Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the eighth- most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million people in an area of either 148,460 square kilometres (57,320 sq mi) or 147,570 square kilometres (56,980 sq mi), making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Bangladesh shares land borders with India to the west, north, and east, and Myanmar to the southeast; to the south it has a coastline along the Bay of Bengal. It is narrowly separated from Bhutan and Nepal by the Siliguri Corridor; and from China by 100 km of the Indian state of Sikkim in the north. Dhaka, the capital and largest city, is the nation's economic, political, and cultural hub. Chittagong, the largest seaport, is the second-largest city. The official language is Bengali, one of the easternmost branches of the Indo-European language family.

Bangladesh forms the sovereign part of the historic and ethnolinguistic region of Bengal, which was divided during the Partition of India in 1947. The country has a Bengali Muslim majority. Ancient Bengal was an important cultural centre in the Indian subcontinent as the home of the states of Vanga, Pundra, Gangaridai, Gauda, Samatata, and Harikela. The Mauryan, Gupta, Pala, Sena, Chandra and Deva dynasties were the last pre-Islamic rulers of Bengal. The Muslim conquest of Bengal began in 1204 when Bakhtiar Khalji overran northern Bengal and invaded Tibet. Becoming part of the Delhi Sultanate, three city-states emerged in the 14th century with much of eastern Bengal being ruled from Sonargaon. Sufi missionary leaders like Sultan Balkhi, Shah Jalal and Shah Makhdum Rupos helped in spreading Muslim rule. The region was unified into an independent, unitary Bengal Sultanate. Under Mughal rule, eastern Bengal continued to prosper as the melting pot of Muslims in the eastern subcontinent and attracted traders from around the world. Mughal Bengal became increasingly assertive and independent under the Nawabs of Bengal in the 18th century. In 1757, the betrayal of Mir Jafar resulted in the defeat of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah to the British East India Company and eventual British dominance across South Asia. The Bengal Presidency grew into the largest administrative unit in British India. The creation of Eastern Bengal and Assam in 1905 set a precedent for the emergence of Bangladesh. In 1940, the first Prime Minister of Bengal supported the Lahore Resolution with the hope of creating a state in eastern South Asia. Prior to the partition of Bengal, the Prime Minister of Bengal proposed a Bengali sovereign state. A referendum and the announcement of the Radcliffe Line established the present-day territorial boundary of Bangladesh.

In 1947, East Bengal became the most populous province in the Dominion of Pakistan. It was renamed as East Pakistan with Dhaka becoming the country's legislative capital. The Bengali Language Movement in 1952; the East Bengali legislative election, 1954; the 1958 Pakistani coup d'état; the Six point movement of 1966; and the 1970 Pakistani general election resulted in the rise of Bengali nationalism and pro-democracy movements in East Pakistan. The refusal of the Pakistani military junta to transfer power to the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, in which the Mukti Bahini aided by India waged a successful armed revolution. The conflict saw the 1971 Bangladesh genocide and the massacre of pro- independence Bengali civilians, including intellectuals. The new state of Bangladesh became the first constitutionally secular state in South Asia in 1972. Islam was declared the state religion in 1988. In 2010, the Bangladesh Supreme Court reaffirmed secular principles in the constitution.

Bangladesh is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic based on the Westminster system. Bengalis make up 99% of the total population of Bangladesh, and the large Muslim population of Bangladesh makes it the third-largest Muslim-majority country. The country consists of eight divisions, 64 districts and 495 subdistricts. It maintains third-largest military in South Asia after India and Pakistan;and has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. A middle power in the Indo-Pacific, Bangladesh is an emerging economy ranked as the 41st-largest in the world by nominal GDP, and the 30th-largest by PPP. It hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world due to the Rohingya genocide. Bangladesh faces many challenges, including the adverse effects of climate change, poverty, illiteracy,[28] corruption, demonstrations, and authoritarianism. However, the poverty rate has halved since 2011. Once a historic center of the muslin cloth trade, Bangladesh is now one of the world's largest modern garment exporters. Its economy has constantly been among the fastest growing economies in the 21st century.

