Inner peace. The thing you need most for your soul. And only in Bangladesh you will find so many opportunities to bring inner peace in your life. There’s plenty of ways to find inner peace in Bangladesh. There are plenty of religious festivals happening all around the year Bangladesh. Thousands of visitors including pilgrimage come to these festivals on this occasion. Find the ones you seek most from this list:
Dubla Rash Mela is the biggest fair in not only Bagerhat, but also the entire Bangladesh. This has become a grand occasion for many foreign tourists visiting the Sundarbans and people come from India as well. At the centre of the festival are twenty thousand temporary fishermen who are engaged in catching and drying fish on Dubla and nearby islands. In the Bangla month of Agrahayan every year, the fair continues for 5-7 days during full moon time.
Dubla Island is situated on the Bay of Bengal as a part of the Sunderbans forest. Initiated by Hari Bhajan, a disciple of Thakur hari Chand, this fair was first organized in 1923 during the Rash Purnima. To continue his legacy and keep his memory alive, the devotees — especially the fisherman of the Sunderbans — organize this five-day fair. Around 40-50 thousand people join the celebrations every year. Traditional handicrafts, precious wooden items, foods etc are put on sale.
Moheshkhali is an island under Cox’s Bazar district not very far from the mainland. There, the Adinath temple at the top of Mainak hillock is a place of worship for Hindu devotees. A landlord named Nur Mohammad Shikdar donated 200 acres of land to reconstruct the age-old Adinath Temple. The fair associated with the temple started from that time.
Every year in the Bengali month of Falgun, especially during Krishnapakkha, the thirteen days fair is held at the foot of the hillock on land facing the vast sea. The sweet water of green coconuts especially grown in this place is a most attractive and popular drink. Devotees and visitors to the fair drink it before worshipping the goddess of Adinath.
Bishwa Ijtema is an annual Tablighi Jamaat Islamic movement congregation held at Tongi by the river Turag. It is the 2nd largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Hajj. The event focuses on prayers and supplication and does not allow political discussion. The number of attendees is more than millions in each year. It lasts three days and the program concludes with the Akheri Munajat, or final prayer.
Shrine of Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal is the most historical interest in Sylhet town. Today, more than six hundred years after his death, the shrine is visited by innumerable devotees of every caste and creed, who make the journey from far away places. Legend says, the great saint who came from Delhi to preach Islam and defeated the then Hindu Raja (king) Gour Gobinda, transformed the witchcraft followers of the Raja into catfishes which are still alive in the tank adjacent to the shrine Swords, the holy Quran and the robes of the holy saint are still preserved in the shrine.
The main attraction of Sylhet city is the Shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal(R) and Hajrat Shah Poran (R). Shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal (R) is on the top of a hillock (tilla) in Sylhet city. Thousands of visitors are coming everyday in this Shrine. Shrine of Hajrat Shah Paran (R) is eight km far from Sylhet town on the Sylhet-Jaflong road where also thousands of visitors visits this Shrine everyday. Road journey to Sylhet is a wonderful experience through roads running ups and down the hills and green lush tea gardens of nature at its best.
Bayazid Bostami a famous saint of Iran, known as Sultan-ul-Arefin, was born in the town of Bostam and died in 874 AD. His name is associated with a famous flourishing dargah situated on top of a hillock at Nasirabad, near Chittagong cantonment. The dargah complex consists of the tomb enclosed in a modern pucca structure, an old mosque, built in the Mughal style and believed to be of the time of Aurangzeb and a tank in the plain in front of the tomb. The tomb is an object of veneration to the people who visit there daily in large number. The tank is the abode of a good number of sea turtles that are called mazaris or the protected tortoise and a large number of gazaris (‘gazar’ fish) or the protected fish which are objects of additional attraction to the visitors who feed them bananas, fried rice etc. There is an endowment, called Chittagong Endowment Committee, to look after the mazar as a whole.
Bayazid Bostami, a historical figure, is not known to have ever visited Bengal. Everybody admits that Shaikh Bayazid Bostami did not die here at Chittagong and the tomb at Chittagong attributed to him is a jawab or imitation. But a section of the people believes that he visited this part of the world sometime during his life. Chittagong is a seaport, and the Arabs used to visit the port with their trading vessels even as early as the 8th century AD. Hence it is not improbable that the saint came to this place in the 9th century. But this is a surmise; there is no authentic record of Bayazid Bostami’s visit to Chittagong. Some 18th century Bengali poets and bards, relying on oral traditions, remembered one ‘Shah Sultan’ of Nasirabad in their poems. Some scholars believe that the ‘Shah Sultan’ of the poems was the abbreviation of ‘Sultan-ul-Arefin’ and hence Shah Sultan and Bayazid Bostami were identical. Hamidullah Khan, the 19th century historian of Chittagong, states that in the past Muslim faqirs and wanderers used to come to Chittagong, take their seat on hill-tops surrounded by jungles and built there, in imitation of temples and Viharas, false tombs and mausoleums in the name of Sultan-ul-Arefin Bayazid Bostami and Abdul Qadir Jilani.
