BANGLADESH : COUNTRY PROFILE


Carry one of the largest supplies of fresh water in the world through the land, and empty themselves in the Bay.Bangladesh as a holiday making land exposes to many flamboyant facets. Its tourist attractions are many folded, which include archaeological sites, historical mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wild life of various species. Bangladesh offers ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with pristine nature.




LOCATION AND PHYSICAL FEATURES

Located in the north-eastern part of South Asia, Bangladesh lies between 20º34' and 26º36' latitude and 88º01' and 92º41' longitude. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while in the south lies the Bay of Bengal. The gangetic Plains of west Bengal border to country on the west and in the east lie the hilly and forested regious of Tripura , Mizoram(India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1,47,570 sq.km criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. Mighty rivers Padma(Ganges),Brahamaputra(Jamuna) and Meghna. This is Bangladesh, a fertile land where nature is bounteous.

Much of the country's land area has been built up from alluvial deposits brought down by the major rivers. The country is mostly flat except for a range of hills in the south-east. The topography of the country is characterized by wooded marshy lands and jungles with hat cro lands occupying most of the river basins. There are deep forested regions in Sylhet, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban Hill Districts, Sundarbans (the World Heritage site), Mymensingh and Tangail.



HISTORY

Bangladesh has a long and eventful history as a nation. Although it enjoyed as a free and sovereign state only in 1971, after a nine month long war of liberation, the land itself and its people, have their origin in antiquity. The earliest nation of Bangladesh in found in the 9th century Bc Indian epic the Mahabharata. There are evidences of story Mongoloid presence at the time.Then in 5th & 6th century Bc came the Aryans from central Asia and dravidians from western India. The Hindu and Buddhust dynasties of guptas, palas and senas ruled the country until 13th century, when muslim conquerers trok over the reigns of the country.
The muslim rules either belonging independent dynasties such as the hossain Shahi or Hyas Shahi dynasties or uiceroys exercising power on behalf of continued to rules the country until the middle of the 18th century, when the British took over the control of Bengal and eventually the whole of India.The Europeans, mainly portuguese, Dutch, French and British trader had vegun to arrive in Bangladesh from the 15th century and extended an economic control over the region.

Modern Period

In 1757 British colonigers defeated. the last Muslim ruler of Bengal, Nowab Sirajuddoullah at Palassey. After the end of the British rule in 1947, the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. But the movement for autonomy for East Pakistan began within a couple of years because of linguistic and cultural differences and economic disparity between the two wings. The seeds of independence were sown through the great Language Movement of 1952, through a two decade long struggle for independence that culminated in the war of liberation with the call of the then national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Father of the Nation) the country emerged as a free country in 16 December 1971 with the sacrifice of 3 millions martyres.

ECONOMY

The economy is characterized by a large subsistence agricultural sector, which has been steady growth in the recent years the coutry is nearly self-sufficient in food production and a small but modern industrial sector. The total cultivable area is around 24 million acres which is tilled by a little more than 15 million cultivators. Major agricultural products are rice, jute (the golden fiber), wheat, potato, pulses, sugarcane, tea, onion, garlic, ginger, tobacco etc. Tea, leather, ready made garments, frozen shrimp, jute and jute product are major foreign exchange earners. Export of handicrafts and nontraditional items has picked up Remittances from Bangladeshis expatriates working are abroad have also contributed significantly towards foreign exchange earnings.


LANGUAGE

The state language and mother tongue is Bangla, although English is widely spoken and understood. With the expensive of job market overseas and increasing trade links with other countries facilities for learning other language, such as Franch,German, Spanish, Chinese are steadils expanding.

GOVERNMENT

The country is officially known as The People's Republic of Bangladesh and has a parliamentary form of Government. The President is the head of the state. The Government is headed by the Prime Minister. The country is divided into 6(six) divisions namely Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Sylhet and Khulna. There are 64 districts, 464 Thanas (Police Stations) and 85,650 villages under the six divisions.

Place of attractions

Sundarbans 
Located at about 320km. West of Dhaka. Here in the south, spread over an area of about 6000 sq. km. of delta swamps along the coastal belt of Khulna is the biggest mangrove forest, Sundarbans (beautiful forest) - the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. These dense mangrove forests are cress-crossed by a network of rivers and creeks. One find here tides flowing in two directions in the same creek and often tigers swimming across a river or huge crocodiles basking in the sun. Other wildlife in this region is cheetahs, spotted deer, monkeys, pythons, wild bears and hyenas.

The forest is accessible by river from Khulna and Mongla. There are rest houses for the visitors to stay and enjoy the unspoiled nature with all its charm and majesty. Spending some times inside the forest can be a rare treat for the lovers of nature. BPC offers package tours to Sundarbans.

Kaptai

Kaptai is an upazila under Rangamati district. It is famous for hydro-electric project. A panoramic man-made lake called Kaptai lake (680-sq. km.) in the midst of hills has added to its beauty. A pleasant and picturesque drive of 64 km. from Chittagong brings you to huge expanse of emerald and blue water ringed with tropical forest. Only 3 km. from Kaptai along Chittagong road, lies the ancient Chit Morong Buddhist temple having beautiful Buddhist statues.

