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    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Dinajpur & Panchagarh, July 2006

    To the Bordertowns

    28-29 July 2006

    After a long journey, I reached Dinajpur before 6:00 on the 28th. The town was yet to wake up. I boarded a hotel (not too cozy though) just to get freshened up and to catch a bit of sleep after a long night journey.


    Dinajpur town at 6:00AM (Maldahapatti)

    A couple of hours' sleep gave me enough energy to leave the bed and fetch life. It was around nine in the morning when I finished my breakfast at a nearby restaurant and boarded a rickshaw. The destination was Ramsagar National Park. The way to Ramsagar wasn't too short, but enjoyed it to the full. The picturesque road regularly encouraged me to have a pause, but I had to keep time in mind.




    The picturesque journey to Ramsagar...........

    After around 45 minutes' I reached the entrance to the Park; it was not even 10:00AM. The place looked cool and calm. Visitors do come here regularly, but a weekend morning wasn't the one everyone looks for. The lovely greenery of the Park gave me the nice little break that I had been looking for. It was truly refreshing.


    Morning at Ramsagar National Park.............

    The main attraction of the Park is its massive water tank. This is probably the biggest man-made water tank in Bangladesh. Its dimensions tell a story. 1133 yards x 400 yards. It was dug by Raja Ramnath during 1750-1755A.D. to benefit the local inhabitants, who had suffered a lot because of lack of drinking water.








    The massive man-made water tank of Ramsagar............

    There was a small covered resting place where refreshments were being sold. Spent some time there to get refreshed. The tank is quite imposing indeed. I kept the rickshaw with me to reach the other end, which was more than a kilometre away. I took my time at the other end to enjoy the view and to try to do some photography. The tank was just too big for my photography gears!

    Anyway, after more than a hour's stay at the Ramsagar National Park, I left the area for Kantaji's Palace. There's a famous temple at Kantanagar, some distance from Dinajpur, but this palace is not that one. This is not too far out of Dinajpur town. So, another picturesque rickshaw journey followed. After another hour's journey I reached Kantaji's Palace. It was around noon.






    Some parts of Kantaji's Palace are still in good shape.......






    While some other parts are counting days.............

    There was a nice temple inside the main gate of the palace, which was also in good shape. It good condition was ensured by the regular maintenance of the temple by the worshipers, who regularly visit here.


    The small, but beautiful temple at Kantaji's Palace........




    The main entrance.........

    The area now houses many people. The palace complex or the ruins were not protected at all. There was an orphanage nearby. Children's faces reminded us of the possibility of restoration and hope.




    The future............

    There are several big water tanks in the area. They have some cozy names too! A small boy from the Temple at Kantaji's Palace guided me through the water tanks.


    The Dukhsagar (Sea of Sorrows)


    The Sukhsagar (Sea of Happiness) is the biggest tank in the area.......

    By around 1:00 PM I was finished with my journey around Kantaji's Palace and adjacent areas. I took the same rickshaw that I had left waiting at the Palace and returned to the hotel. I had more plans for the day, so had little time to rest. I had a quick lunch and cut down my rest. Straightaway I went for the bus station. Destination Kantanagar Temple. I was on board the bus right around quarter past three.

    The bus dropped me near the Dhaepa River by around quarter to three in the afternoon. It was a warm day and even though the sun was tilting, it was still quite strong. The sun was shining on the Dhaepa. The small river had to be crossed to reach Kantanagar Temple. The river had one boat-ferry. People were standing on the boat; the shallowness of the river forced the boat to stop some distance away from the other shore. So, I had to wade my way home.


    Ferry on the Dhaepa River.........


    Leaving my footprint on the sandy banks of the Dhaepa.........


    The path to Kantanagar Temple.........

    After around 10 minutes' walking through village roads, I was in front of the walls surrounding Kantanagar Temple. The temple is well maintained and well publicised. Its a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regular worship is also performed here, so, there's no shortage of maintenance. The beautiful terracotta decorating the temple are mostly in good condition. The temple was built between 1704 and 1752 A.D.


    Kantanagar Temple............






    Terracotta..........



    By around 5:00PM, I was done with my visit at the temple. I came back same way I went in. Crossed the river and boarded another bus to Dinajpur. Checked out of hotel in a haste and went to catch a bus to Panchagarh. I was entering the second part of my tour. But my luck ran out. it was already past 6:30PM and the last direct bus to Panchagarh had already left Dinajpur. I had little option but to board a local bus.

    Never, even in my wildest dreams, had I realised that a journey as short as this one (around 50km) would be that painful. I boarded the bus at half past six in the evening and the bus dropped me at Panchagarh half past ten at night!! Four hours for this distance! We stopped at every possible point and took on every possible being that was interested to travel on wheels! We paused at Thakurgaon for almost an eternity! The sultry heat and the stench made me tired and frustrated. When I reached Panchagarh, I found heaven in a hotel room. Took as much food as I could and went straight to bed. I had more hectic plans for the next day; so, needed some sound sleep.

