Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division.

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Dhaka (Bengali: ঢাকা, pronounced IPA: [ˈɖʱaka]; formerly spelled Dacca,[5] named Jahangirnagar[6] during Mughal era) is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. It is located on the banks of the Buriganga River. Greater Dhaka Area has a population of roughly 17 million as of Census 2011, making it the premier city and metropolitan area in Bangladesh.[2] It is the 9th largest city in the world[7] and also 28th among the most densely populated cities in the world. Dhaka is known as the City of Mosques[8] and with 400,000 cycle rickshaws running on its streets every day, the city is also described as the Rickshaw Capital of the World.[9]

Under Mughal rule in the 17th century, the city was known as Jahangir Nagar.[6] It was a provincial capital and a centre of the worldwide muslin trade. The modern city, however, was developed chiefly under British rule in the 19th century, and became the second-largest city in Bengal after Calcutta (presently Kolkata). After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka became the capital of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam but lost its status as a provincial capital again after the partition was annulled in 1911. After the partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the administrative capital of East Pakistan, and later, in 1971, the capital of an independent Bangladesh. During the intervening period, the city witnessed widespread turmoil; this included many impositions of martial law, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence, military suppression, devastation during war, and natural calamities.

Modern Dhaka is the centre of political, cultural and economic life in Bangladesh.[10] Although its urban infrastructure is the most developed in the country, Dhaka suffers from urban problems such as pollution and overpopulation. In recent decades, Dhaka has seen modernisation of transport, communications and public works. The city is attracting large foreign investments and greater volumes of commerce and trade. It is also experiencing an increasing influx of people from across the nation, this has reportedly made Dhaka the fastest growing city in the world.[11]


Buddhist and Hindu kingdom

The existence of a settlement in the area that is now Dhaka dates from the 7th century. The small area was ruled by the Buddhist kingdom of Kamarupa and the Pala Empire before passing to the control of the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 9th century.[12] The name of the city may have derived after the establishment of the Goddess Dhakeshwari's temple by Ballal Sena in the 12th century.[13] The town itself consisted of a few market centres like Lakshmi Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar, Patuatuli, Kumartuli, Bania Nagar and Goal Nagar. After the fall of the Sena Empire, Dhaka was successively ruled by the Sultanate of Bengal as well as interruption of governors from the Delhi Sultanate.

Mughal rule

The Lalbagh Fort

In 1576 Bengal came under the control of Delhi as the Mughals conquered it. At that time Dhaka became a Mughal military base, prior to this move dhaka was never considered an important area as Chittagong was the leading city of the Bengal.[14] The development of townships and housing had resulted into a significant growth in population, as the town was proclaimed the capital (Rajmahal) of Bengal under Mughal rule in 1608, during this time many mosques Forts and universites had been built and Muslims were excused from paying taxes, this allowed many Muslims from surrounding areas to swell up the town transforming it into a city, it was at this time Dhaka was known as a city rather than a town or Fort.[15][16][17] Mughal documents record subahdar Islam Khan as the first administrator of the city.[18] Islam Khan named the city "Jahangir Nagar" (شهر از جهانگیر; City of Jahangir) in honour of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, although this name was dropped soon after Jahangir's death. A major expansion of the city took place under the direction of a general Shaista Khan on orders from the Sultan Aurangzeb in the 17th century.[16][17] The city then measured 19 by 13 kilometres (12 by 8 mi), with a population of nearly one million people and over a 100 universities and hundreds of mosques.[19] Mughal rule was severely weakend after the death of Aurangzeb and control of the Bengal switched hands once more, however it is noted that Mughal expansion and influences can still be seen in the region, as it was under Mughal rule that Islam came to be dominant.