Tourist attractions

Cox’s Bazar

Cox's Bazar sea beach is the longest sea beach in the world, 120 km long. Cox's Bazar is a town, a fishing port and district headquarters in Bangladesh. It is known for its wide sandy beach which is considered by some people as the world's longest natural sandy sea beach. The beach in Cox' Bazar is an unbroken 125 km sandy sea beach with a gentle slope. It is located 150 km south of the industrial port Chittagong. Cox’s Bazar is also known by the name "Panowa," the literal translation of which means "yellow flower." Its other old name was "Palongkee." An officer of the British East India Company, Captain Cox was appointed Superintendent of Palongkee outpost after Warren Hastings became Governor of Bengal. Captain Cox was specially mobilised to deal with a century-long conflict between Arakan refugees and local Rakhains. He embarked upon the mammoth task of rehabilitating refugees in the area and made significant progress. A premature death took Captain Cox in 1799 before he could finish his work. To commemorate his role in rehabilitation work a market was established and named after him Cox's Bazar ("Cox's Market").
Today, Cox's Bazar is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Bangladesh. Cox's Bazar sea beach is crowded almost through out the year. It is a good place for sea bathing. Anyone can go there both by air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong. Cox's Bazar is a small town. But the natural beauty of the town is very charming. The climate of this place is very fine. The Bay of Bengal lies on the south of it. There is a high standard tourist centre at this place. There are good arrangements for the stay of the tourists of different countries of the world. Many foreigners come to this place. The people of the place are very gentle. A lot of fish is available there.

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Saint Martin Island

The St. Martin’s Island, also known as Narikel Jinjira (an island of coconut) and Daruchinir Deep (an island of cinnamon), is one of the most visited tourist’s spots in Bangladesh. The only coral island in Bangladesh is about 8 km in length and rarely more than 1km wide. It is about 10 km (6mi) south- west of the southern tip of the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula. Beaches fringed with coconut palms, panoramic beauty of the island and pristine marine life attract the tourists. Magnificent landscapes, crystal clear sea water, coral colony, and the roar of the Bay of Bengal are the main attraction of the visitors. Tourists come here to soak up sun rays and roaming in lonesome seclusion on the sea beach enclosed by corals and crystal clear water of the sea. Far from the noisy environment of the city life, the tranquility of this island will help you to pacify your soul. To enjoy sensing and sighting the beauties of darkness with no electric lights around the blurry vision encourage many tourists to stay here overnight. If you stay here overnight and enjoy one moonlit night here, you will want to stay on this island forever. Various types of seafood here will satisfy your appetite.

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60 Dom Mosque

The Shat Gambuj Mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the topmost Tourist Attraction in Bangladesh. It is one of the largest historical mosques of the Sultanate period. The great Ulugh Khan Jahan established this mosque three miles west of the present Bagerhat town. This serene and imposing monument stands on the eastern back of an enormous sweet-water-tank. The mosque is famous for its sheer size and architectural beauty.
The archaeological elegance of it enthralls the tourists even now. The simple look of this aristocratic structure with its absolute plainness but solid shape reflects the potency and simplicity of its designer. Besides using it as a prayer hall, Ulugh Khan Jahan used the mosque as his assembly hall. Beside this mosque, there is an archaeological museum where you can find different archaeological and historical materials of that time.

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Old Dhaka

Old Dhaka! Sitting on the bank of the Buriganga River, Old Dhaka’s rich culture and heritage are reflected in both its architecture and the lifestyle of the city’s population. Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, and the southernmost region of the city is called Old Dhaka.
Among the landmarks in Old Dhaka, the Lalbagh Fort and Ahsan Manjil are two of the most visited sites. The former is an incomplete fort from Mughal times. The latter housed the Nawabs and is built upon the rich Mughal architectural principles. he Tara Mosque, Rose Garden Palace, Christian Cemetery at Wari, and Bahadur Shah Park all come with their own fascinating history and are must-visit places if you are in the area. Don’t forget to visit the University of Dhaka campus that spans six hundred acres of land. The Faculty of Science building is called Curzon Hall, named after Lord Curzon, and consists of a unique mix of Mughal and European architecture.

