As Christmas approaches, many are looking forward to the time of rest from this grim year. With the festive season back again, there is no better time to cast your diet and health plans aside for the next couple of weeks. Christmas dishes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are a few restaurants in Dhaka that are made for customers to go all out. If you’re looking to dine with friends and family during this Christmas season, here are a few good spots here in Dhaka.
Elements at Intercontinental
Fine dining isn’t an everyday option for most of us, but when we choose to let loose, Elements sets the standard. The first most noticeable attraction of the restaurant is its spacious and relaxing ambiance that can house up to 144 guests. The venue is phenomenally lit and offers a massive buffet that offers both Bangladeshi and intercontinental delicacies - prepared by top chefs at their Live Cooking stations right in front of you. If buffets aren’t your style, Elements also offers an extensive alacarte menu. A neat bonus is that there is a private dining room you could reserve if you are intending to bring sizable company.
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Favola at Le Meridien
Located at Le Meridien, Favola is one of the best Italian restaurants around if you’re feeling peckish for western cuisines. The restaurant doesn’t rely on any gimmicks to stand out, but instead presents authentic Italian cuisines made personally by Italian chefs to demonstrate the most premium of quality. Aside from excellent service, the restaurant has much to offer for those with dietary restrictions (vegetarian, Halal, Gluten Free, etc) If you’re looking to stick with comfortable classics, but made at the highest level, Favola will not disappoint.
Seasonal Tastes at Westin
If you’re looking to dine internationally this Christmas, Seasonal Taste at Westin more than lives up to its name. Whether you’re looking for kababs or sushi, the restaurant’s buffet has everything you’d think of craving for and then some. The restaurant also prides itself for having the only Molteni station in the country! To top it all off, Seasonal Tastes has the diet conscious in mind - offering services from SuperFoodRx and The Juicery to make dieting as enjoyable for the disciplined. The restuarant takes reservations up to 30 pax for their private dining rooms; a well-rounded destination for large groups of guests who have wildly different tastes.
Read Also: ‘Covid Curry Heroes’ recognised in UK
With all the grandeur on this list so far, sometimes the better approach is to keep things small with you and a couple of loved ones - which is where Bittersweet Cafe comes in as a solid recommendation. The ambiance is cozy and the cafe does a great job blending fine coffee with delectable bites that aren’t too hearty. The cafe keeps things safe by offering classic staples such as fried rice, sandwiches and pies. If you’re leaning towards a quieter Christmas, this cafe is a must!
Read Also: Top Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Parents
The Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2021 could take place at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan before February 21.
But the biggest literary event of the country – which begins on February 1 every year – might not be held as usual.
Previously, it was announced that the book fair would be organised virtually to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 as the country prepares to tackle a possible second wave of Covid-19.
However, a meeting was held on Sunday between Bangla Academy and two associations – Book Publishers and Sellers Association of Bangladesh and Academic and Creative Publishers Association of Bangladesh – with whom the academy arrange the fair every year.
Also read: Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020 in a nutshell
Both the associations proposed for arranging the fair in February at the venue while maintaining health guidelines.
“We decided that the Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2021 will be held in February,” Academic and Creative Publishers Association of Bangladesh President Farid Ahmed said.
Also read: Ekushey Book Fair 2021 to go virtual
“And we will give a proposal to Bangla Academy with a possible date, and the academy will forward it to the government. If the government approves, the book fair will start in February.”
Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Siraji said, “The publishers came up with their demands and we advised them to submit a plan with a suitable date, considering the Covid-19 situation. The academy needs at least two months for preparations.”
On Friday, Bangla Academy decided that the fair would go virtual for the first time if the Covid-19 situation worsens.
The decision was taken at the executive council meeting of the academy last Thursday.
Also read: 10 picked for Bangla Academy Literary Award
Following the course of development, people leave the villages for better education and employment opportunities. But still, the city dwellers miss village life from the core of their hearts. If you are looking for a village-like tranquil place for being nostalgic about the golden days of your childhood and spending some quality hours with your family, consider the Zinda Park resort near Dhaka. This place is also recognized as Oikotan Eco Resort. Read this article to know how to reach Zinda Park and what to see in this place.
