Middle East by Gulf Air, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Iran Air, Yemenia, and to Chittagong by Oman Air and Air Arabia.

By bus

Being the capital and geographical center of the country, Dhaka is the natural hub for the country's bus companies. There are several bus stations around Dhaka, and which one you need to be at depends where you want to go, so ask around before heading out to one of them. Most are as crowded as you would expect them to be(because of population).

Sayedabad bus station is useful for buses to the eastern half of the country including Sylhet Division and Chittagong Division.

Gabtali bus station serves most of the western half of the country including Jessore, Rajshahi Division and Khulna Division.

Luxury buses like Green Line, Shyamoli, Silk Line and Shohagh serve the major cities and tourist attractions. They all have a few offices around town, the most central being those near the Eastern Hotel on Inner Circular Rd in Central Dhaka, just north of the Motijheel area. Green Line serves Chittagong (400 taka, 5-6 hours), Cox's Bazar (630 taka, 8-9 hours), Rajshahi ( Tk 350, 4 hours), Sylhet (Tk 400, 5 hours), Khulna (Tk 450, 7 hours) and Jessore ( Tk 400, 5-6 hours) in its comfortable Volvo buses. It also has a couple of super luxury Scania buses to Chittagong (Tk 550) and Cox's Bazar (Tk 850) if you feel comfortable floating through a developing country in high style and have enough taka to spend(however the money spent could go towards helping develop Bangladesh more). Seats are huge and fully recline. The quality of these buses are comparable to Business class of an airline!! (there are also Hino A/C luxury buses as well as Volvo and Scania). Recently, the S.Alam and the Saudia, two of the leading (non-ac) bus service providers have jointly launched a Mercedes-Benz luxury bus service to Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and some other major cities. One of the ticket counters has been opened at the Panthapath, an area where you can locate all major luxury bus ticket counters.

From India there are a number of land entry points for Buses. The most common way is the regular comfortable a/c buses from Kolkata to Dhaka via the Haridaspur / Benapole border post. Private bus companies Shohagh, Green Line, Shyamoli and others operate daily bus services. Government buses run under the label of the state owned West Bengal Surface Transport Service Corporation (WBSTSC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). WBSTSC and BRTC both operate buses from Kolkata every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:30AM and 8:30AM, and 12:30PM while from Dhaka they leave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00AM and 7:30AM. The normal journey time is around 12 hours with a one-way fare of Indian Rs.550 or Tk.600-800, (roughly $8-12). If you're only headed to Haridaspur the fare is Rs.86, or Tk 116. The journey should take around 2.30 hours.

By boat

Most ferries arrive at and leave from Sadarghat in Old Dhaka. This area and the streets surrounding it are unbelievably hectic so allow plenty of time and watch your bags and pockets carefully. If arriving here, fight your way to the left on the frontage road and then make your first right - this turns into Nawabpur Road and leads north to the hotels. Even if you aren't staying in this area, it's easier to walk several hundred meters north to catch an onward rickshaw, the ones near the ghat are at a standstill.

The Rocket Steamers (P.S. 'Tern', 'Masud' and 'Ostrich') run to Barisal and Khulna several times per week, departing from Sadarghat around 6pm. To Barisal is Tk 480/300 in first/second class, while all the way to Khulna will run Tk 1010/610 and take 26-30 hours. Tickets should be booked at the BIWTC office in Motijheel just east of Dilkusha Circle I. It's open until 5PM Su-W and until 2PM on Thursdays, closed on Fridays. A quick heads-up in that the link to the BIWTC tariff mentioned above is in 'Takas' and one should double check the fares.

Chandpur is the second major river station 3 to 4 hours journey from Dhaka and 5 to 6 hours Journey from Barisal.

Multiple other boats are available for short and long distances - head to Sadarghat or Badam Tole ghat (about 1 km further west) and ask around. Tickets aren't pre-sold, and bargaining is likely necessary.

Old Dhaka
Old Dhaka

Given the plethora of all forms of transport, if you're having trouble getting a decent fare with a driver walk a few feet to the next one. Not all are out to gouge you, so better to find the honest ones and give them your business. Occasionally a driver will demand more money on arrival - the best way to deal with this is to hand over the agreed fare/metered fare and walk away. Make certain from the start that the driver knows where you're headed (unless you can direct him yourself) - they often have limited local knowledge, but will always SAY that they know where somewhere is and take you round the whole city searching whilst the meter ticks. Make sure that you take a card with your hotel or hostel on it so that you can actually get home - many of the drivers do not even know where the more touristy sites are let alone the hotels so they will have to ask people at the side of the road. Having a card for the hotel with the actual address makes this a whole lot easier.

