Pohela Boishakh "Nouka Baich" at Dhanmondi Lake

Thursday, 14th April 2011

I had a very strict plan for this "Pohela Boishakh of 1418". Observing the "Nouka Baich"(boat race) at Dhanmondi lake was a part of that. This race was supposed to happen at 3:30, and I was there in time.

Initially the Western bank of the lake(had a shadow from sun, so people tried to get a position there first) was packed, and the Eastern side was almost empty. I was standing there with the strangers around me.

In this country, nothing started timely, at least for my case. I was bored by standing there over an hour. And almost decided to leave the place without watching that 'moody' race. I think the atmosphere around me was excellent, and that didn't allow me to leave the place. I loved the way people were making their move. Every single people were excited about they race.

It was around 4:45 when the boat race was about to start. At that point, i think not an inch of space was available for the spectators to stand. From my place it was only possible to observe the 85% of the race(the lake has a curve from my position).

Five boat was ready for the race. Boats representing the 5 major divisions(Dhaka, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Chittagong) from Bangladesh. Lets call this race is "Majhi Palla" instead of "Nouka Baich". Rajshahi Won the race, and our Dhaka was the 5th proudly :-)

The boats(baich'er nau) for the Baich(race) used to be around 25-40 feet long(known as longboat, which were used by the vikings at long past). 40-60 men used to row those boats, and those are exceedingly fast. Even faster than the engine boats. That's why the vikings ruled over the ocean of European zone. That's another story.

I was a bit infelicitous by watching that race. I didn't expect that small boats for the race. You cannot get a flavor of longboat race with those small ones. But at the same time, I am a bit pragmatic, this lake is a small one, and I cannot expect those longboats are suitable for this poor lake. But anyway, for the people of Dhaka, it's nothing less. They are happy, and so do I.


  1. "That's why the vikings ruled over the ocean of European zone" - well said! :)


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