Zinda park proposition is an innovative attempt taken by the founder Tobarok Hossain Kusom, and his four school-friends who dreamt to develop their village as an idol for the other villages to follow. With the aim to the provision of modern facilities and improve the lives of the villagers, those five legends formed an association called ‘Augnibina Students Forum,’ which is currently known as, ‘Orgopathik Palli Samity’. The association started its journey with a small deposit. Afterward, they built the park and the associated infrastructure slowly over the years with help of the local people and villagers.
Zinda Park is one of the best resorts near Dhaka. This eco-resort is located under the Daudpur union at Rupganj Upazila of Narayanganj district. It is an amazing place for a picnic or family day out. Spreading through a vast area of 150 acres, Zinda Park eco-resort is enriched with 10 thousand trees of different species.
The park features about five reservoirs, tree houses, cottages, a restaurant, a mosque, a market, a library, a school, a canteen, and a mini zoo. The lakes have four well-equipped boats to serve the tourists. In this Eco Park, several benches are provided sporadically to sit and relax. The natural greenery and architectural aesthetics of Zinda Park mesmerize the visitors.
Following the dream of making an idol village, diverse essential infrastructures have been constructed in the Zinda Park Eco Park. These infrastructures and facilities are efficiently run and managed by the locals. Interestingly, this project survives by generating its own income. Zinda Park's proposition has not only improved the life of the local people and villagers; but also created various employment opportunities for them.
Zinda Park has a nice school called ‘Little Angels' where local pupils study from grade one to ten. Architect Sayedul Hasan Rana has wonderfully designed the classrooms allowing the free flow of ample air and sunlight. Proper ventilation has minimized power consumption. The brick façade is eco-friendly and aesthetically beautiful. This eco-park owns a library on 0.33-acre land offering free access to the local students. This is a serene place to sit and read peacefully. Here the construction work of a college is going on.
Zinda Park authority has provided land and necessary infrastructure for a community clinic. Thanks to the Government of Bangladesh for assigning community health workers to this clinic for providing free medical facilities to the local people and villagers.
The mud and straw built cottages of Zinda Park represent rural Bangladesh. You can rent those cottages for a day, to experience the rustic life in an authentic way. It is a great way to introduce the beauty of the village to your kids who are born and raised in an urban atmosphere. The cottage-rents range from BDT 3,000 to 5,000 per day. You don’t need to worry about food arrangements.
Zinda Park eco-resort hosts a restaurant for the visitors. Here you can find delicious food servings starting from breakfast to dinner. You can choose from a variety of local food menus such as rice, pulses, vegetables, chicken curry, beef, etc. The cost of dinner/launch for one individual may range up to BDT 280. If somebody carries food from home or outside, s/he has to pay a small fee of BDT 30. The villagers operate this place proficiently.
Zinda Park eco-resort has a mosque and an Eidgah that can accommodate up to 400 devotees at a time here. These places feature magnificent architecture built with rare terracotta collected from different parts of the country. There is a graveyard near the mosque. Here the workers and contributors of Zinda Park along with their family members are buried.
Zinda Park Eco-park has a memorial in remembrance of the freedom fighters in the independence war of Bangladesh in 1971. Zinda Park has an open space to celebrate different occasions, including Pahela Baishakh. Every year, a village fair is arranged on this occasion and the local entrepreneurs set their stalls of different products. What is more? The Zinda Park committee arranges a nice setting for Bangla folk songs under a banyan tree that represents our Bengali culture.
Zindapark community village has a parking arrangement. So, you can commute to this place by personal car or motorbike, and utilize the authorized parking facility.
Zindapark eco resort has its own security system. You can choose this place to revive your mind in a tranquil rustic environment away from the humdrum of urban life. This park is completely safe for family and kids. However, if you want to enjoy a picnic in the Zindapark resort, it is recommended to inform the authority at least three days in advance.
