My 11 days vacation in Bangladesh during security alert from the west

A couple of weeks ago I returned from Bangladesh. I spent there 11 days.

It was a long-awaited trip for me. At first several years ago I chanced to read a book written by Dr. Muhammad Yunus which had been just translated into Russian. Then I bought a book in English about Bangladesh history. I hadn’t found a contemporary edition of history book in Russian and ordered this one in some USA online shop. Generally speaking, 30-40 years ago we had a lot of books published in Russian about Bangladesh, including Bengali language textbooks and other numerous works. And I hope the number of books translated into Russian will increase.

Books in Russian that inspired me to travel Bangladesh.

Besides reading, I love traveling. And to that time I had already been at least twice in every country bordering Bangladesh: India, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. And every time traveling to South Asia, I was planning to visit Bangladesh “next time”. I imagined how nice it would be to find a way to visit Bangladesh sooner or later.

This year I’ve decided that neither the absence of direct flights from Moscow to Dhaka, nor the small number of reviews from travelers would be a significant obstacle for me. Also it was great that I found a good travel company from Dhaka – Nijhoom Tours, who had an excellent website and were attentive to my numerous questions and replied very quickly and professionally.

It was a well-organized and informative trip. Bangladesh is not an easy country for traveling independently but with the help of the local travel agency, it becomes a really attractive and easy trip.

Waiting for train in a train station in Bangladesh.

Capital City Dhaka

In Dhaka, you find yourself in the heart of one of the most densely populated countries. There are too many people everywhere. It’s a very lively and active city. And as we were in the country with a very rich heritage, we chanced to see many interesting places, including National Assembly Building, Lalbagh Fort, Dhakeshwari Temple, Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque, Armenian Church, Star Mosque, and Ahsan Manzil.

In Ahsan Manzil, a beautiful palace from colonial period in Bangladesh.

Most of all I liked the National Parliament House (one of the largest legislative complexes in the world, 200 acres) and Ahsan Manzil. Ahsan Manzil is a national museum nowadays and it was built as a palace (its construction was started in 1859 and was completed in 1872). After sight-seeing, we had a boat ride at river Buriganga and enjoyed sunset on a wooden row-boat.

Sunset at river Buriganga on a wooden row-boat.

As for accommodation, most hotels here are rather simple. But people are very hospitable and friendly everywhere and we felt like very dear guests in every hotel on the route. Anyway, in Dhaka I stayed for a night in a very nice place.

Sundarbans Mangrove Forest and Srimangal

Then we had a night on Paddle Steamer called Rocket and arrived Hularhat station in the morning. Our goal was visiting Bagerhat. There are many magnificent and ancient Mosques here. This is a very unique and beautiful place.

We stayed for a night in a hotel in Mongla.

And then we went to the boat which forwarded us to Sundarbans forest. Sundarbans is one of the most beautiful place in the world if not the most beautiful! It is the world’s largest mangrove forest and covers a territory of 6,000 sq km. Rivers in the Sundarbans are meeting places of salt water and freshwater. It is a mix of the freshwater of the rivers originating from the Ganges and the salt water of the Bay of Bengal.

Sunset in Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest on earth.

We spent 3 days on the boat. It was a very relaxing time. We explored creeks and canals on a wooden boat in the forest. We visited Jamtola beach on the edge of Bay of Bengal. We saw many colorful birds, many deers and other wildlife. And there were nearly no other people at all. I’m not a good photographer (and my smartphone is not a good tool for this) but I guess my companion made a thousand photos. It’s a heaven for those who love photography. And there were fantastic sunsets too! And dolphins…we saw many dolphins.

Deers in Sundarbans, the most beautiful place on earth.

After Sundarbans, we had a long way to Srimangol where we visited tea plantations and tribal villages. We tasted its famous 7 layers tea. We also did a trekking in the Lawachhara National Park and spent here several hours watching giant spiders and listening to gibbon cries. It was a nice experience.

Tea workers going to deposit the tea leaves after full day's peaking.

I wish to come back!

So our program was interesting, intense, but not exhausting or tiring. All the hotels during the trip were comfortable: Wi-Fi (in one hotel it was available at the lobby only and in the others – in the rooms too), hot water, good food and drinking water…everything was OK.