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Sonargaon- Old capital of Bengal

Sonargaon or The village of gold was the old capital of Bengal in the medieval period. It was a significant administrative and business center at that time. During the medieval period, it was the mint capital. From the 13th century, Sonargaon was used as the capital city by different rulers of eastern Bengal. In the mid-13th century, it was the capital of the Hindu Deva dynasty. But after a short time, Muslim rulers acquired it and made it their capital city.
First it was ruled by independent rulers and then it became a subsidiary capital of the Bengal Sultanate and then Delhi Sultanate. Then it was acquired by the Mughals. It lost its pride of being the capital in 1610 when the Mughals shifted the capital of Bengal to Jahangirnagar which was later named Dhaka. During the British period, wealthy Hindu merchants settled a new neighborhood named Panam city near Sonargaon.
Most of the Hindu and Mughal structures are ruined but some of the structures built in the British period are still present today. Very little trace of the original capital now remains in Sonargaon. Now, most of the tourists visit Sonargaon to see Panam Nagar, A decaying street with some decayed edifices by wealthy Hindu merchants and Sardar Bari a beautifully renovated king’s palace with a gorgeous pond and amazing folk-art museum.

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Ahsan Manzil – The Pink Palace

Once the official residential palace of the Nawabs of Dhaka, now Ahsan Manzil or the Pink Palace is a museum and one of the most visited places in Dhaka. The 5.5-acre premise of this palace bears the significance as an architectural reminder of the elite life of the Nawabs of Dhaka during the colonial era of 19th and early 20th century. In 1872, the patriarch of the Nawab family, Abdul Ghani (1813-1896), constructed the family’s official residence on the bank of the River Buriganga in old Dhaka and named the palace after his son Nawab Khwaja Ahsanullah (1846-1901). It’s mostly European styled building mixed with some decorative Indian motifs. Its soaring dome appears to be more about impressing the viewer on the exterior, rather than within the interior.
Many important persons of the Colonial period either visited or stayed here. Viceroy Lord Nathaniel Carson was one of them. He stayed here as a guest of Nawab Salimullah Bahadur in 1904. In 1906 Muslim leaders from all over India congregated at the Durbar Hall of Ahsan Manzil for the 20th Session of the All India Mohammedan Educational Conference in Dhaka.
In the same year here the All India Muslim League was formed that later lead the creation of Pakistan-when the British left the Indian subcontinent in 1947. 16 years after its erection, it was damaged by a cyclone. After its reconstruction, the palace became grander than before. After the death of the Nawab and his son, the family fortune was dispersed and the palace eventually fell into disrepair.
As the influence and the prestige of the Nawabs declined in the 20th century and the descendants of the Nawabs became too poor to look after such a vast property, The then Government took over this palace in 1952. However, the poor descendants of the Nawab family and the poor local people continued to hold the palace until the 1970s. They inflicted much harm to the building by indiscriminately altering its configuration. In 1985 the Government of Bangladesh acquired the property and after much deliberation decided to convert it into a national museum. The preservation work completed in 1989 and Ahsan Manzil started its journey as a museum in 1992.

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Dhakeswari Temple

Dhakeshwari Temple is a state-owned Hindu temple in Dhaka. The name Dhakeshwari means “Goddess of Dhaka”. This ‘National Temple’ was built by one Mangat Ray who was also known as Ballalsena, younger brother of Arakanese king Shrisudharma, son of famous Arakanese king Raja Malhana, alias Husen Shah. Though the present edifice is modern in construction, there has been a temple on this same spot for nine centuries. The original statue was 800 years old but it was vandalized by the Pakistani soldiers during the liberation war in 1971. As the temple complex has undergone repairs, renovation and rebuilding several times in its long years of existence, its present condition does not clearly indicate any of its original architectural sign.
There are four same sized tiny temples standing one after another from east to west. Facing south the main temple is to the north of the nat-mandir. The main temple is a three-roomed structure. The temple remains open every day and spectators can enter inside. It remains closed only in the afternoon from 02.00 pm to 04.00 pm. As it’s a sacred place for Hindus, leave your shoes outside at the time of entering the temple. Do not touch anyone or anything belongs to the temple. Every year in September, the temple and its surrounding areas become crowded with thousands of devotees for Durga Puja. Especially that’s the time to visit here to have a colorful and joyful time to spend.

