Famed as the birthplace of Sanatana Goswami, a 16th-century disciple of the Indian saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jessore is a bustling town in south-west Bangladesh. It serves as the capital of Jessore District and is decidedly non-touristy, with most visiting en route between Khulna and the Indian border at Benapole.
Things to do in Jessore
Explore the narrow, winding streets of Jessore, which are filled with tea stalls frequented by locals who come to “shoot the breeze”. Take note of the “Bijoy ’71” sculpture by Khondoker Badrul Islam that dominates the entrance to the city and was constructed to honour those fallen during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971.
Visit the Jessore Institute Public Library (one of the oldest libraries in South Asia), which was established in 1854 by the district tax collector, R.C. Rex. In addition to its diverse collection of books in English, Bengali, Urdu and Arabic, it also features ancient manuscripts written on palm leaves, including works by the author of the epic Mahabharata, Shrikrishna Dwaipayana.
Interested in Bengali literature? Pay a visit to the birthplace of Michael Madhusudan Dutt in the nearby village of Keshabpur Upazila. Learn about the life of this 19th-century poet and writer as you browse the personal artefacts and manuscripts on display, with Madhusudan considered a pioneer of Bengali drama. A fair is held to mark his birthday each year, drawing literary devotees from near and far.
Getting around Jessore
Jessore is around seven hours’ drive from the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, which is also connected by regular flights from Jessore Airport. Buses travel from Jessore to surrounding towns and cities while cycle rickshaws are readily available for short trips throughout the city.