Thursday, February 18, 2016

Locations to Cleanse Your Soul in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is abundant in scenic locations you can go and get lost in. Here are a few spots you can, undoubtedly, put on your check list.

Ratargul Swamp Forest

The only swamp forest in Bangladesh, Ratargul Swamp Forest is about twenty-six kilometres from Sylhet. This freshwater swamp is the most enjoyable in monsoon when it gets flooded and goes under ten to twenty feet of water, transforming itself into a floating forest. 

The trees appear to be trunk-less; their branches, starting right off the water, entangle themselves beautifully in one another’s embraces. Going through the swamp, the constant twists and turns of the branches of trees make you feel like you’re part of a yet to be discovered maze ­. Because the roots and trunks of the trees are mostly hidden, your eyes may deceive you, making you believe the branches have simply grown themselves out of the water. Some roots, like pure rebels, have grown above the soil and risen above water, breathing in the fresh air. 

You can hear snakes hissing, and birds chiming and chirping throughout your joyous jaunt. Sometimes when it’s completely quiet, with only the constant noise of the boatman rowing his way out the swamp, the silence is overpowering. If you need to take life decisions, this is the place.

The forest is linked with Gowain river through a lake named chengir khal. After bearing the extreme tides of the Chengir Khal, the boat that you’d have hired would lead you to the Ratargul Swamp Forest. Once you start moving towards it, you’d be in awe of how the pure, lush greenery at a stretch, cannot bore you.

Lalon Fakir-er Akhra

As a long-standing symbol that speaks for the dissolution of caste and creed in Bangladesh, “Lalon Fakir-er Akhra” stands out with pride. The last abode or the “akhra” of world-renowned Bengali baul is situated in Cheuriya, about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from Kushtia railway station.

Visitors and tourists come to visit in swarms twice a year: on Lalon Fakir’s birthday and death anniversary. Fairs and musical events take place in honour of the late baul singer. With the ektara (one-string musical instrument) and the duggi (drum) playing, baul performers sing on the top of their lungs. They also dance, swinging from one point to another, often shaking their heads, playing their instruments, attracting people for hours. What makes Lalon’s songs so famous till date is its stance for intolerance towards hypocritical notions in social norms, customs and traditions. Lalon’s songs have, by far, always been overwhelmingly melodious with deep meaningful lyrics. 

Days turn to nights and nights turn to days as you enjoy the three day long fair that happen twice a year at the akhra. Tagging along with these baul singers, you’d probably have an epiphany of how difficult we choose to make our lives, and how easy it really is in reality. If that cannot be a reason for you to visit such a great place, then I don’t know what can be. In other words, if it is spiritual peace you see then stop reading this, pack your bags and go. 


Known as one of the best travel destinations in Bangladesh, this is the place where you go to reinvent yourself. 

The three highest peaks of Bangladesh: Tahjindong (1280 meters), Mowdok Mual (1052 meters), and Keokradong (883 metres) are all located in Bandarban district. The entire region of Bandarban is engulfed with mountains, hills and lakes and is the best place to go for a hike. 

As far as the local lore goes, myriad monkeys had Bandarban as its habitat. They would come near the falls to eat salt. Initially Bandarban was named and recognized as “Maokshi Chara”, Maok meaning monkey and Chara meaning dam. 

Bandarban is a place of diversities in terms of people and places. It is home to people of eleven ethnicities with a population of 300,470, and natural spots of various kinds. For instance, Bandarban has the Boga Lake, which is the deepest natural lake in Bangladesh holding crystal clear water, surrounded by massive mountains. The Golden Temple, which is just four kilometres away from Bandarban, is considered to be one of the holiest sites for Buddhist people. Beautiful interiors along with striking sculptures of the Buddha, all drenched in Gold paint would leave you thirsty for more architectural adventures. Nilgiri, the most visited tourist site of Bandarban, is also one that is the most high up standing tall at a massive 3500 feet, and is only forty five kilometres away from Bandarban. With its crisscross hilltops, tourists easily fall in love with Nilgiri when they realize they’re high above in the sky, amidst flying birds and floating clouds.

This was just a short description of a few locations that Bandarban encloses. If you want to see what Bandarban is really capable of, wait no more and travel. You might want to stay with the local people there, such as the Mongs, Marmas, Khasias and Chakmas, rather than getting yourself into a hotel. Cultural changes can be one of the best things you’d like to experience. 

Cox’s Bazar

Known as Panowa and Palongkee as well, Cox’s Bazar is one of the most famous beaches in the world. 150 kilometres south from the industrial port of Chittagong, Cox’s is an uninterrupted, beautiful and sandy sea beach of 125 kilometres.

While there are many visit worthy sea shores around the world, a trek through the longest beach in the world would be completely worthy of your time, especially considering that a sunset in the evening and a sunrise at dawn are two things in life people can never get tired of experiencing. You sit laid back on the beach, and as far as your eyes can go all you see is an endless see waiting to meet the horizon, with little dots floating in the distance which are actually large ships. All you leave with from Cox’s is a feeling of infinite peace that instils in you a new found sense of freedom, along with whispers in your ears telling you to stay longer.

Lala Khal

Lala Khal can be named as one of the most beautiful yet underrated tourist spots in Bangladesh. Going across this lake which is so amazingly blue that you can see your reflection, leaves you wondering where this serpentine-shaped lake ends. 

Anyone who loves boat rides should absolutely visit Lala Khal which is only forty five minutes away from the Sari River in Sylhet. You get to see different ranges of mountains and tea gardens: local women can be seen afar on its edges, and their children can be seen nearer, playing at its bottom. At times, the mud from haors make the water grimy at certain points, but the deeper you move to the center of lake, the bluer gets.

Blue above, blue below, with green on both sides, Lala Khal will show you how nature, without being too “fancy,” can still entice you, and cleanse your soul.

Written by Karishma Fatiha

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