Rickshaws, Old Dhaka
Rickshaws, Old Dhaka
  • Cycle-rickshaws are the most popular form of transport, and good for short distances -- mainly on side streets. They make up the bulk of the cities horrendous traffic, and charge around BDT.5 per kilometer. Negotiating a fare beforehand is essential as a foreigner. Cycle-rickshaws in wealthy areas such as Banani and Gulshan often must pay local mafia men for the privilege of servicing the high-price areas. Additionally, foreigners should also be warned that cycle-rickshaws will sometimes begin the ride with a pitch to sell drugs or prostitutes. One or two simple, but firm, declines will generally solve the situation. If you're a woman -- it's particularly inadvisable to ride around alone in cycle-rickshaws after dark -- you're a slow-moving target asking for trouble from thugs and muggers.
  • Auto-rickshaws (also known as 'CNG') are also abundant and have meters, which drivers can sometimes be persuaded to use. They're the cheapest way to cover longer distances - an 8km ride from Old Dhaka to Gulshan should cost around Tk 70. The meters start at Tk 13.50, but for shorter distances you'll likely have to negotiate a fare instead. The city does become very congested at times so allow plenty of time for getting around.
  • Taxis also ply the roads, some yellow and some black, all with meters. Black taxis start the meter at Tk 15 while yellow taxis are a little nicer and start at Tk 20. Black taxis are typically in notoriously poor condition and lack air conditioning. Yellow taxis are required to have air conditioning, (they consist of Toyota Corollas mostly, Mitsubishis or Hondas even). They are also considered far safer by the local Dhaka elite. (when compared to black taxis and auto-rickshaws).
  • Buses run routes on the main roads, but are horribly crowded and noisy, signed only in Bengali and aren't likely to be of much use to travelers. Save yourself a headache and take a rickshaw or if you go to far distance, take a comfortable, luxurious A/C bus or a train!!


Dhaka, predominantly was a city of the Mughals. In the years of their vigorous rule the successive Governors and princely Viceroys who ruled the province, adorned it with many noble monuments, mosques, tombs, fortifications and 'Katras' often surrounded with beautifully laid out gardens and pavilions. The Parliament building designed by, Louis Kahn, is definitely something to see along with numerous memorials, parks and mosques. Places worth visiting include: Ramna Park, Lal Bagh Fort and museum, Old Dhaka, the Shahid Minar memorial, the Shadarghat port, Ahsan Manjil, Bangabandhu Memorial, National Poet's Graveyard, Suhrawardy Uddyaan, National Leader Mausoleum, Banga-Bhaban, Shadhinota Stambha, Curzon Hall, Old High Court and 1857 Memorial, the Botanical Gardens, Baldha Garden, Sitara Mosque, Baitul Mukarram Mosque as well as Hindu, Buddhist and Christian churches and temples.

