At Bangladesh, currently rainy season is going on. Most of the waterfalls from this country used to get some youth during this season. I have decided to visit the Hummam(হাম্মাম) Waterfall from Rajkandi(রাজকান্দি), Moulvibazar(মৌলভীবাজার) this time. I have managed to cull ten people as a group for this expedition and I was leading a team for the first time.
After arrival at Simangal(শ্রীমঙ্গল) train station, the weather never seemed amicable towards us. It was raining incessantly. Sometime heavily, sometime moderately. After having a light breakfast at a roadside stall, we have hired a micro-bus for 1600 taka for the whole day. It will take us to Champa Ray(চাম্পারাই) Tea Garden and return back at afternoon.
Unfortunately, After Kurma Ghat(কুরমা ঘাট), the road condition wasn't that much good, and we had to leave the micro-bus at that bazaar. It took 1 hour to reach at that bazaar from Srimangal(শ্রীমঙ্গল) town. From that point we have started strolling towards the Champarai(চাম্পারাই) Tea Garden. The weather was too much murky, so walking wasn't any problem for us.
After 1.5 hours of walking over the road, we have reached at the Champarai(চাম্পারাই) Bazaar. During our walking, people of village were having fun by watching us. Most of us were wearing raincoat, some of us were caring heavy camera. Those people already knew that we were going towards Hummam(হাম্মাম) Waterfall. So those people were only speaking HamHam(yes, they speak hamham(হাম হাম)).
Few of us were faster during walking, so they have had a snakes at the bazaar, and then joined us to walk for another half an hour to reach at the Kolabon Para(কলাবন পারা) village. This village is actually a labour(kuli কুলি) village. Most of the people are Hindu(Munda class)there. Houses of the village were made from mud. From the structures of the edifices, you can depict the poorness of those village.
We have found people of the Kolabon(কলাবন) village were waiting for us under the heavy rain. Somehow they have knew that a group were coming towards their village. Few of them were having jungle chopper on their hand. Possibly they were waiting to be hired as a guide for our expedition.
We have hired two locals from that village, Barun(বারুন), and Bhaggo(ভাগ্য). I have heard that most of the people from that village were reluctant to speak with strangers. So my condition for both of them was, you have to speak a lot, and you are bound to answer any question if we ask you. They have accepted that happily.
I have hired two guides for two reasons. Yes it was a large group, but this wasn't the main reason. Since its rainy season, anyone can get nervous/injured and may want to quite at any point. Having an extra guide will help me to overcome this issue. I can easily release one guide to return back those nervous/injured guys to the base easily.
After refreshing by the well-water from the village, we have moved towards the waterfall trail all together. It was raining heavily, and interestingly the more closer we were getting towards the waterfall, the rain was getting more stronger. We were happy to trek at the rain forest under rain. It was giving us an experience of raw trekking at rain forest. People normally don't trek at rainy season. So Most of us were excited about that.
The paths were narrow, but not risky. Compare to Bandarban(বান্দরবান) trekking, it was nothing for us. But few from our team were new on this work, so they certainly found this one was an uncomfortable task. But fortunately all of them wanted to conquer the waterfall, and they didn't bother about the rough slippy parochial paths.
It was raining hard, and all of us bagged our camera safely. Trust me, the environment was so stupendous and it was hard to keep your camera silent. But unfortunately we had to do that. Lots of wild flowers were all around, every single leafs from the plants were green, deep green, an enthralling ambient. I can not express the situation of standing at the middle of a rain forest at a rainy day. Better try this any time yourself.
Photo Courtesy: Tushar
One thing I should say, there were plenty of leeches around the path. Umm... what was the count? I don't know exactly, but possibly 50/60 leeches per person. I mean we had to sweep that much from our body. It was a nightmare, they were crawling over our feet relentlessly. I was lucky enough, none of those didn't able to suck even a single drop from my body. I was to cogitate about those disgusting creatures and removed immediately from feet. I was wearing only my shorts, boots with socks. But you can wear anything for your comfortable. For leaches, I prefer shorts, at least you can see. Most of the leaches are at the Makam Pahar(মকাম পাহাড়) of the trail.
Another thing I have heard about the Makam Pahar(মকাম পাহাড়), it supposed to be hard for climbing. But the trekkers of Bandarban didn't find any difficulties to climb that one. Others found that was too rough for them. Even some of us have taken 40-50 minutes to cross 5 minutes of slippy slope. There is a technique to walk over a slippy steep with stick, which they didn't know. You can not learn this at a single day.
After crossing the Makam Pahar(মকাম পাহাড়), we have reached at the Jhiri(ঝিরি) of Hammam(হাম্মাম) Waterfall. People used to say this as Gang(গাঙ, River). This stream joined with the Kurma(কুরমা) river near by. It would take only 30 minutes from that point to reach the waterfall. But everyone of us were standing helplessly at that point. Interestingly there were another group(four member) who have started before us, and waiting at that point helplessly.
The stream of the water was so heavy that it was even harder to stand there. One of us were thrown 10-15 meters away as soon as he walked inside the water. We had to walk against the flow of the stream to reach at waterfall. It was Around waist high(I am 6 feet) water level at the middle, and the force of the water was immense.
2/3 of us tried to move further against the flow of the water. But that took 10-15 minutes to move only 20/30 meters. They were almost having cramp to do that mighty task. According to them, it was taking all of their energies to push forward for an inch. Also according to our observation, water level can be more than six feet at some places. Those could be impossible to pass using feet. Most of us didn't know how to swim. After waiting an hour at there, no sign of stopping the rain, the water level was increasing by the time. So situation was getting even worse.
Our guides were not that much expert, and chopping through the bushes would be an insane decision at that point. So we have decided to return back by concluding the expedition as a failure attempt. It was hard to assimilate such a failure attempt and we were nothing but hapless at that moment.
It was a failure expedition, but there are lot of positive things that we can take from the excursion. You'll not be at the winning side always. Sometime you have to prepare for the results against you. Also trekking at rain forest during rainy season was something that we can tell people at any gossiping day. Finally the leeches, trust me, if you ever trek there at rainy day, you'll never fear about leeches, at least from Bangladesh. I can bet about this.
Credits for few of the photos from this article goes to Hasnat Shafique, one of my fellow trekking mate.
Note: At the first week of September 2011, I went there again, and that time I made that. You can read the experience from Here.