District Overview: Chottogram - Part 2

[Locally known as Chottogram, Chittagong District is one of the major centres of ecomic activities. This busy region with an area of 5282.98 sq km is located in the south-eastern region under Chittagong Division of Bangladesh. Chittagong is surrounded by Khagrachari and Rangamati districts and Tripura state of India on the north, Cox’s Bazar on the south, Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachari on the east and Noakhali district and Bay of Bengal on the west. The port city of Chittagong, second largest city in Bangladesh, is located in this district.

Because of the natural harbour, Chittagong has always been an important location for trade, drawing Arab traders as early as the 9th century. The region fell under the rule of kings from Arakan in the 16th and 17th centuries, but later, the Mughal Army under Shaista Khan conquered Chittagong. During the 17th century, the region also faced a lot of attacks by Portuguese pirates. The Mughals established Chittagong as a district in 1666. The Chittagong Hill Tracts and Cox's Bazar, previously included in the Chittagong district were separated from Chittagong consecutively in 1860 and 1984.

The separation of the hill tracts and the coastal beauty of Cox's Bazar little decreased its overall beauty. Chittagong still has some of the countries most beautiful fountains and cascades, rainforest, reserved forests, unique sea beaches, tea gardens, hills and trails for hiking and trekking etc. Karnafuli, Halda and Sangu, three of the mighty rivers of the country flows through Chittagong.

The communication is also very good as highway and rail tracks have navigated well through the district. For tourists, facilities such as boarding, hotels and resorts are being developed as well as government initiatives to reserve the natural landscape and wildlife of this region. In a word, it has become one of the most convenient travel paradise to the young travelers.

The Travelogue will cover the tourist attractions of Chittagong district in Phases as it has a healthy number of fountains, cascades, sea beaches, rivers and natural reserves.]

 

Writer: Shafi Newaz, Photo: Apu Nazrul, Moheen Reeyad, Location Page

 

Masjid-e-Siraj ud-Daulah

Locally known as the Chandanpura Masjid, Masjid-e-Siraj ud-Daulah is a mosque situated in the northern part of Chittagong on the Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah road in Bangladesh. It is one of the famous landmarks in Chittagong and a popular tourist attraction for its impressive architecture consisting of multiple domes and minarets painted in bright colors. Although it was renovated in 1952, the mosque has deteriorated over the years due to environmental factors, such as air pollution. Little is known about the origin and the history behind the mosque except for the local historians.

How to go:

 

From Dhaka one needs to reach Chittagong first. The mosque is situated at the Nawab Siraj ud-Daula road in the center of the city and accessible by rickshaw and autorickshaw.

 

Bashbaria Sea Beach

Bashbaria sea beach has become one of the recent attractions for backpack travelers. This beach is located 25km north of Chittagong city. The beach is a muddy coastal outset of northern Chottogram. Locals has built a bridge or jetty like metal structure platform with PVC flooring on it. The structure spread half a kilometer into the ocean and people can literally walk on it where it seems like one is walking on the surface of the ocean.

How to go:

One needs to reach Sitakunda, Chittagong by bus or train. From there local bus is available to take you to Bashbaria Bazar on the Chittagong highway. It takes 15 minutes and a 2.5 kilometers autorickshaw ride to reach the beach.

 

Banshkhali Eco-park

Nestled in between high hills in the east and pristine sea in the west, Banshkhali Eco-park is one of nature’s wonders in the country. About 50 kilometers away from Chittagong city, Banshkhali is sprawled over an area of 392 square kilometers amidst the lap of nature. It is a place where you can spend days, even weeks enjoying the wonderful natural beauty. Banshkhali eco-park offers a complete tour package. Many people do not know that the longest hanging bridge in the country is located in this eco-park! There is an eight-kilometer long lake in the park. Many tourists are obsessed of boat riding in the lake. Among other facilities, there are several picnic sets, floating platforms, suspension bridges, mini-hydro power plants and a two-storied rest house, refreshment corner, night cottage, mini zoo and watchtower from where one can observe as far as the foamy water of the Bay of Bengal.

How to go:

From Dhaka one needs to reach Chittagong first. Then you can Banshkhali by bus from city’s Bohhoddar hat bus terminal. It is only a two-hour journey by bus from Chittagong.

 

Ethnological Museum

Established in 1965, opened to the public in 1974, the Ethnological Museum is the only ethnology museum in Bangladesh which displays the lifestyles and heritage of 37 ethnic groups and four foreign countries. This place is a center for unique knowledge and vibrant experience about the lifestyles of ethnic groups like Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Chak, Tanchangya, Murong, Khumi, Garo, Bawm, Pankho, Lusai, Khyang, Monipuri, Khashia, Oraon, Hajong, Mandai, Dalue, Hodi, Bona, Polia, Koch, Rajbangshi, Santal, Munda, Ho and many more. The Museum displays the vast cultural and social heritage and history of Bangladesh. The museum contains 4 galleries and a small hall. In 1996, the gallery with folk articles of Bengali-speaking people was added.

How to go:

One needs to reach Agrabad in Chittagong district. From Agrabad, it’s a 30-minute autorickshaw ride to reach the museum.

 

Guliakhali Sea Beach

Guliakhali Sea Beach, just like Bashbaria sea beach has come to light in recent times. Many bagpackers frequently travel this beach because of its uniqueness. Located at Golabaria road, Muradpur, this beach is locally familiar as Muradpur beach. It is one of the few unique beaches in Sitakunda Upazila of Chittagong district. 

The beach is also a coastal outset of muddy sand. The sea water evading through the Kewra Forest have made this sea beach a unique beauty. Aerial roots of Kewra trees are all around the place creating a blended feel of Swamp Forest and Mangrove Forests together. There is a large open field covered with green grass like a carpet adjacent to the Sea Beach.

How to go:

One can reach Sitakunda from Dhaka and Chittagong by bus or train. From Sitakunda Bazar, CNG autorickshaw will take you to Guliakhali in around 30 minutes as it's only 5 kilometers away from the Bazar.