When was the last time you stopped and took a deep long breath to smell the fresh air? Life in the metropolis can sometimes be claustrophobic. With the hectic work schedule, blazing horns and blinding lights it is very easy to get lost in the commotion that is Dhaka city. So where do you go in this concrete jungle to sit, think and contemplate your day away? Here are a few places in the city where you can relax and take a breath.
Ramna Park is the perfect hideaway for those in need for a quick evening of solitude. With an area of nearly 70 acres, one of the oldest parks of the country, Ramna is embellished with 71 species of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, 36 species of fruit bearing plants, 33 species medicinal plants and 41 species of forestry and 11 other species, with a coiling lake at the center. It boasts various flowers and is home to birds, bugs and bats alike.
Ramna was founded during the Mughal rule. But it evolved into a park in 1949 when it was inaugurated as Ramna Park. As you enter the park, all the noise from the busy street begins to dwindle and you are welcomed with the melodic chirping of birds and a whiff of the earthy wet grass - a setting which is very rare in Dhaka.
The long pathways and surrounding greeneries are popular among joggers and health nuts. Giggling gossiping girls and aspiring guitarists chill on the grass while teenagers cycle side-by-side with the pedestrians. For the thinkers in need of silence, sitting on the concrete bench or under a massive banyan tree offers the perfect ambiance to contemplate and conjure inspiration.
The ideal time to visit the park is during dawn when the sun is still warm and the air is crisp. However, families prefer the evening when the sun is yawning. Let the children loose in the playground and watch them swinging, sliding, and running as you watch idly from a bench sipping coconut water.
Chandrima Udyan, which means “Moonlight Park” in Bengali is a green oasis and the best remedy for the I-want-to-get-out-of-Dhaka-but-don’t-have-enough-time-or-money situation. This hideaway is located beside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban offering a lush landscape and the sweet fragrance of Kishnachura.
The park is perfect for a short respite, where one can sit by the grand Crescent Lake and eat roasted peanuts. The place is panoramic during dawn, when you can smell the morning dew, and breathe in the earthy air, or simply listen to your train of thoughts. Taking a stroll amidst the blooming flowers can be a great mood lifter.
Gulshan Lake Park
Take a break from technology and teach your kids to be kids. Leave the PS3s and iPads at home and bring out that bicycle, football and remote control car. Gulshan Lake Park, nestled inside Gulshan-2 adorns a great space where children can run, play and fall down at their heart’s content.
The air inside the park is lighter and the temperature cooler, a sharp contrast to the heavy urban air. It is the ideal place to sit back, take a deep long breathe and relax amongst the chirping birds and rustling leaves.
There is a designated nursery area with a vast and exotic collection of fruits and flower saplings where one can delve into his/her inner gardener. Get your hands dirty and involve your children in planting a plant and see the stress drain from your body as you spend some quality time with your dear ones surrounded by Mother Nature.
The entrance to this park for non-members of the Gulshan society is from 10:00am-4:30pm.
Dhanmondi is the cultural hub of the city which is also popular for its eclectic food scene. Right in the heart of all this activity is the serene Dhanmondi Lake which takes about 16 percent of the total Dhanmondi area. It is an enchanting place where despite being surrounded by the city chaos one feels at ease where you can sit by the waterside with your legs hanging and let time go at its own pace.
The lake twists 3km like a serpent’s tail, surrounded by plush greenery and a lakeside walkway where people, walk, jog, sit, talk and immerse in the solitude of the open space. Within this vast area is an open-air amphitheater commonly known as ‘‘Rabindra Sarobar’’, filled with aromatic tea stalls and kebab shops.
You should visit the lake while the dance of the greenery and blue sky is at its prime immersed in sunlight. If you do stay till dark, you would be lucky to catch a full moon when the silver reflection glistens upon the dark waters and all you can hear is the humming of the waves and the melody of your own thoughts.