Saturday, November 30, 2013

Naogaon: Alta Dighi & Shalbon(আলতা দিঘী ও শালবন)

Friday, 17 May 2013

Altadighi(আলতাদীঘি) is a name of a large pond and also a less heard travel destination from our country Bangladesh. This is situated exactly near at the India-Bangladesh border at the North Bengal. There is a Shalbon(শালবন) exists beside this water tank that comprises of various trees including Shal(শাল) and Gojari(গজারী). We have visited this place after exploring the Jogoddol Bihar(জগদ্দল বিহার).

Our van driver was initially reluctant to provide us further service when we have finished our exploration at the Jogoddol Bihar(জগদ্দল বিহার). It was around 2:30 of afternoon and his only focus was only on the lunch. But somehow I have convinced him to stay with us until the end of the day. This portion of our country is having a very poor transportation service. Its hard to get any kind of vehicles over there. So at any cost I had to keep him with us!

It took around an hour or more to reach at the Altadighi(আলতাদীঘি) from the Jogoddol Bihar(জগদ্দল বিহার). They van was moving slowly as the road was muddy at some places. Also we had to walk on the road when it was hard for a van to push with passengers. But the aesthetic beauty of the road and it's surrounding was bewildering. It was the month of harvesting and the fields beside the road was always covered with golden colored of ripen or nearly ripen crops. Since we were sitting idly on the van, we have enjoyed this beauty thoroughly.

It was an amazing road. We used this road to come at Alta Dighi(আলতা দিঘী) from Jogoddol Bihar(জগদ্দল বিহার).

After reaching at the Altadighi(আলতাদিঘী), we have had a rest near a tea stall beside the pond. We have enjoyed an unique dish that is made from the Til(তিল) and puffed rice(মুড়ি). It was a mouthwatering and amazingly tasty dish. I was not that we were too much hungry, it was really a tasty dish. Our van driver also enjoyed this, basically he took this as his lunch. During his lunch, we have enjoyed the Dighi(দিঘী) for a while.

Basically this Dighi(দিঘী) is not that much large one, but it has a significance. Very few portion of the Dighi(দিঘী) resides inside the India. And lot of Bangladeshi tourists use to cross the border unknowingly while exploring the area. And thus they creates hassle for the local armed forces. So you should have to be careful when you go there. We were always careful and always aware about this issue. We didn't like to face any hazards during our travel!

After the short refreshment, we have decided to explore the forest which is known as Shalbon(শালবন). This forest is rich with lot of native plants which grows naturally. I don't know most of the plant's names except only few like Shal(শাল), Gojari(গজারী), etc. Along with this natural trees, I have found plenty of planted trees which was monitored by the forest department of Bangladesh. This forest is also profound with lot of native and uncommon birds which are hardly seen now a days. Unfortunately I don't know most of their names.

Most of the plants from the forest is deciduous, but they are deciduous during any season. This is the beauty of the Shalbon(শালবন). You'll find numerous leafs are trashing around under the trees. And whenever you walk over those you'll heard the lyrical murmuring sound from the leafs. We have had a short exploration around the forest.

It was around 4:30 at afternoon when we have returned back from the Altadighi(আলতা দিঘী). It was another 45 minutes of Van ride until it dropped us at the Dhamoirhat(ধামইরহাট) Bazaar.

How to Go:

First of all you have to come at the Dhamoirhat(ধামইরহাট) Upazela of Naogaon(নওগাঁ) District. You can come here from Joypurhat(জয়্পুরহাট), or from the Naogaon(নওগাঁ) district. Choice is yours. You'll find plenty of local bus services around to go there.

From Dhamoirhat(ধামইরহাট) bazaar, just hire a van for 70-100 Taka that will drop you at the Alta Dighi(আলতা দীঘি). It will be a ride of 45 minutes. I'll suggest you to keep the van with you for round trip. Otherwise you may find with no vehicle at the middle of nowhere.

GPS coordinate of the Altadighi(আলতাদীঘি) is (25°10'51.44"N, 88°51'57.93"E).

The Shalbon(শালবন) has a beautiful road like this one for walking. It has too many shaded trees around and you'll never feel tired while walking around.

About the Altadighi(আলতাদীঘি):

During the ruling period of Raja Biswanath Jogdol(রাজা বিশ্বনাথ জগদল) during 1400th century this place was having a serious scarcity of the water. To ease the water crisis the king decide to dug a pond for his peasants. To decide about the length of the pond, the kind requested his queen to walk until her foot bleeds. Thus the his queen started walking and he already passed a long distance. The high officials of the king's thought that the King might not be able to dug such a large water tank. So they have thrown Alta(a red color that our girls used to decorate their feet that time) on her feet and started shouting that her feet started bleeding. So she stopped at there. Local people believe this tale is the main reason to call this dighi(দীঘি) as Altadighi(আলতাদীঘি).

Cane tree. Botanical name Calamus rotang

Our high school teachers used to beat us using this stick, of course without the thorns. It was an inhuman task that they did us and I hate them for this!

Another charming road inside the Shalbon(শালবন).

You'll find plenty of Gojari(গজারী গাছ) Plants over there.

Dread leafs of the Shaal(শাল গাছ) and Gojari(গজারী গাছ) plants. I like this stuffs and the murmuring sound when you walk over it!

Just look at this beautiful path. It is totally covered with dead leafs and hardly any pedestrians have walked through it!

We had a walk through such forest like environment just only for a while as we were running out of time!

A falls, but not a waterfall, its just a leaf's fall.

We didn't go through this. Just snapped this for photo.

Its a quandary! Is it the ground holding the tree? or the tree is holding it's ground? Isn't it amazing to see?

Its the fruit of Gojari tree. It can fly like a helicopter with the wings and thus its use to disperse from it's original location.

One of my fellow mate is enjoying the beauty along inside this picturesque forest!

A new life through the deads! You should find this thing often during winter.

Another similar view inside the forest.

Local van or bicycle use to use this path for covering distance.

A bindweed or a vine that is humping over the stem of a youngster tree!

Lots of lots of dread leafs you'll find over there.

Another view from inside the forest.

Another road.

More Gojari seeds. I have collected these to take a picture.

More Gojari seeds. I have collected these to take a picture.

কেউ যদি এইখানে বেড়াইতে যাই, তাইলে যেন আমরা কিছু ফালাইয়া না রাইখা আসি... আমরা যে এইখানে গেছিলাম, এইটার কোনো নিশানাই ঐখানে রাইখা আসা যাবে না... মনে রাখবেন উপরের দিকে থুথু ফেললে নিজের গায়েই লাগে... জায়গাটা ময়লা আবর্জনা ফেলে নষ্ট করলে কিন্তু আমাদের দেশের একটা সুন্দর জায়গাই নষ্ট হবে, যা আমাদেরই ক্ষতি...!

Alta Dighi & Shalbon(আলতা দিঘী ও শালবন),
Naogaon District(নওগাঁ জেলা),

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bristly Heliotrope - Heliotropium strigosum

Common Name : Bristly Heliotrope.
Botanical Name : Heliotropium strigosum
Family : Boraginaceae

Our today's plant is a weed plant, but not invasive one. This is found mainly at the tropical Asia, Australia, and African region. This is a very tinny flower and hardly noticeable by the pedestrians. Botanical name of the flower is Heliotropium strigosum. It's common name is Bristly Heliotrope. It belongs to the plant family Boraginaceae.

Bristly Heliotrope is seemed to me a ground covering annual or perennial plant that uses to spread from the root. Leafs are alternately arranged. Both leafs(both sides) and the stems are hairy. Leafs are linear and the plant is slightly juicy when squeezed. This plant grows often near the road sides, wastelands, etc areas.

Flowers of Bristly Heliotrope are very very tinny. Color of the flower is white and petals are lobed together. It seems the flower is a small version of a trumpet flower. Near at the corolla of the flower it has a touch of yellow or orange color.

Photos of this article were taken from Naogaon(নওগাঁ) District of Bangladesh. It was the month of May 2013.

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

ফুলের জন্য ভালবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lemonia Flower - Ravenia spectabilis

Common Name : Lemonia, Pink Ravenia, Limonia, etc.
Botanical Name : Ravenia spectabilis
Synonym: Lemonia spectabilis
Family : Rutaceae(citrus family)

Lemonia(also known as Limonia) is a very attractive crimson flower that is native to Cuba, Brazil, etc region. Botanical name of the flower is Ravenia spectabilis. It belongs to the plant family Rutaceae. This is a foreign flower in Bangladesh and hence it doesn't have any local name. I like it's name Pink Ravenia.

This is mainly a shrubby plant but can grow several meters in height. This plant is having dark green glossy leafs. It always prefers a partial shades and adequate amount of water for it's growth.

Pink Ravenia flowers are pink, rosy, crimson in color. It has five petals where the four is at the lower side and the other one is at the upper side. Petals are slightly harder then any normal flower from the nature. That's why the flower uses to drop as a whole from the bract when it's time is over. This plant is highly revered as an ornamental flowering plant as it's flower are delicately beautiful and blooms more or less at every seasons.

Glossy leafs and few more flowers are all together.

This plant can be propagated using the seeds, but its a very slow process. That's why it is preferable to use cutting for the propagation.

Flower buds, these are beautiful too.

Seeds of the Limonia flower.

Seeds of the Limonia flower.

It gives you an idea about how the flower looks like from the side view.

Photos of this article were taken from the S. M. Sultan Memorial at Narail. It was the month of June from 2013.

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hobihanj: Trekking at Rema-Kalenga Reserve Forest(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা রিজার্ভ ফরেস্ট)

Friday, 26 April 2013

It was around 4:00 am at the morning when we have reached at the Shayestaganj(শায়েস্তাগঞ্জ) of Hobiganj(হবিগঞ্জ) district. We have reached there using Dhaka-Sylhet(ঢাকা-সিলেট) highway bus. It was a full moon night and I have enjoyed my journey with the beauty of the moon. Both sides of the road was having wide open, and only the paddy fields were available. Under the white light of the full moon, the scenarios around the road side were spooky but amazingly awesome. I needed to have a nap on my bus, but couldn't as I was greedy to enjoy this beauty more, and more.

We had to pass the morning by gossiping, wandering at the bridge over the river Khowai(খোয়াই নদী) near from the place. Then we had a traditional heavy Lonely Traveler breakfast. We have hired a CNG driven auto vehicle for 350 Taka that would drop us at the gate of Kalenga(কালেঙ্গা) forest bit. I bough a medium sized juicy watermelon to enjoy it during our trekking. My mates found this funny and they laughed at me and said "We can not carry this, you have to carry this by yourself". I smiled at them and agreed accordingly.

It was probably at 7:30am at morning when we have reached at the Kalenga forest bit(কালেঙ্গা ফরেস্ট বিট). It was a journey of more than an hour. At few portions the road condition wasn't good. But the scenic beauties around us was picturesquely beautify. Anyway, we had to wait on the reception of the forest bit for a while as there were no guides available around there. After a short looking, searching we have hired one guy to show us the path. He also agreed to carry the watermelon by himself :-)

There are several treks available inside the forest range. The length of the paths are measured by the hours. Since our plan was to exit through the Rema forest bit(রেমা ফরেস্ট বিট), we couldn't experience those fixed treks. So instead, we only visited the watch tower beside a pond and climbed on that to observe the forest from the top. The condition of the tower was a bit risky. The railings around the stairs were broken or missing. Can cause accident if anyone is not that much careful.

There is a route available between the Rema(রেমা) and the Kalenga(কালেঙ্গা) bit. But to have an adventure, our guide often picked the path through the jungle. It was kind of an off trek trekking. During the dry season these off treks are smoother, but during the rainy season, this is different. It uses to be a hideout for the blood sucking leeches and peoples get tired by removing those from the legs.