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National Parliament House

Designed by famous architect Louis I Kahn, the National Parliament house of Bangladesh is one of the twentieth century’s most significant buildings. Located at Sher-e Bangla Nagar, this building is the largest legislative complex in the world. The construction work of Bangladesh National Parliament commenced in 1964 but halted due to the liberation war and it was finally completed in 1982. The total complex is divided into three parts: The Main Plaza, the South Plaza, and the Presidential Plaza.
The main building is in the middle of the complex. The MP hostel is located at the outer part of the complex. A beautifully designed artificial lake surrounds the main building. The North of complex, across the Lake Road, has intricately designed lake called Crescent Lake and there is a monument of late president Ziaur Rahman. The two complexes together attract the attention of the tourists. The complex is very popular among joggers and skaters.

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Star Mosque

Located at Armanitola in old Dhaka, decorated with engraved floral and star patterns, Star mosque or Tara Masjid is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bangladesh. It has ornate designs and it is decorated with motifs of blue stars. This beautiful building was built in the first half of the 19th century by Mirza Golam Pir. Unlike other Mughal architectures, there is no inscription found in the mosque mentioning its founding year.
According to some people, this mosque was built in 1711. Tara Mosque is one of the few edifices in this subcontinent which has such expanded special type of china clay mosaic works, traditionally called Chini Tikri. At first, it was a small three domed mosque. Its walls were not decorated. In 1926, Ali Jaan Bepari, a wealthy merchant at Armanitola residential area wanted to renovate the mosque. He imported china clay tiles from Japan and England and decorated the entire mosque walls and even domes with nice floral and star-shaped patterns of China clay tiles.
In the white marble background, the glistening engraved stars and floral patterns create an enchanting and serene environment of light and shade in the mosque as they mirror sunlight in different angles. During this renovation work, the artisans carefully preserved the original design of the mosque and only ornamented the existing structure. All over the mosque, the motif of stars is decorated and so the mosque got its name, the Star Mosque. In 1987, in the name of beautification of this archaeological site, the then government’s archaeological department extended the prayer hall and included two more domes, damaging its original historic structure. After all these the Star Mosque is a magnificent piece of work. Even the local residents of the area often stop for a while to have a look and be amazed at its perpetual beauty.

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Kantaji Temple

Kantaji Temple is a late-medieval Hindu temple at Kantanagar, Dinajpur. This temple is one of the best examples of the 18th century’s stunning religious edifices. It belongs to Hindu God Krishna and so it’s most popular among the devotees of Krishna in Bengal. Maharaja Pran Nath built this magnificent temple and devoted it to Krishna and his wife Rukmini. The construction work of this beautiful structure started in 1704 CE and was completed in 1722 CE. Its wall surfaces, both inside and outside are ornamented with figured and floral terracotta art. The stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana, the exploits of Krish,na and a series of absolutely fascinating contemporary social scenes are depicted on the wall through terracotta art.

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Mahasthangarh is the most ancient city of Bangladesh. The word Mahasthan means a place with holiness and Garh means fort. The massive remains of Mahasthangarh represent a majestic past of about two thousand and five hundred years of Pundranagar, the capital of ancient Pundra Vardhan. This place is located 13 km north of Bogra town. Once, this rich city was fortified by brick walls. This one of the highest areas of Bangladesh is about 36 meters above sea level. The fortified city is rectangular in plan and it’s 1,525 meters long from north-south and 1,370 meters broad from east-west and 5 meters high from the surroundings. From a script discovered in 1931, it is known that this city existed during the 3rd century BC. This area was in use until the 18th century AD.

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