Kuakata

A rare scenic beauty spot on the southern most tip of Bangladesh in the district of Patuakhali. It has a wide sandy beach from where one can get the unique opportunity of seeing both the sunrise and sunsetting. It is located at a distance of 70 km. from the district headquarters of Patuakhali. Accessible by road, by air to Barisal and then by road, by river vessel.
Kuakata, locally known as Sagar Kannya (Daughter of the Sea) is a rare scenic beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. Kuakata in Latachapli union under Kalapara Police Station of Patuakhali district is about 30 km in length and 6 km in breadth. It is 70 km from Patuakhali district headquarters and 320 km from Dhaka. At Kuakata excellent combination of the picturesque natural beauty, sandy beach, blue sky, huge expanse of water of the Bay and evergreen forest in really eye-catching.
Kuakata is one of the rarest places which has the unique beauty of offering the full view of the rising and setting of crimson sun in the water of the Bay of Bengal in a calm environment. That perhaps makes kuakata one of the world's unique beaches. The long and wide beach at Kuakata has a typical natural setting. This sandy beach has gentle slopes into the Bay of Bengal and bathing there is as pleasant as is walking or diving. Kuakata is truly a virgin beach-a sanctuary for migratory winter birds, a series of coconut trees, sandy beach of blue Bay, a feast for the eye. Forest, boats plying in the Bay of Bengal with colourful sails, fishing, towering cliffs, surfing waves everything here touches every visitor's heart. The unique customs and costumes of the 'Rakhyne' tribal families and Buddhist Temple of about hundred years old indicate the ancient tradition and cultural heritage, which are objects of great pleasure Kuakata is the place of pilgrimage of the Hindus and Buddhist communities. Innumerable devotees arrive here at the festival of 'Rush Purnima' and 'Maghi Purnima'. On these two days they take holy bath and traditional fairs are held here. All these additional offers to panoramic beauty make the beach more attractive to the visitors. One should visit Kuakata and discover the lovely grace of Bangladesh.

Tamabil & Jaflong

Situated amidst splendid panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on Sylhet-Shilong road, about 55 km. away from Sylhet town. Beside enchanting views of the area one can also have a glimpse of the waterfall across the border from Tamabil. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rare beauty of rolling stones from hills.




Cox's Bazar 

Located at a distance of 152 km. to the south of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar is the tourist capital of Bangladesh. Having the world's longest unbroken (120 km.) beach sloping gently down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hill covered with deep green forests, Cox's Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world. Miles of golden sands, towering cliffs surfing waves, rare conch shells, colorful pagodas, Buddhist temples and tribes, delightful seafood - these are specialties of Cox's Bazar.  
The beach is good for bathing, sunbathing and swimming. The breath-taking beauty of the sun-setting behind the waves of the sea is captivating. Attractive local variety of cigars and handloom products of the Rakhyne tribal families are good buys. Their unique customs and costumes attract visitors.
Cox's Bazar is connected both by air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong. Visits to the fascinating picnic spot at Himchari, Teknaf, Buddhist temple at Ramu and nearby island of Sonadia, St. Martin and Mohaskhali are memorable experience of one's lifetime. 

Himchari :
It is about 32 km. South of Cox's Bazar along the beach, a nice place for picnic and shooting. The famous "Broken Hills" and waterfalls here are rare sights.

Ramu :
This is a typical Buddhist village, about 16 km. from Cox's Bazar, on the main road to Chittagong. There are monasteries, khyangs and pagodas containing images of Buddha in gold, bronze and other metals inilaid with precious stones.

One of the most interesting of these temples is on the bank of the Baghkhali river. It houses not only interesting relics and Burmes handicrafts but also a large bronze statue of Buddha measuring thirteen feet high and rests on a six feet high pedestal. The wood carving of this khyang is very delicate and refined.

The village has a charm of its own. Weavers ply there trade in open workshops and craftsmen make handmade cigars in their pagoda like houses.

Teknaf :
Southernmost tip of Bangladesh, Teknaf situated on the Naaf river and just at the end of the hilly regions of the district. Mayanmar is on the opposite bank of Naaf river. Wild animals and birds are available but the most interesting thing is a journey on the river. Wide sandy beach in the backdrop of high hills with green forests is an enchanting scene never to be forgotten.

Mahasthangarh

Located at a distance of 18 km. to the north of Bogra town. Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh on the western bank of river Karotoa. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified long enclosure. Beyond the fortified area, other ancient ruins fan out within a semi-circle of about 8-km. radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city.
This 3rd century BC archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. Every year (mid-April) and once in every 12 years (December) thousands of Hindu devotees join the bathing ceremony on the bank of river Karatoa. A visit to the Mahasthangarh site museum will open up for one a wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terracotta objects to gold ornaments and coins recovered from the site.
Also noteworthy are the shrine of Shah Sultan Bulki Mahisawary and Gokul Medh in the neighborhood of Mahasthangarh.

Paharpur

In Paharpur, a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj railway station in the greater Rajshahi district,  the remains of the  most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas has bee excavated. This  8th century A.D. archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment occupies a quadrangular court, measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12fh to 15ft. in height with elaborate gateway complex  on the north. There are  45 cells on the north and 44 in each of other three sides with a total number of 177 rooms. The architecture of the  pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of South-East Asia, especially Myanmar and  Java. It had taken its name from a high mound, which looked like pahar or hillock. A site  museum built recently houses the  representative coactions of objects recovered from the area. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the  Veranda Research museum at Rajshahi. The  antiquities of the museum include terracotta plaques, images of different  gods and goddesses, potteries, coins, inscriptions, ornamental bricks and  other minor clay objects . It has  been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. 

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