Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sirajganj: Doi Mela At Tarash(তাড়াশের দই মেলা)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Few days back an interesting news caught my attention. It was related to Doi Mela(দই মেলা) at Sirajganj district(সিরাজগঞ্জ জেলা). More specifically it is at Tarash Upozila(তাড়াশ উপজেলা). I didn't hear about such peculiar curds fair before. So I wanted to experience a different kind of flavor from the Mela.

I have started my journey at early morning. Normally I don't do journey at morning. When I have reached at the Tarash Thana Bazar(তাড়াশ থানা বাজার), it was 12:30 of the day. Sun was bright, and weather was slight hot in spite of winter, which means less crowed at the Mela area. People will come at afternoon and the Mela premise will be a viable place then.

The size of the Mela is not a great one. Around 25 Ghosal(ঘোষাল, curd maker) brought their product curds. The Mela held in the field beside an Old temple named Roshik Ray Temple(রসিক রায় মন্দির). Every year during the 5th day of the Moon in Bengali Calendar month Magh(বাংলা মাস মাঘ) the Mela use to start only for the single day. Its the day of Shoroshoti Puja(সরস্বতি পূজা).

The quality of the curds from the fair is having medium quality. But the interesting part was the different shaped pots in which they were selling the curds. All the pots were made from burnt soil which keeps the curds cool for a long time.

According to the local people, the Mela initially organized by the Jomidar Banoari Laal Raybahadur(জমিদার বানারী লাল রায়বাহাদুর) during his ruling period. As he liked curds too much, he arranged the Mela and announced a lucrative prize for the best curd maker and which just lured the curds makers and increased the popularity of the curd fair quickly. This Mela is still continuing, but the size shrieked as expected.

From the Mela, I have bought 2 KG of Doi(দই), and 250g Chira(চিড়া) for the lunch. The Mela had different kind of curds, such as thick, light, sour, sweet. If you are not expert on curds, you may not distinguish the curds from the outside look.

It was a different kind of tour and I have had a different kind of flavor from the tour.

How to Go:

1) Take a bus from Kollanpur Bus Stand(কল্যানপুর বাস স্ট্যান্ড). Ask the counter to give you a ticket of Mohishluti Mor(মহিষলুটি মোড়). Hanif(হানিফ), Shamoli(শ্যামলী), National are the best available services. Bus fair is currently 350 Taka per person. It will be around 4 hours to reach the destination.

2) Ask the bus to drop you at Mohishluti Mor(মহিষলুটি মোড়). The GPS of the location is (24°22'25.68"N, 89°22'56.97"E).

3) From the Mohishluti More(মহিষলুটি মোড়), better take the Van(ভ্যান) to go Tarash(তাড়াশ). It will be 20-25 minutes of ride and cost will be 15 Taka per head.

4) The Mela is beside the Tarash Bazar(তাড়াশ বাজার). GPS of the Mela is (24°25'47.25"N, 89°22'19.36"E).

Where to Stay:

You cannot stay at Tarash(তাড়াশ). You have to make your accommodation either at Sirajganj(সিরাজগঞ্জ) town, or at Natore(নাটোর).

Where to Eat:

Tarash(তাড়াশ) is a poor and underdeveloped area. But still there is a handy restaurant at the bazaar where you can do your lunch.

Note: This is a single day Curds Fair, and it is the day of Shoroshoti Puja(সরস্বতি পূজা).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cotton Grass(উলু ঘাস) - Imperata cylindrica

আমাদের বিল্ডিং এর সামনের ছোট টিলাতে প্রতিবছর এই উলু ঘাসের ফুল ফোটে শরতের দিকে... সমস্ত টিলা তখন সাদা রঙের মতন হয়ে যেত... আবার শীত আসার সময় এই গাছ মরে যেত... আমাদের ক্রিকেট খেলার বল এই উলু ঘাসের জঙ্গলের মধ্যে কত হারিয়ে যেত... এই কারণে এই ঘাস আমার কখনই পছন্দ ছিলনা... আরেকটা প্রবলেম ছিল হাফ প্যান্ট পরে এই ঘাসের মধ্যে দিয়ে হেটে যাওয়া যেতনা... পায়ের সাথে ঘাস লেগে আচড়ের মতন দাগ বসে যেত... কিন্তু এই উলুঘাশের ফুল পছন্দ ছিল আমার... আমাদের ঐদিকে কাশ ফুল হত না... তাই এইটাকেই কাশ ফুলের মতই একটা ফুল মনে করতাম...