In conclusion I must say that I have never met so many sincere, smiling, and helpful people as in Bangladesh. They are glad to meet you, do selfie with you on the streets, help you with your luggage in the train; they invite you to join their family events!

Photo shooting with the locals in Bangladesh.

We’ve heard from the news that Bangladesh (as many other Asian countries) was continuing to face numerous economic, social, and environmental challenges, including poverty, over-population, and global warming. And recenty there have been added alarming reports concerning possible terrorist activities in the region. The issue of security is very important and I was in doubts whether it’s a safe place for coming or not. But while being in Bangladesh, it became clear to me that my anxiety and doubts had been groundless, and a hype in the Western press was too exaggerated. The security situation here is like in any other tourist destination around.

So I have many precious memories from my journey. This is a very friendly country, it was a fantastic time and I wish to come back!

If you’ve enjoyed the story, consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this amazing country which is little known to everyone buried in some popular myths. Enjoy!

Editorial Note: Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How amazing have you found it? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Contact us to publish your Bangladesh travel story here. Check out our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Where to buy post cards in Bangladesh, and best way to post them

A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope – Wikipedia

A postcard is something travelers always look for while visiting a country to send back home to friends and families. These cards also take the sweetness of the places they are visiting to friends and families back home, and give them a feeling of being with the traveler on the places he is visiting, although they couldn’t be there physically. That is why, sending postcards is a very important part of traveling.

While postcard is a very common thing to get in every country where there is tourism, Bangladesh is an exception. As tourism is underdeveloped here and the country has no branding as a tourist destination, getting postcards and souvenirs related to tourism is very limited. You need to know the places where you can get them. Here is a list of the best places to buy postcards in Bangladesh:

  • Lalbagh Fort

    Lalbagh Fort is a Mughal period fort in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. This is a key tourist attraction in Dhaka city. Inside Lalbagh Fort, there is an outlet which sells books and postcards printed from the archaeological department of Bangladesh. Here you can buy post cards related to the archaeological sites in Bangladesh. Although all the sites under the archaeological department are supposed to sell these postcards, most of the time you’ll find them unavailable. If you are looking for postcards in Bangladesh, this is the best place you can look for. They have about 20 postcards printed.

  • Ahsan Manzil

    Ahsan Manzil, also known as the Pink Palace, is another key tourist attraction in Dhaka city, located at Old Dhaka. This is a beautiful colonial period palace and a must visiting sight if you are visiting Dhaka. They have some postcards printed which are related to the palace. While entering the ground floor from the back side which is the only way allowed to enter the palace, you’ll see a counter in the second room where they sell postcards and publications related to the palace.

  • Aarong

    Aarong is country’s reputed outlet for selling souvenirs. They have 03 outlets in Dhaka, and the best one is located at Uttara area in the northern part of Dhaka city and close to the airport. Aarong has some postcards with natural scenes of Bangladesh which you can buy.

Best way to post postcards from Bangladesh

After buying postcards, the next part is sending them. Postal service in Bangladesh has reputation of not delivering postcards properly with their regular service. An effective way around this is using their guaranteed parcel service – EMS. It will cost 400-1,200 BDT ($5-$15) to send one postcard to most of the Western countries. Also they will give you a tracking code with which you can track the status of your postcard. This service is available on their central office – GPO only, located at Gulistan near Old Dhaka. Office hour is 10 am – 05 pm except Fridays and Saturdays.

Do you know any other place to buy postcards in Bangladesh? Have you ever posted postcards from here? Share with us in comments.

Dol Temple of Puthia: A unique Hindu temple in Bangladesh

Dol Purnima, also known as the Holi festival, is a major Hindu festival dedicated to Sri Krishna. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. The Dol Temple of Puthia is dedicated to this fabulous festival.

The Dol Temple of Puthia is a unique structure, located opposite side of the palace. Built in 1778 A.D. by Jamindar Bhubanendra Roy of Puthia royal family, the temple is a four storied, 20 miters high square shaped structure. Every upper stories has become smaller than the lower one, giving it a pyramidal shape. It has a doomed single spire with finial top.