  • Ahsan Manjil:, the pink palace, has a Tk 2 entrance fee and a small exhibition about the history of the palace and a garden.
  • Mosques around Dhaka: Dhaka has several hundred mosques. Prominent are Baitul Mukarram-National Mosque, the Seven Domed Mosque (17th century), Star Mosque (18th century) inlaid with mosaic and tiles , Chawkbazar Mosque and Huseni Dalan Mosque.
  • Hindu Temples: Dhakeshwari Temple (11th Century), Ramkrishna Mission.
  • Churches: Armenian Church (1781 A.D.) St. Mary's Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former Holy Rosary Church (1677A.D.) at Tejgaon.
  • Buddhist Temples: Dhammarajika Bouddha Maha Vihar [1], Atisha Dipankar Sarak, Kamalapur. Tel:+88 2 841-162. email: Mahathero@Dhammarajika.com. International Buddhist Monastery, Merul Badda, Gulshan. Tel:+88 2 881-2288. email: pratimbarua@hotmail.com
  • The National Memorial:, located at Savar, 35, km. from Dhaka city. The memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossain is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the war of liberation.
Pari Bibi's Tomb
Pari Bibi's Tomb
  • Lalbagh Fort: It was built in 1678 A.D. by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort was the scene of bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857) when 260 sepoys stationed here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Monuments of the Lalbagh which are outstanding include the, tomb of Pari Bibi , Lalbagh Mosque, Audience Hall and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum. The fort is closed on Saturday but open until 5pm every other day.
  • 1857 Memorial: ( Bahadur Shah Park) Built to commemorate the martyrs of the first liberation war (1857-59) against British rule. It was here that the revolting sepoys and their civil compatriots were publicly hanged.
  • Curzon Hall: Beautiful architectural building named after Lord Curzon. It now houses the Science Faculty of Dhaka University.
  • Old High Court Building: Originally built as the residence of the British Governor, it illustrates a happy blend of European and Mughal architecture.
  • National Park: Situated at Rejendrapur, 40 km. north of Dhaka city , this is a vast (1,600 acres) national recreational forest with facilities for picnics and rowing etc.
  • Central Shahid Minar: Symbol of Bengali nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquets gather (most march barefoot) on 21 February every year (designated by the UN as International Mother Language Day) to pay respect to the departed in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at midnight.
  • National Poet's Graveyard: Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 29 August 1976 and was buried here. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University Mosque.
  • Suhrawardy Uddyan (Garden): A Popular Park. The oath of independence of Bangladesh was taken here and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman gave the clarion call for independence on the 7th March 1971. The place is famous for its lush greenery and gentle breezes. An eternal flame in remembrance of the martyrs of the war of Liberation burns here.
  • Mausoleum of National Leaders: Located at the southwestern corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan, it is the eternal resting place of great national leaders, Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khaja Nazimuddin.
  • Banga Bhaban: The official residence of the President, located in the city. One can have an outside view of this grand palace.
  • Baldha Garden: Unique creation of the late Narendra Narayan Roy, the landlord of Baldha. Year of establishment was 1904. Located in Wari area of Dhaka city, the garden with its rich collection of indigenous and exotic plants is one of the most exciting attraction for botanists, naturalists and tourists.
  • Ramna Green: A vast stretch of green garden surrounded by a serpentine lake near the Sheraton Hotel.
Parliament Building in Dhaka
Parliament Building in Dhaka
  • Parliament House: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House) located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar has distinctive architectural features. Designed by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, it may be called an architectural wonder of this region.
  • Sonargaon

If you feel the need to escape and take a break from the chaos of Dhaka, Songargon, about 29 km. from Dhaka offers you the chance to do just that. The town has a few worthwhile sights that are separated from one another and whilst going from sight to sight, you have the opportunity experience rural life and take in the less chaotic surroundings.

Hundred years old building of Sonargaon
Hundred years old building of Sonargaon

Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From then onward till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was a subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal. The main places of interest in Sonargaon are the ruins of Panam Nagar, the local crafts museum or the Lok Shilpa Jadughar (charges an entrance fee), the tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin, the Goaldi Mosque, and the shrines of Panjpir and Shah Abdul Alia. The first two lie on one side of the Dhaka-Chittgong Highway and the rest lie on the other side. Once at Mograpara, a rickshaw may be hired for sightseeing. It is best to hire the same rickshaw for a fixed amount (BDT 200-250) to visit all the places in Sonargaon. Most rickshaw pullers know the more popular destinations like Panam Nagar, the Lok Shilpa Jadughar, etc. Some may not know of the tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin or the Goaldi Mosque and the shrines. Usually rickshaw drivers who are locals from the village know all of these places.

Frequent bus services to Sonargaon operate from Gulistan, Saidabad and other bus stands in Dhaka. Tickets may be bought on roadside counters. Mention your destination as Mograpara as you might end up at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel instead. The price of the ticket from Gulistan bus stand is Tk 22.

Hajiganj is another place of historical interest, situated about 10 kms from Mograpara bus stand. However, the above mentioned places usually take up most of the day and it is best to return to Dhaka before evening. Sonargaon and Hajiganj may be combined into a single day if one sets off very early from Dhaka.


Dhaka has several museums on offer as well as a Zoo and Botanical gardens. In the surrounding areas you can enjoy a picinic in one of the designated 'picinic areas' whilst en route to a near by village to take a look at local arts and crafts.

  • Bangabandhu Memorial Museum: The residence of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Dhanmondi (Road 32) has been turned into a museum. It contains a rare collection of personal effects and photographs of his life and times. He was assassinated in 1975 along with most of his family members.
  • Liberation War Museum: Situated at Segun Bagicha area of the city (close to National Press Club) the museum contains rare archival photographs and items used by the freedom fighters during the nine-month long Liberation war in 1971.
  • Ahsan Manzil Museum: On the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka the pink majestic Ahsan Manzil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an example of the nation's rich cultural heritage. It was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka and a silent spectator to many events. The renovated Ahsan Manzil is 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 displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
  • Dhaka Zoo: Popularly known as Mirpur Zoo. Colorful and attractive collections of different local and foreign species of animals and birds including the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger are available here.
  • Botanical Garden: Built on 205 acres of land at Mirpur and adjacent to Dhaka Zoo. You can do both the zoo and the botanical garden in one trip.
  • National Museum: Located at the central point of the city Shahbag, the museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods. Next to the Museum is the popular public library and the Charukola (Arts and Crafts) Institute under Dhaka University.
  • Science Museum: The museum is a modern learning center related to the latest scientific discoveries. It is situated at Agargaon.
  • Institute of Arts and Crafts: Situated in the picturesque surroundings of Shahbagh the Institute of Arts and Crafts (Charukola Institute) has a representative collection of folk-art and paintings by artists of Bangladesh.

