Often the craving for an outing after a tiresome week results in utter disappointment, since all the popular places are either too far, require more money or time than you're willing to spend. Waiting for that big holiday tests your patience. To satisfy the moment's yearning, it's time to discover the gems in the outskirts of Dhaka. With a minimal cost of about BDT 200-300 and a distance of approximately 30km from Dhaka, Panam Nagar and Mayadeep certainly top the list.
Panam Nagar was one of the major townships of the historic administrative, commercial and maritime centre in eastern Bengal, Sonargaon. With the influence of many trading companies from Europe, the architecture of Panam Nagar demonstrates native and western styles. It was the centre for trading muslin and later neel (indigo). Walking down the street of this city and into the abandoned buildings, the sense of stories and lives forgotten haunt the mind.
Locally known as “Nolchor”, Mayadeep is an islet at the heart of river Meghna. What makes Mayadeep special, and with accordance to its name, is its setup. The rhythmic waves of Meghna softly crashing against the sandy shore can satisfy your craving for the beach. You also have the opportunity to brag to your friends back home about how you swam and conquered Meghna. With the afternoon breeze in your hair, sitting on the shore with your feet in the waves, and gazing at the passing boats and the constant that is the river are a real treat for a tired urbanite.
Boat trips are always memorable. Meghna is usually calm, but with the recent weather, the raging waves can surely boost the adrenaline. Engine-boats are the usual transport from Boiddar Bazar to Mayadeep but you can always look for a traditional wooden oared boat and brace yourself for a little adventure. You should know how to swim though.
Start from Gulistan at around 8-9 am. There are buses, namely Swadesh or Doel. They'll charge BDT 40-45. It'll take about an hour to reach Mograpara intersection, depending on traffic. CNGs will be abundant; rent one for Panam Nagar – it should cost BDT 10 per person. You can also visit the Sonargaon Museum nearby.
After 1.5-2 hours walking through Panam, head for Boiddar Bazar. Have lunch there. You can buy fresh fish from the bazar. After lunch, board a local boat that leaves every 15 minutes, charging BDT 10 per person. You can go directly to Mayadeep or take a detour and go to Chalibhanga union. Walk through bridges and fields and get on another boat that will take you to Nolchor. Pass through the village, and after 20 minutes, you'll finally reach the open field of Mayadeep.
At 4-4.30 PM, return to Boiddar Bazar, take a CNG for Mograpara and return to Dhaka on the same line of bus, hopefully before nightfall.
TEXT & PHOTOS: FATIUL HUQ SUJOY
Fatiul Huq Sujoy is a tired soul (mostly because of his frail body) who's patiently waiting for Hagrid to appear and tell him, “Ye're a saiyan, lord commander.” Suggest him places to travel and food-ventures to take at fb.com/SyedSujoy