Trees have already spruced up, as dusty old leaves give way to fresh green. The new leaves and refreshing air welcome Baishakh. In Baishakh, the first month of the Bangla new year and summer, the leafy trees become laden with colourful fruit and heady fragrance.
While nature bursts out in festivity, the people too enjoy celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the year. The celebration begins in Dhaka with the Mangal Shobhajatra on Dhaka University campus. This lively parade was recognised as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2017.
Celebrators dress in colourful clothes and take to the streets with family and friends. Pahela Baishakh is a government holiday and the revellers prefer to go around the city rather than remaining idle indoors. Here are some places you may visit to celebrate the Pahela Baishakh.
Ramna Park and Suhrawardy Udyan
Ramna Park is the epicentre of Baishakh celebrations. The key programme of the traditional event takes place under a banyan tree inside the park which is replete with rare trees. A large number of singers perform under the banyan tree, a historical symbol of our socio-cultural heritage. The crowds stream through the park throughout the day.
Suhrawardy Udyan also attracts the crowds. The park is located between Ramna Park the Dhaka University campus.
Dhaka University Campus
The Dhaka University students organise a number of events on campus. The programmes vary from colourful rides to puppet shows, stage performances and traditional games. The Fine Arts Institute, better known as Charukala, arranges the ‘Mangal Shubhajatra’ in the morning. The campus turns into an ocean of Baishakh celebrators on the day. One can have the traditional Pantha-Ilish, a meal of water-soaked rice and hilsa fish, on the campus.
Diaya Bari, a place in Dhaka’s Uttara area is quite an open field to walk, run and have fun. There is a lake in the Diya Bari area where visitors can enjoy paddle-boat rides.
‘Teen-sho Feet’ is named the 300 ft road that runs through the area. It’s an ideal place to catch a breath of fresh air and enjoy a peaceful spell of time. The road runs through an open field in Purbachal, located on the edge of Dhaka city. It’s a great getaway from the bustling city and has a string of delicious food stalls. It is like a village within the city and has recently become a great favourite among the city dwellers.
Ashulia is also located in the suburbs of Dhaka city. It has two amusement parks - Fantasy Kingdom and Nandan. These parks are perfect places to spend quality time with family and friends, particularly for the little ones.
Rabindra Sarabar is one of the top choices for Baishakh revellers. It is basically an amphitheatre and a good place for cultural events. On Pahela Baishakh, ones can enjoy the natural beauty and cultural programmes here on the banks of Dhanmondi Lake.
Victoria Park and Jagannath University
Victoria Park is another favourite. The park is full of greenery. It is located in Old Dhaka, in front of the Jagannath University. The park is a fantastic place to have fun and pass time under the shade of trees. Different cultural organisations arrange Baishakhi programmes on the historic stage inside the park. You may participate in Baishakhi celebration on Jagannath University campus. You also may walk to the biggest launch (ferry) terminal of the country, Sadarghat, just 10 minutes away from the park.
Ahsan Manzil, which once was a palace of Dhaka’s aristocratic Nawabs, is historic site to visit. The palace is located on the banks of the river Buriganga in Old Dhaka. The old architecture and river scenes are a delight to behold. The huge compound of the palace is also an ideal place to spend time with family and friends.
National Martyrs’ Memorial
The National Martyrs’ Memorial, better known as Smriti Shoudha, is nearly 35 kilometres away from the heart of the capital, a symbol of the country’s war of independence. Its expansive grounds and natural beauty attract huge crowds every day. It is one of the top choices on Pahela Baishakh too. The National Martyrs’ Memorial could be the top choice to spend the day.
Apart from the beautiful architecture on the campus of Jahangirnagar University, one can enjoy natural beauty there. The campus is crisscrossed with several lakes, which are full of water lilies and often with migratory birds. Ones can enjoy a long walk through the calm and quiet surroundings.
National Zoo and National Garden
According to the National Zoo authorities, nearly 4 million people visit Bangladesh National Zoo every year. The zoo is located in Mirpur area of the capital. Bangladesh National Zoo website claims it has over 2,000 animals from 165 species. It is one of the top choices on Pahela Baishakh celebrators.
The zoo is adjacent to the National Botanical Garden of Bangladesh which stretches around 210-acre. The garden accommodates 100,000 specimens of plants. It is also a top choice for nature lovers and Pahela Baishakh revellers.