Dhaka Bangladesh

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Map of Bangladesh

Dhaka (ढाका), formerly known as Dacca,[1] is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Dhaka is the economic, political and cultural center of Bangladesh. It is one of the major cities of South Asia, the largest city in Eastern South Asia and among the Bay of Bengal countries.


  • Dhaka ढाका (बांग्लादेश) (AS, p.383)
  • Dacca


As part of the Bengal plain, the city is bounded by the Buriganga River, Turag River, Dhaleshwari River and Shitalakshya River. The city is located in an eponymous district and division.


The origins of the name for Dhaka are uncertain.

  • Once dhak trees (Butea monosperma) (ढाक) were very common in the area and the name may have originated from it.
  • Alternatively, this name may refer to the hidden goddess Dhakeshwari (ढाकेश्वरी), whose temple is located in the south-western part of the city.[2]]
  • Another popular theory states that Dhaka refers to a membranophone instrument, dhak (ढाक) which was played by order of Subahdar Islam Khan I during the inaugurating of the Bengal capital in 1610.[3]
  • Some references also say it was derived from a Prakrit dialect called Dhaka Bhasa; or Dhakka, used in the Rajtarangini for a watch-station.
  • It is the same as Davaka (डावक), mentioned in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta as an eastern frontier kingdom.[4] According to Rajatarangini written by a Kashmiri Brahman, Kalhana,[5] the region was originally known as Dhakka. The word Dhakka means watchtower. Bikrampur and Sonargaon—the earlier strongholds of Bengal rulers were situated nearby. So Dhaka was most likely used as the watchtower for the fortification purpose.[6]

Dhaka clan

Alexander Cunningham[7] writes about The Sangala of Alexander, which has long ago been recognized in the Sakala of the Brahmans and the Sāgal of the Buddhists.

Alexander Cunningham[8] further writes that In the time of Hwen Thsang She-kie-lo, or Sakala, was in ruins, and the chief town of the district was Tse-kia, or Chekia, which may also be read as Dhaka or Taka.

It is also likely that the clan may get name from Dhak tree. Alexander Cunningham[9] mentions that On leaving Sakala, the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang travelled eastward into a forest of Po-lo-she trees, where his party encountered fifty brigands, who robbed them of their clothes. M. Julien, who has properly rendered Hwen Thsang Po-lo-she by Palasa, the Butea frondosa, or Dhak tree.

The Brahmanical accounts of Sakala have been collected from the Mahabharata by Professor Lassen in his ' Pentapotamia Indica.' (pp. 73, 74) According to that poem, Sakala, the capital of the Madras, who are also called Jartikas and Bahikas, was situated on the Apaga rivulet to the west of the Iravati, or Ravi river. It was approached from the east side by pleasant paths through the Pilu forest,

" Sami-pilu kariranām vaneshu sukhavartmasu." (शमी पीलु करीराणां वनेषु सुखवर्त्मसु) (VIII.30.24)

Alexander Cunningham[10] mentions that The country is still well known as Madrades, or the district of the Madras, which is said by some to extend from the Bias to the Jhelam, but by others only to the Chenab. Regarding the Apaga rivulet, I believe that it may be recognized in the Ayak Nadi, a small stream which has its rise in the Jammu hills to the north-east of Syalkot. After passing Syalkot the Ayak runs westerly near Sodhra, where in the rainy season it throws off its superfluous water in the Chenab. It then turns to the south-south-west past Banka and Nandanwa to Bhutala, and continues this same course till within a few miles of Asarur. There it divides into two branches, which, after passing to the east and west of Asarur, rejoin at 2½ miles to the south of Sangalawala Tiba. Its course is marked in the revenue survey maps for 15 miles to the south-west of Sangala, where it is called the Nananwa canal. An intelligent man of Asarur informed me that he had seen the bed of the Nananwa 20 kos to the south-west, and that he had always heard that it fell into the Ravi a long way off. This, then, must be Arrian's "small rivulet" near which Alexander pitched his camp, at 100 stadia, or 11½ miles, to the east of the Akesines, below its junction with the Hydaspes.[11] At that time, therefore, the water of the Ayak must have flowed for a long distance below Sangala, and most probably fell into the Ravi, as stated by my informant. Near Asarur and Sangala, the Ayak is now quite dry at all seasons ; but there must have been water in it at Dhakawala only 24 miles above Asarur, even so late as the reign of Shah Jahan, when his son Dara Shekoh drew a canal from that place to his hunting seat at Shekohpura, which is also called the Ayak, or Jhilri canal.

Dr Naval Viyogi provides us information from the Naga records. Dhaka is also the name of capital of Bangladesh. It is named after Dhakeshwari i.e. the goddess of Dhakas. According to Dr Naval Viyogi [12] In a period of third century AD many hoards of Taka coins have been recovered from Nagpur region,[13] which were introduced by the Taka Nagas of North-West. Linguists have informed that these Taka people reached and ruled in the region of Dhaka of Bangla Desh, since the word 'Dhaka' is a linguistic (Pali) variation of Taka. [14] In the second act of Sanskrit play mrcchakatika a dialect has been used by author, known as Takki. Taki, Takka or Dhakka is the Prakrit dialect which has been called by Pischal language of East Bengal spoken around Dhaka, but there is another interpretation too, since word 'Ta' has been changed to 'Dha' due to the tendency of change from Sanskrit to Pali or Prakrit as cited above, hence the original word is Taka from which Dhaka has been derived.[15][16]

Dhaka is a one of names of Nagavanshi Kings who ruled from 2nd to 5th century. As per History of Sanskrit Literature (1859), p. 267 and F. Max Mullar Dhata changed to Dacca or Dhaka (Sanskrit to Pali or English) over a period of time.


