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Bangladesh: Dhaka - Land of the Rickshaw

Dhaka (formerly Dacca) is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Located in the geographic center of the country in the great deltaic region of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, Dhaka has one thing most other Bang cities do not: rickshaws. Hundreds of thousands of rickshaws.

Rickshaws are one of the most famous sights in and Dhaka. And whether you stay a few days or a few weeks, it is impossible not to see or literally run into one. Recent estimates peg the number of Dhaka rickshaws at over a quarter million -- making this convenient and smog-free mode of travel one of the cities main sources of income for nearly 5 million individuals.

Brightly colored and a heck of lot more pleasing to the eye than the motorized and annoying "tuk-tuk", the rickshaw is practically a national institution. Far from appreciated, but used by citizens up and down the social ladder, Dhaka rickshaws are not just a poor man's taxi. Often personalized and decorated with colorful paintings and murals of everything from famous Bollywood actors, cricket players and global politicians to animals, birds and flowers. Some have pictures of mosques, village scenes or famous buildings. Some might even carry political statements. A few tell stories but most are just there to look colorful.

A rickshaw ban proposed by the World Bank in 2005 almost singled the end of the rickshaw in Dhaka. But the proposed ban lost out when it was sighted that vehicular traffic only accounts for about 9% of the daily traffic flow in and around Dhaka.

So the next time you're in Dhaka, forget about a pricey taxi or even getting around on foot. The rickshaw is the ay to go. And while you're touring the city, check out the hotels and accommodations links for great resources regarding places to stay, eat and most of all - have fun.



User Comments & Reviews: 1 Comment(s)

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Syed Saiful Alam - 2009-09-26 14:36:28

Saving the planet one step at a time Have you heard of climate change? Temperatures are getting higher. Storms are getting worse. Ice is melting and sea levels are rising. Portions of the coast of Bangladesh are likely to go underwater, lost forever. Millions will become homeless. The ability of the earth to sustain people is threatened. Why is climate change happening? Because people are burning up fossil fuels (diesel, petrol, natural gas, coal) at such rapid rates that future generations are now threatened. Is it possible to slow climate change? Yes, but we cannot continue to waste time. Carbon dioxide levels are rising rapidly. That is where the number 350 comes in. If we can limit CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million then we can avoid the worst of the harm to come. Is there anything we can do? No one person cam stop climate change but everyone contributes something significant. We can slow out own use of fossil fuels by walking and cycling and taking cycle rickshaws rather than using motorized transport. We can reduce our use of electricity. We can avoid, as a nation, burning coal (pure carbon) or selling it to others to burn. We can encourage the government to act to encourage reductions in fuel use and to encourage walking, cycling, and rickshaws. This will mean making some changes. Fortunately most of those changes are likely to increase rather than reduce our quality of life. Imagine being able to cycle safely in Dhaka. Imagine the air being fresh and clean. Imagine children and youth being able to play in side streets. If we move our focus from cars to people, from traveling long distances to accessing basic needs close to home, we can reduce congestion and all the misery it causes, We can have more time with family and for the other important parts of life. Remember 350 is not just a number. It is not just an ideal. It is something we can all work to make a reality.

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