We are developing a relatively new concept in the field of tourism and naming it ‘Campus Tourism’. By the sound of it you probably can realize what’s it about. This is a tourism activity of a group or a person around the campus of some institution. Of course, the institutions holding with larger amount of elements that interest tourists and fall into the segments of tourism product be subject of the discussion. I’m privileged that my institution ‘University of Dhaka’ holds awesome amount of tourism products to initiate our plan for campus tourism. In fact, the inception of my country ‘Bangladesh’ and role of my university in that is inseparable. I take pride in it’s call for revolution and democratic evolution that shaped my country. This institution is mainly home of dozens of historical & archaeological tourism products. Let’s dive into some of those:
- Bangladesh national museum: The museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods as well as inscriptions of the Holy Quran in Arabic and Persian letters and Bengali works in the Arabic script. The museum also has a rich collection of old coins, metal images, books on art, silver filigree works etc. It displays the lifestyle of local and indigenous tribes. It is open from Friday to Wednesday, 9 am to 6 pm.
- Chobir Haat: It is an open-air market where artists exhibit and sell their artwork, which is on display for customers to admire and buy what they like. The Friday market is an open-air market, or rather open-air exhibition that continues from 3pm-8pm. Beautiful paintings are inexpensive in comparison to their value. Most of the Fridays there are open-air free concert also where you many local artist sing Bengali folk song.
- Suhrawardy Uddyan: A Popular Park. The oath of independence of Bangladesh was taken here and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman gave clarion call for independence on this occasion on the 7th March 1971. The place is famous for its lush verdure and gentle breezes. Eternal Flame to enliven the memory of the martyrs of our Liberation war been blown here recently.
- Statue of Independence (Glass tower): Translated as Freedom Monument is the exact place where Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historical speech on 7th march 1971. With his speech, Bangladeshi Nation got the enthusiasm for our great Liberation War in 1971. To recognize the historical memory, this statue been made.
- ‘Shikha chironton’ and ‘Shadhinota Terracotta Mural’ : The eternal flame symbolizes the spirit of independence that will forever guide us to the light of salvation and the terracotta showcases the passion exhibited by our countrymen in 1971. Both of these monuments stand in Suhrawardi Uddyan.
- Mausoleum of National Leaders: Located at the southwestern corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan, it is the eternal resting place of great national leaders, Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khaja Nazimuddin. Known in Bangla as ‘Teen Netar Kobor’ this is the place of graves of three national leaders who contributed to shape this country at difficult times.
7. Mir Jumla’s Gate (Dhaka Gate) Mir Jumla (1660-1663) was a prominent subahdar of Bengal under Emperor aurangzeb. Mir Jumla’s name is connected with a number of constructions, the first of which is Mir Jumla’s gate, lately known as Ramna gate, on the Mymensingh road near curzon hall and to the west of the old High Court Buildings. The gate was probably meant to guard the city from the north. He also had to guard the city and its suburbs from Magh attacks.
8. Doel Square: Doel is the national bird of Bangladesh. Within few years of independence of this country in 1971, there was a surge for defining national identity. As a part of that program several sculpture with national symbols were built around the city. This stands in Dhaka university area near the roundabout of ‘Curzon Hall’ on the way to TSC (Teachers-Students Centre).
9. Curzon Hall: These days Curzon Hall is a part of the school of science of Dhaka University. Curzon Hall meant to be a town hall, was named after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, who laid its foundation in 1904. A year later Bengal was partitioned and Dhaka or Dacca as it was known then, became the capital of the newly created province of East Bengal and Assam. Following the annulment of partition in 1911 it was used as a premise of Dhaka College, and after the establishment of the University of Dhaka in 1921, the decision that made to please Muslims in East Bengal as a compensation for the annulment of the partition, became part of the university’s science section and continued as such till date.
10. Central Shahid Minar: Symbol of Bengali nationalism, this monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. This is a monument in honor of the language martyrs of 1952. On February 21, 1952, many students and political activists were killed as Pakistani police force opened fire on some protesters who were demanding equal status to their mother tongue, Bengali. The place was near Dhaka Medical College and Ramna Park in Dhaka. The minar has five pillars made of pure marble stone upon a 14 feet high stage. The boundary on both sides contains lines from poems of famous poets engraved in iron letters
11. National Poet’s Graveyard: Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 29 August 1976 and was buried here. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University Mosque.
