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Dhaka, bursting with nearly 17 million people is a gloriously noisy and chaotic place, bubbling with energy. The capital city of Bangla is home to numerous government colleges, a nuclear-science training and research centre, the national library, a museum, and the national art gallery. It is also the most industrialised region in the country with a thriving manufacturing sector which includes chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, and electronics products. Traditional products include muslin, embroidery, silk and jewellery. Dhaka is also one of the strongest garment export market in the world.
Dhaka’s name is said to refer to the dhak tree, once common in the area, or to Dhakeshwari (“The Hidden Goddess”), whose shrine is located in the western part of the city. Although the city’s history can be traced to the 1st millennium CE, the city did not rise to prominence until the 17th century, when it served as the capital of the Muslim Mughal dynasty of Bengal province. It was the centre of a flourishing sea trade, attracting English, French, Armenian, Portuguese, and Dutch traders.
It's a city that can sometimes threaten to overwhelm the casual visitor, but once you climb into the back of one of its myriad colourful cycle-rickshaws, Dhaka's charm starts to slowly reveal itself. Life flows from the boats on the Buriganga River to its unexpectedly green parks and university campuses. Mughal and British monuments speak of its history, its mosques and Hindu temples of its spiritual side, and the thriving arts and restaurant scenes – plus the rush to build new roads and a metro railway system – give a glimpse of the direction of future travel.
Dhaka isn't without challenges, but sooner or later you'll start to move to its rhythm and truly embrace this furiously beating heart of Bengali culture.
What is special or unique about your city?
Welcome to Dhaka! Dhaka, formerly known as Dacca, is the capital city of Bangladesh. It lies in the southern part of Asia and Set beside the eastern banks of the Buriganga River. It is also the 4th most densely populated city in the world. Dhaka is the chief economic, political and cultural center of Bangladesh
Dhaka is the most populous city of Bangladesh and is characterized by its busy urban life with vibrant and versatile culture including many festivities, variety of cuisine, entertainment industry and sites of interests.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
The first impression newcomers typically have is the vibrant culture and Bangladeshi cuisines that the city exudes. People are usually taken aback initially by the extreme contrasts in social classes. Shoulders and on the other side, in the midst of skyscrapers, are the areas with poverty. And yet, there is a "live and let live" outlook to the typical Dhakaiya. The city was once called the Venice of the East.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Unlikely, as most expatriates that have been lucky enough to experience Ahmedabad report fond memories that will last a lifetime.
What is the local language?
Bangla, is the national language, is spoken by the predominant majority population of Dhaka. English is the principal second language and spoken by educated people living in the city.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
As mentioned above, since English is spoken only within the educated communities it is recommended to learn the basics of Bengali language so that one can easily get on with life in the city.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
The predominant religion is Islam. As such, following the customs and culture followed by Muslim and not offending their sentiments will be appreciated.
The following are some other tips to avoid offending the residents of Dhaka:
- Status is often determined by a person's age, education level and profession
- Shorts are acceptable for men only when jogging. It is preferable that women who jog wear track pants but that is not mandatory
- If you host a meal, keep in mind that Bangladesh is famous for its cuisines. Generally, Hindus do not eat beef, Muslims do not eat pork
- Alcohol should be avoided until you are certain that your host approves of it. Even if alcohol is acceptable, do not get drunk
- If you're invited to dine at somebody's house, a basket of fruits or sweets is the common gift to bring
- It is impolite to help yourself with second servings. Wait to be asked and for someone else to serve you
- Be respectful when visiting holy sites, no matter what condition they are in. Smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited in holy sites. Always speak in soft tones. Some sites do not allow non-believers to enter
- Bangladeshi’s of all ethnic groups disapprove of public displays of affection between men and women and most people avoid public contact between men and women
- Pointing with your finger is considered rude
- Whistling in public is unacceptable
- Never point your feet at another person as feet are considered unclean
- To tip a taxi driver, simply round off the fare
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Dhaka has a tropical savanna climate. The city has a distinct monsoonal season, with an annual average temperature of 26 to 30 degrees .The monsoon usually last between May and October. The city's precarious location in the low-lying Ganges delta, coupled with a poor drainage system, makes the area prone to flooding during the monsoon, hence it is advisable to be cautious during the monsoon and avoid visiting low lying areas. Being a small city with a large population, the increased number of traffic on the road causes sound and air pollution, which are affecting public health and the quality of life in the city.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Bangladeshis are well known for their hospitality. The average people are friendly and kind. The new generation - mostly millennials, are more open to living their life by trying to incorporate western lifestyles.