Monday, January 17, 2011

Poush Sankranti Festival 2011

Friday, 14th January 2011

Flying Kites

Last year I have missed the chance to enjoy this ineffable festival for some personal reason, but this year I have made it. "Paush Sankranti" mainly a Hindu festival, and used to celebrate at Bangladesh(specially at Old Dhaka) and India. At the last day of Bengali Calendar month of "Poush", this festival gets the celebration.

Kites stuck at palm tree

Poush Sankranti is also known as "Sakraine" at Old Dhaka. This is known as "Makar Sankranti" to Hindu People, makar means the Capricorn(14th January), a zodiac sign. It has several names at different part of this sub continent. For example at Maharashtra, this is sometimes known as "Til Sankranti", and they used to make "Naru" from the seed of "Til". Its known as "Pongol" at South India, and known as "Bihu" at Assam. This is one of the biggest festival at India, and they celebrate the day with a holiday. But at Bangladesh, Hindus are not in majority, and thus, its only limited among Hindu people, and no holiday.

I went to the "Lakkhi Bazar" area around at 4:00 of the afternoon. Already lot of kites were flying at the sky that time. Different colors, and sizes. Most of the roofs of those old buildings were occupied with youngs(mostly) and some elders. I was with my friends there, and non of us were local. It is hard to manage yourself at the roof of the building, and you will miss if you failed to manage a roof. Somehow, we have manages an old palace type of building with the help of a local boy named "Hridoy".

Kite Catcher

It was amazing to be with the festive people at Old Dhaka. Lot of musics, and everyone playing their own music on loud speakers. Hindi, Bengali, English, old, new, lots of different categories. It is also hard to concentrate any particular music sources if you try. Also the chaos from the people makes the situation more amazing. If you want to talk even with your friend on your right, he hardly can hear you for that tumultuous situation.

Catching kites with Bamboo

There are three type of groups gathered at roof. One group used to fly kites. They are prepared with 8-10 kites an average. Second group used to catch the kites. Using the Bamboo stick, they are doing this easily. Kites used to fall due to low wind under it, or get cut after fighting with other kites. The third group is the spectators, they don't do anything, like me. Just watch, and enjoy the rhythm of the moment.

Holding flare at roof top

When the sunset is impending, people used to play with fires. The lit the Moshal(torch) and blow(spray) the kerosene from mouth to make the torch inflame. I have seen this kind of works at television, but never got any chance at live. One people from our roof did this subtly. This view is identical at all of the roof top of other buildings.

After the sun down, its party time with fireworks. "Potka", "Atosh Baji", rockets are the main ingredient for this party. Sky used to be bright even at night by the colorful sparks produced from those. Sounds like gun fire produces from those too. If you see this from roof, you will feel like its a situation of war. People used to spent thousands of Taka(local currency) behind this fireworks. I have added some moving snaps of fireworks at my video.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jamalpur: An incandescent afternoon with scenic beauty

Sunday, 19th December 2010

Our city life just made us cruel and selfish. At my case, I have some relatives who are just crazy about me. They used to love me more than their own child. I had a good communication with them, frequently. But when I grew older, and started to learn the labyrinth of my own life, soon I started to forgot their feelings. My youngest aunt, who has married around 7/8 years back, and I haven't had any chance to visit her home. All these years, only she came to see me. During my this tour, I didn't want to miss the chance to surprise her with my presence.

Left side of the canal is Tangail, and right side is Jamalpur district.

This article is all about a lovely village near my aunt's house with full of picturesque views. The name of the village is "Nor Para". I don't know what is the nomenclature for the village. This village is under the Pingna(Pighna) Union of Sharishabari of Jamalpur district. At the eastern part of the village(which is also the last border of the district), you'll find a canal(name I don't know). This is much wider compare to normal canals. But the depth of the canal is not too much. The marsh under the water is still visible even at the middle of the canal. This is a great source of fishes for local villagers. Other side of the canal is Tangail district.

Pastoral fields after harvest, and foggy far side.

The road beside the canal is typical village road("Metho Poth"). I am crazy for this kinds of roads. I have visited many places from Bangladesh, and there are lots of place where you'll not find this kind of roads. The modern technology just evanescent this beauties from those villages. It was a cool afternoon of winter. There was almost a full moon at the sky. I can see the mirror image of the moon and sky at the water of the canal. The water was so tranquil to built the image more realistically.

"Fingey/Fechkula Pakhi"(Black Drongo Bird)

One side of the path is having that canal, and other side is having a mile long paddy field, which are just harvested after the paddies were ripen. The fields are looking like a golden field, and at the far side the fogs are still visible, which indicating the high winter is impending. This kinds of paddy fields are a great hunting ground for Drongo Birds. I didn't miss the chance to enjoy the activities of those birds.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jamalpur: A glimpse of river Jamuna

Sunday, 19th December 2010

The glimpse of the mighty river Jamuna

Jamuna is one of the mighty and major river from Bangladesh. I have had a chance to visit this river from different parts of the country. This time its from a bit different and uncommon place. Its from Jamalpur, my home district. Once upon a time, when there was no "Jamuna Bridge" over this great river, this district, Jamalpur was the only hope to connect with "North Bengal" from this arena of the country.

