• Friday, March 06, 2015

mesmerising Old Dhaka

By Tasnima Haque Orin

The streets of glamorous Gulshan and Banani might be dotted with the latest gourmet restaurants and glitzy fashion boutiques but there just isn't enough of the four hundred years of history of Dhaka there. Go a little south of the city and you find yourself in a place filled with slim streets, the smell of delicious food, brilliant century-old architecture and the most fun-loving people. You would have landed yourself in Old Dhaka or 'Puran Dhaka' as we Dhakaiites affectionately call it.
Made up of neighbourhoods of Chawk Bazaar, Shankhari Bazar, Lakshmibazar, Banglabazar, Sutrapur, Jaluanagar, Tantibazar, Sutarnagar and Patuatuli and others, Puran Dhaka is everything you want in an old city and more.  You have streets lined with centuries-old houses with families who have lived there for generations. You have Biriyani at Nanna or Royal or Haji's to sate your appetite whenever you feel even the slightest tinge of hunger, Beauty Boarding's sweet elixir of lemonade to hydrate you, Bakarkhani to munch on and jilapis (local sweet dish) that make living worthwhile -- without any doubt, Puran Dhaka has the best food you're ever going to get in this city.
Just when you start to wonder if there is anything you might be seeing, you come across the legends of Lalbagh Fort, Ahsan Manzil, Botanical Garden, Northbrook Hall, Armenian Church and the Dhakeshwari Temple and that's easily more than a whole day of sightseeing. It might not have the latest fashion boutiques, but you'll find the refinement of 'shankha' bangles, the pure elegance of the world famous Dhakaiya cuisine and Patuatuli and Islampur, where literally everything is available wholesale, making old Dhaka a shopper's paradise.
Take a rickshaw ride and start exploring the amazing blend of history and hospitality, because Puran Dhaka is truly unlike anything you've seen before.  

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, February 04, 2014

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