British rule

Bastion of the Lalbagh, Dacca - 1816

British East India Company in 1765 gained right to collect revenue (Diwani right) and later took over governing in 1793 when Nawabs of Bengal were forced to abdicate all their authority over Bengal, Bihar & Orissa & the city passed on to total British control. The city's population shrank dramatically during this period as the prominence of Calcutta rose,[20] but substantive development and modernisation eventually followed. A modern civic water supply system was introduced in 1874 and electricity supply launched in 1878.[21][22] The Dhaka Cantonment was established near the city, serving as a base for British and Bengali soldiers.[17]

20th century

Ahsan Manzil,was once the palace of the Dhaka Nawab Family; it is now a museum.

During the abortive Partition of Bengal in 1905, Dhaka was declared to be the capital of the newly established state of East Bengal and Assam, but Bengal was reunited in 1911.[15][16][17] Following the Partition of India in 1947, Dhaka became the capital of East Pakistan. The city witnessed major communal violence following the partition of India.[17] A large proportion of the city's Hindu population departed for India, while the city received a large influx of Muslims. As the centre of regional politics, however, Dhaka saw an increasing number of political strikes and incidents of violence.[17] The adoption of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan led to protest marches involving large crowds. Known as the Bengali Language Movement, the protests resulted in Pakistani police firing which killed a number of peaceful student demonstrators.[23] Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dhaka remained a hotbed of political activity, and the demands for autonomy for the Bengali population. And this population gradually gained momentum.[24]

The 1970 Bhola cyclone devastated much of the region, killed an estimated 500,000 people.[25] More than half the city was flooded and millions of people were marooned.[26] With public anger growing against ethnic discrimination and poor cyclone relief efforts from the central government, Bengali politician Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman held a nationalist gathering on March 7, 1971 at Ramna Racecourse.[17][23] An estimated one million people attended the gathering, leading to the March 26 declaration of Bangladesh's independence.[23] In response, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight, which led to the arrests, torture and killing of thousands of people.[27] After nine months of bloody battle with Indian Army and Mitra Bahini, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the Indian Army on December 16 marking the end of the independence war of Bangladesh.[28] As the nation's capital, Dhaka saw a rapid and huge growth of the city population in the post-independence period, as migrant workers from rural areas across Bangladesh moved to the city.[29] The growth of commerce and industry along with the city's population has created further challenges to the services and infrastructure.[30] A real estate boom has followed the expansion of city limits and the development of new settlements such as Uttara, Mohammadpur, Baridhara, Mirpur and Motijheel.[31]


Astronaut View of Dhaka

Dhaka is located in central Bangladesh at 23°42′0″N 90°22′30″E / 23.7°N 90.375°E / 23.7; 90.375, on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River. The city lies on the lower reaches of the Ganges Delta and covers a total area of 360 square kilometres (140 sq mi).[32] It consists of 24 thanas –Lalbagh, Kotwali, Hazaribagh, Sutrapur, Ramna, Motijheel, Paltan, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon, Gulshan, Mirpur, Pallabi, Shah Ali, Turaag, Sabujbagh, Dhaka Cantonment, Demra, Shyampur, Badda, Kafrul, Kamrangir char, Khilgaon and Uttara. In total the city has 130 wards and 725 mohallas.[33] Dhaka district has an area of 1463.60 square kilometres (565 sq mi); and is bounded by the districts of Gazipur, Tangail, Munshiganj, Rajbari, Narayanganj, Manikganj.[33] Tropical vegetation and moist soils characterize the land, which is flat and close to sea level. This leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon seasons owing to heavy rainfall and cyclones.[34]


Dhaka experiences a hot, wet and humid tropical climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, Dhaka has a tropical savanna climate. The city has a distinct monsoonal season, with an annual average temperature of 25 °C (71 °F) and monthly means varying between 18 °C (64.4 °F) in January and 32 °C (90 °F) in May.[35] Approximately 87% of the annual average rainfall of 2,123 millimeters (83.5 in) occurs between May and October.[35] Increasing air and water pollution emanating from traffic congestion and industrial waste are serious problems affecting public health and the quality of life in the city.[36] Water bodies and wetlands around Dhaka are facing destruction as these are being filled up to construct multi-storied buildings and other real estate developments. Coupled with pollution, such erosion of natural habitats threatens to destroy much of the regional biodiversity.[36]

