For both foreigners as well as Bangladeshi tourists, the white onion-domed shrine of musician and poet Lalon Shah is the main reason for visiting Kushtia. Lalon Shah is one of the most famous mystic personalities in Bangladesh, and the serene shrine is a fascinating peek into the spiritual side of Bangladeshi life. The shrine centres on the holy man’s tomb and that of his adopted parents, while around the perimeter of the shrine are the tombs of various local dignitaries.
Behind the tomb complex is a covered area where musicians sometimes play and sing Lalon Shah’s songs, while pilgrims burst into dance. In mid-March and mid-October, the Lalon Festival is held on the grassy maidan, overlooking the river nearby. It’s a five-day folk-music extravaganza and attracts thousands of pilgrims, itinerant vendors and marijuana-smoking holy men who travel from all across the subcontinent to commemorate Lalon Shah’s birth (March) and death (October).