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Ahsan Manzil

Once the official residence of the Nawab family, this stately red structure was built in the mid­-to-­late 1800s. This stunning palace was damaged and abandoned after a tornado hit in 1888. Khwaja Abdul Gani and his son worked tirelessly to resurrect and reconstruct the structures that were deemed too dangerous to inhabit, which resulted in the birth of what is today, designated as a national museum.
Widely recognized as one of the most significant architectural icons in the nation, the palace is divided into two parts known as the eastern and western sides. Its unique octagonal dome serves as the apex of the palace and is considered to be the structure’s most significant feature. Locals say it was designed to look like the bud of a lotus flower. Travelers will find an incredible collection of photos of the palace’s 23 rooms taken in its hay day on display, as well as family portraits and other Nawab artifacts.

Practical Info

The former residence is located at Kumartoli on the banks of the Buriganga River. Admission is TK 75 per person. The palace is open from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Fridays between October and March. From April to September the palace is open 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays.

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Sonargaon

The hillside town of Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals in Bengal and is home to diverse history that spans time, across Hindu, Mughal and British rule. Visitors can see evidence of this eclectic past while wandering the streets, where ancient ruins of a rich past juxtapose more modern European structures.
Travelers can explore the villages and towns that make up this stunning destination aboard a local rickshaw, which can be hired for a single low daily fee. Drivers will transport visitors to some of the areas key sites, including the Goaldi Mosque, Tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah and the Shiva Shrine. Those looking for memorable items to take home will do well on a stop to the Folk­Art and Craft Museum Gift Shop inside the Sadarbari museum, which sells dozens of handmade, local items.

Practical Info

Sonargaon is located at the center of the Ganges delta near the river port of Narayanganji in Bangladesh. It’s possible to travel to the countryside town by bus from Gulistan. Locals warn it’s necessary to tell drivers the destination is Mograpara to avoid accidental arrival at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, located in Dhaka. Tickets are about TK 35 for the 40‐minute journey.

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National Parliament House

Recognized as one of the largest parliamentary houses in the world, this massive structure spreads over more than 200 acres of well-­kept grounds and attracts locals and tourists thanks to its awe­-inspiring architecture. Designed by Louis Kahn, construction on this regal government hub began in 1961.
Today, visitors can explore the grounds, which include the Bhaban (main building), Main Plaza (home to the Parliament’s library and chambers), the south plaza (mostly operations and offices) and Presidential Plaza. This and nearby Jatiyo Sangshad attract runners, skaters and other active outdoors folks who use the scenic grounds for daily exercise and urban escape.

Practical Info

The Parliament House is located at Sher‐e‐Bangla Nagar in Dhaka. Travelers cannot access the Main Building but tours of the Jatiyo Sangshad complex are available.  Visitors can easily access the structure and grounds from Manik Mia Avenue or Lake Road.

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Dhakeshwari Temple

This stately Hindu temple is known as Bangladesh’s National Temple. Built in the 12th century by a king of the Sena Dynasty, its cream and red stupas are icons of the city. According to locals, former King Bijoy Sen’s wife would bathe in the waters of Langolbond, and this temple was built as an homage to the birth of her son.
Travelers will find two distinct architectural styles at Dhakeshwari, since construction (and reconstruction) spanned years. One temple is in ancient style and another, constructed at the start of the century by the East India Company, is set in a more contemporary style. Although much of the structure was damaged during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, travelers will still find extraordinary examples of historical and religious architecture here.

Practical Info

The temple serves as a center for religious and cultural activities. Travelers who visit in July can witness the Janmashthami procession, which begins at the temple and flows into the streets of Dhaka to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. Another major festival occurs during Chaitra—the last month of the Bengali calendar year—where millions of Hindus father to bathe at Langolbondon.

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Lalbagh Fort

Travelers who want to experience the beauty and stoicism of the Mughal Empire can step back in time on a visit to the Lalbagh Fort. Built in 1677, this stunning structure was never actually completed, since the sudden death of the builder’s daughter was considered bad luck. It stands as a stark reminder of Old Dhaka’s past. A stunning red façade and tiny reflecting pool offer up a quiet escape from the energy of the old city. Travelers can wander the peaceful grounds—which include the Mausoleum of Pari Bibi, the Audience Hall (Diwan) and the beautiful Quilla Mosque—or explore the halls of the impressive museum that’s filled with artifacts that date back to the Mughal Empire.

Practical Info

Foreigner entry to the fort is Tk 100. The fort is open October through March from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and April through September from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. The fort is closed Sunday and Monday morning.