Situated at Rupganj Upazila in Narayanganj, Zinda Park community village is only 37 kilometers away from Dhaka. The easiest way to reach Zinda Park from Dhaka is the Purbachal Highway – the 300 feet road at Kuril World Road. You can go to Zinda Park by bus. This route passes through Kachpur Bridge via Bhulta-Gausia.
First, get to Kuril World Road from part of Dhaka city. Here you will find a BRTC bus to reach Kanchan Bridge adjacent to the Kuril rail line. The Zinda Park eco-resort is located only 5 kilometers away from the Dhaka-City-bypass road before Kanchan Bridge. From the corner area of the bypass zone, you can hire local transport to arrive at Zinda Park. The fare would be around BDT 25 to 30. However, you have to pay more for reserved transport. You can also reach Zinda Park on your own transport.
Another route to Zinda Park runs through Tongi Mirer Bazar via by-pass road. Starting the journey from Dhaka via the bypass road, Zinda Park is accessible through Tongi Mir Market. Zinda Park is only 28 kilometers distant from Tongi. Zinda Park Eco Resort is open each day of the week. Here the entry fee is only 100 taka.
Featuring three of the leading female artists in Bangladesh, an online art camp titled ‘Strokes Against Violence’, organised by Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka was virtually held on Wednesday - marking the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence which reflected on the necessity of mass awareness regarding the issue.
Noted painter Afroza Jamil Konka, eminent indigenous artist Kanak Chanpa Chakma and leading performance artist Nazia Andaleeb Preema showcased their mesmerising crafts based on the topic of violence against women at the event, which was moderated by Zonta’s Advocacy Chairperson Tootli Rahman and also joined by Dr Simeen M Akhter, President of Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka.
News agency United News of Bangladesh (UNB) was the media partner of the camp, while Gallery Cosmos was the gallery partner.
“I’ve been painting women for a long time. When I was at a very tender age, I saw my mother struggling to raise her four daughters as the situation was very hard for her in the male dominated society. I closely saw her joys and sorrows and she was very joyful when she used to be with us, to make us feel happy. Those things encouraged me to paint women and all their emotions,” painter Afroza Jamil Konka, the inaugural artist of the camp, shared her thoughts behind drawing paintings of women.
Answering a question on why she thinks child marriage should be banned, Konka said, “I draw a lot of paintings on child marriage as I think it’s the root of all the violence against us, women. A little girl, when she is supposed to go to school and explore, enjoy and learn about life - society pushes her to do something which she is neither capable of nor ready to take over. A healthy and educated mother is a blessing for our society, and that can only be assured if we can stop child marriages.”
Konka went on explaining her artwork featuring a red background and subjects, which portrays a little girl moving towards her in-law’s house, holding her little doll and leaving her friends behind in a gloomy atmosphere where a number of crows are lurking around.
Answering Tootli Rahman’s question regarding the significance of crows in her painting, she said, "Crows symbolise opportunists (like those who pressurise families of the brides for money) of our society, wait for the chance to harm."
She thanked Zonta and Tehmina Enayet, director of Gallery Cosmos, for hosting the camp.
The second artist of the event was Kanak Chanpa Chakma from Rangamati, one of the most noted artists of Bangladesh, who portrays the struggling lives of the indigenous communities in Bangladesh and the endless sufferings of women. The painting she crafted at the event featured a woman lying on the ground, covered with paper collages and surrounded by lizards.
Explaining her artworks, Kanak said, "I used paper-cuttings because many newspapers write about violence against women, but women don’t get justice most of the time." Describing the lizards, Kanak said: "Lizards are the symbol of abusers in our society. They are scary, as they suck the blood out of people - similarly, abusers take the happiness out of women."
"The abusers should get serious punishment so that such violence is never committed again. The justice system has to be stricter too, and I think artistic ventures like this art camp can also raise awareness, which I’m glad to be a part of," Kanak said, thanking Zonta and Gallery Cosmos for the event.
