Bengal Holidays

Bangladesh is one of the most genial, fascinating and stimulating countries in the world. Here's a little background...


Bangladesh was first part of the Mughal Empire for more than five centuries. It was once the eastern portion of the historical region of Bengal along with what is now the Indian state of West Bengal and the Pakistani province of East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan). In 1971 it became the independent country of Bangladesh, with Dhaka as its capital,


Bangladesh is situated on the northern coast of the Bay of Bengal and is surrounded by India with the Indian states of West Bengal to the west and north, Assam to the north, Meghalaya to the north and northeast, and Tripura and Mizoram to the east. To the southeast, it shares a border with Myanmar (Burma).

It is the largest delta in the world with the sacred river Ganges, Brahmaputra and Jamuna all flowing through the country and finally into the Bay of Bengal.


Bangladesh, ‘the mother land of rivers’, has a unique history of culture, dating back more than three thousand years. This long history has also created a many-sided and unique folk heritage which is remarkably different from any neighboring country. Over the centuries, the culture of Bangladesh has been shaped and influenced by Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. Naturally, and traditionally, the inhabitants of Bangladesh are peaceful and tolerant, and as a result Bangladesh is well known worldwide as a friendly, moderate Muslim country.


Bangladesh boasts a rich literary heritage reflecting the long history of the region. Composed in the 8th century, ‘Charyapada’ is the earliest literary text in the Bengali language. The era of modern Bengali literature began in the nineteenth century, with the Nobel laureate poet Rabindra Nath Tagore and the National poet Kazi Nazrul Islam publishing great works. Michael Madhusudan Datta, Sarat Chandra Chattapadhaya, Mir Mosharraf Hossain, Bankim Chandra Chattapaddhya, Begum Rokeya, Sufia Kamal are the best-known pioneers of modern Bengali literature.


The major religion practiced in Bangladesh is Islam (89.7%) while a sizable minority is Hindu (9.2%). Other religious groups include Buddhist (0.7% mostly Theravada), Christians (0.3% mostly Roman Catholic denomination), and animists (0.1%)


There are many traditional and very popular forms of folk music throughout Bangladesh. These include Baul, Bhatiali , Marifati, Murshidi, Bhawaiya with lyrics rooted into vibrant tradition, mysticism, spirituality and devotion. Lalon Shah, Hason Raza, Romesh Shill, Kangal Harinath, Abbus Uddin, Shah Abdul Karim and many unknown lyricists have enriched the traditional folk songs of Bangladesh.

Today’s popular classical singers include Kishor Kumar , Manna Dey, Vhupen Hazarica, Lata Mungeshkar, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Abdul Zabbar and Subir Nandi.


Rice and Hilsha fish are the staple foods of Bangladesh and are available everywhere. Count too on discovering plenty of curries – many of which you will be familiar with from Indian menus – lentil soups and a huge range of sweets. Bangladeshis are also blessed with a mouthwatering array of fresh fruit.

Depending on the season, mango, jackfruit, banana, litchi, pineapple, lemon, guava, papaya, apple, wood apple, tamarind, watermelon, orange, pomegranates, are all available. Summer is treated as ‘fruit festival season’ in Bangladesh when almost all fruits are available.


Bangladeshi people wear different clothes depending on their age, location and social class. The sari is by far the most widely worn dress by women, followed by the salwar kameez. Bangladeshi men wear kurta-pajama combinations on religious and cultural occasions, the lungi, a kind of sarong as casual wear and shirts and trousers on more formal occasions. In urban areas some women wear western attire and it is more widely adopted among men. Travellers should dress modestly although a loose fitting t-shirt and trousers is also fine.


The climate of Bangladesh is subtropical. Temperatures range from an average daytime low of 21˚ in the cold season, to 35˚Celcius in the hot season. Bangladeshi climate has a mild winter from November to March, and a hot, humid summer from March to June. Monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most rainfall of the country. Winter is the best time to visit Bangladesh, when the weather is dry and fresh, although the rainy season offers adventurers a unique opportunity to experience this ‘riverine’ country at its greenest.