Dol Temple of Puthia, a beautiful Hindu temple in Bangladesh

The temple has open balcony in four sides on every story. It is open on all four sides, with a total of 64 entrance combining the all for stories. The view from the top floor can help visualize why the temple is located in the middle of the village. It was perhaps used to display deities of gods and goddesses during festivals. Dol Temple is a must visiting structure while visiting Puthia. Check out here to know more about the temple village Puthia in Bangladesh: Puthia – An amazing village in Bangladesh full of beautiful temples.

Dol Temple of Puthia - An unique structure on the temple village in Bangladesh.

Have you ever visited the Dol Temple of Puthia? How impressive have you found it? Have I missed something here? Share your thoughts and experience in comment. Any question about visiting the Dol Temple of Puthia? Ask us here! Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this beautiful country which is little known to everyone.

Check out our archaeological tours in Bangladesh to visit the most impressive archaeological sites including Dol Temple of Puthia, and our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Photo of Bangladesh: A Day on a river island near Dhaka

For us it was the first time to go to Bangladesh, and we traveled there during end of December 2015 and beginning of January 2016. We were both positively surprised about this beautiful country, Bangladesh has such a lot to offer. The people in Bangladesh are very friendly and they like to see tourists. Although Bangladesh is for this moment not a real tourist spot, we recommend this place to everybody who is adventures and like to travel to a country with good food, friendly people, and beautiful nature. Bangladesh is in all aspects different from all other countries.

During our stay, we visited a river island near Dhaka on part of a day tour. Here are few photos of the island and the river. Please don’t forget to write your opinion about them on the comments. You can check out many of the other beautiful photos we have taken during our visit in Bangladesh in Simon Roozendaal or Alistair McKinley site. Enjoy!

Editorial Note: Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How photogenic have you found it? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Contact us to publish your Bangladesh travel story and photo here. Any question about visiting Bangladesh? Ask us here! Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this beautiful country which is little known to everyone.

Check out our photography tours in Bangladesh to visit the most photogenic places and events in Bangladesh, and our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

What travelers say about the safety situation after visiting Bangladesh

Bangladesh is often negatively represented in the intentional media, which provide a wrong message to the travelers. Sitting thousands of miles apart, they become panicked to visit Bangladesh. Moreover some western country’s foreign department website always flag the country in a negative way and issue travel alert in visiting Bangladesh, which increase the panic even more.

Tourism being under-developed in the country, tourism department of Bangladesh never taken any initiative to clear the negative image of the country built in year after year. Here you can read the experience of some brave western travelers who visited Bangladesh during these security alerts, most of whom are solo female travelers, and discovering a complete opposite situation in the country which media never tell you.

Svetlana Suslova from Russia visiting Bangladesh solo during security alert from the west

Experience of Svetlana Suslova

Svetlana Suslova from Russia visited Bangladesh for 11 days in November 2015. Here is what she says about her exsperience in Bangladesh during the security alert:

We’ve heard from the news that Bangladesh (as many other Asian countries) was continuing to face numerous economic, social, and environmental challenges, including poverty, over-population, and global warming. And recenty there have been added alarming reports concerning possible terrorist activities in the region. The issue of security is very important and I was in doubts whether it’s a safe place for coming or not. But while being in Bangladesh, it became clear to me that my anxiety and doubts had been groundless, and a hype in the Western press was too exaggerated. The security situation here is like in any other tourist destination around.

So I have many precious memories from my journey. This is a very friendly country, it was a fantastic time and I wish to come back!

Alice Nettleingham from UK traveling Bangladesh solo

Experience of Alice Nettleingham

Alice Nettleingham from UK visited Bangladesh in early 2016 for 03 weeks as a solo female traveler. And here is what she writes in her blog Teacake Travels about her experience there:

I was scared to enter Bangladesh. Why? Due to a lack of knowledge and the fear of the unknown. Was I going to get groped? Would men disrespect me? Would I get shot (more on that in a minute)?! Needless to say, these horrendous visions were flashing through my over-active mind and creating a curious yet secretly worried explorer.

