Through The Lens: Bangladesh (TTL) arranges a monthly outing tour for photography. Its call TTL Safari tour and we was waiting for TTL Safari 6 to be announced. In 22nd February 2009, Shudipto da announced TTL Safari Six as TTL Mango Festival in Rajsahi and Chapai Nowabgonj. The date of the tour was from 21st May to 23rd May 2009. But duo to late of actual mango market season in Chapai Nowabgonj, TTL Scheduled the Safari after one week (from 28th May to 30th May 2009). As we was prepared for the 3rd week of month, it was free time for us, but after reschedule of the Safari, it becomes free time. In the free time Me, Kamrul, Neaz bhai and Atik bhai made another tour in Bhulagonj, Sylhet. Have a look on the blog Khadem Nagar tea estate and Bhulagonj stone mining land, May – 2009
After our Sylhet tour, was getting prepared for Rajsahi and Chapai Nawabganj. Then finally 28th May has arrived. As per plan, Shudipto da, Kamal, me, Eather, Ferdous bhai, Rakib, Afzal bhai and Akhlas bhai from sylhet, Tushar bhai, Kamrul, Biju, Anis bhai, Taufiq bhai from Chittagong reported in Rajarbag Greenline bus counter. Belal bhai, Saif bhai, Rokon bhai joined us from another counter.
After a short chat in bus, I start sleeping and weak up when we reached
Aristocrat Restaurant in Sirajganj. We had porota and beaf/chicken there and ride on bust for the final destination.
At morning 5.30am we stopped in front of Hotel Hoq’s Inn. Me, Saif bhai (Gazi Saif Sohel) and Biju bhai was partner in one room. After 2 hours sleep, Shudipto da called us and we weak up. Get ready for breakfast. 2 micro buses were waiting for us. We ride on the microbus and started for a Bindu Hole and Restaurant for breakfast. On the way we saw the new rail station in Saheb Bazar. All peoples were looking at our big team of photographer and some was asking questions are we here for shooting or any News paper/TV Channel. Some of us also did some shooping after breakfast. Mainly the were purchasing gamcha from local shops.
After our breakfast and started moving for Puthiya Palace. After an around 30mins journey, we saw the beautiful palace. We stopped in front of some very old temple which is part of Puthiya Palace, its call Aanni Temple.
The Temple complex also share two other temples named Choto Gobindo Temple (small Gobinda) and Gopal Temple.
Aanni temple and X temple is 400 years old, established in Mughal period. The Shiva temple is 200 years old. Except us, saw few other tourists were also visiting the temples.
After shooting in Aanni temple we went to Puthiya Palace passing a big pond in front of the Anni temple. If anyone stands in bank of the pond, in his/her left the Anni temple will be found, front and front right Shiva temple and Dola temple and in Right, the Puthiya Palace will be found.
Puthia palace consists of a cluster of notable old Hindu Temples. It located 23 km to the east of Rajshahi city it has the largest number of Historic temples in Bangladesh. The temples were built by Hindu Zamindars Rajas of Puthia who were noted philanthropists of Rajshahi. The Palace is now used as Puthiya Degree College.
We have been guided to Pancharatna Gobinda temple inside of the palace. On the shot way we found a real big wooden gate. I dont have idea, now a days will anyone dare to make such a gate for Tample or Masjid.
Pancharatna Gobinda temple, the grandest temple in Puthia, the Govinda temple was erected in mid-nineteenth century by the queen of Puthia. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple has exquisite terracotta ornamentation depicting the divine romance between Krishna and Radha.
As well we have seen some birds inside the temple. Spotted Owlet, Purple Sunbird (Male & Female), Bulbule are major. But I only managed to shot so many Purple Sunbirds.
From the temple, there is a clear view of Dola Temple and Shiva temple. In middle of Dola temple and Puthiya Palace, there is a big field where young boys was playing cricket. I asked a local people about Dola temple, said the name of the temple and also said Kings used to play holi (Play with wet color) in the Dola Temple.
After Pancharatna Gobinda temple, we moved to Shiba temple.
Shiba temple was built in 1815 by the queen of Puthia and dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, is the largest Shiva temple in Bangladesh. The corridors have a touch of Jaipur architecture and in the sanctuary, lies a very large black basalt Shiva Linga, one of the largest in the country.
The temple suffered damage in the 1971 War of Liberation of Bangladesh. The destroyers attempted to displace and break the Shiva Linga, but were unable to move it from its position.
After shooting Shiba temple, we went to Kajla more for lunch. In middle of the road we get down in Banessor mango market. Took many photographs of mango shopping. Banessor bazar is another famous place for Mango Market. Its the one of the biggest market in Rajshahi.
Part after the lunch becomes more memorable for me. It was Birding in Rajshahi University. For the first time we (me and Saif bhai) meet Moni (Israt Jerin Moni) in RU Campus. She is one of the great bird watcher I’ve ever seen. After a little chat she went back home and we started birding. The first surprise for me was watching an Asian Paradise-flycatcher. It’s the only paradise-flycatcher among 12 species. Suddenly I saw Saif bhai was shooting same another bird from different place. Couldn’t stop myself to go there and shot.
