Thursday, December 17, 2009

Victory Day 2009 Photos

Photos from on or near Suhrawardy Udyan on Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day) 2009:

Victory Day Fun:

Victory Day Games:

Victory Day Tea:

Victory Day Meetup:

Victory Day Couple:

Victory Day Cutie:

Victory Day Umbrella Man:

Victory Day Bangles:

Victory Day Outfit:

Victory Day Nap:

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dinajpur Trip

The day after Eid I went to Dinajpur and neighboring areas with friends. The driving time in Eid's rarified traffic was 7.5 hours from Dhaka.

Along the way we ran into some people rushing home - I guess they had missed Eid.

Dinajpur is a pretty town, specially in the morning...

People were having breakfast next to the "Boro Maath" (Big Field)...

...and the barbershop had opened early for business.

The town had a string of Rajas in its history and has grace. It is also famous for fragrant Chinigura rice. Even the Pouroshobha building (City Council) is over 100 years old and elegant.

But the best part of the town is the Rajbari (King's palace) dating from 1890s. It is in two parts: the temple and the actual palace.

The temple is in good shape...

...and very pretty.

The palace, on the other hand, has seen better days :-(

In the afternoon we drove to Kantajir Mondir, built between 1722-1752 and famous for terra-cotta architecture. It was absolutely gorgeous...

... with stunning arches...

...and details like this - telling stories - carved over the entire exterior!

As an added bonus, we participated in the Kantajir Mela where people from all over Bangladesh show up. This woman was local, though.

Near the Mandir was an old Masjid, called Noyabad Masjid, built around the same time. While it was not as ornate, it was dignified and reminded me of Khan Mohammed Masjid in Dhaka.

We decided to spend the night in Syedpur. At night it seemed dusty and ugly, but morning revealed a town with character and atmosphere...

...colorful shopfronts...

...and an ancient "Joinak" tree.

Syedpur is the only Urdu-speaking town in Bangladesh with a large concentration of Biharis many of whom work in the railway workshop. Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed to have an air of a vanquished city about it, even though the war has been over for 38 years. But in 1971 it was the scene of much butchery. As I walked past a row of empty butcher shops, the irony was grim.

But today people are friendly, like this morning girl...

... and the streetside barber who spoke reasonable English.

On our way back, we stopped at Mahasthan Gar near Bogra. It is an ancient city (over 2000 years old) still being excavated. However, we did not have enough time to explore this amazing place. If you visit, plan on spending most of the day exploring.

Practical Details: Lunch at the Aristocrat (20 minutes west of Jamuna Bridge) was superb, including Hilsa steak, prawns and several bhortas. We stayed at Parjatan Motel in Dinajpur (Tk 1600/night/double) and Hotel Arafat in Syedpur (Tk. 650/night/double). Snacks at the New Hotel in Dinajpur near the station included a heavenly Mughlai Paratha but watery tea (the kitchen in the back is open for all to see.) Bogra has some nice hotels including Naz Garden and Siesta. We ate chicken sandwiches at the Naz and were pleasantly surprised by the well-kept grounds and the mini-lake with boats. Many thanks to my travelling companions Mickey, Ranjit and particularly Milu for driving us in his comfortable SUV.