Having made it out the other end, I will now never let a judgement snake through my mind and slide out of my mouth unless I’ve been to the place in question. The love and care I received in Bangladesh blew me away and after a week of looking like a rabbit in headlights, I felt a deep love and respect for the people of Bangladesh, just like they had been feeling for me all along.

Bangladesh is politically in a very interesting and unfortunate situation right now. The parties there certainly don’t get on and last year between September to November 2015, one Japanese and two Italian men were shot dead. Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks but the government and locals assert that the motive was to put the current government under pressure to make Bangladesh look unsafe for foreigners. But I decided this wasn’t going to stop me going. I refuse to give into fear. Sounds crazy? Not really. People get shot in London everyday.

Experience of Mvbergen

Mvbergen (nick name) from Belgium writes about his recent visit in Bangladesh on a travel forum:

I was there last November for a full month as tourist, independent and moving around on my own.
Travel around Bangladesh is not unsafe if you use your common sense.
I’m from Belgium and it’s not “less dangerous” than Bangladesh.
Bradt guidebook can be helpful. No need to cancel your trip at all.

Experience of Gypsygirl2

Another solo female traveler gypsygirl2 (nick name) reports in the forum about her Bangladesh travel experience as follows:

I travelled to Bangladesh as a solo female in September. I felt completely safe even though 2 foreigners were shot while I was there. The traffic is a far bigger danger. It all depends on how you perceive risk.

Bangladesh is a beautiful country and the people are wonderful.

Experience of Hilary Heath-Caldwell

Hilary Heath-Caldwell from New Zealand visited Bangladesh in October, 2015 for two weeks. Here is how she found the security situation in Bangladesh during her visit:

We were in a country with 160 million Muslims. That’s quite a few and I have to say I felt safe the entire time.

Based on these experience from the western travelers, some one can easily imagine how groundless and exaggerated the hype in the Western media about Bangladesh is. There was never any blast like Paris in Bangladesh, there is no war, no proof of any terrorist attack despite the continuous claim by some western countries which is their strategy to put pressure on the current govt. On a country of 160 million people, one or two getting killed is not even anything countable, which always happen in any country any where in the world, but always get big exposures in the western media when it is in Bangladesh. It is you to judge as a traveler, to travel Bangladesh or not based on those hypes.

To wrap this up, I want to quote traveler Onrrbike (nick name) in the travel forum who said it all:

It’s extremely ironic to have a travel warning, because 2 foreigners were murdered. Thats terrible, but there are 40 people murdered at gunpoint every day in the states, and its business as usual.. That’s a whopping 12-14000 (depending which reports you read) per year and nobody thinks twice about travelling there. Its certainly more than 2.

Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How have you found the security situation in the country? Share your experience in comments. Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about the real security situation in this beautiful country and understand the hype in the western media.

Any question about visiting Bangladesh? Ask us here! Check out our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Puthia: An amazing village in Bangladesh full of beautiful temples

Puthia is a culturally rich sub-district (Upazila) of the Rajshahi District in Bangladesh. The largest number of historically significant Hindu structures in Bangladesh is found in Puthia. Many of these structures are well preserved and Puthia is an interesting area for tourists to explore and gain insight into the history and culture of Bangladesh.

In the late 16th century during the Mughal period in Indian sub-continent, Man Singh, a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, was sent to Bengal to suppress the rebel subeders (governors) of this region who were planning a rebellion against Mughal emperor. Man Singh easily suppressed the revolt by consulting a Hindu tantrik (holy man) named Bhatsacharya. After his victory, Man Singh requested Bhatsacharya to take charge of a large area in Rajshahi state named Laskarpur which he refused. But his young son Pitambar expressed his willingness to accept the offer advised by his mother. So he was appointed as landlord of Laskarpur, made Puthia his capital, and became the founder of the Puthia royal family.

Pancharatna Gobinda Temple in temple village Puthia

Pitambar built canals surrounding his capital to secure it, dug a big pond in front of his palace, and made this place suitable as a capital. After his death without any children, his younger brother Nilambar inherited the property and became Jamindar (feudal land-owner). He received the title “Raja” (king) from Mughal emperor Jahangir, and became the first king of Puthia Royal family.