This plant belongs to the grass family, Poaceae. This is considered as a massive weed. Common name of the plant is cotton grass, cogon grass, blady grass, etc. In Bangladesh, we call this Ulu Ghash(উলু ঘাস). Scientific name of the plant is Imperata cylindrica. Its a perennial grass plant and native to Asian and Australian territory.

Plant can grow over two feet. Leafs are long and having sharp silica crystal toothed at the margins which can cut the outer skin of the human body. Flowers look like silky white cotton having brown filaments around. Pollination of the plant is done by air.

Though this is a weed plant, In Bangladesh we use this plant to thatching the roof of our huts. We call this Chhon(ছন). Also we are using the grass to make brooms. This plant grows at the same place year after year. Its leafs dried during winter, but the root keeps alive for next rainy season.

ফুলের জন্য ভালবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sirajganj: Noborotno Mondir(সিরাজগঞ্জ: নবরত্ন মন্দির)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Noborotno Temple(নবরত্ন মন্দির) is located at the Noborotno Para(নবরত্ন পাড়া) village of Hatikumrul Union(হাটিকুমরুল ইউনিয়ন) of Ullapara Upozila(উল্লাপাড়া উপজেলা) of Sirajganj district(সিরাজগঞ্জ জেলা) of Bangladesh(বাংলাদেশ). It is believed to be a 300 years of old temple having similar architecture to the Kantajew temple(কান্তজির মন্দির) of Dinajpur(দিনাজপুর) by shape.

This temple was built somewhere between 1704 - 1728, by a tahsildar(তহসিলদার) named Ramnath Bhaduri(রামনাথ ভাদুরী). Local people call this temple as Dol Moncho(দোল মঞ্চ). Some people believe that this is the largest Noborotno Mondir(নবরত্ন মন্দির) of Bangladesh.

This is a three stored temple where the first floor is the largest and the top one is the smallest floor of the temple. The temple is built over a high plinth. Its around 15 meter square shaped temple. Height of the temple is around 13 meter.

This ancient temple was severely damaged during the earthquake of 1987, like many others edifices of North Bengal. After reserving the temple, government made several renovations.

At second floor.

Near the temple I have found another three small temples which are contemporary to main one. One of those is having lovely terracotta at the front wall. Most of the terracotta are the depiction of the god and goddesses of Hindu religions. Below are the photos of other temples.

How to Go:

1) You can take any bus of Hanif(হানিফ), Shamoli(শ্যামলী), National(ন্যাশনাল), etc from the Kollanpur(কল্যানপুর) Bus Stand. Ask the bus to drop you at Hatikumrul-Sirajganj Mor(সিরাজগঞ্জ-হাটিকুমরুল মোড়). Bus fare will be 350 taka(during return, it will be 250 taka). GPS of the location is (24°25'8.73"N, 89°33'6.26"E).

2) The temple is few kilometers north-east from the stoppage. Take a van, ask him to drop you at the Noborotno Temple(নবরত্ন মন্দির). It will be 15 taka per head and 15 minutes of ride. GPS of the temple location is (24°25'57.59"N, 89°33'10.78"E).

3) While returning back, you can buy ticket of Dhaka from the "Road counters". There are plenty of such counters beside the road. Return ticket fare is 250 taka around.

Where to stay:

I didn't stay there and not know much about accommodation. There are few hotels available at Sirajganj(সিরাজগঞ্জ) town, and Shajadpur upozila(শাহাজাদপুর উপজেলা). You can go there and find some hotels.

Where to eat:

Near the Sirajganj-Hatikumrul Mor(সিরাজগঞ্জ-হাটিকুমরুল মোড়), you'll find several Highway Inns(Aristocrat, Food Village, etc) for the buses. All are highly qualified to serve you better food.

Let me know if I missed something...!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunrise at St Martin Island, Bangaldesh(সেন্ট মার্টিন দ্বীপে সূর্যোদয়)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

There are very few places at Bangladesh from where you can enjoy both the sunset and sunrise. Saint Martin Island is one of those. From the island it is possible to enjoy sunset and sunrise easily. We have stayed two days there, and everyday we have enjoyed the sun enthralling rising at morning.