The history of urban settlement in the area of modern-day Dhaka dates to the first millennium.[17] The region was part of the ancient district of Bikrampur, which was ruled by the Sena dynasty.[18] Under Islamic rule, it became part of the historic district of Sonargaon, the regional administrative hub of the Delhi and the Bengal Sultanates.[19] The Grand Trunk Road passed through the region, connecting it with North India, Central Asia and the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

The Mughal Empire governed the region during the early modern period. Under Mughal rule, the Old City of Dhaka grew on the banks of the Buriganga River. Dhaka was proclaimed the capital of Mughal Bengal in 1608. Islam Khan Chishti was the first administrator of the city.[20] Khan named it "Jahangirabad" (City of Jahangir) in honour of the Emperor Jahangir. The name was dropped soon after the English conquered. The main expansion of the city took place under Mughal governor Shaista Khan. The city then measured 19 by 13 kms , with a population of nearly one million.[21] Dhaka was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in South Asia.[22] It grew into a regional economic center during the 17th and 18th centuries, serving as a hub for Eurasian traders, including Bengalis, Marwaris, Kashmiris, Gujaratis, Armenians, Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Dutch, French, English, and the Portuguese.[23] The city was a center of the worldwide muslin, cotton and jute industries, with 80,000 skilled weavers.[24] Mughal Bengal generated 50% of the Mughal Empire's GDP, which at the time constituted 29% of world GDP. Dhaka was the commercial capital of the empire.[25]

The city had well-laid out gardens, monuments, mosques, temples, bazaars, churches and caravansaries. The Bara Katra was the largest caravansary. The riverbanks were dotted with tea houses and numerous stately mansions. Eurasian traders built neighborhoods in Farashganj (French Bazaar), Armanitola (Armenian Quarter) and Postogola (Portuguese Quarter).


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[26] ने लेख किया है ...ढाका (AS, p.383) भारत के पड़ोसी देश बांग्लादेश की राजधानी है, जो गुप्त सम्राट समुद्रगुप्त की प्रयाग प्रशस्ति में उल्लिखित डावक है। ढाका को समुद्रगुप्त के साम्राज्य का प्रत्यंत देश कहा गया है। जनश्रुति के अनुसार ढाकेश्वरी के मन्दिर के कारण यह स्थान ढाका कहलाया। ढाका अपनी महीन मलमल के लिए मध्य काल में दूर-दूर तक विख्यात था। यहाँ की मलमल का यूरोपीय देशों में निर्यात होता था। मुग़ल काल में यह बंगाल के सूबे की राजधानी रहा था। ढाका पर सोलहवीं और सत्रहवीं शताब्दी में यूरोपीय व्यापारियों की अनेक कोठियाँ बन गयी थीं।

External links


  1. Choguill, C.L. (2012). New Communities for Urban Squatters: Lessons from the Plan That Failed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Springer Science & Business Media. p. viii. ISBN 978-1-4613-1863-7.
  2. https://www.britannica.com/place/Dhaka
  3. "Islam Khan Chisti". Banglapedia.
  4. Chowdhury, A.M. (23 April 2007). "Dhaka". Banglapedia.
  5. Mamoon, Muntassir (2010) [First published 1993]. Dhaka: Smiriti Bismiritir Nogori. Anannya. p. 94.
  6. Mamoon, Muntassir (2010) [First published 1993]. Dhaka: Smiriti Bismiritir Nogori. Anannya. p. 94.
  7. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.179
  8. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.180
  9. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.184-185
  10. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.185-186
  11. ' Anabasis,' vi. 6.
  12. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India,
  13. Gupta Chandra Shekhar "Foreign Denomination of early Indian Coins" VIJ (1978) Vol 16 Part 1-2 pp 92-93
  14. Bulletin of the Deccan Research Institute, Vol I (1939-40) p.192
  15. Mehendale M.A. "Takki or Dhakki" , Bulletin of the Deccan College research Institute Vol I (1939-40) p.189-92
  16. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, pp-22,25,156
  17. https://www.britannica.com/place/Dhaka
  18. Dhaka City Corporation (5 September 2006). "Pre-Mughal Dhaka (before 1608)".
  19. "From Jahangirnagar to Dhaka". Forum. The Daily Star.
  20. Kraas, Frauke; Aggarwal, Surinder; Coy, Martin; Mertins, Günter, eds. (2013). Megacities: Our Global Urban Future. Springer. p. 60. ISBN 978-90-481-3417-5.
  21. "State of Cities: Urban Governance in Dhaka" (PDF). BRAC University. May 2012.
  22. Shay, Christopher. "Travel – Saving Dhaka's heritage". BBC
  23. Colley, Linda (2009). The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 262–. ISBN 978-0-307-53944-1.
  24. "Which India is claiming to have been colonizsed?". The Daily Star (Op-ed). 31 July 2015.
  25. "Which India is claiming to have been colonizsed?". The Daily Star (Op-ed). 31 July 2015.
  26. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.383