6 spots to hit up in Panchgarh
By Ashik Uz Zaman
Home to the mesmerizing beauty of the Kanchanjongha and the serene Maharaja Dighi, the Northern district of Panchagarh in the Rangpur Division, has something to offer every nature lover. The tea district is also rich in history and culture, with ancient mosques and monuments scattered throughout the region. With its abundance of natural and cultural attractions, Panchagarh is a must-visit destination. Here are 6 sights you don’t want to miss.
MIRZAPUR SHAHI MASJID
Named after Mirzapur village in Atwari Upazila of Panchgarh district, the Mirzapur Shahi Masjid is about 300 years old, and similar in design to the High Court Mosque in Dhaka.
The rectangular mosque is 40 feet in length and 24 feet in width. The mosque has 3 domes as well as 4 thin minarets on the roof and four corners. You can enter the mosque through three richly ornamented doors in the front wall. The designs feature terracotta plaques, flowers, and vines. The mosque has an inscription written in French, according to which, it is believed to have been built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam. At present, Bangladesh’s archaeology department oversees the upkeep of the mosque.
HOW TO GO
There is a direct bus service from Panchagarh to Atwari upazilla. This bus will let you get down in Mirzapur Bazar. You will find the mosque 200 yards east from Mirzapur Bazar. It will not take more than 20 minutes for you to reach at Mirzapur by car.
The only geological museum in Bangladesh has been set up in the Panchgarh Government Women’s College campus. It is the result of a personal initiative by the college principal and was built in 2000. The museum preserves stone samples of various colours, shapes, and features. In addition to the thousand-year-old stones, there are various stone and terracotta artefacts collected from the remains of ancient buildings.
The museum’s ethnic section contains items used by various indigenous people. These include two 300-year-old boats of 22 feet in length made of several large stones and a shawl tree.
HOW TO GO
There are both AC and Non-AC bus services from Dhaka to Panchagarh. After reaching Panchagarh, you may use rickshaw or van, auto rickshaw to visit this museum.
Atwari imambara is very close to Mirzapur Shahi Masjid. It is rectangular in shape, enclosing a single room. The entire Imambara is one-domed. Its entrance has a massive wall, which is used as a gateway. Next to it, there are many ancient graves of mysterious origins. The Imambara, which was once buried under the rubble of an earthquake, has undergone several renovations. An attempt has been made to restore part of the collapsed roof. The Imambara is built of terracotta bricks, and appears to have survived a fire incident. Inside the south-facing main room is another small enclosure with an east-facing door.
Jagabandhu Thakur-bari is located at Debigonj Upazila in Panchagarh District, Bangladesh. It is considered as one of the great examples of nineteenth century’s architecture. The Temple was founded by Zomider Raj Narayon. It was established in 1914 A.D.
Golakdham temple is located in Shaldanga village of Shaldanga union in Debiganj upazila of Panchagarh district. The temple was built in 1848 and is located about 12 km northwest of Debiganj Upazila Sadar. The temple is an excellent example of eighteenth-century architecture, and bears noticeable Greek influences.
HOW TO GO
From Panchagarh, you have to go to Bodaa and go to Lakkhi Hat. From there you can go to the Golokdham temple by Auto rickshaw.
Bhitargarh Fort is located in Amarkhana Union of Sadar Upazila of Panchagarh District. This fort is spread over an area of about 25 square kilometers. The entire fort is divided into several tiers by four enclosure walls and its northern wall and part of the east-west wall encroach into the Jalpaiguri district of India. After visiting Bhitargarh in 1809 AD, Buchanan Hamilton wrote that, “The city of Bhitargarh consists of four inland co-operatives. The king’s palace was in the innermost middle. There were innermost and middle urban subdivisions. Each city was surrounded by high ramparts and large moats about 50 feet wide and 10 to 15 feet deep. The walls of the fort were made of a mixture of mud and bricks. The fort city was divided into several small towns. The outermost town on the eastern bank was inhabited by common people and the place was called Chiratl Harirghar.”
Archaeologists believe that the fort was built by King Prithu and used as his capital. According to historians, it came under Sultanate rule when Sultan Mughisuddin invaded Kamrup in 1257. Around 1458 AD, Bhitargarh region was ruled by Hussain Shah of Kamrup kingdom. Also, this region is believed to have once been a part of Gaur and Pragjyotishpur. Two ancient temples were also discovered in the fort during the excavation work.
HOW TO GO
From Panchagarh bus terminal you can take a bus bound for Tetulia/Banglabandha to get down to Bhithargarh Durg Nagari. It will cost 20-25 rupees to go to Bhitargarh Durg Nagar by auto from Board Bazar.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN PANCHAGARH
In Panchagarh, the best area to find accommodations would be the city centre near the Panchagarh Bus Station. There are several budget hotels, guesthouses, and lodgings available in this area that offer basic amenities and are suitable for travellers on a budget. Additionally, there are several hotels located near the Boda Bazar area that offer more upscale accommodations and amenities. These areas are well-connected to other parts of the town, making it easy for tourists to get around and explore various attractions.
In Panchagarh, you can use various modes of transportation to move around, such as buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, and bicycles. However, the most commonly used mode of transport in the area is auto-rickshaws, which are cheap and easily available. Buses also ply regularly on the major roads, connecting the town to nearby cities and towns. Taxis are ideal for group travel or for visiting places outside the town limits. Bicycles can be rented from local shops for leisurely rides around the town.