Department of Archaeology sources said the number of local tourists is on the rise in 175 preserved sites in 16 northern districts
Faisal Hossain, a private job holder in Bogura, visits the archeological site of Mahasthangarh regularly.
He says the ancient Buddhist stupa is his favourite tourist spot. The beauty of the place attracts him.
Whenever he has time to spare, he goes to Mahasthangarh along with his friends.
Ishrat Jebin, a doctor, has come visiting the tourist spot from Dhaka.
She says she has earlier visited almost all archaeological sites in the country except Mahasthangarh.
"I read about Mahasthangarh in the books in my childhood. Now I have come here to know about the history and heritage of this famous place directly," she said.
"I think everybody should come to this place at least once. It is an important place in our country. The management here is superb. I felt very good," she added.
With tourists increasingly getting drawn to sites symbolic of archaeology, history and heritage, earnings from preserved archaeological sites in Mahasthangarh in Bogura have been going up every year.
Sources at the Department of Archaeology said the number of local tourists is on the rise at 175 preserved sites in 16 northern districts.
Md Mujibor Rahman, assistant director at the Department of Archaeology in Bogura, said revenues from tourism have crossed the target in the last several years.
"In 2017-18 the revenue target from the archaeological sector in the northern region was Tk2.75 crore. But actual earnings came to about Tk3 crore. In the last fiscal year, earnings went up further, crossing the target of about Tk3 crore," he said.
He said the earnings at Mahasthangarh site increased by 2.70 percent over one year. In the current year, the revenue target from the northern region has been set at about Tk4 crore; and in the first four months of the fiscal year the earnings came to about Tk1 crore.
School children visiting Mahasthangarh are charged Tk5 ticket each under a scheme aimed at making them aware of the country's archaeology, history and heritage. An adult has to pay Tk10 for an entry ticket.
For a tour of Mahasthangarh museum, visitors have to pay Tk10 to Tk20 depending on age. The entry fee for foreign tourists is Tk100 each and for access to the museum they have to pay Tk200 per person.
According to statistics of the Department of Archaeology, 6 lakh 84 thousand 285 tourists visited Mahasthangarh last year. On average, 1,875 persons came to the site every day. Last year 1,617 foreign tourists visited the spot, which on average meant five persons a day.
Razia Sultana, custodian of Mahasthangarh Museum, said, "When a foreigner thinks of coming to the site from Dhaka his first concern is transport. If the communication system improves the number of foreign tourists coming to the Mahasthangarh site will increase too."
People concerned are of the view that it is urgent to open up Bogura airport to attract foreign tourists to the region.
Most foreigners coming to Mahasthangarh do so for research related work.
Professor Dr Saswati Mutsuddi of the Pali Department at Kolkata University, has been visiting Mahasthangarh Museum along with her student. The two have been conducting research on the history of Buddhism in the region. They are satisfied after seeing the Museum. However, they noted an absence of necessary books in the Museum.
"What we have seen inside is okay. It would be better if we found some necessary books here. The management here is very good. They helped us much in our research work," said Dr Mutsuddi.
Dr Nahid Sultana, regional director for the Rajshahi-Rangpur area of the Department of Archaeology, said requisitions have been sent to the Dhaka office of the departrment for more books. After all the requisitions are collected, the work of printing books will start. Once the printing is complete, the books will arrive at the Museum.
Dr Nahid Sultana believes that necessary initiatives should be taken at the private level to attract tourists.