12. Aparajeyo Bangla: Translated as ‘undefeatable Bengal’, Aparajeyo Bangla is perhaps the most famous sculpture in Bangladesh built on the theme of Independence in 1971. It is located in front of Faculty of Arts & Humanities of Dhaka University. The two male figures represent a villager and a city dweller respectively and the woman with a first aid box – all contributed to the Independence in this country. There is no restriction to get in and take picture of it since it is considered as national piece of art.
13. Razu vaskorjo: Sculpture against terror installed on TSC roundabout, Dhaka University. It was funded by private donors and overseen by students to make a point against political violence among the student activists which is a serious problem among the public universities in the country. The sculpture is dedicated to a student killed by political violence.
14. Gurudwara Nanak Shahi: This Sikh temple is out of few still found in Bangladesh and is administered from India. There is no resident Sikh community left in Bangladesh but in recent years, country received a good number of Sikh visitors mostly on work in Bangladesh. The gurudwara was founded by a missionary sent to Bangladesh by Baba Gurditta, Son of Guru Hargobind (6th Guru) within 17th century and was completed in 1830. Religious celebrations include weekly prayers every Friday. Social functions such as Baisakhi are celebrated. Old relics-an old handwritten volume of Guru Granth Sahib, a portrait of Guru Teg Bahadur are preserved here.
15. Shoparjito shadhinita: Translated in English as Self-earned Independence, ‘Shoparjito Shadhinota’ was built in early 90s in front of TSC (Teachers-Students Centre), Dhaka University. At the time of inaugurating the sculpture, hardliner Islamists threatened to destroy it. Ms Shikdar who created this sculpture, promised to strip anyone whoever approaches to do so being present at the spot early morning on the day of inauguration. Nothing happened and the sculpture is still standing with pride
16. Shadhinota songram sculpture: The sculpture ‘Swadhinata Sangram’ is the embodiment of the consciousness and struggle of Bengali’s. Eminent sculptor Shamim Sikder erected this grand sculpture. Holding the national flag on the top, the huge statue shows faces of several historical persons. The artisan has also created one hundred and three small sculptures around the altar of liberation memorial sculpture. Images of prominent persons and different scenes of Bengali culture have been included in the garden. Four phases of history: 1952/69/71/75 been represented including the history of the Liberation War.
17. Road accident memorial: White statue of a smashed microbus set on black stone under blue sky surrounded by green row of trees. Renowned director and filmmaker Tareque Masud and Mishuk Munir had passed away on 13 August of 2011 in a road accident. A sculpture of the car carrying on the day of the accident is used to build it. The sculpture is established in the VC Square of Dhaka University near the teacher-student center.
18. Greek memorial: A small yellow building that looks a little like a Greek temple faces the campus wall near the TSC (Teacher-Student Center) of Dhaka University. It looks old and was in very bad state until the 1960s, when university authorities renovated it. A mysterious inscription is written on the frieze above the entrance to the building. “Happy are those whom you chose and took with you”. It refers to the nine gravestones, which are embedded in the walls. Four written in Greek, four in English, and one is in both languages. They belong to Greek families who lived in Dhaka 150-200 years ago long before the establishment of Dhaka University in the site.
19. Bangla academy: Bangla Academy , Bangladesh’s national academy of arts and letters is an institution devoted to the development of language, literature and culture of our country. Bangla Academy building, formerly known as Burdwan House, contains an exclusive colonial style of late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally a two storied building, it is rectangular in plan, the central bay holding the main entrance portico being projected out. A wide arcaded verandah runs in front of the building at both levels with balustrade railings. The arches are all semicircular which conform to the 19th century style. The wide verandahs not only act as shading devices but also protect the rooms from rain and provide easy circulation with adequate lighting and ventilation. The semicircular open balconies add spice to the beauty of this simplistic building.
20. Moder Gorob: Language martyr’s monument situated in the premise of bangle academy. This monument is dedicated to the soldiers of 1952 language movement; young people from different background protested valiantly demanding the same right.
It’s going to take a whole day to roam around my campus and get to know the prideful history. So, make schedule for a day, put it in your itinerary and enjoy ‘Campus Tourism’.