Other side of the river(of course there is more water after this unwanted island) is Sirajganj District

There were two major Ferry and Launch Ghat(Doc/Jetty) at Jamalpur, one of those used to connect with Bogra district, and other one used to connect with Sirajganj district. After opening of the "Jamuna Bridge" over this river at Tangail district, those options are just demised.

People transporting Paddy crops after harvest

During my native village tour, I have went to a place named "Pingna"(but we local people pronounce this as Pigh-na) at Sharishabari Thana of Jamalpur. Its around 30/40 minutes of bike ride from my grandfather's house. Also this place is near around the "Jagannath Ganj Ghat"(once upon a populous launch ghat).

These islands were raised due to lack of carelessness from our government

The river Jamuna here is forced to separated into several branches due to some massive islands those raised amid of the river by carelessness activities from our government(actually river control board). Still you can not see the main bank of the river, if you stand at one side. But, you still can see the secondary bank(island shore after water stream) easily. This moribund river doesn't have that much water force(current) right now.

"Gone Fishing", hobby or professional? forgot to ask.

From this place, its around 1 hour bus journey, and you'll find "Jamuna Bridge". I can remember, when the bridge got an opening, people around here used their bicycle to visit the largest bridge of Bangladesh, Jamuna. Some people used their own feet instead of any machine(FYI, no bus service that time was available from here).

Preparing a bait for the next catch

It was around 4:00 when I was enjoying the beauty of teal water from the river. Few local people were catching fish. You know catching fish is exciting, but boring for the spectators like me. But fortunately I have seen one of them caught one. Once upon a time, people around here used to live their life by catching fish from this great river. But now, fishes are deceasing like a magic as the river loses its strength.

Just caught a "Kal Baush"(fish from Bangladesh)

I can remember, when I have came this place during my childhood, it was hard to see anything other than water from the river bank. But now a days, this moribund river is thinking those heydays along with me. And we have nothing to do!?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bandarban: Expedition Rumana, Day-5

Friday, 17th September 2010

Continuation from Day-4 expedition.

According to our team plan, our today's trekking is starting from "Rumana Para" to "Boga Lake". As always like previous days, we have started our walking at very early. I didn't know what other members are thinking about starting early, but My plan was to reach the Ruma Bazar before 3.00 at afternoon, and catch and boat then bus, and reach at Bandarban town. From there leave Bandarban town for Rangamati. Cause my office is off for Saturday/Sunday, and wanted to enjoy Rangamati.

Another bright day at Rumana Para

Anyway, like other days, no breakfast, and team started to moving back with a faction of 3/4. These groups are created automatically based on the speed of individuals. I am a bit sluggish, and people around me were similar to me. It supposed to be a half an hour path, and then we will be at Sunsong Para. While passing the Army camp, we have waved our hands to say them(army) bye, and they have responded us spontaneously. In fact they were happy to see people like us from flatland coming around here.

Entering the Sunsong Para

By 6:30, we have reached at Sunsong Para. There is a small shop for local villagers used to sell some dry foods like "Bella Biscuits" and other stuffs. Some of us reached here a bit early, and they were waiting for us. This break lasted for 20 minutes before we left. Today's sun is scorching, and I know it will make me black.

A white flower unknown to me

There is a special characteristics of a mountain. Everyday you will find this different, and thus you will not feel boring by watching this day after days. Last time when we were coming through the path, it had a different beauty under the cloudy sky. Now today, it looks bright under the blue sky. The jungle beside the path is fully bloomed with unknown white flower. Thousands of those are around there.

There is a half wooden bridge just beneath the Passing Para village(mountain from keokaradong range, about thousands feet from base to top.) Under the wooden bridge, there is a small stream flowing. We have collected fresh water from there, and recharged our energy. Today we are requiring break too frequently, because of the burning sun.

Gathering fresh oranges from trees

Near the bridge, there is a small area where we have found Orange trees. Not too much long, but straight upwards tree. You can not climb these trees, neither you can't pick oranges from standing under that. So what to do? We have sticks at our hands. Hassan, and Tushar sharted to gather the oranges from tree by beating the oranges hanging on branches. From far, it looks like green skinned orange and may seems like not ripen well. But after piling one, we have found its completely ripen and inside is juicy orange colored.

After gathering few of those, we have started for climbing the passing para hill. From now, it will be continuously upwards for half an hour, and it will taste your strength. I was worried about the condition of the road. When we were coming through the path, i found it was a bit risky at some places, and I felt skittish at some places last days.

Beautiful mountain view from the "passing para"

Around 30 minutes, we have reached at the top of the high steep. I have taken few long breaks along with my mates at several places. At mountain, its hard to go upwards, but it has less risk. Most of the people don't feel jumpy when they moves up(But going downwards is easy, but risky).

