Whether you are in a mood to discover unexplored sites in close proximity to the city, or you simply want to escape the stress, pollution and restlessness of the busy capital, a long drive could be the most relaxing getaway for you, if you know just where to go. So, check up on your ride's nitty-gritty, fill up the tank and get set to hit the open roads!
BIRULIA BRIDGE — GOLAP GRAM
Located about10 kilometres away from the Mirpur Mazar Road, the Birulia Bridge looks over what was once the majestic Turag River. On your way to the bridge, you simply cannot miss the colourful twinkly lights of Tamanna World, a small family recreation park, established just a few dozen metres from the bridge.
When you reach the spot, you can park your vehicle with ease near the mouth of the bridge beside the numerous tea and snacks stalls. As you lean across the rails with a cup of 'tong er cha' in your hands, you can have an unobstructed view of the sunset (or sunrise if you are out on a nocturnal drive) on the horizon and enjoy the scenic riverine beauty.
In addition to this, the Birulia Zamindar Bari is an age old attraction nearby where you can witness the vestiges of an affluent culture that once existed and ruled in that region. If you have some time to spare, do visit the renowned 'Golap Gram'.
Once you cross the Birulia Bridge, look on both sides of the road; you will know you have reached the destination as soon as you see vibrant rose fields as far as your sight goes. These mesmerising rose farms are definitely a must-see spot if you are on a drive near Birulia (Savar).
One could remember Ashulia as a stretch of barren sandy-cement filled swathe of land from a decade ago. Surprisingly, even now, as you drive through the Dhaka-Ashulia Highway, you will find that little has changed, with labourers and excavators busy at work. However, the roads are in good condition so at least your drive will be a smooth one.
When at Ashulia, pizza lovers just cannot afford to miss Little Italy, a small pizzeria located just a few yards from Ashulia bazaar.
Let Google Maps be your guide for the ride, if you are unsure of the roads and it will lead you right to your destination.
As a child, you might have had your fair share of visits to the best theme park in town — Fantasy Kingdom. What you might not be aware of is the enthralling 'Xtreme Racing' Go-Kart race track built behind the main complex. For a ticket price ranging between Tk 500-1000, you can go for an exhilarating race on a speedy go-kart.
Ironically, the best part about 'teensho feet' (300 feet) is that area is yet to be urbanised, with many empty plots of land and greenery still intact. When you descend from the Kuril Flyover, you will be nearing 300 Feet Road and on a brisk autumn eve, you might catch a glimpse of kaashphool fields to your right.
In winter, numerous rare migratory birds can be often seen perched on the trees or grounds, making this place the perfect spot to go birdwatching. Drive on and you will arrive at the Purbachol Balu Bridge, towering over the serene Balu River.
There is a famous sweets and snacks market close to the bridge. To fulfil your sweet tooth/jhalmuri cravings, treat yourself to the freshest sweets and snacks from the famous open food court/marketplace close to the bridge.
If speeding is what gets your adrenaline release at its peak, this is your must-try spot for a long drive. However, as you hit the gas, do keep in mind that the fairly wide roads that lead to Mawa Ghat tend to be scarily foggy at night during winter, so it is best to avoid speeding in this season.
There are a handful of restaurants at the bank, looking over the glorious Padma River. At nightfall, the view from these open restaurants is absolutely breath-taking — as you look out to the river, you watch the waves crash and fall against the steamers and the launches sailing by calmly in the distance. There, you can grab a bite to eat to re-energise between your trip — khichuri and fried hilsa is a popular combo that you can try out.
These restaurants will be demolished as soon as the bridge across Padma River is completed so you better rush to experience this place in all its glory, at least once before it is all gone, kaput!
The vast open lands and secluded roads, lined with seasonal, ivory kaashphool fields are what make Diabari an excellent spot to go on a romantic or soul-searching drive. It is very close to the airport so you might see a plane take off or land often, and it will seem like it is happening just a yard away.
A well-known local architecture you can visit is the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque. What makes it unique is its intricately perforated roof and walls that allows light and air to reach the prayer hall.
Finally, do not forget to make a stopover at 'Batash Chachar Dhaba' at Sector #15 and indulge in some exquisite Crab Bhuna in the al fresco café.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed