I. A. R. MUBASWIRUL HUQ EISHAN
Ever wondered what it’s like to shop from a floating bazaar? If it sounds like something you will have to travel to some foreign lands to experience then you are mistaken. The Southern region of Bangladesh is renowned for its Guavas and there are quite a few floating guava markets in the Barisal district. Even though one might imagine these markets to be situated on floating platforms on water bodies, these are actually made up of a collection of boats belonging to local guava farmers.
Now that we know where we are going, the question of how to get there arises. The following is a detailed travel account of the Spark Adventure Club’s trip to visit the floating Guava markets of Barisal which might help you to plan out one of your own.
The launch, “Morning Sun 5”, was set to leave the Sadarghat Launch Terminal at 6.30 PM on the 4th of August and the Spark Adventure Club team was ready for the trip with 15 of its members. Theteam of travel enthusiasts included KhorshedAlam, Enamul Huq Russel, Sumala C., Chandan da, Rumman Khan, AhsanulRony, Aftab Ahmad, ArefinShohag, Jalal MdAshfaq, Nidra khan, Nishiat Al Safwana Chowdhury, Kousik Hasan, Tahrim, Saria and Sayeda Abir. The launch left the terminal at the scheduled time and the team’s maiden journey to the floating guava bazaars of Barisal started. The destination of the launch was Banaripara of Barisal. As the vessel moved ahead, cutting through the waves of the Buriganaga, the team waved goodbye to their sleep and indulged themselves in songs and hearty conversations amongst themselves. Abir treated the group with his amazing singing voice while Shupti won the crowd over with songs written by Tagore. Sumala, Kousik, Arefin and Kabita’s songs kept the team entertained, and often amazed throughout the night. The launch reached Banariparaat around 5.30 in the morning and they disembarked the Morning Sun 5. Then team traveled to the Banaripara Dak Bunglow where they freshened up.
Enter the Guavas
Afterwards, the team left for the guava bazaars by Rubel Majhi’s boat. On the way, the team spectated the beauty of the Guava and Amra gardens, and betel leaf farms. The team members were then presented with Bangladesh’s flag which is a traditional gift of the Spark Adventure Club for every event they host.
It wasn’t long before the team reached Kuriana but it was too early in the morning and the farmers had not set up the bazaar yet. So, the team moved on to see the Bhimruli Bazaar but found out that the farmers had only started arriving and the market there wasn’t set up either. The team started waiting and Russel treated everyone to some delicious coconut water. Meanwhile, the team started chatting with groups of people around to kill some time. At this point, the team was in dire need of some entertainment and so they decided to toss one of the members of the group, who didn’t know how to swim, into the shallow water which was hardly 3 feet in depth and it was hilarious! As the farmers started pouring into the market, the team moved about tasting samples of guavas from different farmers. The fact that the farmers were so enthusiastic about giving out samples to them, either from their trees or their boats whenever they asked for one, was really surprising to them.
The weather was cloudy and it was raining with short pauses every now and then. The group decided to visit the local school as the Bhimruli market became fully operational, announcing the beginning of another busy day for the guava farmers. Afterwards, Russel bought locally grown lemons for the whole group while Sumala paid for a boat full of guavas for the team to take home. The team then prepared for their return trip to Dhaka and on their way to the Banaripara ferry terminal they visited the boat markets of Atghor. At the ferry terminal, Khorshed packed the guavas they had brought along with them with a little help from Rubel Majhi.
The team ate their lunch at Rumman’s sister’s house and then left to see the Guthia Masjid which was located not very far away. Having seen the marvelous architecture of the mosque, the team set out to visit their next destination, the Durga Sagar Dighi, which happens to be the largest pond in the southern region of Bangladesh covering an area of about 2500 hectares. Then, the whole group left their luggage at the Parabot launch and went to the China Town that is situated in the Barisal city. At the China Town, Sumala treated everyone to dinner and they returned to the launch as soon as everyone was done eating.
After an exhausting day of traveling and fun, a few of the group members were fast asleep as soon as they hit the bed on the launch while the rest spent their time gossiping as a storm raged on outside. The launch, having braved through the turbulent waves of the Padma, arrived at the Sadarghat Terminal safely and timely the next morning.