From the top, its almost plain straight road towards Passing Para. Once again, we have chosen the shop of "Robert Bawm", and once again we are around the beautiful "Robek Bawm", the wife of Robert. Once again, taking some dry foods here, and waiting for others to join us.

Robert and Robek Bawm's daughter

When we have left the Passing Para, it was around 9 at morning. From here you can easily go to the "Jadupai Waterfall" by spending 1.5 hours for going down, and 2.5 hours for returning back. But interestingly I didn't have this information at my mind. When we were resting at the top of the Keokaradong Peak, it just came to my mind, and none of use including me wanted to get back and visit the waterfall.

So, after doing some photo session at the top of the peak under the bright sun, we have started for "Boga Lake". Today people are snapping the shots freely. Two days back, they were saving their camera battery, and the memory space for Final Destination(Zingsiam Saitar Waterfall). Since our objective is completed, and now they are doing this more cheerfully.

There is a turn at the path, where for the first time after 3 days our mobile phone devices started to sense the network coverage. Most of us just informed our family that we are all well and safe here, and will back home soon. For the first time at my life, I started to feel like something that i don't know. May be its returning from jungle to town, or something like that, ineffable.

There is a waterfall named "Chingri Jhiri" and we were in hurry last time, and didn't able to enjoy the beauty from here. But today we have lots of time, and few of us moved at the bottom of the waterfall. The waterfall is not visible from the main trek. You have to pass some large boulders for few minutes, and then you'll be able to see that. From there it will take another few minutes to reach at the bottom of the waterfall.

Very unique waterfall, and a different kind of feelings when I have reached under the waterfall. Not too much water, but water spread over the rocks, and looks like a giant one. Most of the waterfall used to produce water with large drop, sometimes the stream is too thick. But this one has very tiny drops of water around. Some of us tried to reach at the top of the waterfall from bottom, but failed. There is another almost identical waterfall at the top(some of us just mentioned).

Well, party is over at "Chingri Jhiri", few phlegmatic mates were waiting at the trek for us, they didn't feel any interest to enjoy this waterfall due to bad physical condition(crams and other stuffs). Around the middle of the day we have reached at Boga lake. Its around 1.00 I think. I was interested to leave Boga Lake asap, and want to be at Ruma Bazar.

Hasnat, Partho, and Ruhi was interested to do so. But other members from the team didn't want to stay at Ruma Bazar. Some of us wanted to stay at "Boga Mukh Para". Many men many minds. So I have asked my team captain to make his decision. I have voted for staying at Boga lake for tonight, or leave for Ruma Bazar, I didn't want to stay at "Boga Mukh Para"(just didn't want to pass night at same village twice).

So, finally we have decided to stay at here. Hasnat, Partho, and Ruhi left immediately for Ruma bazar, through the trail that used to use by the vehicles. They didn't want to use the "Jhiri Path" as they thought it will be harder and risky for them. But they didn't know that it would be the harder one, as there will be no water, and the path is unnecessary long and having too much twists and turns around. At mountain, there is only one rules for the vehicles road. Either you go upwards, or go downwards, no flatland.

We were feeling sad for our three fellows by thinking their upcoming stress that they have to face. Anyway, its lunch time. We have cleaned our body at Boga Lake. Few of us enjoyed the swimming at lake. It was invigorating and enjoyable too. After lake party, we have jumped for lunch. Hell, we were hungry like a hound. I think most of us have taken a double meal today.

View of boga lake from our cottage

Last few days we used to sleep only at night, and that was on floor. But for the first time at this excursion, I have found few minutes to sleep at day time, and now its not on hard floor. The bed is soft(at that situation), and I couldn't resist myself to throw my body for few minutes. From the window of the cottage, you can easily see the great Boga Lake. During the afternoon, the sky stared a harmless rain to make the beauty hundred times from usual one.

Our team captain was able to manage a goat, to make a mutton bar-b-q at night. I have some problem to watching the slaughtering skinning the animals, and I have stayed away from the processing. I have came out from the room after the sun down, and participating on the grilling on the limb of the mutton. Its still raining on the sky with 3/4 drops.

Grilling the mutton in front of Laram's house

At night, after our dinner, when the grilling was done, we have gathered on Laram's house, and started to enjoy the bar-b-q. I am not a connoisseur of eating grilled stuff. My friends enjoyed the party too much. It was grilled mutton with Marfa(like a cucumber, but larger). We had some local wine with use. Two bottle with different flavor. I have sipped once or twice from one of my mate's glass. It was good, didn't feel any stingy smell or anything like that(i have some problem at my nose :-p).

Now its goodnight time, and we all are tired, so went to the bed, and tried to get a sleep. Few of us vomited at night. Overall, it was another great day from the expedition, and we feel sorry for our mates those who didn't stay there for the night. They missed the party tonight.

Next part at Day-6