I’ve a separate blog on the beautiful bird, for more please visit Asian Paradise-flycatcher, most beautiful bird of Bangladesh
After a while, went another place in RU Campus. I was just becoming mad watching soo many birds in campus. Have shoot Jungle Babbler with many others. Finally some one told me if we went in Botany campus, we should have more birds. Me, Taufiq bhai and Tushar bhai moved there. After a long walk we saw nothing there and get frustrated. Tushar bhai already backed then. Me and Taufiq bhai was a little slow but because of this we saw Stork-billed Kingfisher. Also find Common Kingfisher, Magpie Robin, Spotted Dove, Black-rumped Flameback. During back, we saw a nest of Asian paradise-flycatcher.
We shot squirrels on the way.
After few time we found rest of all waiting for us to leave the campus. We ride in our microbus and start moving toward Padma’r Par. After coming down from microbus, saw a rickshaw pooler was sleeping on his rickshaw.
Didn’t wait to shot that. In opposite side of the river we saw minimum 100+ Asian openbill was sitting.
In a tree just beside me, saw two Black-rumped Flameback was sitting. This time didn’t miss to shot them.
By the time Saif bhai called from opposite side of road that few spotted owlet was sitting in a jackfruit tree and also captured them.
Then started planning to go opposite side. Reserved a boat and went to opposite side but before we reach to Openbills, they fly away. We were very disappointed. But it didn’t stop our plan to cross the river.
In the land we took some rest. Most of us were very tired. We found many birds there as well. Green Bee-eater, Asian palm-swift was in leading number.
Also saw Grassbird and few other which are unknown to me. We saw many people visit the place in evening section of day. We pass time there till sunset. After sunset we leave the place and went back to hotel.
Took bath and rest in hotel till we start mango eating party in Sudipto da’s room. Finished 10Kgs of mango in 7 minutes by 10 peoples. Took lunch at 9.30pm and went to Rajshahi Rail Station after lunch. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera to station, so cant share any photograph this time. After coming back from station, just went to bed for sleep.
As per plan with Shudipto da, weak up at 4.45am for another birding round in RU campus but we failed to get inside of campus because of security issue. As an alternative, we entered in RUET campus. Team member was only me, Saif bhai and Shudipto da. We passed one hour in RUET campus and shot Black-rumped flameback, Indian Pond Heron, Storck-billed Kingfisher, and Coppersmith Barbet. Also seen Asian koel (female) and few others.
We back hotel after shooting and was waiting for everyone to get ready. Around after one hour, we started our journey for Chapai Nowabgonj. In the highway, we took our breakfast.
Then we direct we went to Khania Dighi Masjid in bank of Khania Dighi which is about a quarter mile away from the high mud wall of the ancient city of Gaur on the north and the Balia Dighi on the west in Nawabganj district. It’s a 14th century masjid, a valuable archeological heritage of Bangladesh.
There is a mango garden between Kania Dighi and the Kania Dighi Masjid.
In Kania Dighi we have shot Great Cormorant, White-breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher in Khania Dighi.
After shooting there, we start for Choto Sona Masjid. I was amazed to see a graveyard in front of Choto Sona Masjid. There were may other tourists in the Masjid.
After ablution we entered in masjid and take photographs. It was very harsh light to take photos, everyone have to straggle to get proper exposure. Well everyone managed somehow with their photography technique. Almost every angel was captured by everyone. The masjid built by Sultan Wali Muhammad bin Ali during the reign of Sultan Hossain Shah in between year 1493-1519.
After shooting Masjid, we had took tea in road side and shot Common Myna there. I think I’ll never be able to be so close of a bird that the Myna allowed us.
Next destination after Choto Sona Masjid is Kansat Mango Market. We not only photographs there, but purchased some mangos for us as well. Its the biggest mango market of Bangladesh. Kansat market supply mango to all over Bangladesh.
After the kansat bazaar, we come back in hotel. During back, we all slept in microbus. After coming back in hotel, we all become fresh and didn’t wait to go back to the bus counter.
Our bus starts at 6.00pm. After a 30 minute chat, we all fall in sleep again. Weak up again when bus stopped in Sirajgonj for a break. After final start we passed Bangabandu bridge. We reached in Dhaka at 12.00am.
In summary it was a nice tour, but for hot temperature I become so lazy to take more photos which I should. I missed photos of many places. Both Rajshahi and Chapai Nawabganj. I didn’t take photos of Rajshahi city, local lifestyle, Rail Station, Reshom Institute, Tomb of Hazrat Shah Makhdum, Jami Mosque, Bagha Mosque, Bagdhani Mosque, Tomb of Hazrat Shah Sultan and many other places in Rajshahi.
Places I didn’t visited in Chapai Nawabganj are Rajbari (palace), Baragharia Kacharibari (revenue office), Chapai Mosque, Naoda Stupa (Buddhist monument), Jora Math (twin monastery), Nachole Palace, etc. When next time I’ll visit the places, I’ll try to visit the places.