Popularly known as the City of Ruins, this Mughal Bengal city is bursting with sights and sounds that one can’t possibly find within the bustling streets of Dhaka. Rubab Nayeem Khan points out some landmarks to check out
Lalbagh Fort: Also known as Fort Aurangabad, the Lalbagh Fort is an incomplete structure that was built during the 17th century by Mughal Subahdar Muhammad Azam Shah, the son of Emperor Aurangzeb. The three highlights to the architecture are the Diwan-I-Aam, the Lalbagh Fort Mosque and the Tomb of Pari Bibi. The three buildings connect from east to west and north to south via a water channel with fountains. The Diwan- I-Aam is a two storied building located in the east. A single storied Hammam is attached to its west. On the eastern side, you will find the three-domed Lalbagh Fort Mosque attached to a water tank. The Tomb of Pari Bibi stands between the two buildings in one line. Pari Bibi, also known as Iran Dukt, was the daughter of Shaista Khan and had been buried inside the tomb. The construction of the fort was stopped right after her death.
Armenian Church: Located at Armanitola, the Armenian Church was built during the 17th century as a significance for the Armenian community in the city during that era. Before the construction of the church, it was an Armenian graveyard. The tombstones salvaged from the site signify the Armenian lifestyle.
Old Dhaka’s Shakhari Bazar is an equally vibrant neighbourhood. Here, you will be able to learn about the significance of Hinduism. A rickshaw ride through their Shakhas will take you to markets which sell items for religious festivities such as musical instruments, fireworks, statues of gods/goddesses etc. You may also come across oodles of small temples in this neighbourhood. If you’re around Wari and Thathari Bazaar, expect to stumble upon the Joy Kaali Temple there.
For the foodies, Old Dhaka should be an absolute delight. Places like Royal Restaurant, Nanna Shahi Morog Polao and Hajir Biriyani will satisfy your appetite at very reasonable prices. Also, Chawkbazar is known best for their Moghlais. Old Dhaka holds a lifestyle which has a hint of tradition in almost every aspect; starting from their horse drawn tom toms to their local food. This is your go-to place if you want a change of scenery.
Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque: Founded by Shaista Khan, the mosque was built in Chawk bazar in 1676. This mosque is said to be the earliest structure in the History of Muslim Architecture. This mosque is a great influence on mosque architectures in Dhaka and Murshidabad.
Ahsan Manzil: Also known as the Pink Palace, Ahsan Manzil is the official residence of the Dhaka Nawab Family. The construction of this palace started in 1859 and was completed in 1872. There are two buildings: The Rangmahal and the Andarmahal.