Inside Bandarban- I
In recent years I have come up with some new hobbies and passions of which trekking/traveling & photography are the remarkable ones. These two aspects coalesce very finely with each other as taking photographs is a vital part of travelling. As a part of my new developed interests, Bandarban plays a vital role as it is the most favorable and most enjoyed place for trekking. As it houses the highest peaks of Bangladesh (Keokradong, Tajingdong, Mowdok Taung) and many small and big waterfalls. The trekking trails in Bandarban leads to mystic paths inside deep forests and mountains and in the trail lay various water ways and waterfalls of various sizes. In addition there are great opportunities to hang around with different tribal people and know their ways of life and culture. It’s like a whole new world isolated from the fast running modern world. One gets an essence of isolation and barbarian feelings.
Last February 2012, I visited the hill tracts of Bandarban for the 2nd time. This time we covered Boga lake, Keokradong, Jadefai waterfall, Sundori Waterfall and Tajingdong. The trail started from Ruma Bazaar and ended in Thanchi Bazaar and took us 4 days to cover the trail by foot. We were 6 persons in the group all are my batch mates from the academy. We started planning for the tour for 1 week and we were so excited about the tour that we had to reschedule our tour 1 day earlier than the old plan. That is we were to start from Dhaka on the night of 18th but instead we started off for Bandarban on the night of 17th February in Shaymoli bus service.
We reached Bandarban next day at 10. The bus was late 3 hrs. At first we decided to start our trail from Thanchi but then we got news that it’s not permitted to go to Tajingdong from there so instead we went to Ruma Bazaar. It take around 3 hrs by bus and then again 2hrs by boat to Ruma Bazaar which is on the bank of Sangu river. It was almost 3:30 when we reached Ruma bazaar so we couldn’t start our trek that day because the local police won’t allow any trekking party to go out of the bazaar after 4. So instead we stayed that night at Ruma Bazaar and take all necessary preparations for our tour. We took a veteran guide named Mr. Nuru. Then at 10 at night we piped down at the local hotel named Hotel HILTON .
On the way to Ruma at Sangu River.
Inside Ruma Bazaar
The next day, 19th February we started out for our first destination Bolga lake through the jhiripoth (water ways). It was flatland all along the trail with water ways through out the trail. Then we crossed Lailumpi para and by mid day we reached Ubankhui para. There we kept our bag and set out for a waterfall named Sundari Jhorna. It was merely a 3 hrs walk up & down. The trail to sundari is very scenic. Infact one of the beautiful trail of Bandarban. The trail advances through waterways between two mountains with lots of boulders in the path. The boulders are really loose and its a bit difficult to advance. But that’s not the problem, the problem is after going forward for sometime the path ends and there lies a pool of water in between two step rocky mountains. One had to either swim across the water to get to the other end or by climbing down a locally made bamboo stick. Some of us swam across and some went down by the bamboo. The water was very chilly and it was piercing the skin. At one moment of swimming I thought that may be I’ll get paralyzed by hypothermia. But we all made it to the safe zone. The waterfall is not a conventional waterfall but rather a waterway with water flowing down the steps of rocks and it was winter so it was almost dead. Sure it would be better in rainy season.
Trail starts from Ruma
A part of Jhiripoth (waterway)
A tribal house.
Tribal women fishing.
A tribal woman
The path to Sundori Jhorna.
The dead end at Sundari Jhorna
The local bamboo made staircase. One have to either swim or climb down by these stick to go to that side.
We got back to Ubankhui para by 2:30 pm, there we took lunch. Lunch was with toast biscuits, raw tea and water. At about 3 we again started out for Boga lake.
A small water fall just before the boga lake.
The mountain range on the way to Boga lake.
It was almost the sunset when we reached Boga lake. It is the highest hill-enclaved lake of Bangladesh. 1216 ft above sea level. Neither any stream falls in it, nor any stream goes out. but it never dries up. The villagers have arranged adequate housing and fooding facilities for any number of tourists. The place is really very nice but the crowd at that time was overwhelming which was actually destroying the calm exotic environment.
The Boga lake (The dragon lake)
There is a story about boga lake which I heard from our guide Mr. Nuru. The story is that many years ago there was a village at the the flat land atop this mountain now where the boga lake is. There was a certain mythological creature which have an appearance like a giant python. The python livede in a hole in the ground. The python used to come out of its hole every now and then and used to take away the domestic animals of the villagers. If it didn’t get any cattle it used to take humans instead. As these was going on the villagers held a meeting and there they decided to kill the python. So one night they st up a trap infront of the python’s hole with goat attached with the trap. The villagers were waiting and waiting when suddenly something got stuck in the trap. It was a python. All the people of the village gathered and started pulling the python but they couldn’t take it out so instead they chopped off the pythons head and then took it out. The villagers then cut the whole python into pieces and distributed among tall the villagers. But there was one old woman and his husband who didn’t have any descendants refused to eat flesh of the snake. That night the old woman saw a dream, the python in the dream was telling her to escape the village immediately otherwise something bad will happen. The old woman woke up from the sleep and packed her bag and went out along with her husband. They rode a hill nearby and from the hill they saw that suddenly the whole village went down inside the earth as water came sprouting out of the mountain surface and hence formed the lake which we now call the Boga lake or the Lake of the dragon.
We spent that night at boga lake, we had a nice bar-b-q party there with three chickens. It was a fun night after a whole day walk.
The Bar- b- q party
After the party we piped down for that night at a hut all 7 of us together and we had in our mind that the real trekking will start tomorrow when we make our way to Keokradong- the highes peak of Bangladesh.
The story of Keokradong, Jadefai and Tajingdong will come in the upcoming posts.
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