Climate data for Dhaka
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31
Average high °C (°F) 25
Average low °C (°F) 12
Record low °C (°F) 7
Precipitation mm (inches) 18
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1 1 3 6 11 16 12 16 12 7 1 0 86
Mean daily sunshine hours 9 8 7 6 5 3 2 2 3 6 8 9 6
Source: BBC Weather

Dhaka skyline

Civil administration

Dhaka panorama at night

The Dhaka municipality was founded on August 1, 1864, and upgraded to "corporation" status in 1978.[37] The Dhaka City Corporation is a self-governing corporation which runs the affairs of the city. Recently(i.e. 2011), Dhaka City Corporation has been divided into two administrative parts - these are (1) Dhaka City Corporation-North and (2) Dhaka City Corporation-South - for ensuring better civic facilities. These two corporations are headed by two administrators. The incorporated area is divided into several wards, which have elected commissioners. The Dhaka Education Board is responsible for administering all public schools and most private schools with the exception of English-medium schools and madrassahs.[38][39] All madrassahs in Bangladesh are governed by a central board while English-medium schools are under separate educational and governance structures.[40]

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) was established in 1976 and has 6,000 personnel in 12 police stations.[41] With the rapid growth of the city, the force has been raised to 23,000 personnel and the establishment of 41 police stations has been completed and the creation of another 10 police stations is underway.[42]

South face of the Hoseni Dalan

The city is divided into 25 (i.e. 2011) parliamentary constituencies. The two main political parties are the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Ramna contains the Secretariat, which houses most of the government ministries. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh and the Dhaka High Court are located in the city. The Bangabhaban palace has served as the official residence of the Viceroy of India, the governor of East Pakistan and presently the President of Bangladesh.[43] The Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban, designed by renowned architect Louis Kahn,[23] houses the unicameral national parliament. The Baitul Mukarram, developed with a design resembling the Kaaba of Mecca, is the national mosque.[44] Other historical monuments in the city include the Bara Katra palace, the Lalbagh Fort, the Hoseni Dalan and the Ahsan Manzil.[45]

To fight rising traffic congestion and population, the national government has recently implemented a policy for rapid urbanization of surrounding areas and beyond by the introduction of a ten year holiday on income tax for new construction of facilities and buildings outside Dhaka.[46]

Water management

Cresent Lake at night

Aside from Chittagong, Dhaka has a water-borne sewage system, but this serves only 25% of the population while another 30% are served with septic tanks.[47] Only two-thirds of households in Dhaka are served by the city water supply system. More than 9.7 million tons of solid wastes are produced in Dhaka city each year. While private and government efforts have succeeded in collecting refuse city-wide and using it as manure, most solid wastes are often dumped untreated in nearby low-lying areas and water bodies.[48] The utility in charge of water and sanitation in Dhaka, DWASA, addresses these challenges with a number of measures. It says that in 2011 it achieved a continuous water supply 24 hours per day 7 days a week, an increase in revenues so that operating costs are more than covered, and a reduction of water losses from 53% in 2003 to 29% in 2010.[49] For these achievements DWASA, got a "Performer of the Year Award" at the Global Water Summit 2011 in Berlin.[50] In the future DWASA plans massive investment to replace dwindling groundwater resources with treated surface water from less polluted rivers located up to 160 km from the city.[49] In 2011 Bangladesh’s capital development authority, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, made rainwater harvesting for new houses mandatory in an effort to address water scarcity and reduce flooding.

82% of the city's water supply is abstracted from groundwater through 577 deep tube wells, while four relatively small surface water treatment plants provide the remaining 18%.[51] Groundwater levels are dropping at two to three metres every year. The city’s water table has sunk by 50 metres in the past four decades and the closest underground water is now over 60 meters below ground level.[52][53] The Asian Development Bank estimated in 2007 that by 2015 a severe supply shortage would occur if the utility did not reduce groundwater abstraction.[54] Nevertheless, DWASA announced in 2012 that it will develop a new wellfield with 46 wells providing 150,000 cubic meters of water per day at a cost of USD63 million, of which USD45 million will be financed by the government of South Korea.[55] The utility plans to substitute surface water for groundwater through the construction of four large water treatment plants until 2020 at a cost of US$1.8bn (Saidabad Phase II and III, Padma/Pagla and Khilkhet). The treatment plants will draw water from more distant and less polluted rivers up to 160 km from the city. The four plants are expected to have a combined capacity of 1.63 million cubic meters per year, compared to a 2010 supply of 2.11 million cubic meter per year that is mainly from groundwater. As of 2011, funding had been secured for the first plant which is under construction thanks to a USD250 million contribution from Danish development assistance.[49] In 2012 the government signed a contract with a Chinese company to build a water treatment plant at Munshiganj on the Padma River. The project costs USD407 million, of which USD290.8 million is financed by a soft loan from the Chinese government, the remainder coming from the Bangladeshi government.[56]


Bangladesh Bank Building at Motijheel

City Centre Bangladesh is the tallest building in Dhaka.

Karwan Bazar

Dhaka Westin Hotel at Gulshan

Dhaka is the commercial heart of Bangladesh.[57] The city has a growing middle class population, driving the market for modern consumer and luxury goods.[16][58] The city has historically attracted a large number of migrant workers.[59] Hawkers, peddlers, small shops, rickshaw transport, roadside vendors and stalls employ a large segment of the population[59][60] — rickshaw-drivers alone number as many as 400,000.[61] Half the workforce is employed in household and unorganised labour, while about 800,000 work in the textile industry. Even so, unemployment remains high at 19%.[62] As of 2009, Dhaka's Gross Municipal Product (GMP) is registered at $85 billion.[63] With an annual growth rate of 6.2%, the GMP is projected to rise to $215 billion by 2025.[63] The annual per capita income of Dhaka is estimated at $1,350(USD), with 34% of households living below the poverty line,[64] including a large segment of the population coming from the villages in search of employment,[58] with most surviving on less than $5 a day.[65]


The main commercial areas of the city include Motijheel, Dilkusha, New Market, Shahbag, Gulshan, Mohakhali, Karwan Bazar and Farmgate, while Tejgaon and Hazaribagh are the major industrial areas.[66] Bashundhara-Baridhara is a developing economic area that will include high-tech industries, corporations and a large shopping precinct in about 5 years.[58] The Export Processing Zone in Dhaka was set up to encourage the export of garments, textiles and other goods. Dhaka has two EPZs. They are home to 413 industries, which employ mostly women.[67] The Dhaka Stock Exchange is based in the city, as are most of the large multinationals including Citigroup, HSBC Bank Bangladesh, JPMorgan Chase, Standard Chartered Bank (Bangladesh), American Express, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, British Petroleum, Unilever, Nestlé, Perfetti Van Melle, DHL Express, FedEx and British American Tobacco. Large local conglomerates such as Concord Group, Rangs Group, Beximco, Pran-RFL Group, T.K. Group of Industries, Summit Group, Navana Group, Transcom Group, Akij Group, Bashundhara Group, Zaman Group of Industries and Rahimafrooz also have their corporate offices located in Dhaka. Microcredit also began here and the offices of the Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank[68] and BRAC are based in Dhaka.[69] Urban developments have sparked a widespread construction boom; new high-rise buildings and skyscrapers have changed the city landscape.[58] Growth has been especially strong in the finance, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and services sectors, while tourism, hotels and restaurants continue as important elements in the economy of Dhaka.[59]


Animation showing urban growth in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1972 to 2001. The animation starts with a global view over India using Terra-MODIS 30 km. true colour data. The animation then zooms down to Terra-MODIS 1 km. data over Bangladesh, and dissolves into the December 28, 1972, Landsat-1-MSS data of Dhaka. Dhaka can then be seen growing to its present day size by first showing the February 13, 1989 Landsat-5-TM image which then dissolves into the final January 29, 2001 Landsat-7-ETM+ image.[70]

The population of Dhaka (areas under the jurisdiction of the Dhaka city corporation) stands at approximately 7.0 million. The city, in combination with localities forming the wider metropolitan area, is home to an estimated 12.8 million as of 2008.[2] The population is growing by an estimated 4.2% per year, one of the highest rates amongst Asian cities.[59] The continuing growth reflects ongoing migration from rural areas to the Dhaka urban region, which accounted for 60% of the city's growth in the 1960s and 1970s. More recently, the city's population has also grown with the expansion of city boundaries, a process that added more than a million people to the city in the 1980s.[59] According to Far Eastern Economic Review, Dhaka will become a home of 25 million people by the year 2025.[71]

The literacy rate in Dhaka is also increasing fairly quickly. It was estimated at 62.3% in 2001. The literacy rate had gone up to 72.7% by 2010 which is significantly higher than the national average of 56.5%.[33]

The city population is composed of people from virtually every region of Bangladesh. The long-standing inhabitants of the old city are known as Dhakaia and have a distinctive dialect and culture. Between 15,000 to 20,000 of the Rohingya, Santal, Khasi, Garo, Chakma and Mandi tribal peoples reside in the city.[72] Dhaka also has a large population of Chinese, Korean, Indian, Burmese and Nepali expatriates working in different industries,students on SAARC scholarship and volunteer work.

Most residents of Dhaka speak Bengali, the national language. Many distinctive Bengali dialects and regional languages such as Chittagonian and Sylheti are also spoken by segments of the population. English is understood by a large segment of the population, especially for business purposes. There is a minority Urdu-speaking population, who are descendants of displaced Muslims from eastern India during 1947 and sought refuge in East Pakistan. The correct population is ambiguous; although official figures estimate at least 40,000 residents,[73] it is estimated that there are at least 300,000 Urdu-speakers in all of Bangladesh, mostly residing in refugee camps in Dhaka.[74][75]

Islam is the dominant religion of Dhaka's people. About 90% of the city practicing the faith of Islam; with a majority belonging to the Sunni sect. There is also a small Shia sect, and an Ahmadiya community. Hinduism is the second-largest religion, with about 9%, and smaller communities practice Buddhism and Christianity, both of about .5% each.


Shaheed Minar, or the Martyr's monument, located near the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

As Dhaka is the most populous city of Bangladesh, it has a vibrant cultural life. Annual celebrations for Independence Day (26 March), Language Martyrs' Day (21 February) and Victory Day (16 December) are prominently celebrated across the city. Dhaka's people congregate at the Shaheed Minar and the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho to remember the national heroes of the liberation war. These occasions are observed with public ceremonies and rallies in public grounds. Many schools and colleges organise fairs, festivals and concerts in which citizens from all levels of society participate.[76]

Pohela Baishakh or Bengal New Year celebrations in the city.

Pohela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, falls annually on April 14 and is popularly celebrated across the city.[76] Large crowds of people gather on the streets of Shahbag, Ramna Park and the campus of the University of Dhaka for celebrations. The most popular dressing style for women are sarees or salwar kameez, while men usually prefer western clothing to the traditional lungi. The Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha witness widespread celebrations across the whole city. For much of recent history, Dhaka was characterised by roadside markets and small shops that sold a wide variety of goods.[77] Recent years have seen the widespread construction of shopping malls, multiplexes, hotels and restaurants attracting Dhaka's growing middle class and wealthy residents.[78] Along with Bangladeshi cuisine and South Asian variants, a large variety of Western and Chinese cuisine is served at numerous restaurants and eateries.[58] Though restaurants offering multinational cuisine and fastfood chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, Nando's, Baskin-Robbins, A&W and Chili's have opened up in the city, unique Dhakaiya delicacies like Glassey, Hajir Biriyani (Haji's Biriyani), Nanna Biriyani, Laban, Borhani etc. are still very popular amongst Dhakaiyas. These delicacies are even offered to state guests. Dhakaiya Bakarkhani is the traditional food/snack of the people of Old Dhaka. It is famous for its quality and taste and it was highly praised by the royal court of the Mughal Empire in Delhi.[79]

Despite the growing popularity of music groups and rock bands, traditional folk music remains widely popular.[80] The works of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and national anthem writer Rabindranath Tagore have a widespread following across Dhaka.[81] The Baily Road area is known as Natak Para (Theatre Neighbourhood) which is the centre of Dhaka's thriving theatre movement.[82] Indian and Western music and films are popular with large segments of Dhaka's population.[83] This area is also credited for the revival of the Jamdani due to the many local saree stores selling and promoting these locally hand-made age old traditional Bengali sarees. Jamdanis are 100% hand weaved and originate from the Persian and Mughal era. Jamdanis are produced by a traditional high quality cottage industry, which is slowly dying out due to the slow production process. A single medium range Jamdani saree may take as long as 3 months to complete.[84]

Bangladesh Betar is the state-run primary provider of radio services, and broadcasts a variety of programming in Bengali and English. In recent years many private radio networks, especially FM radio services, have been established in the city such as Radio Foorti FM 88.0, Radio Today FM 89.6, Radio Amar FM 88.4 and ABC Radio FM 89.2. Bangladesh Television is the state-run broadcasting network that provides a wide variety of programmes in Bengali and English. Cable and satellite networks such as Ekushey Television, Channel I, ATN Bangla, Desh TV, RTV, NTV, Banglavision, Channel 9 and Independent TV are amongst the most popular channels. The main offices of most publishing houses in Bangladesh are based in Dhaka. The Prothom Alo and The Daily Ittefaq are the most popular amongst the large number of Bengali language dailies, periodicals and other publications in the city. The Daily Star and The Independent are the major English dailies published.[85] The telephone concentration in Bangladesh is estimated at around 50% and this is much higher in Dhaka.[86]


Curzon Hall of the University of Dhaka. The university served as the prime center for political activism amongst the youth and intellectuals during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Civil Engineering building at BUET. BUET is considered as the best university for engineering education in the country.

Dhaka has the largest number of schools, colleges and universities of any Bangladeshi city. The education system is divided into 5 levels: Primary (from grades 1 to 5), Junior (from grades 6 to 8), Secondary (from grades 9 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary.[87] The five years of Primary education concludes with a Primary Education Completion (PEC) Examination, the three years of Junior education concludes with Junior School Certificate (JSC) Examination, and next two years of Secondary education concludes with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) Examination.[87] Education is mainly offered in Bangla, but English is also widely taught and used. Catholic, Buddhist schools do operate in Bandladesh and among the most coveted. A large number of Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education alongside other subjects, which is imparted in Bangla and Arabic in schools, colleges and madrasas.[87]

There are 52 universities in Dhaka. The Dhaka College is the oldest institution of higher education in the city and amongst the earliest established in British India, founded in 1841. Since independence, Dhaka has seen the establishment of a large number of public and private colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a variety of doctoral programmes.[88] The University of Dhaka is one of the largest public university[89] in the nation with more than 30,000 students and 1,300 faculty staff. It was established in 1921 being the first university in the region. The university has 23 research centres and 70 departments, faculties and institutes.[90] Eminent seats of higher education include Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Jahangirnagar University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Jagannath University and Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. Dhaka Medical College and Sir Salimullah Medical College are two famous medical colleges in the nation.[91] Dhaka's college campuses are often hotbeds of political conflicts.[92] Protests and strikes, and violence amongst police, students and political groups frequently disrupt public university campuses.[93][94]

Alongside public institutes of higher education there are some forty-five private universities in Dhaka. Notable private universities include North South University, American International University - Bangladesh, BRAC University, East West University, United International University and Independent University,Bangladesh (see:List of universities in Bangladesh), most of which are located in Mohakhali, Gulshan, Banani, Bashundhara and Dhanmondi areas of the city.

The British Council plays an important role helping students to achieve GCSE (O Level) and A Level qualifications from Examination boards in the United Kingdom. This is in addition to holding several examinations for professional bodies in the United Kingdom, including the UK medical Royal Colleges and Accountancy.


A view of Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium from South Gallery

Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in Dhaka and across the nation.[95] Teams are fielded in intra-city and national competitions by a large number of schools, colleges and private entities. The Mohammedan Sports Club and Abahani are two of the most famous football and cricket teams, maintaining a fierce rivalry, specially in Bangladesh Premier League (football).[96] Dhaka Metropolis cricket team represents Dhaka in National Cricket League, a region based domestic First-class cricket competition in Bangladesh. In domestic Twenty20 cricket, Dhaka has a Bangladesh Premier League franchise known as Dhaka Gladiators.

Dhaka has the distinction of having hosted the first official Test cricket match of the Pakistan cricket team in 1954 against India.[97] The Bangabandhu National Stadium was formerly the main venue for domestic and international cricket matches, but now exclusively hosts football matches.[97] It was the host for the opening ceremony[98] of the 2011 Cricket World Cup while the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium hosted 6 matches of the tournament including 2 quarterfinals.[99] The Bangladesh Sports Control Board, responsible for promoting sports activities across the nation is based in Dhaka. Dhaka also has stadiums largely used for domestic events such as the Bangladesh Army Stadium, the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium and the Outer Stadium Ground.[100] The Dhaka University Ground hosts many intercollegiate tournaments.[101]

Dhaka also hosted South Asian Games for three times in 1985, 1993 and 2010.[102] Dhaka is the first city to hold the games three times. The Bangabandhu National Stadium was the main venue for all three editions.[103]


The Airport Road is one of the most important highway in the city, connecting it with northern districts of Bangladesh, the northern suburb Uttara and the Shahjalal International Airport.

Shahjalal International Airport

Dhaka is known as the rickshaw capital of the world.[104][105][106] Approximately 400,000 rickshaws run each day.[107]

Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport, with close to 400,000 rickshaws running each day – the largest number for any city in the world.[58][60] However, only about 85,000 rickshaws are licensed by the city government.[59][108] Relatively low-cost and non-polluting cycle rickshaws, nevertheless, cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. Public buses are operated by the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and by private companies and operators. Scooters, taxis and privately owned automobiles are rapidly becoming popular with the city's growing middle class. The government has overseen the replacement of two-stroke engine auto rickshaws with "Green auto-rickshaws" locally called CNG, which run on compressed natural gas.[109] Taxis plying in the Dhaka roads are of two types. Yellow taxis have slightly higher standards in terms of comfort but are more expensive. They are required to have air conditioning; the fleet consists mostly of Toyota Corollas. Blue and black taxis are cheaper and lack air conditioning; the fleet consists mostly of Maruti 800.

Dhaka has 1,868 kilometres (1,161 mi) of paved roads.[110] It is connected to the other parts of the country through highway and railway links. Highway links to the Indian cities of Kolkata and Agartala have been established by the BRTC which also runs regular bus services to those cities from Dhaka.[111]

Kamalapur Railway Station

The Kamalapur Railway Station, Airport (Biman Bandar) Railway Station and the Cantonment Railway Station are the main railway stations providing trains on suburban & national routes operated by the state-run Bangladesh Railway.[112] Bangladesh Railway also runs a regular internation train service between Dhaka and Kolkata.