Puthia Royal Family estate was the second largest estate and the wealthiest in British Bengal. Descendants of Nilambar built some great temples and a palace surrounding the big pond in Puthia. Located 23 km to the east of Rajshahi city, Puthia has the largest number of historic temples in Bangladesh.

Temple village Puthia in Bangladesh

After India’s partition in 1947, Puthia became part of Pakistan. The then Pakistani government abolished the feudal land-ownership system and confiscated all Hindu properties. The Royal Family migrated to India shortly afterwards. The Puthia Palace and entire temple complex is now protected monument. The Puthia Raj Estate maintained their existence till the termination of the zamindari (Landlord) system by the East Pakistan Estate Acquisition Act of 1950.

The whole area of Puthia Palace is still a place of great wonder and full of histories that can enlighten the thirsty mind of visitors to a great extent. Puthia is one of the must visiting place in the Rajshahi division for the travelers. You can easily spend half of a day here visiting these beautiful structures.

The Skyline of Puthia, an amazing village in Bangladesh full of beautiful temples.

Important structures in Puthia

There are many structures in Puthia among whom 14 structures are declared protected architecture and maintained by the archaeological department of Bangladesh. Among them, one is a palace, and remaining 13 are temples. These impressive temples have been built in terracotta in a variety of styles combining the typical Jor-bangla architecture with other influences. These terracottas describes the history, culture, religious rituals, war, love and affairs, daily life of people, and the Hindu deities. Here is a list of the best structures of Puthia worthy of visiting:

Have you visited Puthia? How amazing you’ve found it? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Any question about visiting temple village Puthia? Ask us here! Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this beautiful country which is little known to everyone.

Check out our archaeological tours in Bangladesh to visit the most impressive archaeological sites including temple village Puthia, and our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Bangladesh: Off the Tourist Trails, and Off the Beaten Track

Our two week holiday in Bangladesh began with a flight from Guangzhou, China to Dhaka. I was pretty excited about returning to Bangladesh, after 46 years and had organized a tour guide through a company called Nijhoom Tours, which I found on TripAdvisor. I asked them what they could provide and together we made a two week package.

You see I’ve already lived in Dhaka; in the 70’s. I was a volunteer smallpox vaccinator for WHO, and lived with my family who were working on a New Zealand aid program teaching pilots how to fly. I am one of the last people to see smallpox on the planet.

Boat ride on green-water canal Lalakhal in Sylhet, the north-eastern part of Bangladesh.

I already knew that Dhaka was a chaotic place and to buy tickets for transport would be hours – valuable time, that I did not want to waste on my holiday. So all of the purchasing was done ahead of time by Hassan at Nijhoom Tours.

We traveled at the end of the monsoon. I like this time because the air is really clean, and the rivers are full and the paddy fields still hold lots of water. It is very picturesque. Actually Bangladesh is photo heaven.

Our lodging at Srimangal, the tea capital of Bangladesh.

On arrival we went and had lunch in Old Dhaka and then went on the little wooden boats on the river for a small paddle before boarding our 1929 paddle steamer to go on an overnight journey to Bagerhat.

We traveled First Class, Bangladesh style. We are both physically fit and used to camping. Bangladesh is a developing nation so nothing is what you expect, the beds are hard, things can look grubby and run down, and people stare at you. If you are a 5 Star tourist, this is not the place for you.

On the other hand if you love color, other cultures, and have some travel endurance, then this might be your next destination.

Bangladeshi ladies in colorful saries.

We traveled on little boats, big boats, trains, tri–shaws, hiking, cycling, and a jeep from one side of the country to the other. We ate everything, and everywhere and never got sick. We used signs and laughs and smiles to communicate with the local people, and we got plenty back. Bangladeshis made us feel like we were visiting royalty. They were so pleased that we had come to their country to visit them. And of course by being there we were helping the local little communities by spreading our dollars.

We were in a country with 160 million Muslims. That’s quite a few and I have to say I felt safe the entire time. Bangladeshis are people going about their lives eking out a living, and feeling very optimistic about their future.

Trekking inside Rajkandi Reserve Forest at Srimangal in Bangladesh.

Now remember I’d lived there in the 1970’s and things had changed. This is a quick-list of the changes..

