Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long walk to Keokradang

The most charming adventure tour in Bangladesh is to explore Keokradang, the highest peak of the country. Our team consisted of only two persons -- Rahul and I. So the tour was more of an adventure for us. Many suggested us not to go on this venture, but defied them one by one.

We started our journey to Ruma ghat (terminal) from Bandarban on a 'Chander Gari,' a jalopy made of an age-old jeep. We were on the roof of the Chander Gari. What an exciting scene around us! The clouds were flying beneath us. It seemed that we are flying over the clouds like a free bird. Sometimes the clouds were so close that we felt that we could reach out and touch them.

Ruma Ghat is only 54km from the town, but the journey took about three and a half hours. Here we had to cross the Shankha river on a one and a half hours' trip to Ruma Bazaar. We found three or four rest houses at Ruma Bazaar and we picked the one near the police station to stay.

The feeling at Ruma Bazaar is that you are being enclosed by four walls on all sides the walls are hills as we were at the bosom of a valley. In the afternoon, I suddenly felt very lonely without any real reason. The silence of the place and the hills around us might have induced the lonely feeling.

After resting that day, we start our journey the next morning for Boga Lake. From here on it is walking all the way. As we plodded along, we heard the hills children calling to us: Mu Mu. Our local guide said it means "where is our tiffin?" We dug into our bags and handed them some chocolates. In return, the children gave us wide grins.
The way to Baga Lake is no pleasure trip, for a normal tourist, it might be even impossible to walk for five hours without rest. You have to walk along the hilly river Rumanaksang and cross it several times.
Just after Ruma Bazaar and before Boga Lake, there are two steep hills and path strewn with stones. We had to cross the shallow river 52 times more. We had to cross a stream to go up a small hill, the stony way of the stream is too narrow to walk side by side. Although we enjoyed the climb, but I was frightened a little to see the stony way.
On the way, we met many indigenous people who walked along the way without any ease. A Murang boy said, "Practice makes it easy for us."
At last, we were relieved to have reached Boga Lake. We found two rest houses and an army camp. Another team of travellers had already booked the army rest house, so we took over a private rest house.
The villagers of Boga Lake cordially accept tourists and entertain them in exchange for a little money. The people here are mainly Marma, Murang and Bome. They are very friendly with the Bangalis. At the rest house, we were served with excellent Bangali food with red rice grown in the hills.
These areas are deprived of many facilities, from Ruma Bazaar to Boga Lake, we found only one primary school established with the help of some tourists.

Next morning, we set out for Darjiling Para. It is a two-hour walk from Boga Lake. The path is better than the one we covered the previous day. Darjiling Para is the second most elevated habitation of Bangladesh; Shaikat Para is the first. There are few small shops at Darjiling Para. We relaxed and looked through the shops, as we knew we were close to Keokradang. After that, only half an hour's walk took us to the peak.

How did we feel? It is impossible to describe the ecstasy of watching the beauty around us.

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