Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nepal: Patan Durbar Square

Monday, 19 August 2013

Patan Durbar Square is a world heritage site that is located at the Lalitpur, a major metropolitan city that is adjacent to the Kathmandu. Nepal has three Durbar Square, and this one is one of those three. From my understanding, the Durbar square means the royal complex that comprises with a court yard, lot of temples and shrines, and many more edifices.

The Mallya kings of Lalitpur are considered the founder of this Patan Durbar Square but the exact history behind this totally unclear even in these days. Most of the edifices from the around are probably from the 16th century and constructed during the reign of King Siddhinarasimha Mallya and his son Srinivasa sukriti. Later during the massive earthquake of 25 April 2015 had taken a toll by causing a severe damage on this heritage site (killed near about 9000 people from whole Nepal till this date).

I had a chance to visit place during one Monday. It was during the rainy season and the sky was cloudy with a chilling wind. It was afternoon when we have reached there (30 minutes of drive from our house). There were lot of local tourists out there that time and the place was jam packed. Most of the people were Nepali, and only few tourists.

People use to sit here during the afternoon like this way!

It requires an entry fee for the foreigners here. But we didn't find anyone near the ticket box that time. We have walked around the streets of the premise. There were a lot of temples around. Also the residential buildings from that place were having some sort of similar architecture of the temples. We have entered few of those buildings (residential) and they do not mind if anybody sneaks inside. They are used to with it.

As the place was too much crowded, we have decided to walk at the outside of this premise. We have gone slightly far from the main tourist attraction. The buildings were very old there and were giving a feelings like the 'Old Dhaka of Bangladesh'. It started getting darker quickly since it was a rainy day. And also it started drizzling and we had to run for a shed quickly.

There are several rooftop restaurants available beside the area. You can enter any of those and have your lunch or dinner or any mild snacks. Those restaurants will help you to observe the Durbar square from a bird's eye view. I forgot the name of restaurant that we have used (probably Third Eye or something like that). It was raining when we have ordered our meal. The place was looking mysterious under the dark cloud with the rains. We have enjoyed Buff-meat Sadekho, Nepali version of Pizza, and few other things during that sitting.

Nepali version of a Pizza!

I forgot to mention, at the end of the day we have found a group people were dancing with the music. They were wearing colorful masks and dresses. From one of my local friends I came to know that was some kind of Yatra (a kind of festival). Probably that was a reason behind the overwhelming crowd. For your information, the people from Patan are renowned for their arts, crafts, and festivals.

How to Go:

This place is very easy to access if you feel generous on that day. It should take around 250-350 Nepali rupees from the Thamel, the ultimate gathering point for the tourists at Nepal. It will be a 25-30 minutes of drive from that place.

Alternately, you can use the public transports as well. Those are cheap but slightly crowded. From Thamel you can have a short 10-15 minutes of walking to come to the Ratna Park [GPS coordinate (27°42'25.04"N, 85°18'55.12"E)]. There you'll find a lot of public transports which will drop you at the Patan. The fare could be 10 to 15 Nepali rupees.

Local people from Nepal are very much friendly and cooperative with the tourists. You can ask them for your direction without any hesitation. And you have your GPS coordinate for the destination on your device as well, it is (27°40'24.39"N, 85°19'30.93"E).

Entry fee:

I am not sure about the exact amount, but the entry fee for the Nepali people is free. For the SAARC people it is 100 Nepali rupee, and for the other country tourists it is 1000 or 1200 Nepali rupee.

May be the statue of the Pashupati (पशुपति), In Nepal it is a form of the Lord Shiva, the great Hindu God.

Best time to visit:

This is from my personal observation, any place from Nepal is crowded at Saturday as it is the weekend. And Durbar Square like places which are near to the city get crowded at the afternoon. So I think it will be better if you can visit the place during the noon at a working day. You should find the area having less crowd.

What to do:

There are lot of things to do here. You can explore the Museum, temples, and road side old buildings. There are several souvenir shops nearby which are selling lot of handicrafts. I have liked the puppets (or Muppet) hanging on the shops. But didn't by any! And of course you should spend few moments at the rooftop restaurants nearby.

Look at the sky back there. It is the rainy season.

Night time view of the Patan Durbar Square from a rooftop restaurant nearby.

