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Dhaka: a city beyond definition (Photography locations/spots in Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Updated on May 23, 2012

Dhaka, a city beyond definition. A city which we hate more than we love. But also a city we love more than we hate. A city which has the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It is a city of dreams and a city where the dreams of millions are broken every day. There is a common phrase coined about Dhaka - “Dhaka maney taka” – which means “Dhaka means money”. Thousands flood the city every year in search of that elusive dream, a dream to make a better life for themselves. But many find reality in the narrow streets of Dhaka, or while lost in the crowd of a hundred faces, or drowned in the ringing of a thousand rickshaws. Dhaka is a city where there is an unfathomable abyss between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the deprived, the powerful and the helpless. Where democracy is sometimes a word and not a meaning, where laws are sometimes written but only for the sake of writing and where the lives of many are measurable by the loose change in a rich man’s pocket. Is it possible to make any sense of this frenzied, chaotic and mind-numbing city of millions? I love my Dhaka, but sometimes it is like the love of a parent who knows his child is suffering from an incurable disease, or so far beyond into the clutches of an addiction that there is no return.

It is said that a picture speaks more than a thousand words - but how many pictures will it take to define what is Dhaka? Will it ever be possible to capture the soul of Dhaka through the lens of a camera?

The following are some of the areas within or near Dhaka which are good places for practicing photography. Of course the list is not exhaustive and there are surely many many more areas within Dhaka that are good for photography. I shall try to update this blog from time-to-time to include new areas if I come across them.

Lakes:

Lakes within Dhaka are good areas for practicing photography. They may or may not provide exceptional unique shots but are good areas where beginners can polish their photography skills. People of different classes frequent Lakes. During the early morning health and fitness conscious people can be found walking, jogging and exercising in the lake areas. Laughing groups, karate groups, skating groups and kids playing cricket are a common sight in the morning. Afternoons are usually a bit sparse but you will catch sight of the odd couple or lovers spending some quiet time at the lake side. Evenings are usually quite busy with people addafying and eating fuchkaas and china-badams around the lake sides. Evenings are also good for catching the dying sun and its reflection on the lake! Landscape photography, lifestyle photography and night photography are the major types of photography that may be suitable for lakes. The Dhanmondi Lake and the Gulshan Lakes are great places for such photography practice. Below are a few examples of photographs taken at the Dhanmondi Lake.

Shows the magnificent Dhanmondi Lake with the iconic Jahaj Bari in the background
Shows the magnificent Dhanmondi Lake with the iconic Jahaj Bari in the background | Source
Play with reflections!
Play with reflections!

Mohammadpur Beribaad:

Located around the outskirts of Dhaka but amazingly close from Dhanmondi (it takes around 20 minutes from RD 27 to go to the Beribaad Budhijibi Memorial site by rickshaw), the Mohammadpur Beribaad is a treasure trove for photographers. Elements such as street kids, boats and the river, working people, street markets, construction sites, etc, are available for photography. The area provides a stark contrast between the well-off people of the city (Dhanmondi, Lalmatia, Mohammadpur) and the people of the Beribaad who are struggling to make ends meet every day. Its not the most easiest of places for photography and its better to move there in a group. Also, one must be prepared for a bit of walking around.

Shadarghat/Nawab-bari/Islampur:

The Buriganga riverside is a great place for photography. It is better to tackle this place from early morning. There is a host of activities going on around the area round-the-clock. There are boat makers making boats, there are boats men ferrying people from one side of the river to the other, there are labors unloading fruits from trucks, there are markets, there are garments workers, broom makers. The list just goes on and on. A must place to visit for any aspiring photographer!

Ashulia/Mirpur Beriband Brick kilns:

I cannot emphasize how amazing brick kilns are for photography! Great place for catching workers/day laborers in action and getting lifestyle shots and also portraits. Great for getting environment related shots as well.

