Lalbagh Fort Dhaka
The Lalbagh Fort is a great and beautiful place to escape the busy city center. I had a little problem at first to amuse myself in Dhaka. Dhaka is not only very busy, extensive and incredible populated. Imagine, around 400.000 rickshaws riding around, 13 million people live here which makes Dhaka the 9th largest city in the world. Not the best place to be for a cyclist.
The Lalbagh Fort was build during the reign of Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb by his son Prince Muhammad Azam in late 17th century, when he was the viceroy of Bengal. However, it was not completed during his reign.
Within years, due to a lack of money, the local rulers leased the fort to the British who used it a police headquarters. The British added more buildings in the complex but ignored the Mogul architecture.
During the restorations of the Lalbagh Fort many of those British additions are removed and the compound is brought back to it's original design.
The location of the fort is strategic, along the river banks in the heart of Dhaka city.
The fort was surrounded by a high wall and had several gateways. There is one on the south eastern corner. There are two city gateways, one of which is opposite to the southern gate. The south part was heavily fortified, which makes sense as attacks could be expected from the river, amongst other the Portuguese and pirates.
The main buildings in the Lalbagh Fort are the Audience Hall, Pari Bibi's Tomb and the Mosque.
I was wandering over the compound. Dhaka was the only place in Bangladesh were I found foreigners. I guessed many of them were working here, maybe United Nation, maybe for international companies but there were hardly travelers. Maybe for that reason everyone was interested to hear where I was from.
I walked around, saw the Pari Bibi, the Mosque and the Audience Hall. There are different stories about the identity of Pari Bibi although it is commonly believed she was the daughter of Nawab Shaista Khan and was engaged to Prince Azam. Pari Bibi's grave in the center.
It's not totally clear who build the audience hall. The most likely candidate was Prince Azam Khan. It's the most eastern located building and is a two storey building. The building has a bathhouse with a hot water reservoir.
I spend a few hours here, simply to escape the city. Being already not a city person, I found the Lalbagh Fort an oasis of peace and quietness.
Other places I visited in Bangladesh:
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Sonargaon - Panam Nagar
Only 29 km away and a great day out of the turbulent city, Sonargaon has a lot of archaeological values but it's also a good way to meet some amazingly nice locals.
Capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka is a huge metropolis. There's plenty to explore. From the Lalbagh Fort to Sonargaon, eatery and getting there away info, check it out: