Bangladesh, a very colourful country and it changes its colour six times every year with the change of its six very distinguishable seasons. For holiday making it is a great place for it beautiful picturesque landscapes, rivers and famous mangrove forest, Sundarbans. Bangladesh offers ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with pristine nature.
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LOCATION AND PHYSICAL FEATURES
Bangladesh is located in the north-eastern part of South Asia. The majestic Himalayas stand some distance to the north, while the Bay of Bengal lies in the south. The gangetic Plains of west Bengal border the country on the west and in the east lying the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram (India) and Myanmar. These picturesque geographical boundaries frame a low lying plain of about 1, 47,570 km2 criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and streams. The three mighty rivers, the Padma (Ganges), the Brahamaputra (Jamuna), the Meghna and the Karnafuli are causes of many happiness and sorrows. There are deep forested regions in Sylhet, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban Hill Districts, Sundarbans (the World Heritage site), Mymensingh and Tangail. This is Bangladesh, a fertile land where nature is overflowing.
HISTORY OF EMERGENCE
Bangladesh has a long and eventful history as a nation. It is enjoying as a free and sovereign state from 1971, after a nine month-long war of liberation with Pakistan. The earliest nation of Bangladesh in found in the 9th century BC Indian epic the Mahabharata. The Hindu and Buddhist dynasties of guptas, palas and senas ruled the country until 13th century, when muslim conquerers took over the reigns of the country. The muslim rule the country until the middle of the 18th century, when the British took over the control of Bengal and eventually the whole of India. The Europeans, mainly Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders had began to arrive in Bangladesh from the 15th century and extended an economic control over the region.
After the end of the British rule in 1947, the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. But the movement for autonomy for East Pakistan began within a couple of years because of linguistic and cultural differences and economic disparity between the two wings. The seeds of independence were sown through the great Language Movement of 1952 to recognise Bangla as a State Language. Then East Pakistan emerged as a sovereign and independent state of Bangladesh. After nine month-long sanguinary war of liberation. In which three million people courted martyrdom.
Bangladesh has a population of 153.40 million making it the most densely populated country of the world. 80% population live in the rural areas. Density of population is about 900 per sq km. There are about 2 million people of 23 tribes. They dwell mostly in Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and in part of northern districts. The tribes have exotic distinct cultures of their own.
LANGUAGE AND RELIGION
The state language and mother tongue is Bangla. English is widely spoken and understood.
Bangladesh is a land of religious freedom, harmony and tolerance. People of all castes and creeds live here in perfect harmony. The percentage distribution of population to religions is as follows: Muslims - 88%, Hindus - 10%, Christians, Buddhists and others 2%.
GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY
The country is officially known as The People's Republic of Bangladesh and has a parliamentary form of Government. The President is the Head of the State while the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government. The Economy is characterized by a large subsistence agricultural sector, which contributes to sum 85% of the country's population and small modern industrial sector. The total cultivable area is around 24 millons acres and there are a little more than 15 million cultivators. Major agricultural crops are rice, jute (the golden fiber), wheat, potato, pulses, sugarcane, tea, onion, garlic, ginger, tobacco etc. Tea, leather, ready made garments, frozen shrimp, jute and jute products are major foreign exchange earners. Jackfruit is a very favourite fruit in Bangladesh
BANGLADESH FAST FACTS
|Official Name||The People's Republic of Bangladesh|
|Geographical Location||Latitude between 20Â°34' and 26Â°38' North|
Longitude between 88Â°01' and 92Â°41' East
|Area||147,570 sq. km.|
|Boundaries||North - India (West Bengal and Meghalaya), West - India (West Bengal) East - India (Tripura and Assam) and Myanmar, South-Bay of Bengal.|
|Other Major Cities||Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal|
|Standard Time||GMT +6 Hours|
|Climate Variation||Winter 11Â° C - 20Â° C (October-February)|
|Summer||21Â° C - 38Â° C (March â€“ September)|
|Rainfall||1100 mm to 3400mm (June â€“ August)|
|Humidity||Highest 99% (July)|
|Lowest||36% (December & January)|
|Currency||Taka, having 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 in notes and 5,2,1 in coins. Exchange Rate : US$ 1 = Taka 68.00|
|Religion||Muslims - 86.6%, Hindus - 12.1%, Buddhists â€“ 0.6%, Christians 0.4% and others 0.3%.|
|Government||Parliamentary form of Government President is the head of the state while the government elected by the people is headed by the Prime Minster.|
|Business Hours||Parliamentary form of Government President is the head of the state while the government elected by the people is headed by the Prime Minster.|
|Best Tourist Season||October to March.|
|Newspapers||Dailies both in Bangla and English are published from Dhaka, Chittagong and other important cities and towns. |
Main English Newspapers are the Bangladesh Observer, The Daily Star, The Financial Express, The Daily Independent, New Age,The news today and the Holiday (weekly).
Main Bangla Newspapers are the Ittefaq, Dinkal, Janakantha, Prothom Alo, Jugantar, Inqilab, Ajker Kagoj, Sangbad and Samakal.
|International Airports||Zia International Airport, Dhaka, Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong and Osmany International Airport, Sylhet.|
|Domestic Airports||Dhaka, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Ishwardi, Saidpur, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet.|
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS:
Valid passport is required for nationals of all countries for a visit to Bangladesh. However, passports are not required for the holders of identity certificate, laissez passers issued by United Nations and its affiliated bodies and continuous Discharge certificate/Nullies/ Seaman Book (Travelling on duty to join or repatriate from ship) issued by any country recognized by Bangladesh. Visas are required for nationals of all countries with the following exceptions: Bhutan, Barbados, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Mauritius, Malawi, Maldives, Singapore, Switzerland, St. Kitts and Nevis, Ghana and Gabon. 'No visa required' means that no visa is required for stay in Bangladesh up to 90 days only. For further extension of stay permission is required. European, North American and Australian passport holders of Bangladesh origin do not required visa provided they pay US$ 50.00 or equivalent and have their passports stamped "No visa required for travel to Bangladesh" by Bangladesh Missions abroad.
TRAVELLING IN BANGLADESH
Major cities i.e. Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Jessore, Saidpur, Barisal and Cox's Bazar are connected by air with Dhaka. These destinations are served by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and GMG Airlines.
The Bangladesh Railway provides an efficient service from Dhaka to places such as Chittagong, Sylhet, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Bogra, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Kushtia. The Inter-city Express service is available to and from important cities at cheap fares. For further details contact, Bangladesh Railway, Dhaka Tel : (880-2)-8315857
Road transport in Bangladesh is predominantly a provate sector affair. Rates are the cheapest in the world. Express and non stop services are available to principal towns from Gabtoli, Saidabad and Mohakhali bus terminals in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) also maintains a country-wide network of bus services. For the visitors, recently they have introduced Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka direct daily bus services via Benapole, Jessore (360 km. journey), and also Dhaka-Agartola-Dhaka via Akhaura, Brammanbaria. For details please contact BRTC, Dhaka Tel: (880-2)-9555553, 9333803
Country-made boats are the most widely used carriers one can see in the rivers and rivulets. These carry passengers and merchandize on a large scale. The landscape of Bangladesh is dominated by about 250 rivers, which close essentially North-South. Mechanized water transport is mainly operated by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), which runs ferry and launch services on the main routes. There are also services run by private companies. Journey by the Gateway to the Sundarbans is a rewarding experience even though the duration of the journey is approx. 24 hrs. Please contact BIWTC, Dhaka Tel : (880-2)-9551589, 9555031-33
Source: BD Porjotan Corporation, High Commission of Bangladesh Singapore and TMAC, Canada Ottawa