During our trekking we have found lot of plain lands randomly. Our guide has explained about these lands. The local people uses to cultivate this lands for free. But in returns they have to provide a guard for the trees at forest. Both the parties get benefited from this contract.

We had a very little amount of water with us that could fulfill our needs. When we have entered inside the Rema forest bit(রেমা ফরেস্ট বিট), we have found a nice place for sitting and started enjoying the watermelon that I brought with us. It was sweet, juicy and with full of energy. My mates were very happy with my decision about the watermelon. They have realized why I have brought this thing with us. Experience matters, I did this from my past experience. During a summer trek, anything juicy feels like a food of heaven. Try yourself if you don't trust me.

It was probably at 1:00 pm at noon, or something near that time. We have reached at the office of Rema forest bit(রেমা ফরেস্ট বিট). We thought our trekking has ended. We have refreshed from a water tube well nearby. I have decided not to carry any water bottles as the trek was finished. But our guide picked those bottles and poured with water and kept those with him. Later we realized why he did that.

The bridge was not completed yet, and the wooden bridge was shaky. So our CNG had to cross this shallow canal.

From that point, we had to walk for another 90 minutes or more to reach a place from where we can hire a vehicle. The road was like a road through desert. No shades around the road, no trees, and nothing. Its just a road and you have to walk on it. No vehicles either. It was a very tiring walk and seemed to us a never ending road. Our misery ended when we have reached near a river named Khowai(খোয়াই নদী). We have crossed the shallow river by a boat, and said a bye to the Rema(রেমা) forest region.

A small grass flower is greeting us Good Morning!

About Rema-Kalenga Reserve Forest(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা রিজার্ভ ফরেস্ট):

Rema-Kalenga Reserve Forest(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা রিজার্ভ ফরেস্ট) is located at the Chunarughat Upazala(চুনারুঘাট উপজেলা) of Hobiganj district(হবিগঞ্জ জেলা). This reserve forest lies at the border of the Bangladesh-India. Few local people lives inside the forest in scattered. Also a Tipra(টিপরা) tribal village is found near at the border. Also, this forest is a hideout for very few rare animals from Bangladesh. This forest is rich with both flora and fauna. Its a perfect place for the forest trekkers.

Basically there are two forest bits which are joined together. One is known as Rema Forest Bit(রেমা ফরেস্ট বিট), and another one is Kalenga Forest Bit(কালেঙ্গা ফরেস্ট বিট). You can visit only one forest bit, or both of these. It is possible to enter through a forest bit and exit through another one.

At the entrance of the Rema-Kalenga Reserve Forest(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা রিজার্ভ ফরেস্ট). It describes the entry fees for the tourists.

How to go:

First of all you have to come at the Shayestaganj(শায়েস্তাগঞ্জ) of Hobiganj(হবিগঞ্জ). You can go there using Train or Bus. You can take the bus of Hobiganj(হবিগঞ্জ) district, or can take the bus of Sylhet(সিলেট) district. It will be around 4-5 hours of journey at maximum. So you should have reached Shayestaganj(শায়েস্তাগঞ্জ) by 4:00 am at morning or earlier.

From there you can easily hire CNG driven vehicles. It will be around 350 to 400 taka if you reserve the whole CNG. Most of the drivers do not know about the forest bits. Ask them about Kalenga Forest Bit(কালেঙ্গা ফরেস্ট বিট). If they do not know about this, then come to Chunarughat Upazela(চুনারুঘাট উপজেলা) using CNG, and then hire another vehicle from there and they must know about the Kalenga Forest Bit(কালেঙ্গা ফরেস্ট বিট) as its nearer from their place.

We have started our trekking through this beautiful road!

Where to stay:

You can come back to Dhaka within the same day. Also you can stay at the Hobiganj(হবিগঞ্জ) town as it has few quality hotels around. I have stayed at the Hotel Jamil(হোটেল জামিল) and it was nice. The cheapest rooms from the hotel were 180-250 Taka per head and we went for the cheap.