A brick Kiln at Ashulia
A brick Kiln at Ashulia

Construction sites:

It’s relatively easy to get within construction sites in Dhaka city and they are good places for getting some lifestyle/work photos. During the night, the sites are good for practicing slow-shutter photography as well (workers welding or cutting rods). However, one has to be careful so as not to injure oneself as construction sites can be a hazardous place for photography.

Construction sites provide interesting opportunities for creative photography
Construction sites provide interesting opportunities for creative photography

Skyscrapers:

Skyscrapers located at Motijheel, Gulshan, Dhanmondi and other commercial/semi-commercial areas are good places to let one’s creative juices flow. Getting shots in a unique way or angle can be both fun and challenging.

Get creative while shooting tall buildings!
Get creative while shooting tall buildings!

Kamlapur Railway Station:

The station is a good place for getting interesting and challenging photographs. It could be of the street children who live around the station or of discarded old train compartments, or hawkers selling newspapers, magazines, etc, or of passengers engaged in different activities.

Historical sites:

Ahsan Manzil, Lalbagh Fort, Parliament Building, Sriti Shoudho, Shahid Minar, Karzan Hall (DU), etc are all great locations for architectural and creative photography.

Night traffic hubs:

Slow shutter shots of moving traffic is a fun and exciting way to experiment with night photography. Busy traffic hubs such as Farmgate and Mouchak Mor are great locations for such photography.

Comments

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    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 17 months ago from Australia

      Simply stunning photography! Thanks for sharing. Have yet to make it to India, but it is on the list.

    • profile image

      Protap Mollick 4 years ago

      Very nice places, but the society really does bring out the divide between the rich and poor in Bangladesh

    • aktarshila profile image

      Honey 5 years ago from Asia

      Good Review of Bangladeshi Attraction. I am Already Visit The Dhaka City. By Captain Aslam( A Tourist Guide, http://www.aslam.co.in ). And I Want To Cover All Popular Spot of Bangladesh. As Like, http://www.bdtourplan.com/2012/07/standard-tours-p... This Article.

    • sallieannluvslife profile image

      sallieannluvslife 5 years ago from Eastern Shore

      You are a wonderfully talented photographer. Such very beautiful photos of a very interesting place. I love the picture of the little girl with the men in the boats behind her.

    • Sanjida Alam profile image

      Sanjida Alam 5 years ago from Bangladesh

      Its good to see you brought the good things about our beloved city :-D

    • travel-O-grapher profile image
      Author

      travel-O-grapher 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      thanks antohardi! appreciation is the fuel that keeps the car running :p

    • profile image

      antohardi 5 years ago

      amazing capture....

      congrat

    • travel-O-grapher profile image
      Author

      travel-O-grapher 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Thanks for your comment Anusha! :D Check out my other hubs too if you have the time! Thanks

    • profile image

      anusha 5 years ago

      great job, every picture is telling a story. i love the colours, dhaka is indeed beautiful.

    • dj sue profile image

      dj sue 5 years ago

      MashAllah! You are gifted! Really nicely put into words and the pictures are full of life. Keep up the good work.

    • travel-O-grapher profile image
      Author

      travel-O-grapher 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Thanks Christopher & Naim! Really appreciate the appreciation! :p

    • Naim Hasan profile image

      Naim H 5 years ago from Dhaka

      Those pics are really awesome...great hub!!

    • profile image

      Christopher Hudson 5 years ago

      Absolutely well done, photos *and* stories! 8-) Another world I knew almost nothing about, thanks for bringing me somewhere *new* 8-)

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      Tamal 5 years ago

      Wonderful

    • travel-O-grapher profile image
      Author

      travel-O-grapher 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Hi bro, thanks for the comments! You're absolutely right... our country is a great country but because of lack of management and corruption, the gap between the rich and the poor is continuously increasing

    • Zubair Ahmed profile image

      Zubair Ahmed 5 years ago

      Wow wonderful hub, I really liked it - keep up the good work. I am going to Dhaka next week and will be spending some time in Sylhe, Bramon Baria and Chitagong.

      Very nice places, but the society really does bring out the divide between the rich and poor in Bangladesh