Other attractions in and around Dhaka include: Aparajeya Bangla monument, picnic spots such as Chandra and Salna, industrial estates of Tongi, Narayanganj, Demara, Tejgaon and cruising by country boat in the nearby river or a visit to a village to see jute cultivation, weaving and pottery making.

Last but not least, a rewarding experience is simply traveling by a horse driven cart or rickshaw along the busy Dhaka streets and observing the local everyday scenes.


If you go shopping ready to bargain then there are certainly bargains to be had among the bazars and markets of Dhaka. To get a feel for what things should cost in the local markets check prices in the western-style fixed price shops and then deduct 10%. If you prefer hassle free shopping then head to Bashundhara City, a huge shopping center with more modern shops and other ameniteis you would expect to find in a mall.

  • Banga (or Bango) Bazar, is a block west of the Gulistan bus station on Kamruzzaman Sharani Street at the edge of Old Dhaka. For shopaholics this is probably a paradise but for others it can be a nightmare. There are thousands of small stalls intersected by narrow walkways which are often jammed with people. The quality varies widely but the prices can be cheap, cheap, cheap, after you bargain vigorously. Try US$1 for a T-shirt, US$3 for blue jeans and US$5 for jackets.
  • New Market on Mirpur Road in Dhanmondi, just west of Dhaka University. This is the largest market in the city and it has more class, more room and just as much choice. Prices may be a little higher because the stall rent is likely to be more expensive. As well as clothing, there is leather, linen, jewelry, household goods, CDs and DVDs and so on. It is normally closed on Tuesdays.
  • Bashundhara City on Pantha Path just west of the Pan Pacific Hotel. This multi-story complex is the closest replica of the malls found in Asia. It is the newest and most modern place to shop in the city with small shops spanning over a whopping 10 floors.
  • Garment seconds, Banga Bazar and Pallwell Market (BB: Gulistan area, just West of Motijheel); PM: Purana Paltan area (just beside Jonaki Cinema Hall). Many items only have minor defects, but do not meet export requirements.  edit
  • Pink Pearls. Available in many handicraft stores, with some dedicated outlets in Gulshan  edit
  • Aarong, [2]. A well known chain with several outlets around Dhaka and one in London. It is owned by BRAC (a large NGO) and sells handicrafts and clothing at moderately high prices.  edit
  • Aranya, 60 Kemal Ataturk, Banani. Another good store with beautiful crafts. Supports fair trade practices.  edit.


Dhaka has an enormous variety of food catering to all budgets. Old Dhaka is overflowing with cheap Bangladeshi food where a meal can be had from Tk 50 ($0.70), while in the upscale neighborhoods like Gulshan and Banani you can find just about any type of cuisine you can imagine - Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, and franchises such as Pizza Hut, KFC are abundant - at prices that the majority can't afford. Reservations are usually not required in most restaurants. A lot of the Buffet-style restaurants in this neighborhood have Taka: 250 to 400, fixed price menu.

Local sweets (misti/mishti) like rasgullah and gulab jamun are excellent. To the uninitiated these are bite-sized soft cheeseballs dipped (drenched) in syrup, coming in white and red varieties. Shops throughout the town (and especially near Gulshan) sell imported condiments from the U.S., Dubai and Malaysia at a premium. Imported chocolate is especially expensive - and usually not in the best condition as it gets melted and re-solidified daily in the tropical heat. Fresh is better.

Be careful when buying food from street vendors as health and hygiene standards are not always topnotch. Unlike Bangkok -- street food in Dhaka is only for locals. Foreigners should stick to larger, organized (and unfortunately a little expensive) food outlets.


Restaurants are crammed throughout the narrow alleys and along the main streets - duck into one of them and you'll likely not to be too disappointed. A full meal will usually run less than a dollar, though fish will push it closer to two.

