HISTORY: Bangladesh lies on the eastern fringe of the Indian Sub-Continent, and its people have always been great lovers of freedom. As a result, the area has nearly always enjoyed a fair degree of sovereignty during its entire history, sometimes as one state and sometimes as several, with only perfunctory allegiance to the central ruling powers. It became a part of the British Empire in the 18th century. In 1947, when the subcontinent was divided into Pakistan and India, it became a part of Pakistan. When the Bengali nation separated from Pakistan through armed struggle in 1971, Bangladesh became an independent and sovereign country.
AREA: 1,44,036 sq. km.
POPULATION: approx. 120 million (Dhaka 10 million)
ETHNIC HERITAGE: The population of Bangladesh is a mixture of Dravidians, Aryans and Mongolians, belonging to the black-haired, dark skinned and short featured Austro/Mongoloid group. Hill tribes have their own distinctive racial features.
CULTURE: Our culture is rich and intermingling; Aryans, Hindu, Mughals, Iranians and colonial Europeans have left their marks in the cultural identity of the people.
CLIMATE: The climate of Bangladesh is subtropical and tropical with temperatures ranging from an average daytime low of 15*C in the cold season to a top of 35*C in the hot season. Annual rainfall varies from 1000 mm in the west to 2500 mm in the south-east and up to 5000 mm in the north-east where tea is grown.
Three-quarters of the annual rainfall occurs between June and September. The 90% to 95% humidity during this season is almost unbearable for some travelers. The humidity remains high all year round producing thick fogs in winter and making chilly nights in the north feel much colder than they are.
Bangladesh has three main seasons: the monsoon or wet season from late May to early October, the cold season from mid October to the end of February and the hot season from mid-March to mid-May. There are two cyclone seasons - May to June and October to November.
BEST SEASON: October to March, when the sun is mild and pleasant, is the best season for a visit. The "Monsoon" season (June to August) also has its own charms.
CURRENCY: The unit is Taka, made up of 100 Paisa. 1 U.S. $ is equivalent to about Tk.51.50 at present.
VISA: Anybody visiting Bangladesh must obtain a visa.
DHAKA: The capital Dhaka, intersected by the river Buriganga, is a sprawling and bustling metropolitan city, has an exciting history and rich cultural heritage. Founded in 1608, the city enjoyed the glory of being the capital of the region when it was successively under the Mughals and the British rule. Dhaka became the country’s capital when Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country in 1971. Once known as ‘city of 52 bazaars and 53 lanes’ and ‘city of mosques and Muslin’, Dhaka has an amazing blend of Mughal, Victorian and modern architecture as well as many historic relics. The recent spurt in high rise buildings is changing Dhaka’s skyline very fast.