Our hotel was at the eastern bank of the island. So it wasn't any hard work to enjoy the sunrise. 06:42 am at morning was the sunrise time for the day. So we have waked up at 06:30 at morning and within 5 minutes reached at the beach beside the hotel.

As it was winter, the sky around the beach was a bit foggy. I was a bit tensed about the view of sunrise. But slowly the sun started to showing its face. I have watched lot of sunrises in my life, but never experienced anything at sea or river. Also none of those was from the zero minute. So I was exulted by my first experience.

Being winter, the weather was chilling and the wind from the ocean was blowing heavily. I was a different kind of feeling on such incident. There was a large group who were also with us to enjoy the beauty of sunrise. Bonus was the invigorating breezes from the ocean.

After the sunrise, we have gone to the bed for another nap. Later we have explored the Chhera Dip(ছেড়া দ্বীপ) by walking the whole day. I'll share that experience soon.

Sunset at Saint Martin Island, Bangladesh(সেন্ট মার্টিন দ্বীপে সুর্যাস্ত)

Friday, 20 January 2012

It is our first day at Saint Martin Island of Bangladesh(সেন্ট মার্টিন আইল্যান্ড, বাংলাদেশ). After the lunch, we have reached at the beach located at the northern shore of the island. Our main target was to observe the sunset from the beach.

Two kids are collecting mussel from the beach.

As we still had more than few hours on hand, we have decided to freshen up at low tide waves from the beach. It is Friday, but interestingly this portion of the island was having less crowed. Anyway, I think more than an hour we have splashed the waves.

The sun is almost down, just few left(05:37 pm).

Now its time to enjoy the sunset view. By any means, we needed to reach at the western bank of the island, otherwise we wouldn't have the best view for the advent sunset. We were walking at the beach, and equally the sun was closing to its destination. 05:37 pm was the today's time for sunset.

When we have reached at the western shore of the island, everything was set for the show. Only few tourists and we were standing on the wet beach for saying the sun a goodbye for the day. To me, sunset is always lovely around the rivers and the seas. I love to watch such things again and again, and never feel tired.

As usual after sunset everything starts to get darker very quickly. So we have decided to return our hotel room. During the night we'll be enjoying the Barbi-Q of Rup Chanda Fish(রূপ চান্দা মাছ), and Koral Fish(কোরাল মাছ).

Sheora Gachh(শেওড়া গাছ) - Trophis aspera

Please comment below, if you know more about this plant...
গাছটি সম্পর্কে কারো কাছে অধিক তথ্য থাকলে নীচে মন্তব্য করুন...

শেওড়া গাছের নাম শুনলেই প্রথমে আসে ভূত, পেত্নী, শাকচুন্নির কথা. ভুতের বইগুলোতে অনেক উল্লেখ আছে এই অদ্ভূত গাছটার. এত ঘন ঝোপালো একটা গাছ, আর গাছের ডালপালা মনে হবে একটা আরেকটার সাথে জোড়া লেগে আছে. এইসব বৈশিষ্টের কারণে এই গাছ বেয়ে উপরে উঠা অনেকটা অসম্ভবই. সম্ভবত এই কারণে এই গাছের সাথে ভূতেদের এত সক্ষতা পাওয়া যায় গল্পের বইতে. গ্রামের দিকে অনেক লোক আছে যারা রাত্রে বেলায় এই গাছের পাশ দিয়ে হেটে যেতে ভয় পাবে. আমি ভুতে বিশ্বাস করিনা, কিন্তু তার পরও রাত্রে বেলায় এই গাছের পাশ দিয়ে হেটে যেতে সময় একটু হলেও আমার গা ছম ছম করে উঠে.

There are very few trees which having direct connection with the ghosts in children's ghost stories. Sheora Gachh(শেওড়া গাছ) is one of those. According to the stories female ghosts use to live on this trees at night. Those ghosts are always referred as Petni(পেত্নী), Shakchunni(শাকচুন্নি), etc. You'll find lot of people at village where they use to scare to pass beside this tree during night.

Anyway, botanical name of this tree is Trophis aspera. It belongs to the plant family Moraceae (mulberry family or fig family). In Bangladesh(বাংলাদেশ) we call this Sheora Gachh(শেওড়া গাছ). This plant is neither a weed nor an ornamental, neither it produces food nor you can use the wood from it. Only way you can use it at the burners as wood fuel.

