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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 145 | November 22 , 2009|


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Sylhet Safari

Muhammad Ashikur Rahman
Photos: Robiul Hasan, Dia Mirza

I never miss a chance to go on an expedition. A few days ago, 39 classmates from the Department of Public Administration and I, University of Dhaka, made a fantastic trip to the hilly areas of Sylhet.

We set out from Dhaka University campus for Sylhet City on 17th August, 9 A.M. We were excited about when we would reach our destination - expected to be around lunchtime - right from the beginning of our safari. Our first stop was hotel Al-Hamra Holiday Home located at Zindabazar in Sylhet town, where we were supposed to start our sojourn for three days. We had mixed feelings about our initial journey from Dhaka to Sylhet. For most of us it was amusing and funny, but for some it was tiresome and dizzying. However, after arriving at the hotel and being well accommodated, everybody relaxed a little and it became largely hassle-free.

The next morning we left the hotel for Jaflong, the closest point along the Bangladesh-India frontier. On the way to Jaflong a glaring and fascinating scene caught our eyes, as a number of vivacious waterfalls came down from among the heart of the hills. It seemed as if the hills were weeping ceaselessly for unknown reasons. Another thing that impressed us all was a school of clouds floating hither and thither over the hills. As we gazed upon the milk coloured hilly waterfalls and the floating clouds, many of us shouted "Wow!" The stunning and exotic sights also made a great impression on me, and I thought that there must be an existence of some powerful being behind this wonderful whim of nature.

We arrived at Jaflong at noon, pondering those profound thoughts. It was raining. The kaleidoscopic weather confused us with decisions about whether we should wear raincoats or be drenched in the rainwater. But we had no such confusions about crossing the river called 'Dauki' - through the severe currents on an engine-run boat. We hired three boats for the purpose. The boats set sail for the other end of the river, where we watched the sky-kissing hills very near us. Those gigantic hills were Indian frontier, where we could see some houses. A suspension bridge also annexed the two hills. Through a narrow path beneath the bridge a flush of water entered Bangladesh. In the mean time some of us became busy playing football on the sandy shoals. Some got down in the rivulet bifurcating the big river for a fresh bath. The creak was forceful and therefore it was difficult for girls to cross it. But in the course of time girls crossed the rivulet with the help of the boys.

We took a lot of photographs, keeping the hills behind us. After staying 2-3 hours, we left Jaflong for hotel Al-Hamra. The next day we set out for Madhobkunda Waterfall. It is pretty far from Sylhet City and it took three hours to get there. After reaching Madhobkundo, I went through a new and different experience. On the way to the source of the waterfall, I heard the sound of water flowing through an inland waterway. After a little while, we saw the much-anticipated view of water falling from the apex of the hill. It was beautiful and charming.

Once again we could not resist the temptation to dive into the little pond under the waterfall. A vital piece of information for those keen to visit Madhobkunda Waterfall is that there is a big hole or tunnel under the area, which goes into the hill. It is perilously close to the fall. We were cautious, as the authority and our accompanying teacher, informed us about it prior to us getting down into the pond. Moreover, there is also a demarcation line that one cannot.

There were some local young guides who always try to help the visitor by carrying their bags and shoes or taking photographs or showing the paths of the newer places. However at the time of departure, they will demand money for helping. We also faced this matter. But they should be given thanks because they guided us to a romantic and creepy passage, following which we came upon another smaller waterfall called Porikunda. Here we got an opportunity to be drenched in the falling cold water, which was unforgettable. The hill and the bushes did not even allow us to see the open sky. The place where waterfall is situated is enigmatic and not large at all. The different creepers and large trees overwhelmed the over head areas. We did not panic because we were in a team and the loud sound of the waterfall did not scare us. We were amazed at the combination of the jungle, hill and waterfall. We were not willing to leave that beautiful sight but what could we do when faced with the limits of time. After having a successful expedition at Madhobkunda and Porikunda, we went to our hotel. It was the final day of our excursion at Madhobkunda and ipso facto we had a whole-night's adda at the hotel, reviewing the previous days in Sylhet. We realized that the urban area of Sylhet is little more developed compared to other divisions of Bangladesh. The suburb or rural area, particularly where we visited, testify to the pristine beauty of nature. Even after returning home, we were still not free from the illusions of those marvellous sights and still experienced spectacular dreams about that remarkable excursion.

(The writer is a student of the Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka.)

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