1/10/2009 to 1/13/2009 | Bangladesh

Bagerhat to Rajshahi

I spent my one day in Khulna taking a day trip to Bagerhat, site of several 15th century mosques and tombs, including the tomb of a venerated sufi saint by the name of Khan Jahan Ali which is the primary draw for Bangladeshi pilgrims.  While the architecture is not spectacular (especially when compared to that of neighboring India), as with many “sights” in Bangladesh, it’s more about giving direction to one’s wanderings rather than visiting the actual monuments.  Bagerhat provided a pleasant day of wondering from mosque to mosque via the lush countryside, stopping on occasion to speak with friendly locals.

From Khulna I continued north to Rajshahi, a pleasant town on the left bank of the Padma River separating it from India, but more of interest as base to explore neighboring Purthia, with its 19th century palace and temples, Natore (more temples and palaces), and the ruins of the ancient city of Gaud straddling the India/Bangladesh border to the northeast.  As Bangladeshi sights go Purthia is among the best.  It’s a pleasant village dotted with 19th century temples built in the Bengali terracotta style and a couple atmospheric decaying palaces (Rajbaris).  Nearby Natore is less interesting (especially when visiting it after Purthia) also boasting a crumbling palace and a handful of less ornate temples.  My second day in Rajshahi I headed out to visit some of the sights Gaud along the Indian border, at one time a major city of the region but now a collection of scattered ruins amidst rice patties and villages.  Again while the 15th and 16th century mosques themselves could not be described as spectacular they provided useful direction in exploring the beautiful countryside and villages surrounding the area.

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