Women are loving wearing brightly colored saris.
There is not a strong prevalence of skin disease among the children.
There were few beggars.
The pie dogs look healthy.
People are optimistic.
People work hard.
There is plenty of healthy food and everyone appeared well fed.
Our tour leader Arafat was conscious of litter in the National Parks and collected it up.
It was OK for cross dressers to collect funds on one section of the train route.

The traffic in Dhaka is worse, so get out into the country.
Book a tour leader AND GO EXPLORE.

If you’ve enjoyed the story, consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this amazing country which is little known to everyone. Enjoy!

Editorial Note: Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How amazing have you found it? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Contact us to publish your Bangladesh travel story here. Check out our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Darasbari Mosque: The third largest mosque of ancient Bengal capital

Darasbari Mosque is a great example of the Sultanate period architecture of Bengal. This mosque was the 3rd largest mosque in Gaur, the ancient capital of greater Bengal. It was constructed in 1479 A.D. by the restored Iliyas Shahi sultan Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah, ruler of Bengal between 1474 and 1481, son of Barbak Shah.

The Arabic word ‘Daras’ means lesson, which indicates that the mosque was named on the nearby Islamic school “Darasbari Madrasa” which is completely ruined now. Darasbari Mosque is definitely the most beautiful historical brick-built mosque in Bangladesh. Although presently the mosque has no roof and has a fallen veranda, no other historical brick-built mosque could be compared to the boldness of it’s design and beauty.

Inside view of Darasbari Mosque, the third largest mosque in ancient Bengal capital Gaur, built in 1479 AD.

The mosque is 98 feet in north-south and 57 feet in east west. Inside of the mosque was divided in three parts. The central nave runs east-west dividing the mosque longitudinally, which is 38′-9″ x 10′-9″ in size. Two prayer hall in both side of the central nave was divided in three parts each with two rows of pillars. Although the whole mosque was built with brick, the pillars were made of stone.

There was nine chambers in the prayer halls in each side of the central nave with 08 pillars. They had nine inverted tumbler-shaped domes over each side of the nave, making eighteen in all. The central nave was consisted of three chauchala vaults over the nave – the middle one larger than the others.

Terracotta design in the exterior wall of Darasbari Mosque, the third largest mosque of Gaur, the ancient capital of Bengal.

In the east side of the mosque, there was a veranda, which is ruined now. The scholars guess that the veranda had a slightly smaller chauchala vault over the nave of the veranda and three smaller domes on each of its sides, making a grand total of four chauchala vaults and twenty-four domes in the whole mosque, all now vanished. Brick piers carried the vaults and domes of the roof and stone pillars respectively, all now broken and free standing. Above the pillars sprang the pointed arches, which held the supporting pendentives filling up the corners of the square base of the dome.

An important feature of the mosque was the existence of a royal gallery, often erroneously described as a ladies gallery, in the northwest corner of the hall, approached from outside through a staired platform protected by armed guards at the entrance. It was this gallery, which marked this mosque, like several others in the city, as the Friday Congregational Mosque (Masjid-i-Juma). There was a gate to the north of the mosque, now reduced to debris. The mosque was strengthened in the corners by octagonal towers – those of the east now ruined, keeping only the traces to a certain height.

An entrance of Darasbari Mosque, a beautiful mosque in ancient Bengal capital Gaur, built in 1479 AD.

The prayer room of Darasbari Mosque is accessed from the east by seven pointed-arch openings from the veranda. The central archway was larger than the others. On the other hand there are three pointed archways in the southern wall and two in the northern wall.

The west wall of Darasbari Mosque contains total eleven mihrabs. Two of these belong to the royal gallery at the upper level. The central mihrab is larger than the other mihrabs, which is located on the central nave. There is a mimbar beside the mihrab. There is a projection in the western wall outside the central mihrab.

An ornamented mihrab in Darasbari Mosque, a beautiful mosque in ancient Bengal capital Gaur.