  • Hotel Al-Razzaque, 29/1 North South Rd (Nazira Bazaar), +880 2 956 1990. On the ground floor of the hotel is a large and popular restaurant, busy anytime of the day with Bangladeshi families and businessmen. Food is pretty darn good, if unpredictable in its timing. Sometimes you'll have a choice of chicken and mutton curries, fish and vegetables, other times it's chicken biryani or the highway. Fish will double the price of your meal, at least. It's sandwiched between a clean and well-stocked juice bar and a clean and well-stocked sweet shop. Each plate cost 80 Taka. Tk50-150.  edit
  • Hajjee Beryaniin old Dhaka. Old Dhaka was famed for its lines of beryani restaurants. Some of the more famous outfits are still going and Hajjee Beryani is one of them. It revels in its eccentric reputation for opening only at certain times and only cooking a certain amount (well below demand)
  • Hotel Star International Thathari bazar, Near Nawabpur Bazar. Does fantastic Beryani.
  • Bismillah Kabab Address-Nazira Bazar
  • Jharna Grill, In Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, +880 2 811 1005. The top restaurant in the hotel serves very good seafood. Expect to pay Tk 3,000 for a 3 course meal with drinks. The hotel has other good restaurants too.  edit
  • Cafe Jheel, opposite the National press club. Serves good local dishes for the budget traveler. Expect to pay Tk 150-200 for a 3 course meal. Although you can possibly get lunch/dinner for as low as Tk 60.  edit


These areas are packed with crowded trendy and upscale restaurants, a magnet for the Dhaka elite who like good food or just want to be seen in their shiny new sedans.

  • Bamboo Shoot, Gulshan avenue (upstairs from Agora department store). A Chinese/Thai restaurant that prides itself in offering 'authentic' cuisine, and this is backed up by the number of Chinese expats seen eating there on any given night. Serves beer.  edit
  • Dhanshiri, Gulshan 2 (beside the Westin). The food is good and they serve decent local stuff. However, make sure to check prices on the menu card before ordering and examine the bill afterwards. There are better places to get Bengali food, but Dhashiri's location is especially convenient.  edit
  • El Toro, House 1A, Road 138, Gulshan I, +880 1 861 6343. 11:30AM-10:30PM. A Mexican restaurant serving burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like. Mains around Tk 250-300.  edit
  • A&W Rootbeer, just south of Circle I, Gulshan. Yes, the American chain, and in full swing. A burger, fries and rootbeer float will set you back nearly BDT.300, which seems to be no problem for the well-off young Bangladeshi teens that fill the tables. The pumpin' jukebox filled with Backstreet Boys adds/detracts from the experience.  edit
  • Andersen's of Denmark, House 34, Road 136, Gulshan Circle I, +880 1 881 8553, [3]. 11:30AM-midnite, Fridays 2PM-midnite. Excellent ice cream such as mint chocolate chip, oreos & cream and banana fudge, sundaes and milkshakes, cappuccinos, espressos and hot chocolate. Resist the urge to spend the entire day here. Attached to a fast food restaurant ('Chicken King') serving fried chicken and steaks. Tk 80-260.  edit
  • CoFi 11, House Number 34, Road Number 21, Block B, Banani (Take the road opposite of Priyo Departmental Store & Fahim Music in Kemal Ataturk Avenue, ie Road number 18, cross the South East Univeristy Campus & immediately make the 1st left turn & its the 2nd house on the right. Very close to the Swiss Embassy), 06662628822, 01713364499, [4]. 11AM-midnite daily. Possibly the best coffee available in Dhaka, they import beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Indonesia and even Starbucks beans and offer exotic drinks like lemogini, Shikanjee, Guava Frappe, Mango Yogurt & Mandolito. They also have espresso dipped brownies and good sandwiches. Free WiFi. They also have live musical performances on the 1st Saturday of every month & on the Wednesday of the 3rd week of the month  edit
  • Heritage, House 10, Road 109, Gulshan-2, +880 1 882 0350. Run by British-Bangladeshi celebrity chef Tommy Miah, this Mugal décor restaurant features Bangla-fusion cuisine. Tk 500-700 per person.  edit
  • Spaghetti Jazz, Gulshan. Decent Italian that delivers pizza and pasta! A meal will cost 400-600 taka, even for something fairly simple.  edit
  • Bella Italia, Gulshan 1 (attached to Apex Gallery). Located near Gulshan circle 1, beside the Gulshan-1 market. The proprietor was employed in the restaurant business in Italy and this place serves fairly authentic thin-crust pizzas and pastas. Mains are around Tk 300.  edit
  • Sura, Gulshan 2. Korean restaurant located across near the Egyptian embassy. Table-top barbecue and most popular Korean dishes are available, along with a selection of sushi and sashimi. Popular with Koreans and other expats. Expect to pay at least Tk 500 per person for a 3 course dinner.  edit
  • Hotel Star-Opposite of Abahani Club. Famous for its beef and mutton Kabab.
  • Xindian-Dhanmondi 27 and Shankar crossing. One of the more luxurious restaurant in Dhaka which has been established lately.
  • Jeni Kabab An old and famous restaurant for Kababs.
  • Kozmo Lounge A very cozy hangout joint at Dhanmondi 4/A. The cafe sometimes arrange quality musical performances.
  • Mama HalimNew Circular Road 2nd Floor,(Opposite of Aarong)Moghbazaar, Tel.+88 06662625097. Sells: biryani, kabas cakes, ice cream, biscuits, fruit and, randomly, gifts.
  • Coopers- Kalabagan. Very famous for cakes and fast food.
  • Cafe Mango-Dhanmondi Road No.4. The ambiance is fantastic.
  • Red Tomato-Jigatola. A medium quality old Chinese restaurant which serves both Chinese and Thai food.
  • BBQ Tonight- Best in Town kebab and Mughlai food. Mouth watering and unbelievably tasty.


