Morning, a perfect time to start new day, a new journey. I along with 15 others on such day 6 October 2019 started our tour towards Sylhet. I had been there twice and it was going to be my third time visit to Sylhet, the land of tea and beauty.
My mother is a professor in a college and three of her other colleagues decided to go to Sylhet with their families on the coming Puja vacation. Therefore, our family joined in. We started from Chapainawabganj Railway Station, took 5:50 am ‘Banolota Express’ and the first destination was Dhaka. It was supposed to be an around 12-15 hours long journey to Sylhet. By the time we reached Dhaka at around 1pm, it was raining. I love being in the rain, love walking through it but that day an alarm was buzzing in my head. We had to catch the bus to Sylhet by 2 pm. 15 people, 34 bags and myself. We were looking for rickshaws and CNGs. They were asking for high rent, the place was crowded and the clock was ticking. Finally, with the help some hands I had fit all the bags in a CNG along with myself and told others to reach to the bus station by anything they get.
I reached the station, collected the tickets and started the second innings of the journey to Sylhet. When I opened my eyes, we were in Sylhet. I saw everyone is broken physically after a 18 hours of journey all together. Therefore, we took dinner in parcel and went to the place where we were supposed to stay. In this moment, I must thank Professor Ellias from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). He made all the arrangements of our staying in the SUST Guest House.
The next new morning, we started for Jaflong. Two years back when I had been to Jaflong, it was a place of peace. This time, there was peace but certainly, disturbance was added. Once we reached, few people came and offered packages. They would take 1000BDT in order to take us to 5 different places; a waterfall, a king palace, a tea garden, a bazaar and the rocky place. I looked around. There were hotels, shops, buildings etc. I remembered, this place was happened to be filled with trees, field and beauty. Today, it is contrasted.
We decided to taste a package. Was it cost worthy? Well, for few yes for few not really. We ended up the day by sitting on the rock and water of Jaflong, seeing the beauty of mother nature, the hanging bridge which is set in the Indian side and having ‘Jhal Muri’ at the end. I ended up with a bit sadness of having lost the natural beauty a bit.
Next day we had Bichnakandi and Ratargul in the list, so we went to bed earlier. In the morning, we found our drivers are bit lazier than ourselves as they came at around 7:40 am. We had our breakfast and went straight to Bichanakandi. Every time this place has shown me its’ different looks. This time, no exception happened. We took boat and it took around an hour to go to Bichankandi. I had provided the exclusive news to everyone, especially the women that there they would find a local bazaar where Indian products are being sold at a cheap cost. Therefore, the excitement among everyone raised a little up. After reaching there, I straight went to the rocks and water, started capturing photographs and recalling my memories of previous visits. It made myself feel happy that everyone was happy. They had come to these places on my recommendation and it was worthy.
We had plan to finish our lunch by 1 pm in the nearby floating restaurant. Now, if I start talking about the food, chicken, fish, and ‘vorta’, this article might cross the word limit. So, let it be. After the lunch, we started again. It again took an hour to reach to the place where we started; we went out of the boat, sat on our cars and started for Ratargul.
Ratargul has always been my hot favorite. The process is same; hire a boat, negotiate with the dealers, sit on a boat, enjoy the sunshine, get into the swamp forest, place the boat in front of a watch tower which is moving continuously, capture pictures, see the sunset, sit on the boat again, move with it a bit, get amazed by the beauty, return and rethink the whole time that you spent in Ratargul. I am sure these happens to everyone who takes a visit.
We were supposed to visit Madhopkundu Waterfall and Sreemangal same day. Two of these places are in the two opposite corners of Sylhet, which requires two and a half hour of journey for each. It was a hot sunny day in Madhopkundu Waterfall. The umbrella was not helping much. Just to inform you, there is a barrier close to the waterfall so that none can go close to it and harm the nature. However, you can walk through the water and feel the cold water coming straight from the waterfall. As there was excessive heat, we decided to move. Some of us bought some Burmese pickles and nuts, started eating and started for Sreemangal.
This place has been the most favorite. Through the hilly road of Lawachara Rain Forest, we went to Finlay Tea State. We bought some tea packets, finished our lunch and started to visit the tea garden. It was 4pm and raining. It is indescribable that how the nature was like. Going through the tea garden in rain, passing through tea workers who were going back to home, the darkness and green nature looked mysteriously beautiful. Our destination was a bungalow, which belongs to Mr. Masud Rana, one of the tea estate managers. After we reached there, he took us to the nearby tea garden. When we came back from the garden, it was almost dark outside. We sat on classic wooden chairs in the bungalow veranda with a cup of tea made of fresh tea leaf. Then, it started raining. Raining like never before. The heartfelt raining. Cold wind was hitting my skin, hot tea was keeping the mode on and I was lost. Lost between the unforgettable rains, the British made old bungalow and null mobile network. One of the best moments of my life perhaps. When we came back, it was around 10pm.
The next day was simple. Shopping in Lama Bazar and visiting Hazrat Shahjalal Mazar Sharif were priorities. Last day before returning home was calmed and relaxed. In dinner, the cook of the guesthouse prepared biriyani for us. Well, rarely had biriyani as such. The taste was fabulous and I am not exaggerating. It was the last morning in Sylhet. Keeping in mind our 16-18 hours journey back to home, we started. It was 3 pm train, but late for an hour. The panicking started again as we had to catch the 11:10 pm train from Kamlapur to Rajshahi. In the whole journey, I kept on calculating the time and keeping track of the train. We decided to get down in Airport Railway Station instead of Kamlapur because it was saving our time. After a short waiting, we got into Padma Express and in the new morning, we reached Rajshahi by 6 am. We again got into the shuttle train to Chapainawabganj. Traveled through three trains a day.
When we were returning from Sylhet, 34 bags had been transformed into 48 bags, our brains were filled with new and fresh memories and our mind was craving to recall the tour again. Sylhet is different every time you visit, you may feel yourself different every time and certainly, beauty of nature is different each time. If the beauty does not change each time, it might get boring. Isn’t it?