Meeting Mohammad before heading towards Sylhet was not in my plan! I and Urs were supposed to go to Sylhet together and planned everything according to that. But later he joined us because they both are being good friends for a long time. Traveling with two old friends sometimes gives you the feeling of an outsider! So, keeping that fact in my mind, I planned to meet Mohammad in Old Dhaka on the day before.
I have already mentioned in my earlier blogs, that I haven’t explored Dhaka from a traveler’s perspective. That’s why whenever I get the chance, I never miss that! Meeting him and exploring together to some places was a good idea for both of us. I texted him a day before that we could meet up in Dhakeswari Temple around 12:30 PM and later we can go to some other places! The route was very clear and I planned to cover a lot within a short period. Also, I sent some locations that we could also plan before he comes.
I woke up like other days with a morning alarm and prepared to start by 10:30 AM from my place because it takes time to go to Old Dhaka from Mirpur. Though I will take my usual short cut rickshaw ride, still that would be sensible to start early! When I reached very close to Dhanmondi 27, it was almost 11:30 AM and I felt like texting him for a wake-up call. On my way, I texted him that we were meeting within an hour! No reply! The message was sent but not seen! Okay, so I preferred to get down in the Bengal Boi and wait for him to reply! I had their amazing singhara and reasonable milk tea. If you want, you can also go for breakfast and enjoy the lovely environment inside.
It was 12:15 PM but no text at all! Now I was getting confused about his existence. Well, I thought to go back home first but later decided to go and explore alone. I took another rickshaw and dropped down in the New Market, grabbed another to go to Dhakeswari Temple which is the national Hindu temple in Bangladesh. Usually, you won’t find a lot to see but during Puja, you will get to see a lot as a part of the celebration.
Oh yes, I kept trying to contact you but there was nobody from the other side to reply. I reached to temple around 1:30 PM and waited in front of the gate until 2:0 PM for him to reply! To the readers, please note that the temple is a very secure place to visit. You will always find duty policies around. That will make you feel better while entering the Temple.
Finally, he received and said he was jetlagged. Oh, God! He said he will try to come within half an hour but he didn’t have a charge on his phone due to have no electricity in his hotel. What an amazing day for me!! I entered inside the temple and guess what? It gets closed from 2 PM to 4 PM every day. If you want to go to the main temple, be reach there before 2 PM or after 4 PM. I couldn’t get inside the main temple but saw some places around. The security closed the gate and I had to leave within 10 mins from the outside gate. The temple is a very peaceful and beautiful place to explore and take a seat. You have to remove your shoes and drop them at the counter to go inside the main temple. The sound of Mondira and devoted people will make you feel better as always.
Later I have decided to go to Tara Mosque because it is famous for its ornate designs and is decorated with motifs of blue stars. It was built in the first half of the 19th century by Mirza Golam Pir. I took a rickshaw to the Tara Mosque that cost 60 takas for 2.0 km but you can also walk if you want! The reason I didn’t walk because in Old Dhaka the roads are very congested and overcrowded. Especially when girls walk on the streets people intentionally try to harass them. That’s the reason I prefer to take rickshaw rides to avoid teasing. On my way to Tara Mosque, I saw Dhaka Central Jail, Lalbagh Fort! You can get down and see around if you want but I already explored those places before. In between my ride to Tara Mosque I found Mohammad has texted me. I told him to come to Tara Mosque instead of Dhakeswari Temple. The Mosque looked nice but I believe the beauty would be more visible if the people could clean this amazing creation very often! I am a Muslim girl and I know how to stay calm and behave in front of the Mosque. So, I covered my hair and waited for Mohammad.
In the meantime, there were some local guys showed up and started asking questions like teasers. I was scared because of their outlook and body language. Suddenly a plan came up in my mind that I will hide my identity from them to avoid harassment. I told them that I don’t understand Bangla and I came from Sri Lanka for a special assignment. I was brave but also trembling inside with fear of those local goons who could stalk me in many ways! They started talking bad things about me in Bangla to see my response but I was not responsive. So, they left the place but waiting opposite the mosque. At that moment I wanted to kill him for not being there on time. Suddenly I got a call and he said, he is there! Thanks to Allah for saving my life from those teasers! I was so happy and relieved to see him at that crucial moment. We talked and listened to his reason for being late and started walking towards the Ahsan Manzil. While crossing that place, I found those guys were looking at me.
If you are a foreigner, I would suggest you leave those places before it gets dark! Especially if you a female solo traveler, you always have to be ready to face such kinds of situations anytime. Preparing yourself before you explore Old Dhaka or anywhere in Dhaka would be a smart approach.
We took a rickshaw to the Ahsan Manzil that costs 50 takas! At the time we reached the place, we heard that Ahsan Manzil remain close on Thursday! So, Mohammad has decided to walk and eat something since he didn’t eat anything after waking up. I told him that my house is very far, so I should start early from Old Dhaka. I left around 4:30 PM and reached home at 7:45 PM! I was super exhausted and had to prepare myself for the next trip to Sylhet.
Meeting Mohammad on my first day was not a good experience but later we created an amazing friendship within 4 days trip! He is a super-genius guy with amazing storytelling skills. And you know what? He is organized than anybody in this world and has his own excel sheet for his travel backpack! He is brave but scared of something that you can’t even imagine! I promised him that I will go to his city with a lot of rats to annoy him as much as I can! Yes, he is really scared of it and I can imagine his expression while seeing me at his place with a bunch of rats! That would be small revenge for the day in Old Dhaka 😊 !!!
Oh, before I leave, about vehicles, you can walk, take a Rickshaw or Bike to explore Old Dhaka. Best if you avoid cars or CNG autorickshaw, because the roads are tiny. On the way to your destinations, you can also enjoy street foods like Kabab, Lucchi, Paratha, Zilapi, Mishti (Sweets), Yogurt, Vhuna Khichuri, Aloor Chop, Singhara, Beguni, Chotpoti, Fuchka and many more….I have a plan to write a blog on foods of Old Dhaka for you soon!
Well, guys let me know if you want to ask me more questions!