There is a party network between the different expat clubs (Dutch Club, Canadian Club, Scandinavian Club, International Club, American Club, etc.) and some Bangladeshi clubs (Heritage, Privilege, etc.). These clubs usually require membership to enter, or befriend a member and have them sign you in. From there, you can purchase a book of tickets or a cash card and then use it to order your drinks.

Although alcohol is most easily available at the international clubs and top hotels, there are quite a few local places to find a drink for the enterprising traveler. Local bars are to be found in most neighborhoods but can be difficult to locate due to lack of advertising. Popular brands of beer (Heineken, Carlsberg, Tuborg, Foster's etc) and major types of liquor are available at these places, and at much lower prices than at hotel bars.

You can try:

  • La Diplomat at Road 20, House number 7, near Gulshan 1. Don't expect to be rubbing shoulders with any French ambassadors, however.
  • The Dip, like most other Bengali bars, is a smoke-filled darkened room where many of its patrons would rather not be recognized too easily. Definitely an experience, nonetheless. Beers cost upwards of Tk 150 and "tots," which are single ounce servings of gin, vodka or whiskey, are available from Tk 70(local brands)-Tk 200. Female patrons may feel slightly uncomfortable.

There is a duty paid shop in Mohakhali which is only permitted to sell alcohol to passport-bearing foreigners or their drivers who bring their passports in when they purchase. The address is 12 Abbas Garden, New Airport Road, phone +88 2988 1936-9. Their stated opening hours are from 9:30pm - 4:30pm, and closed on Fridays. To get there you need to go towards the flyover as if you were going to Banani, but instead of going on to the flyover, you take the second left after it begins. You will see a small sign labelled "Abbas Garden." Turn left and tell your transport to wait while you purchase.

  • Sabrina's Home, Banani,Dhaka, Bangladesh (Passport Must For Checking in), 0088-0119981248,00880-2-885968. USD25/night/head are including in services:Chinese Food, Air-Port Pick up & Drop, Air Conditioner,WiFi internet, Cable & Satellite TV,Purified Drinking Water,Hot Water Shower,Laundry,City Call,24 hs Security,Generator, Lift. Email: salm@yahoo.cn USD25/night/head.  edit


Old Dhaka is the best bet for the budget conscious, and if you've arrived or are leaving by the Rocket Steamer, Sadarghat is about a 10-15 minute walk south of most of the hotels down Nawabpur Rd.

  • Hotel Al-Razzaque, 29/1 North South Rd (Nazira Bazaar), +880 2 956 1990. A moderately priced hotel popular with Bangladeshi men, it's got decent clean rooms with attached bathrooms with squat toilets, and a popular restaurant. From Tk 160.  edit
  • Hotel Grameen, 22 Nawabpur Rd, +880 2 956 2422. A big hotel on busy Nawabpur Rd, just south of Bangsal Rd. Tk 60-150.  edit
  • Hotel Sugandha, 24 Nawabpur Rd, +880 2 955 6720. Its cheap and it's what to be expected of a cheap hotel, not very exciting or hygienic. Tk 100-350.  edit
  • Hotel Zakaria International (Zakiria Hotel), 35, Gulshan Road, Mohakhali C/A, Dhaka 1212, 8825003, 8825004, (88) 06662613127, [5]. Value for money. The rooms are clean and en-suite.  edit
  • Hotel White House, 155, Santinagar (Near Siddheswari Circle.). In a central location and rooms have air con and TVs.  edit

Mid range

If you're staying long term consider one of the many guesthouses in the Gulshan and Banani areas.

