The first phase of the Bishwa Ijtema, billed as the world's second-largest Muslim congregation, is underway on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi.
Proceedings started with a sermon at dawn on a chilly Friday morning. The first leg of the Tabligh Jamaat gathering will wrap up with a final prayer on Sunday.
Followers of senior cleric Muhammad Zubair from Dhaka's Kakrail Mosque, the Tabligh Jamaat's national headquarters, are attending the first phase, while the disciples of Delhi's Saad Kandhalvi will take part in the event's second phase.
Leaders of the Tabligh Jamaat set the tone for the event with speeches on the main stage on Thursday.
Maulana Ahmad Lat from Delhi delivered an address, translated into Bangla by Maulana Omar Farooq, as attendees settled in, preparing for the days ahead.
Habibullah Raihan, media coordinator for the first phase, noted that the main activities began post-Fajr on Friday with a speech by Maulana Ahmad Butler from Pakistan.
The day’s schedule includes a series of sermons by renowned scholars, culminating in the country's largest Friday congregation at 1:30 pm, led by Maulana Zubair.
After the Jumma prayers, the sessions will continue with talks by Maulana Omar Farooq, Maulana Zubair, and Maulana Ahmad Lat, among others. Special addresses have been prepared for international attendees by prominent Tabligh Jamaat leaders.
Devotees from across Bangladesh and abroad started arriving at Tongi days in advance, using various modes of transport and carrying essentials for their stay.
The influx of participants is expected to continue until Sunday's final prayer.
Security and order were maintained by law enforcement, directing attendees to their designated areas within the 160-acre venue.
Separate spaces were allocated for participants from all 64 districts of the country, while international guests were provided with modern accommodations.
However, those unable to find space within the venue set up makeshift shelters along nearby roads and open spaces.
The unexpected rainfall on Thursday evening briefly put a damper on the mood, but organisers urged patience, and the rain subsided after 25 minutes.