The Fish hub

Swarighat, which is one of the oldest markets established in the middle of nineteenth century is a key wholesale fish market on the north bank of the Dhaka’s main river Buriganga. This is a unique wholesale fish market operates for only a few hours in the early morning. The trader of other 24 big wholesales fish market of the capital as well as hundreds of nearer towns arrives here to purchase fish from about 700 fish stockiest. The fish for sale in the market are brought from all over the country. The average daily turnover of fish in the market is between Tk 2.5 and 3 million. The fish for sale in the market are brought from all over the country including Cox’s Bazar, Teknaf, Chalanbill, Chittagong, Mohanganj, Chandpur, Barisal, Bhola, Faridpur, Madaripur, Mohongonj, Kuliarchar, Jessore, Khulna and Satkhira. They come by steamers, launches, boats and trucks. Even imported and smuggled fishes of India and Mayanmer are also available here.

The name Swarighat directed from Farshi word `Swari’, means passenger and Bengali `ghat’ means river station. Till the seventeen centuries, this river station used by the people to cross the river as well as arriving or departing Dhaka. There is another cause of naming Swarighat. Previously this place was famous for renting Palki, a unique wooden manually bearing tool of newly married bride. The synonym of Palki is `Swari’. So the both meaning of `Swari’ might behind naming Swarighat.

Customers of the market are small wholesalers and traders doing their business in different retail markets of Dhaka City including Karwan Bazer, Thathari Bazar, Mirpur and nearby towns like Jatrabari, Keranigonj, Nawabgong, Dohar, Savar, Narayanganj, Manikganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj etc.

Till sun rises to 8 am Fish is traded mainly in open space. The fish trading system in the market is quite different from the other markets. Medium and large size fishes are sorted by species and size and are sold in hali (four pieces) basis. Most small, and sometimes, the medium size fishes are sold in maund (37.6 kg) basis. Trading operations take place in various ways. Some buy and sell as wholesalers and others act as commission agents.

I want to present the essence of the place in my story. Daily activity and interaction between people in fish market is my main focus of this photo essay.

© Reshad Kamal /


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