  • Ideas Manzil, House -19, Road -79, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh (From Zia international Airport Kuril Bissha Road to American Embassy then to Gulshan-2 then to IDEAS MANZIL next to Italian Embassy Road-79, House-19), 880 2 989 6791 (, fax: 880 171 4206336), [6]. Ideas Manzil could be called Bangladesh's first "heritage accommodation," meaning it is the kind of place which attempts to display and preserve the richness and heritage of Bangladeshi culture. Rates from Tk 4,446 ($65) $65-75. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Hotel de Crystal Garden, House number 28, Road number 63, Gulshan-2 Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh, +880 2 8823147 (, fax: 880-2-8827076), [7]. All rooms are air conditioned, en-suite and has cable TV. In close proximity you can find the American,Australian, British and a few other international clubs where you are likely to be able to get a beer. $50-80. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Grand Azad Hotel,info@grandazadhotel.com, [8] 55 Purana Paltan, +880-2-9559399. Located only 500 meters away from the main city and some of the main tourist attractions. Newly built modern hotel with facilities including a gym, lounge, restaurant, snooker room and an on site beauty salon. Prices from $37-106.
  • BRAC Centre Inn, 75 Mohakhali Dhaka 1212, +880-2-9886681 to 82, bracinn@bracinn.com, [9]. Near to the diplomatic enclave overlooking the Gulshan lake. A hotel that probably usually caters for business trips due to its location and facilities such as conference rooms. This will mean however,that your rooms will have as standard, air-con, TVs and en-suit. There is also a restaurant serving both local and international cuisine. Rooms from: Tk 4,100 -5,460 ($60-80).
  • Eastern House, [10], House Number 04, Road Number 24, Gulhan-1. Has internet braodband in every room and breakfast is included in the price. Rooms from: Tk 3,420-6,156 ($50-90).
  • Ambrosia Guest House, in Dhanmondi Residential Area, tel:+88 2 (0)966850/9665760. Tk 2,76 ($40) per night, with breakfast and free broadband Internet connection from the rooms.
  • Grand Prince Hotel [11] tel.+88-29012952, +88 2-8021599 . This hotel is located in Mirpur 1 near the Grameen Bank making it popular amongst interns. Breakfast is included with rooms. Internet is available in the lobby at 50 Tk per hour. Rates from Tk 1,368-6,840($20-$100).
  • Lake Shore Hotel, Gulshan 2 (in the diplomatic area of town), +880 2 8859991 (), [12]. Luxury 80-room hotel, rooftop pool, fitness, wireless and LAN Internet. Corporate discounts of 30% available. Probably the best medium sized 5* in the city. $100-220. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Radisson Water Garden Hotel, Airport Road (15 miles from downtown, immediately outside the diplomatic enclave but close to the International airport), +880 2 8754505 (), [13]. Huge luxurious hotel sprawling over seven acres of manicured grounds and gardens with water features. All rooms are clean and contemporary. The hotel is almost a resort as it has a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, spa and even a golf course. Arguably the best large hotel in the city. $160-220. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Dhaka Sheraton, 1 Minto Road, +880 2 865 3636 (), [14]. This hotel has been running for over a decade now, and was, for the longest time, considered one of the top hotels in the city. It is part of the Sheraton group but not quite comparable with 5* Sheraton's you would find in other countries. Internet access in the room is expensive. Room service choice is fairly limited. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, 107 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, +880-8111005 (, fax: +880 2 811 3324), [15]. This hotel has been running for over a decade now, and was, for a long time, considered one of the top hotels in the city. In room internet access is available and works well. The hotel also has a swimming pool to enjoy. A room on the Pacific floor (8) will cost $150 including breakfast. These rooms are a good choice since laundry and wired internet access are included in the price, plus a free bar in the Pacific lounge from 1800-2000. There are good restaurants and service is excellent throughout the hotel. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Hotel Sarina, Plot # 27, Road # 17, Banani (in the diplomatic area of town), +88 02 8859604 (, fax: +88 02 988-9989), [16]. 5* hotel, all rooms have high speed internet connection along with dedicated port for laptop, mini bar , in room safe and satellite TV. Has an Italian restaurant on site. $110-450. (latitude,longitude) edit
  • Hotel Orchard Plaza, 71 Nayapaltan Rd, Motijheel, +880 2 933 3904, [17]. Built in 2003 it's one of the newer top end hotels in town. Rooms are equipped with complimentary Internet, and it's comfortable and clean with super friendly staff. The restaurant on the 11th floor is also good and has broad city views. $70-150, but immediate 30% discounts are offered.  edit
  • The Westin, Plot-01, Road 45, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212 (in the diplomatic area of town), +880 2 989 1988, [18]. - relatively new, modern, clean, great service, and would be at home in any major western city.However, extortionately expensive - over US$10 for a small beer! $170-240 in winter, varies seasonally.  edit

