Monday, December 31, 2012

Noakhali: Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ)

Friday, 30 November 2012





About Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ):

Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) is a very small island located at the shore of Bay of Bengal. Its a part of Hatia(হাতিয়া) union of Noakhali(নোয়াখালী) district. Initially the island was known as Chor Osman(চর ওসমান), after the name of a brave settler Osman(ওসমান) who established the first settlement with his buffalo & cattle. Later the government's high officials have changed that name. But still in documents, the island is known as Chor Osman.


This island is an ideal place for tourists, specially during the winter. I have shared my three days of experience in the separate articles Day-1, Day-2 and Day-3. You'll find lot of photos and more detail about the island on those links. You can have a look there if you have time to spare!


How to Go:

1) Launch named Panama(পানামা), and Tipu-5(টিপু-৫) use to go Hatia(হাতিয়া) from Dhaka(ঢাকা). A double bed cabin use to cost 1600 taka. If you want to save money, then have a ticket of open deck for 250 taka. It starts from Sadarghat(সদরঘাট) at 5:30 afternoon, and reaches at Hatia(হাতিয়া) at next morning, somewhere between 09:00 - 10:00. Contact number for cabin booking is 01711-348813.


It is often that travelers use to miss the launch for carelessness. If you unfortunately face such situation, then you have another 30 minutes to redeem your fault. Another launch use to leave at 06:00. Name of the launch is Sandra(সান্দ্রা) which goes to Poishar Hat(পয়সার হট্). This launch, and your launch of Hatia(হাতিয়া) use to meet at KathPotti(কাঠপট্টি) of Munsiganj(মুন্সিগঞ্জ). If you are lucky, then you can catch your missing launch from that jetty.


2) From Hatia(হাতিয়া), you can take trawler of Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). It will be around 3 hours of trawler journey based on the tide status of the river. It was 70 taka per person for us. If you miss trawler, then hire baby taxi for 700 taka to have a lift till Moktara Ghat(মোক্তারা ঘাট). It can handle maximum 5 people. For your information, the road condition is not good, and its a 1.5 hours of journey. Also, you have to cross the river by boat after leaving the baby taxi. In either ways, you will be at Bondor Tila(বন্দর টিলা) of Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ).


3) From Bondor Tila(বন্দর টিলা), you can take a walk of 1.5 hours, or hire rickshaw for 150-200 taka to reach at the other side of the island, named Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার).


Where to stay:

We have stayed at Nijhum Resort(নিঝুম রিসোর্ট) at Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). A five bed dormitory cost us 1800 taka per night. Rooms were very comfortable according to the remoteness of the island. Obokash Porjoton(অবকাশ পর্যটন) maintains that resort. So you can book rooms from Dhaka by visiting their office at Mogbazar(মগবাজার).


There is a boarding available at Bondor tila(বন্দর টিলা) named Chairman boarding. Also, another boarding named Moshjid Bedding(মসজিদ বেডিং) is available at Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). You can check those too.


Where to eat:

There are several low facilitated restaurants available at the island for villagers. You can have your dinner and lunch there if you want. Otherwise you have to cook yourself!


Things to Ponder:

1. Do not leave any trace that you were there. Just return back silently, without disturbing the nature and the inhabitants of the island.

2. Rivers around that part of the country are having immense might. So think again before having a swim on river.

3. Act politely with locals. Do not get irritated by their continuum queries. Because its you who went there, not they.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Porosh Pipul Ful(পরশ পিপুল ফুল) - Thespesia populnea

Bengali Name : Porosh Pipul Ful, পরশ পিপুল ফুল.
Common Name : Portia Flower, Pacific Rosewood.
Botanical Name : Thespesia populnea
Synonym : Hibiscus populneoides
Family : Malvaceae (mallow family)






Its another very interesting flower locally(in Bangladesh) named as Bolu Ful(বলু ফুল), Porosh Pipool(পরশ পিপুল ফুল), etc. Outside of our country, this flower is known as Portia flower, Pacific rosewood flower, etc. Botanical name of the flower is Thespesia populnea. It belongs to the plant family Malvaceae. This is one of the ancient plant species from the world. Very few such trees have sustained such a long time in this world right now, and it is one of those.