Patan Durbar Square,
City: Lalitpur,
Country: Nepal,
GPS coordinate: (27°40'24.39"N, 85°19'30.93"E),

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 15, 2015

Debdaru ful (দেবদারু ফুল) - Polyalthia longifolia

Bengali Name : Debdaru ful (দেবদারু ফুল).
Common Name : False Ashoka, Indian mast tree, Buddha tree.
Botanical Name : Polyalthia longifolia
Family : Annonaceae

আমাদের দেশে বেশ কিছু গাছ আছে যা সৌন্দর্য বর্ধনের জন্য ব্যবহার হয়ে আসছে। দেবদারু তেমনই একটু গাছ। প্রতিটি রাস্তার আইল্যান্ড থেকে শুরু করে ফুটপাথ জুড়ে রয়েছে এই গাছের দাপট। এমনকি পার্ক বা ছোট হাটার রাস্তার দুই পাশে সারি সারি এই গাছের দেখা পাওয়া যায়। কোন বা পিরামিড আকৃতির কারণে গাছটি দেখতেও সুন্দর দেখা যায়। আর লম্বা ও ডালপালা না ছড়ানোর কারণে অল্প জায়গা নেয় এই গাছ। ফুল ফোটে মার্চ-এপ্রিল মাসে, আর খুব অল্প সময়ের জন্য গাছে দেখা যায়। ফুলের রং আর পাতার রঙ একই রকম হওয়াতে খুব একটা লক্ষ্য করা হয় না। অথচ গাছে ফুল আসে ডালপালা জেঁকে।

In Bangladesh we see this tree very often. In fact it is one of the predominant ornamental trees around the city roads or yards. Sometimes the passages are also decorated with these trees, placed as an array at both sides, like a boulevard. This plant is known as False Ashok or Indian mast tree. It has a binomial name which is Polyalthia longifolia, and belongs to the family Annonaceae. In our language we call it Debdaru (দেবদারু), a literal translation could mean 'the wine of the gods'. This plant is native to the South Asia, more precisely India and Sri Lanka. But vastly seen in our country Bangladesh too.

False Ashok (দেবদারু) is an evergreen tree that grows on a single trunk. It doesn't produce any big branches. The leafs and tiny branches are arranged around the trees. The tree uses to get covered with such dark green leafs from top to bottom. The base of the tree is wider and the top is narrower, giving a shape of cone (or pyramid).

This medium sized tree can grow up to a height of 15 meter. The leafs are linear and long. The leafs are having waved at the both sides (or margins). Arrangement of the leafs are alternate around the tiny branches. The bark of the tree is blackish. I am not sure about the quality of the timber from this tree.

Flowers of False Ashok (দেবদারু) are not very much showy. In fact they bloom around the thick green leafs and the color of the flowers are also pale green. That's why it is very hard to notice the flowers on the tree despite of having numerous flowers during the blooming season (March-April). Flowers bloom as a cluster and usually covers the stem or branch heavily. The shape of the flowers are star-like and having six wavy petals. Flowers bloom directly from the stem of branches of the tree.

As I have already mentioned that I am unsure about the utilization of the timber from tree. But still it is quite good enough to produce match sticks. A fiber can be made from the bark of the tree. The fruits are eaten by the Asian Koyel birds, in fact I have seen a female Koyel was foraging around the trees.

Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh during April 2015. The exact location was the Gulshan, Dhaka (গুলশান, ঢাকা). This tree is widely available at Dhaka (ঢাকা). But not all trees bring the flowers. I don't know why, may be it requires a certain age to bring the flowers? Or any particular reason?

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day-3: Chor Kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

This is the continuation of the Day-2 of the trip. If you have missed that part then kindly follow the link.

It was our last day from the three days trip and we all have waked up too early at the morning. The lavatory system of the guesthouse wasn't usable as the reconstruction was going on. So without doing that we have finished our breakfast from the bazaar. Last night we have ordered our foods on that hotel and informed that we would be moving too early. And that guy has arranged everything as per the instruction. Also our boatman was waiting for us on the canal beside the bazaar. We were in a hurry and doing everything hastily. That's why we have paid additional 500 Taka to that hotel guy due to the miss calculation (and we have realized at the night when we were at the ferry!). Lucky guy!

Anyway, we were disappointed after seeing the boat. It was a smaller one and very poor in condition. But we had to use that as we didn't have any alternatives. But later the misery of the boat continued as it had lot of holes on the bottom. The name of the boatman was Hanif (হানিফ), and the helping hand of him is a 8-10 yrs kid. That kid had to be very busy with removing the water from the bottom of the boat.

Our today's destination was a place that is locally known as Narkel Bagan (নারকেল বাগান). It resides inside the Char patila (চর পাতিলা) which is just beside the Char kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি) and separated by only a narrow canal. Most of the tourists use to pay a visit on that place and few of them also pitch the tent for the night staying. So we have decided to visit that place and our boatman was guiding our boat to that direction through the canal that we have been using for last two days!

People from the village uses to get very early at the morning. We have seen lot of them were out and going to the workplace. Few of them were walking (beside the canal) or on the boat to pursue the objective. In fact few have already started working and we have observed them from the boat. Farmers were busy with their fields, and the fishermen were busy with setting the nets on river or canal banks.

People are out for the work at the early morning, and so do we.