Stay safe

Dhaka isn't terribly unsafe, but as in any huge city you should keep aware of your surroundings and try not to walk around at night, especially females traveling alone. There's a very large amount of people living on next to nothing in the city, and while the vast majority are friendly there's undoubtedly a few that would love to help you depart with some of your seemingly abundant wealth.

There has been a recent rash of incidents (as of July 2007) in which some foreigners have been targeted for bag snatchings while riding rickshaws. Often these have occurred at night, after 11pm. If you must be out after this time please do your best to leave your valuables at your friends' places or hotel and you can pick them up in the morning. The simplest way to reduce your potential loss is to not leave with valuables in the first place if you anticipate the need to travel after 11pm. The safest mode for travel for a tourist is to hire a yellow cab. These can rented for a trip as well as by the day. Be sure to write down the license plate number.

The greatest danger probably comes from speeding buses and rickshaws - keep well alert when walking along main roads.

Being the capital, it's the area most affected during hartals, and you should do your best to keep a low profile during times of political unrest. Avoid any sort of large gatherings, even positive ones, as there's a good chance you'll become the center of attention and you probably don't want that from a group of raucous chanters.

Pollution (like most other cities in the subcontinent)is high. It's not uncommon to see people with face masks on, and at the very least you should carry a handkerchief with you to cover your mouth and nose during rickshaw rides.


Internet is most widely available in Gulshan and Banani at numerous Internet cafes hidden in the various shopping complexes - ask around. Tk 20-30 per hour. You may also stumble on to a computer or two in Old Dhaka or Central Dhaka.

A new place in Gulshan - 2 Circle, Building #11, Road #46, above the Philips showroom, in the same lane as Coopers - provides free Wi-Fi and Internet kiosks for their customers. Now that's convenient. And these guys really have great coffee.

Another one new restaurant in Mohakhali, opposite the East West University, named Newsroom Cafe - provides free Wi-Fi and Internet kiosks for their customers. Free Wi-Fi is also available in Kozmo Lounge situated in Dhanmondi.

  • Diganta-tv
  • Channel 1
  • NTV (Bangladesh)
  • ATN Bangla
  • Channel i
  • Desh TV
  • Ekushey Television
  • Canada, [19].  edit
  • United Kingdom, British High Commission, United Nations Road, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212, (880) (2) 882 2705 (fax: :(880) (2) 882 3437), [20].  edit
  • United States, (880) (2) 885-5500 (fax: (880) (2) 8823744), [21].  edit
  • The Netherlands, (880) (2) 8822715-18 (fax: (880) (2) 8823326), [22].  edit
  • The Ashulia Lake - North of Dhaka
  • Fantasy Kingdom (Theme Park) - 20 KM North of Dhaka
  • Water Kingdom (Theme Park) - 20 KM North of Dhaka
  • Water World at Nandan (Theme Park) - 30 KM North of Dhaka
  • BOGRA- 220 km away from Dhaka. it's the capital of ANCIENT BANGLA. MUST SEE ismailgazi@yahoo.com
  • Gopalgonj - birthplace of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:



Proper noun


  1. The capital of Bangladesh.


Simple English

File:Shaheed minar
A monument in Dhaka

Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh. It was known as Dacca before 1982. It has a population of 12,560,000 (2005). It is also the largest city of Bangladesh.

Long ago it was part of the Mughal Empire of Hindustan. After that, it became a part of the British Raj. Then it became a part of Pakistan as part of the Partition of India on 15 August 1947. Bangladesh was then called East Pakistan, and Dacca (Dhaka) became provincial capital of East Pakistan. In 1971, the new nation of Bangladesh was created. Dacca became its capital city and changed its spelling in 1982.

Dhaka-Agartala Bus

After years of negotiations, the Dhaka-Agartala bus was agreed upon on July 11, 2001[1] to connect Bangladesh with its eastern neighbour, the Indian state of Tripura, which has a substantial Bengali population and indigenous peoples who have close commercial and cultural links with the people of eastern Bangladesh.


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