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Darasbari Mosque - Historic Bengal Architecture

As one of the mosques built in the era of Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah, ruler of Bengal between 1474 and 1481, Darasbari Mosque is a typical Bengali Jami Masjid from that period. Built of red-tinged bricks and featuring decorative terracotta on both the interior and exterior, the mosque now lies in ruins with no roof and a collapsed verandah, but nevertheless retains some of its former splendor. The mosque takes its name from the fact that it was located within a place of learning, a darasbari, referring to the madrasa located on the east of the mosque.

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Features

The Marma Tribe of Bangladesh

Members of the Marma tribe of Bangladesh are located mainly in the rural villages of the hill districts of Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati in the Chittagong Division. They are the second largest ethnic group in Bangladesh, and as descendants of the Arakanese people of Myanmar (Burma), they are primarily followers of Theravada Buddhism – an ancient form of Buddhist teachings dating back to around 250 BCE that has been experiencing a revival in a number of Asian countries and in the Western world.

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Protecting a Precious Resource - Ilish

Referred to locally as Ilish, Hilsa Shad is undoubtedly the most popular fish in Bangladeshi cuisine, and is an important source of nourishment throughout the country. The Bay of Bengal is home to three species of Hilsa Shad - Hilsa kelee, Hilsa toil and Hilsa ilisha. Unlike most tropical water fish species, Hilsa ilisha is anadromous – migrating long distances up rivers to spawn – and is caught at various stages of its lifecycle, both in the Bay of Bengal and along the many rivers of Bangladesh. The other two species - Hilsa kelee and Hilsa toil - are not found in fresh-water rivers, but remain in the marine waters of the Bay of Bengal.

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Historical Capital of Gaud

The historical site of Gaud (also Gaur), some 100km from Rajshahi, is renowned for its many ancient mosques. These Islamic architectural wonders were constructed largely during the Muslim Sultanate and Mughal period when Gaud served as the capital of Bengal. Located along the Indian border with Bangladesh, the site of Gaud extends into both countries, and includes such noteworthy mosques as Chhota Sona Masjid, Darasbari Mosque, Khania Dighi Mosque, Madrassa and Tahkhana.

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Features

The Fascinating Oriental Magpie Robin

With its statue of two birds with outstretched wings, Doyel Chatwar in Dhaka is a tribute to the national bird of Bangladesh – the Magpie Robin, or more specifically the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis) of the family Muscicapidae, order Passeriformes. Referred to locally as doyel or doel, this attractive little bird is displayed on the currency notes of Bangladesh and is a common sight throughout the country, in both rural and urban settings.

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Kantojiu Temple – Terracotta Treasure

The ancient Hindu temple of Kantojiu is located in the Dinajpur District of Bangladesh. Constructed over a period of fifty years (1702-1752) the building of the temple was initiated by Maharaja Pran Nath and concluded during the reign of his son, Maharaja Ramnath. Kantojiu Temple originally featured nine spires typical of the nava-ratna architectural style, but the earthquake of 1897 destroyed the spires and they were never reconstructed. Nevertheless, the temple remains an architecture marvel featuring some of the best examples of terracotta adornment to be found in Bangladesh.

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Features

Shahidul Alam – Promoting Bangladeshi Visual Arts

Born in Dhaka in 1955, Shahidul Alam has built a successful career in photography, both in Bangladesh and internationally, receiving his first award in 1983 – the Harvey Harris Trophy awarded by the London Arts Council for being judged as the best photographer of the year. Having studied in London and obtaining a PhD from the University of London, Alam returned to Dhaka in 1984, and in 1989 he set up the Drik Picture Library as a collaborative project with Bangladeshi anthropologist and writer, Rahnuma Ahmed. Using the Sanskrit word to describe inner vision and philosophy as it name, the Drik Picture Library provided a platform for photographers to display their work and explore new avenues in the ever-advancing world of photography.

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Shaharpara – Birthplace of the Kamali Tribe

Steeped in history and a tribute to its heritage, the village of Shaharpara is located around twenty-five miles west of Sylhet City on the banks of the River Ratna in the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh. This peaceful, but vibrant, village in the scenic district of Sunamganj takes its name from the Bengali term for 'King', Shahar, and 'inhabitance', Para, being a reference to Hajrat Shah Kamal, who was influential in the establishment of the village and the Kamali tribe of Bangladesh.

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