A paddy field inside the forest premise. Local people use to cultivate this fields. They are called as Forest Guards(বন প্রহরী). They cultivate this land for free, but had to guard the forest as a return. Nice trade I guess!

Notes: Carry your own food and water during the trek. You'll not find anything there. So take an extra care for this.

My co-trekkers are on the verge.

This is the view of the forest from the top of the watch tower. The condition of the tower was not that much good. Make sure you are careful when climbing to the top.

View of the pond which is beside the tower.

This is one of my best scenario from the forest. I have printed this image on a coffee mug.

The trek was as beautiful as you can see here. My co-trekkers couldn't resist themselves from stopping amid of the path.

An unknown colorful fruit/flower on the green plants.

Touching of the leafs or the vine may cause irritation to the skin(as per my observation).

A trashcan for the tourists. This is appreciable.

It was a nice feeling when you were walking over the dried leafs and those were causing a lyrical murmuring sound.

Our guide Alauddi Bhai(আলাউদ্দি ভাই). He was always cautious about the presence of the monkeys so that we don't miss the show.

A black faced monkey locally known as Mukh Pora Banor(মুখ পোড়া বানর).

Don't get confused by these. Its not flower. These are insects known as Flatid Planthoppers Nymph

A charmingly beautiful flower named White Ixora, native name is Shada Rongon Ful(সাদা রঙ্গন ফুল)

A dried up canal a the middle of nowhere!

This is a strange flower! It is widely seen at the Bandarban and nearby. Didn't expect this here.

Chhitkari Gota Phul(ছিটকারি গোটা ফুল). Botanical name is Microcos paniculata

One of the most beautiful scenes from the forest. Read similar things from the book Aronnok(আরন্যক) written by Bibhutibhusan Banarjee(বিভুতিভুষন বন্দোপাধ্যায়).

Local name of the flower is Hingra(হিংড়া ফুল). This is a very highly scented flower and I got addicted with this. I ended up with a headache for excessive sensing the fragrance.

Crossing a wooden bridge. We found this plenty during our trek.

Gojari Ful(গজারী ফুল), they can fly with the wings over the wind when dried up and fallen from the trees.

Bet Fol(বেত ফল).

This juicy fruit appeared as a fruit from the heaven under the circumstance of an extreme hot day. Everyone laughed at me when I decided to bring this watermelon with us.

Everyone thought that the journey was ended. But later found that it was just the beginning of another tiring long walk that lasted for another 90-100 minutes.

During summer, at the middle of the day, walking through this hairless road was tiring.

A green bamboo grass bush beside the road.

Local kids who use to drive cows and other domestic animals around.

Look at this straight beautiful road. Can you see any shade around? It was a killer walking and sucked up most of our energies!

This roads basically leads through the tea gardens. That's it was very hard to find any shades on the road.

My trekking mates were having a walk on a never ending path. They were totally exhausted by this extra exercise.

River Khowai(খোয়াই নদী), not Kawai. Our trekking for Rema-Kalenga forest was ended when we have crossed this shallow river.

Bye bye boatman, and bye bye Rema-Kalenga(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা) reserve forest trekking.

কেউ যদি এইখানে বেড়াইতে যাই, তাইলে যেন আমরা কিছু ফালাইয়া না রাইখা আসি... আমরা যে এইখানে গেছিলাম, এইটার কোনো নিশানাই ঐখানে রাইখা আসা যাবে না... মনে রাখবেন উপরের দিকে থুথু ফেললে নিজের গায়েই লাগে... জায়গাটা ময়লা আবর্জনা ফেলে নষ্ট করলে কিন্তু আমাদের দেশের একটা সুন্দর জায়গাই নষ্ট হবে, যা আমাদেরই ক্ষতি...!

Rema-Kalenga Reserve Forest(রেমা-কালেঙ্গা রিজার্ভ ফরেস্ট),
Upazela: Chunarughat(চুনারুঘাট উপজেলা),
District: Hobiganj(হবিগঞ্জ জেলা),
Country: Bangladesh(বাংলাদেশ)

This article is written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog