23. Journeys (3): A trip to an iconic memorial in Savar

Today I took a trip to Savar with three fellow volunteers to visit the National Martyrs’ Memorial. The town of Savar Bazar is about 18km north of Dhaka, in the Dhaka district, of the Dhaka division (see post 8 pt. 13). To get there, we had to catch a bus from Gabtali bus station, 8km northwest of the centre. This is the largest bus station in Dhaka and it’s difficult to describe just how crowded and chaotic it is. There are no signs in English, but this hardly matters because, as always in Bangladesh, there are many people willing to help. We were quickly ushered in the direction of buses going towards Savar.

Though the bus was crowded and very hot initially, a nice breeze filtered through once we picked up speed. It was a pleasant journey through beautiful countryside to busy Savar Bazar, and on through the town to Jatiya Chiti Saudha – the National Martyrs’ Memorial. This striking monument is dedicated to the millions of people who lost their lives in the struggle for independence. It consists of seven triangular spires, each one representing a stage in the struggle for independence. For example, one spire represents the lives lost in the struggle by the Language Movement in 1952 (see post 11). The serene setting comprises 84 acres of picturesque, planted parkland and the grounds are beautifully kept. We took a walk along a tree-lined path that skirted a dazzling, emerald-green lake. There is an almost worshipful atmosphere at this site, which is of immense importance to Bangladeshis.

Later, we had coffee (milky Nescafé) in the snack bar of the Parjatan (government tourist organisation) restaurant, across the road from the Memorial. Afterwards, we wandered through a pottery and handicraft market before returning to the city.

It was a nice day and good to get a break from the crowds and noise of Dhaka. (For more on the issues surrounding Bangladeshi independence see post 14.)

A few photographs follow. (Unfortunately, since Cooliris was acquired by Yahoo my lovely photo walls no longer work :(. I have replaced them with links to post-specific web-album slideshows until such time as I can find a better solution.)

Click on image below for PHOTO SLIDESHOW related to this post (20 photographs in all). Enjoy!

1. Gabtali Bus Station, Dhaka

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