Both the interior and exterior ornamentation of Darasbari Mosque is considered to be some of the best found in the Gaur-Lakhnauti region. The exterior walls feature terracotta panels imprinted with a variety of motifs, while the interior is patterned with brick settings, and the mihrabs in each of the bays are decorated with arches framed by terracotta creepers, rosettes, foliage and other plants. A type of glazing has been used on some of the terracotta, which has both preserved it and sets it apart from other terracotta examples in the region.

Brick setting design in a mihrab of Darasbari Mosque, a beautiful mosque in ancient Bengal capital Gaur.

The walls extant to the west and south sides are now mostly the result of restoration work, which obliterated the original terracotta designs. An interesting ornamental motif of the curvilinear cornice was a terracotta flag placed in a running row affirming that the builder attended the mosque, and that he was the commander of the army and also of the faithful (amirul mu’minin).

Have you ever visited Darasbari Mosque? How impressive have you found it? Have I missed something here? Share your thoughts and experience in comments. Any question about visiting Darasbari Mosque? Ask us here! Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this beautiful country which is little known to everyone.

Check out our archaeological tours in Bangladesh to visit the most impressive archaeological sites including Darasbari Mosque, and our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Kusumba Mosque: The Black Gem of Bengal from medieval period

Kusumba Mosque is a beautiful mosque in Bangladesh, located at the north-western part of the country, on a village named Kusubma. It was built on 1558-59 AD during the Afghan rule in Bengal by a high ranking official named Sulayman, during the reign of Ghiyas-ad-din Bahadur Shah. This mosque is very well preserved and in an excellent condition.

Kusumba Mosque is located on the west bank of a big pond measuring 381 m x 274 m. It lies inside a walled enclosure with a monumental gateway with standing spaces for guards and a big courtyard. The foundation and most of the building was constructed from bricks, but the outer walls, some interior walls, side screens and columns are made of stone.

Kusumba Mosque, a beautiful medieval period mosque in Bangladesh.

Stone was not available in Bengal, hence rarely used. Although scarce, stone was used in most of the finest monuments of Bengal. The use of stone symbolizes the economically affluent society. Only six stone mosques built during the early Islamic or Sultanate period exist in greater Bengal. Kusumba Mosque is one of them. Stones used in this mosque are dark black-basalt that was transported from Rajmahal hill of Bihar through waterways.

Although Kusumba Mosque was built under the Afghan Suri rule, the architectural pattern was not influenced by the earlier Suri architecture of North India. It was constructed with a Bengal style. It conforms to the typical oblong shaped enclosed mosques in Bengal which happened to be the order of the day. Kusumba Mosque has curve cornices in four facades, which represents the traditional rural bamboo hut, and ensured the proper or quick drainage of rainwater.

An octagonal corner turret in the Kusumba Mosque, a beautiful medieval period Muslim architecture in Bangladesh.

There is no minaret or tower in Kusumba Mosque, a discarded feature in Bengal, of the conventional mosque in the Islamic world. Instead of a minaret, it has four octagonal corner turrets, one at each corner of the building, which form a part of the building. A long single monolithic stone decorated with rosettes is used as lintel beam. The area (tympanum) between the lintel and the arch is sealed by stones.

Kusumba Mosque has three pointed-archways in the east side, which is the on entrance of the mosque. The northern and the southern sides have two arched openings which are closed by perforated stone screens up to the lintel. Anchor stone for holding the door post can be seen on both sides of the three frontal openings, which proves the existence of a pivotal wooden door shutter.

Arches on the top of pillars inside Kusumba Mosque, a beautiful medieval period Muslim architecture in Bangladesh.

There are two free-standing stone pillars and eight partly concealed pilasters inside Kusumba Mosque, which support the roof of six domes. It has three highly ornamented mihrab niches in the west wall, among them the northern one is placed at the level of the raised gallery. The arches and the roof are made from bricks.

There is a well-designed raised gallery of massive stone pillars on the north-west corner. It is reached by a staircase from the ground level of the prayer room. There are no traces or proofs of any hand railing along these steps. This is the only surviving example in Bengal of an unscreened internal connecting staircase through the place of male worshiper, which proves that it was a place for the Sultans or rulers or builders and their immediate entourage, not a ladies gallery which is the popular belief.

The raised gallery inside Kusumba Mosque, a beautiful medieval period Muslim architecture in Bangladesh.