The flower of this Sheora Plant(শেওড়া গাছ) is unisexual. Sheora Flower(শেওড়া ফুল) appears as a cluster at the stem of the plant. Color of the flower is creamy. Doesn't have any smell. I didn't see any fruit of this flower, but it must have.

This plant grows 5-7 meters in height. Small Leafs are dark green and a bit rough when mature, but slight glossy during young. After growing first few meters based on the main stem, it use to produces lot of dense stems(most of those are siamese) which made the tree almost difficult for climbing. Possibly this is the reason about why people related this plant with the ghosts.

ফুলের জন্য ভালবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

Sheuli/Shefali Ful(শিউলি/শেফালী ফুল) - Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

আমার পছন্দের একটা ফুলের নাম শেফালী. আমাদের বাংলাদেশে এই ফুল প্রধান দুই নামেই পরিচিত, শেফালী ফুল আর শিউলি ফুল. সদা রঙের ছোট ছোট ফুল আর বোটায় থাকে উজ্জল কমলা রঙের ছোযা. যেমন দেখতে, তেমন তার মিষ্টি গন্ধ. হিন্দু ধর্মে একে আবার স্বর্গের ফুল বলে মনে করে হয়. ধারণা করা হয় তাদের প্রভু কৃষ্ণ এই ফুল স্বর্গ থেকে মর্তে এনেছিল. ফুল ফোটে রাত্রে বেলায়, শরত আর হেমন্ত কালে. সারা রাত গাছে থাকার পরে শিশির ভেজা সকালে গাছের নিচে সকাল বেলায় পরে থাকে এই ফুল. একটা গল্প প্রচলিত আছে এক রাজকুমারীকে নিয়ে. সে সূর্যকে ভালোবেসে না পেয়ে আত্মহত্যা করে আর একটা ফুলের গাছে পরিনত হয়. সকাল বেলায় যেন সুর্যের মুখ দেখতে না হয়, তার জন্য সারারাত গাছে ফুল থাকার পর সকাল হবার আগেই ঝরে পরে গাছ থেকে. রাজকন্যার নাম ছিল পারিজাতাকা, তার নাম অনুসারে এই ফুলকে পারিজাতাকা ফুল বলেও ডাকা হয়.

I love almost every flowers of nature no matter the fragrance or the color. As long as it is a flower, i like it. But still I have a short list of favorite flowers. Sheuli Ful(শিউলি ফুল) is one from the list. In Bangladesh we call this Sheuli ful(শিউলি ফুল), Shefali ful(শেফালী ফুল), Shefalika ful(শেফালিকা ফুল ), etc. English name of the flower is Tree of Sorrow, Queen of the nigh, Coral Jasmine, etc. At the Indian myth, it is believed that this flower belongs to heaven and it was brought to the earth by Lord Krishna(কৃষ্ণ).

This flower belongs to the plant family Oleaceae (Jasmine family). Botanical or scientific name of the flower is Nyctanthes arbor-tristis(some people says Nyctanthes arbortristis or Nyctanthes arbor tristis). In Latin Nyctanthes means blooming at evening and arbor-tristis means sad or sorrow. As the flower blooms at night and sheds before the day light, people call this tree of sorrow. This plant is native to Indian territory and few part of East Asia.

In Bangladesh, this flower blooms during the autumn and keep blooming during late autumn and some part of winter. Flower blooms during night and at morning you'll find thousand of Shefali flowers(শেফালী ফুল) under the tree. It's a lovely scene to see such things at the morning, specially before sunrise. An interesting romantic story available about this flower where a princess fall in love with the Sun. After being refused by the sun, she committed suicide, and converted into Shefali Tree(শেফালী গাছ). As she can't stand the sight of her lover sun, her flowers just shed down from the tree before sunrise.

Sheuli Flower is a night blooming shrubby plant and the leafs are large and rough, arranged opposite around the stem. Flowers are small and white in color and the tubular corolla is orange in color. The combination of white and orange makes the flower more delicate. Along with the lovely outlook, the fragrance of the flower is amazingly sweet. These characteristics just made the flower favorite to most of the florist.

Fruit of Sheuli Ful(শেউলি ফুলের বীজ).

In ancient, people used to extract orange color from the corolla of Shefali flower(শেফালী ফুল). They used that color in food and dying cloths. After failing to vie with the artificial colors, now a days that process is no longer practiced among us.

Photos of this article were taken from Mohera, Tangail(মহেরা, টাঙ্গাইল). I was traveling there during January 2012.