Its an small to medium sized tree and it's flower has an interesting criterion. Usually the color of the flower is Light yellow, but the stale flower changed into rosy. That's why you'll find both colors on the tree. Flower has 5/6 petals as a whorl. The shape of the flower is sometime looks like a bell. The stale flower use to drop out from the bract at the end of it's flowering cycle.





Porosh Pipul(পরশ পিপুল) plant use to grow around 8-10 meter in height. Such a small interesting plant use to grow beside the seashore, or the lands near there. Its very hard to find these trees at other places. There is a banyan tree species available in Bangladesh which is named as Oshoth(অশ্বথ). Leafs of this Portia plant is similar to that tree.





The wood of the plant is very hard and has supreme water resistance capability, that's why people use this on making boats, agricultural equipments, rifle butts, etc. Also, people use to extract color from the bark and the flower for dying. In medicinal history, people are using the extract from the fruit to cure several type of skin diseases.





Photos of this Porosh Pipool(পরশ পিপুল) flower were taken from the island named Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) from Bangladesh.


ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) Day-3: Returning

Sunday, 02 December 2012





This is the continuation of Day-2 from my Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) tour.


Well, it was the time to return back home from Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). After a quick freshen up(at 07:20 am) we have thanked and said a goodbye to the resort caretaker, named Shobuz(সবুজ), a generous young man. Without having a breakfast, we have hired two motor bikes from the Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). They were hired to drop us at the Bondor Tila Ghat(বন্দর টিলা ঘাট), the other side of Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). It was a ride of half an hour and cost us 150 taka per bike, each bike two person.


There were few tourists out there at the ghat awaiting. In fact they had been waiting for around 40 minutes for the boatman. We were lucky as the boatman arrived as soon as we have reached there. If somehow we have missed that boat, we had to wait for an hour for next one. Only few local people were waiting for the boat to cross the river, rest were us and the other group. They all were from Noakhali(নোয়াখালী). They have stayed at the "Chairman boarding" near to that ghat.


It was a short boat ride, and for the last time of this tour. It cost us 15 taka per person. This ghat is known as Moktara Ghat(মোক্তারা ঘাট). From there we have hired a baby taxi, an auto rickshaw. He charged us 700 taka to drop us straight at Tomoroddi ghat(তমরদ্দি ঘাট). That horrible road journey started around 08:15 am at morning. It was mainly for that road condition, too many ups and downs. As I was sitting beside the driver and he had a fat butt, so i had merely a seat for mine one. Most of the time I had to rely on my hands to handle the jerks. The roadside was packed with traditional Bangladeshi beauties, but I didn't have a chance to enjoy for the horrible road condition.


There was a place named Jhahazmara(জাহাজমারা), after that place the road was smooth. From that portion, I started to enjoy the journey. I was thinking about lot of things that time. One thing was how to pass the free time at launch. I was thinking about a Jhal Muri(ঝাল মুড়ি) session for the afternoon. So in my mind, I have instantly started planning about the necessary ingredients and their collection from local market.


মেঘনার জলে রৌদ্রের ঝিকিমিকি খেলা



After reaching at the Tomoroddi ghat(তমরদ্দি ঘাট), we have directly contacted to the person of launch for two cabins, cause we didn't book any. And unfortunately there were no vacant cabins available on that launch. The demand of cabin is always high for the winter season and thus we didn't find any. But it has few cabins for the stuffs of the launch, and they suggested us to have few of those instead of Deck ticket(lowest class). We have booked one cabin that is normally used by the master of the launch, and a bed of two for the stuffs. It cost us 3700 taka(2500 + 1200). We were happy to have those, cause after a few minutes all of those stuff's things were booked too, and lot of people were out there who wanted to have few, but didn't.


