Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল) is a large waterbody from Srimangal of Moulvibazar district of Bangladesh. This place is a breeding space for a lot of rare fresh water fishes from Bangladesh. During winter a lot of migratory birds use to gather here. That's why the winter (December-February) is considered as the best time to visit the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল). You can also visit this place during Autumn (August-September) when you'll see the water is packed with Lotus and Lily flowers.
My intention was to visit the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল) to watch the migratory birds. That's why I decided to visit this place during December when the winter is just about to begin. I have reached at Srimangal (শ্রীমঙ্গল) before the 4:00am at morning and had to stand on the road side until the sunrises. After booking a hotel I have hired a CNG driven auto rickshaw to go to Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল). It was probably around 250 Taka. I started at 6:30am and reached at the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল) within less than an hour.
It was too early on the morning and most of the people there were sleeping. I had to wake them up to enter inside. It requires a ticket to enter inside. But they weren't ready to provide me a ticket, hence entered without a ticket (and paid later for that).
The early morning view of Baikka beel was lovely (বাইক্কা বিল). The grasses were covered with the overnight dewdrops. Myriad of birds were chirping around and was really difficult to concentrate on a particular bird's call. I liked the call of the striated grassbird. It was too loud and lyrical. Also the call of some Stonechat birds were persistent. The sound was like hitting two stones together.
The bank of the waterbody is soft and full with bushes. I couldn't reach too near on the bank, and the birds were slightly far from the bank. Also if you try to go near the birds then they move further equally. It was really difficult to take a sharp picture of the birds. But yeah with naked eye I could able to see them cleanly.
Whenever a Kite, Eagle or similar scavenger bird patrols over the sky, the group of harmless birds use get scattered. Because one big Eagle sometime can take a small bird from the water easily. That's why their patrol makes such a sudden movement on that calm place. I have seen the Lesser whistling ducks, Common mooorhen, Purple swamphen, Great egret, Grey heron, Little cormorant, and many more birds are resting or foraging as a group in water.
After watching the bird's movement I have decided to explore the area (land). The land beside the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল) is covered with native trees mostly Hijal (হিজল), Koroch (করচ), etc. Fallen leafs from the trees made the place creepy. Even a careful step of mine makes a loud murmuring sound that can easily help a bird to fly away. Those leafs should be a nice hiding place for the snakes (I didn't see any and didn't want to see any). But I have seen a lot of skink which are harmless but gives you a feeling of a snaky movement.
There are two towers inside the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল). I have reached near to the other one which is less attractive for bird watching as it is far from the water. I have climbed that tower and spent few of my minutes there. The good thing about the place was the silentness. Otherwise I found it difficult to observe birds from there.
After exploring that portion of the area I have started to return back to the main tower. By that time the local tourists started to gather there. I could see them exploring the area in a group. They were surprised to see me inside the woods alone.
There is a boat available there that is for the tourists. You can hire the boat for an hour (probably 20/30 Taka). I've hired the boat to explore the water area this time. That boat could help me to reach further near to the birds, but still that wasn't enough. But I have enjoyed my one hour boat ride there and watched plenty of new birds. Most of the names I don't know.
Finally I have reached at the main tower. They have a nice binocular there that you can use to watch the birds. Mirash mia (মিরাশ মিয়া), a caretaker of the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল) who helps the tourists to use that. That guy is nice and always smily. He knows a lot about every birds. He helped me to identify lot of the birds there using the binocular. Most of the names I have forgot later. It was tough to remember all those name at first time.
It was his lunch time and he knew that I didn't have any lunch yet. He wanted to know about my lunch. I said that I do not spend time for lunch during my traveling. But he didn't understand me. He thought I was hungry. So he ordered her daughter to bring food from his house for both of us. I didn't want to participate in a lunch with him but couldn't thwart from. The lunch was a simple one, the rice and the small fishes from the beel (বিল) itself.
After the lunch he was worried about my return. Because I have booked that auto rickshaw for one way only. And you have to walk for more than an hour to go near the closest place from there where you can get another auto rickshaw. But I have assured him that the walking is fine with me and I could manage that easily. So I thanked him and started walking before the sunset through the village road.
Beside the road you still can see some migratory birds with local birds. I have seen a huge Pallas's fish eagle on a paddy field. It was huge in size (probably a size of a small goat). I have never seen that bird before. I can consider myself lucky to see that bird.
During my walking I've found a guy who was returning home after a day long work. He gave me company for rest of the walking. We had a chat about lot of things. I came to know what a simple life he is living and how much happy he is with his current life. Wish every people from the world could be a simple one like him!
The sun was taking a preparation to set on the west sky. It made the ambient with golden color as usual. And after that, gone suddenly. The eastern sky was ready to bring the full moon and rest of my walking I have enjoyed the presence of moon on the sky. At night I had a double person's meal as a dinner. And that was very early, probably around at 8:00pm. Then went for a sleep for the next day's exploration.
How to Go:
From Dhaka you can take both bus or train to reach at Srimangal (শ্রীমঙ্গল). Train can be taken from the Komlapur (কমলাপুর) railway station. Busses are available from the Fokirapul (ফকিরাপুল) or Saidabad (সায়দাবাদ) bus terminal. Shamoly (শ্যামলী), Hanif (হানিফ), etc are the renowned bus services available from there. It takes around 4 hour to reach at Srimangal (শ্রীমঙ্গল) from Dhaka by bus.
From Srimongol (শ্রীমঙ্গল) you have to hire private vehicle to reach near the Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল). There is no public service available. It should take around one hour to reach there using an auto rickshaw. One way trip may cost 250 Taka. I'd recommend you to take the vehicle for round trip (or for whole day). It may cost you 1200/1500 Taka.
Where to Stay:
I have stayed at a cheap quality hotel near the Srimangal town. It was probably 400 Taka for a single bed room. If you are outside from Bangladesh then you can check here for few hotels near Srimangal that you can book online. If you are a Bangladeshi then just have a walk there at morning to find a cheap hotel for you.
Things to ponder:
Do not litter the area. It is a sanctuary for the fishes and a great hideout for the migratory birds. Your littering can make their life difficult. Also, keep the place clean to help other visitors to have same experience as you had. Happy traveling.
Baikka beel (বাইক্কা বিল),
Thana: Srimongol (শ্রীমঙ্গল থানা),
District: Moulvibazar (মৌলভীবাজার জেলা),
Country: Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ),
GPS coordinate: (24.3521597,91.7000603),
Hotels near Srimangal
This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/