Few initial part of the journey was through a medium sized canal. During that journey I have observed several birds. I have seen a large group of Cattle egrets (probably 200-300 birds). I have never seen such number of Cattle egrets before. Apart from those, the Eurasian curlew, Common sandpiper, Common redshank, Black headed ibis, etc birds were very plenty on our way. As a new bird I have seen the Pied avocet bird. It was a black and white bird but extremely beautiful for the color orientation.

People are carrying golden harvest with the boat.

After that our boat has chosen a narrow canal. I have never seen such a narrow canal before. It is something like that can hold only a single boat. And due to the low tide, the water level on the canal was very poor (probably one and half a foot). We were afraid to get stuck on that mud anytime. But our boatman has assured that nothing would gonna happen, and he was right indeed.

A Little egret is preening.

At one stage another boat was coming from the other direction. Now it was exciting. We were thinking what would gonna happen next. And to surprise us, those two guys from the boat just jumped out from the boat and dragged that small boat at the bank and made a path for us. We have never seen such a funny thing before and we all were laughing. But the practice is very common on that particular area and they are habituated with that.

A group of Cattle egrets.

After crossing that narrow canal our boat again has joined into a wider canal. This particular canal was the best of our boat journey. Both sides of the canal was filled with carpet like grasses which use to go under water during the high tide. It was the low tide and lot of domestic animals were grazing around. And the canal was full with lot of birds specially the waders and plovers. It was a lovely seen to watch such birds were flying in a group. They were only moving away from us for the engine's sound, but not leaving the place completely.

Our poor boat, it needed to empty the dripping water frequently.

I have seen the Collared kingfisher bird at the first day and didn't see later. Today I have seen this bird and took few photos from the far sight. During the course of the journey I have also seen the Golden plover, Barn swallow, etc. The boat was moving slowly, but the time was running fast. We have reached at the Narkel bagan (নারকেল বাগান) and anchored our boat there.

A pair of Pied avocet.

The place is very calm and quiet. Only few boats were there (probably they do some kind of works on there). As I have mentioned earlier that we have a lavatory problem on that guest house, so I have decided to resolve that issue on the jungle. After the started exploring the area.

Fishermen are doing fishing at Kukri-mukri (কুকরি-মুকরি).

This place is beside a channel and the local chairman planted few coconut trees there and wanted to establish a tourist spot on there. For those coconut trees the local people know this place as Narkel Bagan (নারকেল বাগান). And to be more precise the place resides under the Chor patila (চর পাতিলা). The area has a very long sandy beach that is really really beautiful. It has lot of mangrove trees at the bay which provides a very pleasant shed. Anyone can sit under the trees to avoid the sun rays. I have loved that place.

Fishermen are doing fishing at Kukri-mukri (কুকরি-মুকরি).

During this short walking I have seen the Common hoopoe, Eurasian collared dove, Indian golden oriole, Asian koyel, etc birds. And also I have found a new flower from the jungle that is some kind of morning glory, but I don't know the exact species name. I'll try for the name when I'll be free.

A part of Chor kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি).

We have had a seat under the trees and enjoyed the sheds. It was a really cooler one and the trees were providing lot of bench likes structures to put our butts on there. It had more trees on this beach before but it had to go under a devastating cyclone named Aila during 2009. Even at these days we could see the uprooted plants on the bay a lot.

An empty boat at Kukri-mukri (কুকরি-মুকরি).

To add some spice with our adventure, three of us have decided to explore the jungle for a bit. It is a mangrove forest, and with no tigers. So no risk (which we could have at Sundarbans). But it wasn't that easy as we have thought before. The forest with very dense bushes of the Hargoja (হারগজা) plant that is full with plenty of thorns. And also the plants are having lot of air roots like a typical mangrove trees. So it was really difficult to push forward by ignoring the immense hindrance from those.

A very basic hut.

But still we have tried our best. We were looking for the birds, and in fact we were chasing a bird that was making very loud call. And we have reached very near to that bird as well. But it moved away from us for our noise. It was a huge bird, probably some sort of Eagle. A canal was in between us and the bird. So we couldn't move further to trace that bird. We were really upset by that.

A Black headed ibis (কালো মাথা কাস্তেচরা).

The returning wasn't very easy for us as we have moved slightly deep inside the forest. We had to struggle for a bit to come out from there. We were moving towards the sound of the ocean and finally we could see the sun out there. Others from the team were waiting for us as it was near 12:00pm at the day. We had a launch to catch in front. But even within that hurry, one of use had a swim from the water of the canal. I wanted to join with him as well, but changing dress and putting back those again thwarted me to doing so!

Roof of a typical village house.

As I have mentioned earlier that the boat was a miserable one and so did the boatman. Guess what! The engine wasn't starting no matte how hard the boatman was trying and whatever slang he have used. Initially it was a fun for us, but when around half an hour have passed and the boat didn't start, then we all started to get jumpy.