After ensuring the cabin at the launch, we have returned back to the hotel nearby for breakfast. It was 10:00 of the morning. Still more than an hour available for leaving the launch from the jetty. Once again those guys from the local hotel served us earnestly. After an usual heavy breakfast, we have collected the following things from the local market.


1) 250 gram puffed rice(মুড়ি).
2) 120 gram of packet chanachur(চানাচুর).
3) 200 gram big sized Indian onion(পেয়াজ).
4) 50 gram Local green chili(কাঁচা মরিচ).
5) A 90 gram weighted bottle of mustard oil(সরিষা তেল).
6) A feast full of salt(লবন) for free, that was more than our necessary.
7) Dhunia Pata(ধুনিয়া পাতা).
8) 200 gram Indian Olive(জলপাই), to enjoy that with the salt during the warm noon.


After collecting everything, when we have boarded the launch again, it was still another half an hour to go before it starts for the destination. Bangladesh cricket team was playing their second ODI match at Khulna(খুলনা) against West Indies cricket team. We were listening the commentary on the radio that belonged to the master(সারেং) of the launch. (Later that game was won by our Bangladesh with a huge difference).


From Tomoroddi Ghat(তমরদ্দি ঘাট), only one launch use to run for Dhaka everyday. But several sea trucks use to run for Noakhali(নোয়াখালী) from there. We saw a sea truck just arrived to the jetty, and after dumping all of it's passengers it loaded again within few minutes and leaved for the destination. Everything happened fast and quick, felt like something came and gone in a haste. Our Shahadat(শাহাদাত) was interested to return back to Dhaka using the route of Noakhali(নোয়াখালী), but others were not interested at all.


A boat rested at the island of Monpura(মনপুরা).



Though it was near to the winter, but still it was terribly hot out there. Through that scorching sun, the launch reached to the Monpura(মনপুরা) island within 50 minutes. It supposed to give a break of 30 minutes, so we got down from the launch, and have a stroll to the market nearby. Few of us enjoyed the tea that made using the milk of buffalo. I don't take tea, so didn't show interest on that.


It was 02:00 at afternoon when the launch started from Monpura(মনপুরা). We got tired by the hot out there. So decided to get back for a rest and planned to enjoy the sunset at afternoon. Monish(মনিষ) and I have chosen the low priced berth and it was like a microwave oven inside. You can only sleep there, can not sit or stand. Due to the warmness we fall in a nap for two hours there, and waked up when we have heard the knocking from Shahadat(শাহাদাত). They stayed on the better cabin, and it was nice inside there. So they didn't feel any tiredness, and looked fresh.


The launch gave a stoppage here too.



It is basically a local launch. It use to give less stoppage when it comes from Dhaka, but when returns back, it use to give lot of stoppages. In fact in every ghat where it finds local people were standing, like a garbage collector(positive way). We were sitting on the corridor of the launch to enjoy the sunset. During that period, the launch gave several stoppages.


This houses and the land will be disappeared soon.



It was running beside the island of Bhola(ভোলা), a district of Bangladesh. The devastating Meghna(মেঘনা নদী) river is possibly the most fierce out there. Miles after mile, the bank of the river use to get disappeared(with progress of time) by the crushing waves from the river. It was painful scene to watch. People removed their houses, taken down the trees too. In fact they took whatever they could. Once upon a time they had a recognition, but now they are homeless/landless. Can you imagine how they are going to survive in a populous country like Bangladesh after that?


The moment for the sunset just began.



I have expressed my feelings about sunset in my many other writings. I never get tired of watching that. This time it was beside the river Meghna(মেঘনা নদী). The western bank of the river was packed with more or less trees, but among those, the battle nut(সুপারি) tree were most prominent in numbers. The red sun was playing hide and seek with us through those trees. Sun was going down, the weather was getting chilling. Everything was amazing and sitting silent on such an environment was tremendous.


After the darkness begin, we have started preparing the Jhal Muri(ঝাল মুড়ি). We had all the ingredients, just needed to prepare. With a brouhaha and cooperation from everyone, we have done that successfully. Though we might have miscalculated the usage of salt and chili, but it was not that bad at all in taste.


