Barisal

Barisal is a district in south-central Bangladesh, formerly called Bakerganj district, established in 1797. Its headquarters are in the city of Barisal, which is also the headquarters of Barisal Division. The district is surrounded by Chandpur, Madaripur and Shariatpur districts on the north; Jhalokati, Barguna and Patuakhali districts on the south; Lakhimpur, Bhola district and Meghna river on the east and Pirojpur, Jhalokati and Gopalganj districts on the west. There are numerous rivers in this district namely Kirtonkhola, Meghna, Arial Khan, Andharmanik, Maskata, Joyonti, and Sandhya. The maximum annual average temperature is 35.1 °C, minimum 12.1 °C; annual rainfall is 1955 mm. Barisal’s economy is mostly based on farming and fishing.

History: In early times the Barisal region was composed of an amalgamation of marshlands formed by the merging of islands brought into existence and built up by alluvial soils washed down the great channels of the combined Brahmaputra-Ganges-Meghna river systems. In the early 13th century, when Muhammad bin Tughluq completely conquered eastern Bengal, Hindu chieftains from northwest Bengal were dislodged from power and they dispersed over Barisal region and founded the kingdom of Bakla. During the Mughal conquest of Bengal, Hindu society was concentrated in northern and western Barisal (known as Bakarganj). Barisal’s southern portion was still covered by forests and laced with lagoons. The northwest was also the only part of Bakarganj where the Hindu population exceeded Muslims in early British censuses. Barisal saw the second wave of immigration in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This time, it was Muslim pioneers who assumed the leading role. Establishing Dhaka as the provincial Mughal capital of the region, in the early 17th century the Barisal region (known as Sarkar Bakla to Mughals) was more accessible to businessmen and developers than at any previous time. Barisal was a semi-independent area in the Mughal period because of heavy fighting between them and Hindu chiefs. In course of time, it fell under the Bengal Nawabs, the last being Raja Ramranjan Chakravarty and then colonial British India, later passed to East Pakistan at independence and finally Bangladesh.

The ancient city of Barisal was known as Bacola in Europe. Ralph Fitch, the first ever Englishman, a leather merchant, known to have visited Bengal in the mid 1580s, described Barisal in his journal as, “From Chatigan in Bengal, I came to Bacola; the king whereof is a Gentile, a man very well disposed and delighted much to shoot in a gun. His country is very great and fruitful and hath store of rice, much cotton cloth, and cloth of silk. The houses are very fair and high built, the streets large, and people naked, except a little cloth about their waist. The women wear a great store of silver hoops about their necks and arms, and their legs are ringed with silver and copper, and rings made from elephants’ teeth.”

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: The Barisal Airport is located within the Barisal city and is connected to the capital Dhaka airport.

Road: There are multiple bus services from Dhaka to Barisal through the road N8.

Ferry: There are regular ferry services operated by various operators and various launch and steamer from Dhaka and Chandpur. Greenline Paribahan operates catamaran boats during the daytime. While the other launches sail during the night.

Local:  For local transportation, there is auto rickshaw, battery operated small vehicles, buses and cars for hire.

Tourist Interest:

Guthia Mosque: The Baitul Aman Jame Masjid Complex, commonly known as Guthia Mosque of Barisal, is a mosque complex of Barisal having a land area of 14 acres.

Durgasagar Dighi: Durga Sagar, known locally as Madhabpasha Dighi, is the biggest pond in southern Bangladesh. It has a total area of about 2500 hectares. Rani Durgabati, the mother of Raja Joy Narayan, had the pond excavated in 1780. There is a small island in the middle of the lake.

Kuakata Beach: Kuakata beach is a sandy expanse 18 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide. From the beach, one can have an unobstructed view of both sunrise and sunset over the Bay of Bengal.

Floating Guava Market and Guava Garden: This can be seen only during the fruiting season. Guava Garden can be seen in Jhalokati, Banaripara and Swarupkati. The floating market can be seen on the Kirtipasha canal at Bhiimruli.

Tour Planner:

This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip.

Day 1: Move around the Barisal city by foot. Visit the river port, the Guthia Mosque and the Durgasagar Dighi. During the fruiting season, one can visit the guava garden and the floating market too on the same day.

Day 2: Kuakata Beach is situated far from Barisal city so it will take a full day trip to visit the beach and get back. One can stay near the beach as there are some hotels available.

Hotels: There are few standard hotels in Barisal. Online booking is only available for the Hotel Grand Park Barisal. The other hotels are Hotel Arena, Hotel Athena International, Hotels Sedona and a few other budget hotels.

Read my experience in Barisal.

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