A monkey in the mystery-filled Sundarbans National Park.
A monkey in the mystery-filled Sundarbans National Park.

Discover Bangladesh in a way you never imagined

By TEBOGO MONAMA Time of article published Jan 16, 2020

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Everywhere you go in Bangladesh you will see images of the founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. His daughter Sheikh Hasina Wazed, 72, has been prime minister since 2009. She was overseas when her family members were murdered.

Rahman’s house, in the capital, Dhaka, has been turned into a museum, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum. This where Rahman, his wife Begum Fazilatunnessa Mujib; their three sons - Kamal, Jamal and Russel - two daughters-in-law Sultana and Rosy, and his brother Sheikh Abu Naser were assassinated on August 15, 1975.

Assistant curator Kazi Afrin Jahan Julee said they have tried hard to preserve the house in how it looked on the day of the family massacre. “After the killings, the house was looted and it was sealed by the military from 1975 to 1981. During that time most things were damaged by dust and insects. With the help of donations, we tried to keep everything as it was when the family lived here,” she said.

Visitors can see the bullet marks on the walls and windows inside the house. There is also Russel’s aquarium and Rahman’s pigeons. The museum also managed to preserve the clothes the family was wearing when they were killed, like Rahman’s lungi.

Another place with a rich history to visit is the Sixty Dome Mosque which is commonly known as the Shait Gumbad Mosque, in Bagerhat. It was built by Turkish general Khanul Azam Ulugh Khanajahan in the 15th century and is the largest brick mosque in Bangladesh. It is a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) heritage site.

Mohammad Tanzillur, chief executive of the Bagerhat district, said the mosque shows that there was an ancient city in the area and people from different religious groups lived together in harmony. “When he arrived, he revived the civilisation and people turned Muslim,” he said.

According to Unesco, the old city was created within a few years and covered by jungle after Khanajahan’s death in 1459.

Move away from the crowds and busy capital Dhaka and go in search of the famous Bengal tiger which lives in the mystery-filled Sundarbans National Park.

As a result of poaching, there are currently about 200 tigers on both the Bengali and the Indian side of the Sundarbans. One of the best ways of seeing the Sundarbans is to go on an overnight cruise on the river and get off to explore the islands that make up the park. This way, you will get to see the largest coastal mangrove forest in the world, deer and a wide collection of beautiful birds.

During the tour we had, we were assigned a guide with a gun and we walked the forest in search of the tigers. If you are lucky, you will get to see the Bengal tiger. The most we saw was the fresh carcass of a deer that was killed by a tiger.

Even if you don’t get to see the tiger, the views on the Bay of Bengal will be worth it.

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