It was much colder than the other night, so we hardly got out from the cabin. Most of the time we have enjoyed by playing cards,gossiping, etc. Also we have finished the dinner early(Though we went to bed in late night). In fact, the decaying moon on the sky couldn't lure us out from the cabin.


Our tour ended at 06:00 at morning when we have waked up and the launch have already anchored at the Sadarghat(সদরঘাট), our Dhaka(ঢাকা). It was an awesome three days that we have enjoyed all together.


A brave heart and hard work requires to survive there.



A vast river Meghna(মেঘনা নদী), nothing is visible.





















An array of birds were returning home, we were too.



Nijhum Dip (নিঝুম দ্বীপ),
Thana: Hatia (হাতিয়া),
District: Noakhali (নোয়াখালী),
Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)

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


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kakra Ful(কাঁকড়া ফুল) - Bruguiera gymnorrhiza

Bengali Name : কাঁকড়া ফুল, Kakra Ful.
Common Name : Orange Mangrove.
Botanical Name : Bruguiera gymnorrhiza
Botanical Synonym : Rhizophora gymnorrhiza
Family : Rhizophoraceae






জঙ্গলের ভেতর দিয়ে হাটার সময় হঠাত করেই কাদার উপরে পড়ে থাকতে দেখলাম একটা ফুলের বোটা... এই ম্যানগ্রোভের জঙ্গলে ফুল আশা করিনাই... তাই ভেবেছিলাম হয়তো কেউ ফেলে গেছে... কিন্তু পরক্ষনেই খেয়াল হলো এইদিকে তো আমরা ছাড়া আর কেউ আসেই নাই আজকে... তাই তাকালাম মাথার উপরে গাছটায়... অদ্ভূত সুন্দর এই ফুল ফোটে রয়েছে গাছে... আমি ছবি তোলার জন্য দাড়িয়ে পরলাম... ফুলগুলো গাছটায় একটু উপরেই ছিলো... তার উপরে আবার ছিলো দলছুট হবার ভয়... তাই কোনরকম দায়সারা ভাবে কিছু ছবি উঠালাম... পরে আমাদের গাইড ছেলেটাকে ফুলের ছবি দেখাতেই বলে দিলো এইটাকে ওরা কাঁকড়া ফুল বলে ডাকে...


Bract(some say sepal) of the flower.



This is a flower from mangrove forest. Local people call this as Kakra Ful(কাঁকড়া ফুল). It doesn't have any suitable English name. People call this Orange Mangrove as in some region this can be orange in color. Botanical name is Bruguiera gymnorrhiza. It belongs to the plant family Rhizophoraceae.





This is a small to medium sized tree(height varies in different regions) which is found amid of other mangrove plants. Color of the flower is brown, and the bracts can be orange, red, etc. Bract of the flower is permanent even if the long fruits are get ripen. Bracts are having a dozen of hard spike like things. Petals of the flower hold the loose pollen those use to be pollinated by the birds mostly.


A closer look to the flower.



This is an evergreen plant and it's leafs are very glossy and shiny. It is possible to peel the leafs. During the dearth people use to boil the leaf and eat after removing the outer skin from the leaf. Also, people use to find a black dye from the plant.





Photos of this article were taken from the mangrove swamp of Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ). I was traveling there during December 2012.


ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) Day-2: Exploring the Island

Saturday, 01 December 2012





This is the continuation of Day-1 from my Nijhum Dwip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) tour.


It was our second day at this remote island. We had a plan to enjoy the sunrise at morning, but again we missed it. This time several issues which we could confront to cover our laziness. Main reason was the distance of eastern bank of the island which was a lot far from our resort. And yes its true, we were reluctant to leave the warm bed on a cold morning.


Yesterday Murad(মুরাদ) fixed a local boy named Rakib(রাকিব) as our helping hand and as a guide for our staying there. He's just a twelve or thirteen years of kid. We had a plan to explore the island by riding cycle and it is possible to hire cycle there. So, before waking up, we found Rakib(রাকিব) was calling us. He brought two cycles. One is old, and another one is new. He brought those as a sample. New cycle use to take 20 taka for an hour, while the older one goes for 10 taka.