    29 July morning. I was up quickly and had my breakfast in a rush. By quarter past nine, I was on the bus to Tetulia, the northernmost town in Bangladesh. Once at Tetulia, I saw a bus leaving the town for Banglabandha, the northernmost point on our country's map. That bus service wasn't the most frequent of all. If you miss one, you have to wait a bit for the next one. So, I wasted no time and boarded the bus. I left my sight-seeing at Tetulia for the return journey.


    Tea plantation of Panchagarh..........

    By around 11:30AM, I reached Banglabandha. Another warm day; so, I had some refreshment available on the spot. Hired a rickshaw van and headed for the border check post. Didn't have too difficulty convincing the BDR people that I would just go to the last point to do some photography. But they warned me repeatedly not to cross the bamboo roadblock. It was around quarter to noon when I was photographing at the zero point.




    End of the line..........

    I came back from Banglabandha at the next opportunity. Didn't have to wait too long though. It was an off season as far as visitors were concerned. So, the transport service was a bit infrequent. But it was good enough for me considering the amount of journey I've had so far.

    Anyway, I was back to Tetulia by around quarter past one in the afternoon. A rickshaw-puller approached me and convinced me that he could help me see the whole place around. I took the bait and didn't have to repent. He took me to a government rest house by the Mahananda. This was like an oasis in the middle of a warm planet. The trees there danced with the fine breeze and made a beautiful noise. The Mahananda was flowing calmly and the other side of the river gave a glimpse at the border security installations in India.


    The Mahananda...........

    I took some more time through the narrow, but green streets of Tetulia. The rickshaw-puller was knowledgeable enough to guide me throughout the journey. I saw the tea plantations and the stone quarries. Big holes were dug up to acquire stones from right underneath the surface.


    Stone quarry.........


    The ride.........

    I boarded a return bus to Panchagarh by around 3:00PM. I was back to my Panchagarh hotel room by around 4:30PM. I was tired as hell, but couldn't miss a sunset photoshoot from the bridge across the River Korotoa. The bridge was walking distance away from my hotel. I went there by around 6:00 and went on shooting up to almost 7:00. Right at that moment, I remembered that I had my bus waiting for me.

    I jumped into the bus with all my journey experience of the northernmost area in the country. My tired body only found a seat, and the heavens broke down! It started to rain. It was heavy. I couldn't that God more. During my whole stay it didn't rain a drop. It was warm, but the lack of rain helped me to get to all the places that I had desired. Now the rain almost came in as if they didn't want me leave! I didn't have to prepare for a long journey. I just went to sleep.

    Next morning I was back to Dhaka; back to the hectic life. The bordertowns still beckoned me when I went to work.

    14 comments:

    1. hello bhaia,
      That was great tour description. I am going to that route tomorrow. So i think it will help us a lot. Thanks for sharing.

      btw: i liked ur blog a lot. i need to go through all the posts.


      Regards
      Musfiq

      ReplyDelete
    2. Dinajpur is nice as its name,
      really really nice and chearming.
      I wish icould make a tour there and get marry...... ha ha ha.

      nice images your photografical hand is really good. i wish if there more photo of the town.


      THANKS for your hard work and give us valuabe information about DINAJPUR.

      GREENBERET47
      UK.

      ReplyDelete
    3. thanks a lot, Musfiq and Greenberet..... nice to know that you liked the blog...

      @greenberet: I wish I could spend some more time within the town..... I had to be very efficient with time management, which forced me to curtail my time within the town..... may be next time I would be able to give more time to the town itself...... thanks for stopping by. :)

      ReplyDelete
    4. thanx 4 uploading such beautiful images.

      ReplyDelete
    5. hi there!!!
      nice to see ur blog:)good job1 I want a favour from you. do you know someone who lives in Dinajpur as i am searching for my mother family in that area.If you know someone who live in Dinaj pur please give him or her my email address or just send me a dropline i will contact him or her.
      my id is aamiradnan@gmail.com
      hope to hear from you soon.
      Regards,
      Aamir (Pakistan)

      ReplyDelete
    6. Hi Sarif
      Thanks for the info on the Kantanagar Temple.
      You really took lot of trouble to go all thsi place.I am planing to visit the place in a years time. I am a Bengalee from Kolkata, India.

      ReplyDelete
    7. cool. btw do you know is there any bou mela in Chirir bandar in Dinajpur....

      ReplyDelete
    8. i rediscovered my country once again through the beautiful pictures you took. I usually don’t post comments… but could not resist myself after seeing your site. i am originally from dinajpur and have been living in the us for many years. by the way I also lived in dhaka for about 11 years and enjoyed especially the chawk bazaar pictures. You did a great job man!!! i will keep checking your site time to time.

      ReplyDelete
    9. fair as a rose
      green as grass
      fresh as a rose
      where there is life
      there is hope.
      -krishibid durlave roy

      ReplyDelete
    10. it's a really nice place!
      i wanna go there!
      but how much time it takes in journey by bus from dhaka to dinajpur?


      prithwi

      ReplyDelete
    11. @tasnim hossain
      a bus journey to Dinajpur usually takes around 6 hours..... it also depends on the rush on the road..... but 6 hours is the usual time.....

      ReplyDelete
    12. Its nice to know about you !!

      ReplyDelete
    13. thank you for giving such a good information about Dinajpur. After a long i see Dinajpur in your blog....thank you...

      ReplyDelete