20 days ago


Uttara: Things in Dhaka's 'great north' others are jealous about

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Everybody sees the 'Uttara North' ticket option on the screens of the automated ticket machines in the metro stations, yet very few attempt to make that perilous journey north.

However, if you fall asleep and miss your metro, stop and wake up to look out the windows and see vast green lands on both sides – don't mistake it for a village as most Mirpur people would have you believe. You are, in fact, in Uttara – Dhaka's great north – where you'll find more SMUCT and Milestone campuses than there are mushrooms in the wild; the land of restaurants, Kashful (Catkin flowers) and easy access to the capital's only airport.

Don't listen to those 'posh' Mirpur-Banani-Gulshan people. Uttara is not just a village. It has many sights to offer. Let me walk you through the must-visit sights that you cannot miss if you're ever in our little city.

You'll probably encounter the first of these sights if you're using any other transportation than the metro – the famous traffic jam. Indeed, if the slightest problem occurs on Airport Road, the beautiful quagmire of buses, cars, three-wheelers, trucks, and bikes visits the entrances to Uttara, bringing with them the accompanying dust and noise. Any tourist's dream! Good luck getting anywhere when our neighbours in Tongi host the Bishwa Ijtema.

The Mirpur people aren't completely wrong; Uttara does have her share of countryside to offer. If you venture east to sectors 4 and 6, you'll find the beautiful scenery that some people call underdeveloped, unplanned, impossible to travel, muddy, broken roads near the rail tracks. However, we Uttaratis prefer to call it our "rural charm." 

But if you travel west towards sectors 15, 16, 17 and 18 during autumn, you will see beautiful white Kashful lining the horizon. You may also see endless seasonal tourists, food carts and the accompanying trash dotting that white horizon, but let's not nitpick.

Don't forget to visit the lakes – no, not the ones that are dried up and filled with bulldozers and trucks at the moment, but the ones further north which still have water in them. If you do find those lakes, bring some mosquito repellent cream if you value your skin and blood. Do not, by any means, take a dip in the water, or there's a good chance your kids will be born with three eyes and a tail.

In spite of all the mosquitoes, herds of school kids, crowds in the market areas and traffic on the highways leading out of town, Uttara is home to many people who live clean and comfortable lives with the easiest access to good restaurants and affordable clothing stores. 

Let the Mirpur-Banani-Gulshan people say what they say – at least we don't get flooded every time it rains in the slightest.

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