The Sadarghat Port on the banks of the Buriganga River serves for the transport of goods and passengers upriver and to other ports in Bangladesh.[113]

The Shahjalal International Airport, located 15 km north of Dhaka city centre, is the largest and busiest airport in the nation.[114] It handles 52% of the country's arrivals and departures. Domestic service flies to Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Barisal, Saidpur and international services fly to major cities in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Western Europe.

An elevated Expressway system is under construction.[115] The Dhaka Elevated Expressway would run from Shahjalal International Airport-Kuril-Banani-Mohakhali-Tejgaon-Saatrasta-Moghbazar Rail Crossing-Khilgaon-Kamalapur-Golapbagh to Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at Kutubkhali Point. A longer second elevated expressway from airport-Ashulia is currently undergoing feasibility study.[116]

The Dhaka Metro feasibility study has been completed. A 21.5 kilometer, $1.7 Billion Phase 1, metro route is being negotiated by the Government with Japan International Cooperation Agency. The first route will start from Pallabi, northern suburb of Dhaka to Sayedabad, southern section of Dhaka.[117]

Media and communications

  • Postal service: The Bangladeshi postal service, commonly known as Bangladesh Post Office, headquartered in Dhaka, is responsible for providing postal service throughout the country.[118]
  • Print and publication: Dhaka is home to the major newspapers and publications of Bangladesh's outspoken, diverse and privately owned press.[119] Some of the major publications based in Dhaka include the country's oldest newspapers Daily Ittefaq, Daily Azad, Daily Inqilab, Manabzamin, Daily Naya Diganta, Daily Janakantha,[120] also Daily Prothom Alo, Amar Desh, Kaler kantho, Samakal, Jugantor, Daily Jaijaidin and so on. The major English newspapers include The Daily Star,[121] The Independent, New Age and The Financial Express. Popular weekly newspapers and magazines include Holiday, The Star, Dhaka Courier, Anandaloke and Saptahik 2000. Other major magazines and publications include Forum, Ice Today, The Executive Times, Energy Bangla, Annanya and Computer Jagat.
  • News agency: The national news agency of Bangladesh is Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.[122][123] The first privately owned news agency in Bangladesh, Eastern News Agency, was established in Dhaka in March 1970. Another private sector news agency United News of Bangladesh was launched in 1988 in Dhaka; the Associated Press was its principal anchor. A popular web-based news agency of Bangladesh Bdnews24.com is also headquartered in Dhaka.
  • TV and radio: The state-run television BTV is headquartered in Rampura, Dhaka.[124] Other private sector television channel include Desh TV, RTV, ATN Bangla, Channel I, NTV, Ekushey Television, Banglavision, Mohona Television, ATN News, Somoy Television, Independent TV, Channel 9, Maasranga Television etc. which are also based in Dhaka. The state-owned radio broadcasting organisation of Bangladesh, known as Bangladesh Betar[125] is located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagor in Dhaka. Other private radio stations like Radio Foorti, Radio Today, ABC Radio, Radio Amar etc. are also headquartered in Dhaka. BBC also has a radio station in Dhaka which is mostly used by BBC Bangla radio service.

Sister cities

Country City State / Region
China Guangzhou Guangdong Province
India Kolkata West Bengal

Further reading

  • Sharuf Uddin Ahmed, ed. (1991). Dhaka -past present future. The Asiatic Society, Dhaka. ISBN 984-512-335-x.
  • Karim, Abdul (1992). History of Bengal, Mughal Period (I). Rajshahi.
  • Pryer, Jane (2003). Poverty and Vulnerability in Dhaka Slums: The Urban Livelihood Study. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-1864-1. OCLC 123337526 OCLC 243482310 OCLC 50334244 OCLC 50939515.
  • Rabbani, Golam (1997). Dhaka, from Mughal outpost to metropolis. University Press, Dhaka. ISBN 984-05-1374-5.
  • Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1948). History of Bengal (II). Dhaka.
  • Taifoor, S.M. (1956). Glimpses of Old Dacca. Dhaka.


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