A Collared kingfisher, aka Mangrove kingfisher.

Suddenly a boat was coming and that was going to the our direction. I was thinking about to go with that boat. So have expressed my wish with my friends and they have accepted that idea. And we asked our boatman to adjust the payment. So he convinced that boat for 500 Taka and we have paid our boatman 700 Taka. It was a larger boat, and a fishing boat may be. It was carrying the fish to the Kochchopia (কচ্ছপিয়া).

We have just came through this narrow canal with out boat.

This boat was a bit faster one, but the only problem was that we didn't have much spaces for the movement. I was standing on the boat most of the times and enjoyed the beauty around. The canal was the narrow one but with plenty of green trees around. Sometimes those trees were brushing us. During this journey we have seen an Otter was having a sunbath. But he had to move away when we were passing him. I have never seen Otter in wildlife before.

Our hapless boatman, Hanif (হানিফ)!

Also, the canal was having lot of common and uncommon birds around. The boat was making lot of noises and those birds were flying away from us. That's why it was really hard for us to snap any clear shot from that moving boat. But still I have tried few, such as the Changeable hawak.

A Little egret is scouting.

After leaving behind the Char kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি) island, everything was a boring journey through a vast channel. After crossing that one quickly we have reached at the Kochchopia ghat (কচ্ছপিয়া ঘাট). We have phoned a local vehicle (that we have used at day-1) and that picked us from there. After reaching at the launch ghat, we have boarded into the launch and I had a quick nap on there. We were around one hour before the departure. Few of us had the lunch to utilize the time, but I didn't find anything interesting on that. Our boat started around at 4:00pm at afternoon.

An Eurasian curlew bird is trying to move away from us.

I always like the sunset, and watching the sunset from a moving ferries like this is also beautiful. I was waiting for that moment and came out from the room during the happening. It was again a red ball shaped sunset and the ambient was too much colorful and mysterious due to the winter. We all together have enjoyed that sunset from the corridor of the ferry.

A fast moving small bird, Barn swallow.

During the night we have played the cards as always. In between the playing we have had our dinner with the same menu that we have used at the first day, Poa machh (পায়া মাছ). We have gone to the bed a bit early as few us had an office at next day. The launch has arrived at the Dhaka timely and we left the launch for our home. It was a nice three remarkable days!

A Golden plover.

An array of Common redshank are flying.

A beautiful flight of Common redshank.

A Common sandpiper.

Looks like the Little egret is in a Royal mood!

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Pituli (পিটুলি).

Common hoopoe (হুদহুদ পাখি).

Eurasian collared dove.

Indian golden oriole.

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

A deciduous tree.

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Some sort of Morning glory flower. Anything related to mangrove?

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

Eurasian collared dove (ধবল ঘুঘু).

Beach at Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

An Asian Koeyel, male (পুরুষ কোকিল).

Some sort of nest? Of what then?

A water buffalo.

Now more water buffalo.

We are leaving the Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা) behind.

A Changeable hawk.

It is a canal between the Chor Kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি) and Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

An otter mowing away.

And the Otter turned back to us, watching!

This portion of the canal was mysterious for the lighting and the width.

Private transportation, the fastest way.

The mysterious narrow canal.

More mysterious view from the canal of Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

More mysterious view from the canal of Chor Patila (চর পাতিলা).

A hut beside the canal.

The end of the canal, it is now falling into the channel.

Water buffalo from the Bhola (ভোলা).

A group of King swan with style!

A cowboy, desi-style.

A cowboy, desi-style.

Boat workshop? or a dry doc?

Workers are busy with a boat.

Reflection of the sunset into the river.

Reflection of the sunset into the river.

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Smoke inside the trees during the sunset.

Colorful environment during the sunset.

Zooming into the sun, you can watch the sunspots too.

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

Sunset at river Meghna, Bhola (মেঘনা নদী, ভোলা).

The trees during the dusk.

Our dinner at launch. Same tasty Poa machh (পোয়া মাছ) at the menu.

It was a three days trip at the most Southern part of our Bangladesh. At day-1 we have done some camping at Sonar chor (সোনার চর) of Patuakhali (পটুয়াখালী). At day-2 we have returned back to Kukrimukri (কুকুরি-মুকরি) and stayed there at Union Parishad (ইউনিয়ন পরিষদ) facility. At day-3 we have explored some part of Kukrimukri (কুকুরি-মুকরি) island and return back to the ferry for Dhaka by afternoon.

Chor Kukri-mukri (চর কুকরি-মুকরি),
Upazela: Chorfasson (চরফ্যাসন উপজেলা),
District: Bhola (ভোলা জেলা),
Country: Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ),
GPS coordinate (21°55'37.53"N, 90°40'13.28"E)

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/