On the way to Chimbuk Hill
When I was a little boy, I had heard that if you climb up a hill you would be able to touch the clouds! Black and white clouds play at the top of the hill, touching those who reach that height. In my dreams I climbed up such hills several times. But one day I truly got the opportunity to climb up a real hill… the Chimbuk Hills of Bandarban.
A few days ago we, some final year students of Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET), went on a 10 days tour of the different places of Bangladesh. This tour gave us the chance, on the 5th of September, Tuesday, 2006, to realize our dreams of touching the clouds. We started our journey at 6 o'clock in the morning from CUET. Our bus was running towards Chimbuk through the hilly tracks of Chittagong. Our bus was zigzagging like a serpent. The more it went forth, the more clearly we could behold the hills of Bandarban. Entering Bandarban, all the passengers of the bus realized very well what the hill tracks were! There was no lack of bumpy spots along the road. Only experts should drive here, because death is waiting at each step. A little carelessness and you may drop down hundreds of feet.
The natural beauty of Bandarban really touched our hearts. We could not help but be fascinated at the sights of the hilly district. Sometimes it was high hills on one side of the road, and a deep hole on the other side. Most portions of the road went through between two hills, touching both. Various known and unknown trees covered the hills like green carpet. A small river was flowing through. Some women were seen working. We tried to get pictures, but failed as they turned their face to other direction when we tried to get pictures of them.
Reaching Bandarban, we came to know Chimbuk was 25 km from here. The only vehicle to Chimbuk was a jeep that the local people called 'Chander gari', “moon's car”. Local inhabitants use this vehicle since in this area 'Chander gari' is the only medium of communication. We hired a 'Chander gari' with 1400 BDT for 15 people, and started a risky journey to 'Chander Desh (country of moon).
The roads were even more dangerous than those we had seen during our entry into Bandarban. We were forever afraid of accidents. The helper of our 'Chander gari' was named Md. Abdur Rahman. We got to know that he was the owner cum helper of this car. The amount of Rahman's income was substantial. During tourist season he earns more than 30000 BDT and in off-season his income is about 12000 BDT.
Abdur Rahman informed us a lot about various topics. Most people in the hills are tribals. Some Bangalis also live here. Among tribals, the highest in number are the Bum, an aboriginal tribe. Besides them there are the Tripura, Chakma, Murang, Hazang etc. Abdur Rahman alarmed us with the news of miscreants who become active after sunset. They kidnap people for money, and at times might also kill them. Thus it is strictly forbidden to enter here after the late afternoon. We decided to return before dark.
The way to Chimbuk seemed very strange. The road went round and round all the way to the top. The top of Chimbuk could be seen among clouds form quite a distance. I was feeling thrilled that soon I would be lost in clouds. Suddenly I looked down. Oh my God! Houses and trees in the plane area seemed to us like points. If our jeep fell, we would fall thousands of feet below. I could not look at the sight for long. I had to look at a tree full of ripe bananas in order to distract my mind away from the fear.
Upon reaching the top of Chimbuk I could not believe that I was about 3772 feet above plane land! Amazing! There seemed to be a thin layer of fog all around. I asked our driver whether it was fog, and was left speechless for a while by his reply. It was not fog -- it was cloud. My dreams come true! I was now a citizen of the kingdom of clouds! We got back from Chimbuk after spending about an hour over there.
The highest peak of Bangladesh, 'Kawkaradang', can be clearly seen from Chimbuk. You can get to the top of it using 'Chander gari'. It would cost about 6000 BDT, but the jeep cannot take you all the way to the top. You have to walk a certain distance on foot. There is a rest house on Chimbuk hill, but the law and order situation is not very satisfactory. The same goes for communications facilities. One can spend the night there but it is really risky.
4th year, Dept of EEE, RUET.
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