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Tajhat Palace, Rangpur


19th century Temple, Puthia


Jaflong,Shylhet


‘Sixty Dome’ Mosque, Bagerhat


Monsoon season boat racing in bangladesh


Hand crafted beads from about 500BCE


Working with silk; thousands of years of history





©

'The paradise of nations'*


BANGLADESH CULTURAL TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP


WELCOME


assalamu alaikum: peace be upon you


*Emperor Aurangzeb 1658 to 1707

Hello, my name is Akil Hossain, Joint Managing Partner of BCTP. My friends and I look forward to welcoming you to Bangladesh for an exploration of our amazing cultural heritage.

It is a history and heritage that astonishes most visitors. Who knew? Has often been a theme of our departing guests.

It is also a heritage that lies at the foundation of many nations of Asia, including China and Japan, and one from where, not only wealth of international trade, but also great philosophies and faith groups, and even language, spilled across the developing world for thousands of years, building and sustaining great Empires, local and worldwide. It was also such as the local supply of gunpowder that built, and sustained the growth of some of those, more modern, Empires, commercial, and diplomatic.

BCTP is a Social Enterprise which, with the help of British, French, Canadian, Australian and American friends, we have created to develop working opportunities, nationally and locally, for younger men and women who, like me, have been deprived of opportunities open to our better connected contemporaries.

As our Consultant Partner, Tim Steel, always says, exploration of history, heritage, and cultural traces, should involve, for most of us, fulfilling both curiosity and interest, be undertaken with pleasure. He, I think we can say, has travelled more widely, on the ground, in Bangladesh, than anyone else we know. It has, he says, given him a strong sense of what it is that has made, not only Bangladesh itself, but, in fact, much of a far wider world.

He researches and writes, almost constantly; and his writing seems to give pleasure to his many readers. He also remarks, flatteringly, that the openess of younger Bangladeshis, like ourselves, their real willingness to learn, and their interest in both their own past, and also what fascinates others, makes BCTP an initiative that is overdue.

Its work is based on real awareness of the fact that, for most visitors, such travel is not for academic purposes, but out of their own interest and curiosity, not only about the history of Bangladesh itself, but also the impact the heritage of these lands around the Ganges has had, over centuries, even millennia, upon the history and culture of their own lands.

Our young nation, it seems, has impacted, widely...may be for better, or for worse...on so many peoples of the world, over the most recent two or three thousand years, maybe even more!

Come, then, please, and explore with us, at least 3,500 years of rich history and heritage, and cultural traditions that include the world favourite Bengali cuisine, thousands of years tradition of shopping for amazing and luxurious fabrics and garments, gems and jewellery, spices and fragrances, and traditional and ancient crafts. You can be sure that shops are still open, selling, at local prices, similar treasures to those we have been, for all those thousands of years!

Experience Bangladesh, the heartland of the Ganges and Brahmaputra deltaic lands, an historic centre of international trade and commerce, including the first of the great Silk Roads, the Southern Silk Road.

Within and around these lands evolved some of the world's greatest faith groups...Hindu, Jain and Buddhist; they were also a route for the spread of Islam, and have strong Animist, Shamanic and Christian traditions.

It may well have been the ancient trade that motivated one of the world's earliest written languages, too, Sanskrit; no doubt the cultural connections are the reason so many words of Sanskrit origins have found their way into European languages, even from Classical times!

Documentary, archaeologial, empirical and circumstantial evidence...not least the rich Buddhist, Hindu Muslim architectural and artistic heritage, and the commercial heritage of, especially, British times... bear tangible testimony to this incredible, and only slowly being realised, cultural heritage.

And, in being one of the first to explore it, you will also be creating much needed, economic and social opportunities, and constructive and productive employment for our younger people.

Please contact us, to ask any questions, or for more information, to satisfy your curiosity, improve you knowledge and understanding, or assist you in contemplating a visit! Forgive us, please, if responses sometimes lack grammatical accuracy. Lack of educational opprtunity has beem amongst our, sometime, deprivation, and although the wonders of technology can help, as, I think, most of us have found, it is not always entirely accurate!