We have freshen up within 7:45 at morning, and went to a hotel at the Namar Bazar(নামার বাজার). It was our regular tour breakfast using the Porota(পরোটা), egg, and vegetable. After that we went to that Rent-A-Cycle! store and chose five cycles. Four was newer, and one was older.


Riding bicycle at Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ).



Walking under the burning sun is difficult, but riding cycle is possibly an easy task. Even our lazy Shahadat(শাহাদাত) was feeling the vibe instead of complaining. Taking photos, riding cycle on a slow pace all were really exciting at that scenic island. We have reached to the other side of the island by riding cycle quickly.


Catching fish at a narrow canal during low tide.



On our way, we found farmers were working on the ripen paddy fields. Few local guys were trying to catch the fish from the narrow canal. It was not a good time for fishing, so they had to be satisfied with small fishes. Few kids were catching crabs from the mud of canal which were drained down due to low tide.


A road through mangrove forest.



While returning from other side, we have parked our cycles at a house beside the road and then started trekking on the mangrove forest. Those trees were planted by the forest department, and lot of paddy fields are seen at the border of the forest. Even lot of villagers use to live near there too. That place is named as Purbo Onchol(পূর্ব অঞ্চল), near the Rastar Matha(রাস্তার মাথা), according to local people.


Inside the mangrove forest, everything seems same. I mean everywhere is similar. You'll feel as if you are visiting the same path again and again. People use to visit here to watch deer, but it really needs a luck to see deer there. Possible reason is the sound, since you are trekking in a group, it is difficult to maintain the silence. So I wasn't expecting to see any deer there. But suddenly Murad(মুরাদ) and Monish(মনিষ) saw a large deer which jumped inside the jungle quickly. Though we laughed at them as they might have misjudged any calf as a deer.


For these roots, its very very difficult to walk there.



After a walking of one hour or more, I gave up. I didn't want to walk on there without any objective. Lazy Shahadat(শাহাদাত) grabbed this opportunity and joined me to stay behind. Murad(মুরাদ) and Monish(মনিষ) progressed further and we were sitting there and waiting for them to return.


While we were chitchatting there, we found a group of small kids were passing us. Kids from this island is totally different from other parts of Bangladesh. They are not shy to pose for photos, or talking with you. Even they will follow you with a curious pair of eyes instead of scared to you. Those four kid girls were standing slight far from us and watching us. They were laughing at me when they found I was wearing half pant.


A lovely girl having a lovely smile.



I had few dry sweets on my bag and I offered them to eat. Slowly we started talking, and capturing photos. I came to know that they do not go to school for their study, and they were collecting dread woods from the jungle to use as a wood fuel at their burner of kitchen.


Releasing paper boats on the narrow canal.



I had a piece of paper and using that I made a small boat and floated at the narrow canal nearby. I gave them few other pieces of paper to make small paper boats. They obliged to do that with a great interest. It was a lovely moment to see those kids smiling and the urgency to complete something which they have assigned to do. Later We have floated another chunk of boats on the canal with a great clapping.


By this time another group of kids arrived, and it was a group of boys. Its already near to an hour since our two members moved further. So I asked about my mates to those kids and they confirmed that they have seen them walking beside a canal. Five minutes later with two forest guards our two fellows returned back. In fact they have lost in there and asked help to those two guards. They were chasing a bunch of deers in the woods and that compelled them to lost from track. They were excited to find deers on this jungle.


Actually we have walked further inside the jungle, and while returning back, we had to walk around an hour to get near to our cycle. I was feeling like if anyone could bring my cycle to me. But alas! walk, walk and walk.


I tried to drive my cycle through this thing.



Riding another half an hour, we have reached near to the beach. We wanted to ride our cycle on the beach. But didn't know that it required mammoth strength to run cycle on the sand. Even if you work hard, you can move your bike only a slight further on the grass. But it was crazy and I did it by draining my all strengths. The beach shore normally use to be very warm regardless the season. Before get burnt by the sun, we left that place.