The showstopper of the camp was award-winning Bangladeshi visual artist Nazia Andaleeb Preema, who in her performance art titled 'Guilt Quilt’, cut her attires in a performative gesture with blades and scissor to showcase the vulnerable approach towards women's bodies, and put the cut-pieces of her clothing on a crib that showcased the crime women have been subjected to. The entire performance took place at Cosmos Atelier71 in Cosmos Centre, Malibagh in the capital.
"First of all, I want to thank Zonta and UNB for the opportunity as this is my first performance after eight months due to the pandemic which totally shattered all of us, and it was quite a relief for me and I feel alive again,” Preema said.
“Women are the continuous and worst sufferers of the society, which didn’t change even during this pandemic - and this performance titled 'Guilt Quilt' is actually a tribute to all women as we’re all in this together. We all are guilty to mankind that we cannot make this world a better place to live. I hope during this time we introspect and reflect on our wrongdoings, and I plead to Zonta and all its members all over the world to please stand for violence against women,” Preema said at the camp.
From November 26, marking the international day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, Zonta Club of Greater Dhaka organised multiple webinars and initiated several projects across the country till December 10 marking the Human Rights Day, along with 35,000 Zontians in 65 countries.
The theme for this year’s campaign was “Orange the world - fund, respond, prevent the collect”.
The people of the Indus Valley Civilisation in northwest India had a predominantly meat-heavy diet, comprising animals like pigs, cattle, buffalo and sheep, along with dairy products, a study published in Journal of Archaeological Science has shown.
The research offers insights into the food patterns of ancient South Asia by using lipid residue analysis, reports Scroll.in on Friday.
High proportions of cattle bones was also found, which may suggest a “cultural preference for beef consumption” across Indus populations, the study, titled, Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India, said.
The research offers insights into the food patterns of ancient South Asia by using lipid residue analysis to investigate what kinds of food items were used in ceramic vessels by people of the Indus Valley Civilisation settlements in northwest India, the present-day states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
It was led by Akshyeta Suryanarayan as part of her PhD at the University of Cambridge.
“Our study of lipid residues in Indus pottery shows a dominance of animal products in vessels, such as the meat of non-ruminant animals like pigs, ruminant animals like cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat, as well as dairy products,” Suryanarayan said, according to a press release by the Cambridge University.
The study of lipid residues involves the extraction and identification of fats and oils that have been absorbed into ancient ceramic vessels during their use in the past. It provides chemical evidence for milk, meat, and possible mixtures of products and/or plant consumption. Lipids are relatively less prone to degradation and have been discovered in pottery from archaeological contexts around the world.
On average, about 80% of the faunal assemblage from various Indus sites belong to domestic animal species, the study said. Out of these, cattle or buffalo are the most abundant – averaging between 50% and 60% of the animal bones found – with sheep and goat accounting for 10% of animal remains.
“The high proportions of cattle bones may suggest a cultural preference for beef consumption across Indus populations, supplemented by the consumption of mutton/lamb,” the research said.
Wild animal species like deer, antelope, gazelle, hares, birds, and riverine/marine resources were also found in small proportions, suggesting that “these diverse resources had a place in the Indus diet”, the study notes. “The pattern is similar at the sites in northwest India, where domestic and wild mammals, and smaller proportions of birds, reptiles, riverine fish, and molluscs were consumed,” it added.
There is also evidence of hares and birds being eaten, although little evidence was gathered on whether chicken was part of the diet of Indus people, according to the study.
Besides, “ledge-shouldered jars and large storage jars at Harappa have been linked to storage of liquids such as wine and oil,’’ it said.
Suryanarayanan told The Indian Express that the study was unique as it examined the contents of the ceramic vessels recovered from the Harappan sites. “Normally there would be access to seeds or plant remains,” she added. “But through the lipid residue analysis, we can confidently ascertain that consumption of beef, goat, sheep and pig was widespread, and especially of beef.”
The Indus Valley was home to one of the world’s first large civilisations. It began nearly 5,000 years ago in an area of modern-day Pakistan and North India. There were more than 1,400 towns and cities in the Indus Valley. The biggest were Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Around 80,000 people lived in these cities.