Have you ever visited the Kusumba Mosque in Rajshahi? How impressive have you found it? Have I missed something here? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Any question about visiting Kusumba Mosque? Ask us here! Consider sharing it in social media so that more travelers can know about this beautiful country which is little known to everyone.

Check out our archaeological tours in Bangladesh to visit the most impressive archaeological sites including Kusumba Mosque, and our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.

Diary of my first 03 weeks trip to Bangladesh (Part – III)

Sun, Dec 15, 2013: Cox’s Bazar

Richard heads for Chittagong. Its officially off limits, so he is sorting himself out and he arrives on time – lucky him! We are off the Cox’s Bazar and our flight is delayed. So we arrive late in the dark and a tuk-tuk takes us down the coast about 25 mins. Well for Julie and I – ours is electric. Ian is latter 45 mins as his is diesel. Getting sorted late, hot water etc. is a bit of a nightmare, and we end up change rooms – a roomier shared bungalow. Dinner under the trees is OK though. They try and screen a movie on a table cloth looking out to sea!

Mon, Dec 16, 2013: Cox’s Bazar

Better in the light. Ian thinks a rat was looking at him from the roof – no Ian it’s a mongoose! Dual rooms work well for the 3 of us. We get a western style breakfast with cornflakes all rather nice. Take the hotel boat across river to beach. 125 km long, the world longest natural beach, is lovely and there are no tourists just a few local fishermen with very small insignificant catches. So we take a nice walk out and back to the small boat.

Cottages we stayed at the Eco lodge in Cox's Bazar

OMG the tide is out to reach the boat its sandals off and a walk in slimy clay like sand which I hate. It’s my worst nightmare – one because I could well slip over, and 2 because well I just don’t like it! In the mud are mud skimmers, so then I worry I am treading on them! Not nice but I manage to get back to the boat – trousers a bit wet at the bottom and I was in my new shamwaar kameez! We do meet an English guy walking the length of Bangladesh for an NGO! We get a very expensive beer back at the lodge and its 12%. Take a rest and read some. Do a spot of bird watching, then dinner under the magic tree. It is really nice, a bit chilly, so they light us a brazier. This place is really delightful!

Tue, Dec 17, 2013: Cox’s Bazar

Breakfast in the sun cooked to order is superb. Walk to beach over bridge, some new kingfishers spotted en route. Small catches of fish again today. Few folk bother you. No small birds? Lodge is lovely we are only guests today. Boys with catapults – that answer’s the bird question then. It is a lovely place. Dinner under stars, in fact showers under stars!

Not too many creepy crawlies – Oh and the mongoose is in fact a squirrel. Oh and one smuggled whiskey miniature between 3.

Small catches of the fishermen in Cox's Bazar

Wed, Dec 18, 2013: Cox’s Bazar

God the beds are hard. Breakfast in the sun again. It’s a shame we have to leave today. Cox’s Bazar was an unexpected additional due to the last minute change in itinerary, and it’s really worked well. Would have been ideal at the end of this trip. I would love to return.

Pleasant ride along coast to airport. Himchari looks a nice place to stay. Small airport has huge military presence due to ongoing political problems. Things seem to be hotting up. Richard is due back into Dhaka also tonight. Quite late. Eco lodge is perhaps the best accommodation we will get on this trip – downhill to 2014 then!

Our flight is delayed again. The 3 of us eat out as same place as before, and we wait up for Richard who get in after 11pm. Seems to have done OK, though his hotel was not very good – mice in the dining room. If he says it’s not good, well goodness it must be awful.

The reception of the Eco lodge at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh

If you’ve missed the previous parts of my diary, you can start reading it from here: Diary of my first 03 weeks trip to Bangladesh (Part – I). Also can read the next part here: Diary of my first 03 weeks trip to Bangladesh (Part – IV). Consider sharing the story in social media so that more travelers can know about this amazing country which is little known to everyone. Enjoy!

Editorial Note: Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How amazing have you found it? Share your thoughts and experience with us in comments. Contact us to publish your Bangladesh travel story here. Check out our Bangladesh tour packages and holiday packages in Bangladesh to visit Bangladesh with comfort.