When we have returned our cycles to that store, we got a bill of 360 taka in total for those five bikes. We were happy as it was cheap, and he was happy as he caught a big fish today. Kind of win-win situation. It was just after 2:30 at the noon.


So far everything went right for us and we were happy. But something unusual things were waited for us in upright. We have talked with a boatman yesterday who was interested to serve us for 800 taka or less. But today, when we found him, he was asking for 1500 taka. It was totally unexpected as he behaved. We started scolding him about his attitude and he finally agreed at 1000 taka.


The other boatmen from that ghat(ঘাট) were having similar behavior(kind of stupid) like him. So we were not interested on them anymore. Instead of exploring the Choudhury Khal(চৌধুরী খাল) for watching spotted deers, we have decided to stay back and spending the afternoon at the sea beach to enjoy another sunset. People from Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ) are good as long as you do not have any financial dealings with them. Otherwise they are typical Noakhali(নোয়াখালী) people.


So with a crestfallen heart all of us went back to the hotel room, it was just near to that ghat(ঘাট). After that we had a nap of nearly two hours. Basically we were so dispirited that we didn't even talk with each other on that moment. We just had a nap, just a sound nap.


Well enough before the 5:00 at afternoon, I waked up all of our travel mates and dragged them to enjoy the sunset. Shahadat(শাহাদাত) was having a temperature on his body, it was not a fever. I think it was for that dejection. So leaving him alone on that hotel, we went to the beach for enjoying the sunset.


On our way, a dog from the resort followed us. Initially I believed that it just having a walk. But later I was confirm that it was with us. To make the thing clear, We have crossed a pool made from wood over a canal. We were sure that the do can not cross that pool So we wanted to see what he does. That dog was walking in front, a bit far from us. When it found us crossing, it just rushed back and crossed the narrow canal by jumping over mud and water. It was amazing but still I didn't find a reason why that was following us. I fear dogs, but not that one.


Local boys are playing football at beach.



On the beach, a group of local boys were playing football. What a life they were having at afternoon! After a hardworking day, they intended to finish the day with a great style. I am pretty sure that they were not bothering about the beauty, sunset, or anything. But to me, I was jealous on them. Also I could have play a bit with them, but I wasn't 100% fit as physically. So I had to be happy by watching them from the outside of boundary.


I thought I wouldn't get another chance to see this beach and sunset on that tour again. But that unwanted occurrence just opened the door for me. It was another best sunset of my life. It's been a long time since I saw the sun on such a round shape. The sun was appearing like a red plate on the far sky. Just an ineffable things to write here.


Before the sunset, the sun got a clear shape of red plate.



We were sitting on a boat on the beach and gossiping even after the darkness started. Suddenly we found Shahadat(শাহাদাত) was coming towards us with our helping boy Rakib(রাকিব). As all of us were there, we didn't find any urgency to return back to the room. Instead, we have enjoyed a sky full of stars beside the beach. Full of darkness and a clear sky gifted us a skyfull of stars. Losing stars were common there and continuous staring at those stars caused hallucination like seeing moving stars. It was weird but fascinating.


We didn't do any BBQ that night. So nothing special happened later. Despite of so many ups and downs, it was another remarkable day of my traveling. If you have time then you might find the Day-3 is also interesting.





A village beside the mangrove forest at Nijhum Dip(নিঝুম দ্বীপ).









Local people say this Kakra Ful(কাকড়া ফুল).



Hardworking kids in the woods.



People call this Nona Gachh(নোনা গাছ), it tastes salty if you touch this leaf using tongue.



A phallic root from the woods.









Local name of the flower is Boli Ful(বোলি ফুল).



These kids wanted me to shoot them a photo.






We sat on that boat and enjoyed the sunset.






Leftover of the sunset.



Nijhum Dip (নিঝুম দ্বীপ),
Thana: Hatia (হাতিয়া),
District: Noakhali (নোয়াখালী),
Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)

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