Kothin Chibor Dan’ is the greatest religious festival of the Buddhist community where ‘viksus’ are given ‘chibor’ or cloth to wear which the Buddhists believe as the best of all gifts. Chibor, the cloth that viksus wear, may be of any six colors: those of a tree’s roots, trunk, bark, dry leaves, fruit or flower.
This utsab or festival is celebrated with religious fervor at Rangamati Rajban Bihara in the Rangamati hill district. Buddhist community from all three hill districts as well many visitors and tourists from home and abroad gather at Rangamati Rajban Bihara area to participate in the festival. The elaborated schedule of this programme includes Buddha puja, Ful puja, Sibli puja, feeding the monks, astaporiskardan, taking Panchshil and Astashil and praying for world peace.
Baisabi Festival — commonly celebrated as “Biju” by the Chakma and Tanchyanga, “Shangrai” as Marmas and “Baisuk” or “Baisu” by Tripuras — is the main social festival of the tribal people in the hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.
Each tribe has their own way of celebrating this festival. For example: Biju is celebrated for three consecutive days by the Chakmas and Tanchyangas on the last two days of Chaitra and the first day of Baishakh. They refrain themselves from killing any living creatures during this festival. The last day of Chaitra is considered as the main festival day. On this special day they cook a mixed curry with five types of vegetables, which they call Pachan.
The Marinas celebrate Shangrai for four days. They all carry the image of Lord Buddha to the river front and set down the image on a floating bed. Afterwards, they complete the bathing of the image in milk or sandalwood water and return with it to set it in the Temple or in their homes. In every locality, the water throwing festival starts with people throwing water at each other so that the previous year’s sorrow will be washed away. The Baisuk festival of the Tripura tribe is celebrated by worshipping the god Shiva and asking for his blessings.
Lalon Shah is one of most acclaimed and prominent philosopher from Bangladesh. His distinctive tradition of philosophy is still being carried out through thousands of songs and composition which he wrote during his lifetime. His vision on human life is the fundamental base of Baul culture and tradition which is now currently appreciated and studied by major researchers all over the world.
Every year on the first week of April, a fair is organized following Lalon Shah’s birth anniversary by the devotees. The fair is held at the akhra (the place where Lalon lived) situated in Kushtia. The entire place goes through colorful decoration on this occasion. Thousands devotees from both abroad and Bangladesh gather in the Akhra to celebrate this day. With ektara and other musical instrument, the singers of Lalon Academy perform Lalon’s song all through the night during this fair. With the hymn of thousands unique composition, the devotees from all around the world remember the veracity of his philosophical thoughts.
The fair of Ghoshbila, also known as Baruni fair, is organized in the village Ghoshbila under Alamdanga upazila of Chuadanga district to commemorate the day of goddess Ganga’s arrival in a ghat. The legend says that the goddess Ganga appeared on that ghat which is considered as a holy place by the Hindus.
The major attraction of this fair is the holy bath. People from neighboring countries and all over Bangladesh come to the ghat and take this holy bath in the Kumar river to purify themselves with considering this bath as holy as Ganga bath.
Every year on the 8th day of the Iunar month falls in the Bengali month of Chaitra, thousands of Hindu devotees from home and abroad assemble on the banks of the old Brahmaputra river for Astami snan, a ritual bath in the river. On the occasion, a three-day fair is held in this place, starting before the day of Ashtami snan (Bath) and ending a day after the bathing ceremony.
The main attractions of the fair are exhibits, like pottery and products made of bamboo – cane and thread (like hand fans). These exhibits are very popular among the devotees visiting the place. Sweetmeat stalls do brisk business during the fair.
Shib Chaturdashi Fair continues for three consecutive days following the religious rituals where thousands of devotees gather in a Shiva temple at night on 14th Falgun. The Shiva has a history dated back to thousand years. The temple stands at the top of Chandranath hill located at Sitakunda in Chittagong. This fair is one of the oldest fairs in the entire subcontinent.
Every year the last day of the Bengali month of Bhadra is the occasion for worshipping the snake goddess (Monsha Puja), and a fair is held on the occasion at Shatkhira in a place named Gurpukur. Legend has it that during the 11th century A.D. towards the end of the Bengali month of Bhadra a person while walking became tired and fell asleep under a banyan tree at Palash Paul. When he woke up, he found a deadly cobra shading him from sunlight. From that legend the worshipping of the snake goddess began at that place and the Gurpukur fair also started side by side. The fair continues for one month.
The main exhibits at the fair are furniture made of Sundarbans wood and fruit plants. Moreover, entertainments like puppet shows, magic shows and Jatra (folk theatre) are also arranged. Since 1992, the idea borrowed from Gurpukur Mela was nationally replicated in all district and upazila townships in the form of Brikkha Mela (tree fairs). This was done to strengthen tree planting movement in the country.