Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 74, Tuesday, June 30, 2009




Honeymoon destinations

Imagine yourself with your beloved in a romantic spot with lakes and hills, where it feels like nature is flaunting its beauties and bounties only for the two of you. Wouldn't that add a new chapter to your relationship? Ask yourself when you last gave yourselves such a treat?

Well, you wouldn't have to look very far for steal-outs like that. In the last few years Bangladesh has remarkably advanced in developing holiday resorts that are of international standards with reasonably affordable rates. If you want to be high up in the mountains with clouds floating past you and rolling valleys stretching out as far as your eyes can see then try the Nilgiri Resort in Bandarban, Chittagong Hill Tracks.

There are four cottages or rather log cabins with first class facilities that will leave you wondering when you were last pampered so much. The catch? It is owned and managed by the army, but available to the civilian public who can make a booking through an army personnel. But one would be surprised at the number of good quality hotels and eateries that have mushroomed in Bandarban recently, all very easily accessible. The Foy's Lake Resort in Chittagong city with beautiful two-storeyed bungalows peeping out of a winding lake hidden between folds of serene hills offers another hideout where even the reception desk is a motorboat or a paddle boat ride away. Rangamati and Kaptai Lakes with hills and forests are only an hour's drive from the Chittagong but are precious romantic retreats offering boat rides and a glimpse of the simple life of the indigenous population making one wonder why we seek international destinations when the likes of such are waiting in the folds of our home.

If you are a beach person then Cox's Bazaar awaits you with all its splendours. One will be amazed at the facilities currently available in terms of hotels, restaurants, and bazaars perfect for tourists. The Cox's Bazaar beach may be the longest and most explored but have you tried the other beaches like Inani, Himchhari? ......and the islands teasingly close and fully equipped with fairly good accommodation amenities to host you. These are the St. Martins, Sonadia, Nijhum and of course the Chhera Islands just off Teknaf. Communication facilities to them may not be the best but can arouse the adventurous in you.

If you are a green enthusiast then just take off to the Sylhet tea gardens for nothing can beat the beautiful serenity that is almost divine, laying out the base for a perfect romantic retreat. For accommodation, there is the Zastate Resorts, Nizamgor Resorts and numerous hotels with reasonably good facilities. While you are in Sylhet, make a trip to Madhabkundo waterfall and Jaflong with the smoky hills and transparent, humming lakes between thickets of forests. If you happen to be a history aficionado then go a little further to Mohasthangor, Bogra, a five hours' drive from the capital where the site of the legendary tale of Behula and Lokhindor is sure to perk up the amorous streaks in your relationship.

One would be surprised at the monumental treasures in the museums in Bogra dating back thousands of years. A little further up north in Kushtia lies Kuthibari and the Lalon Shah Akras. Try reading Rabindranath Tagore's love poems together while you are in Kuthibari, it will definitely lend you a memory to savour for the rest of your lives.

Make a honeymoon time-out from every day of your busy life and just see the effects it has on you. In our preoccupation with worldly commitments we hardly seem to get time to really talk with our loved ones. If you don't get time during the day then take off on a long drive late at night or just a stroll in the neighbourhood together and do some catching up.

Go on an ice cream or fuchka spree late at night and let loose the child in you to come back home laughing. There are these fancy paan-shupari shops too nowadays with an endless list of flavours to choose from.

Elenga Resorts with its fabulous swimming pool and lush grounds is only forty-five-minute drive from the capital. Drive a little further and you reach the Jamuna Resorts in Tangail with all its promises. For those who thrive on the past, the Nawab Palace Resort at Dhanbari, Tangail would offer your timeout a base borrowed from the ancient era of gallant love affairs.

We often get so caught up with work and raising children that we forget to take exclusive time-outs for our beloved and allow our relationships to get smothered by the busy world around us. Bring out the Shahjahan and Mamtaz in you and live life to the fullest. Who says honeymoons don't last forever?

By Shaily Fatima
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain

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Picture perfect

Wedding are a threshold point; a transition to a new life. This, amalgamated with the fact that it is a social gathering with all the important people in our lives around us, make us give in all our energy and time to deliver the best- be it the food, the music and the entertainment, decorations, etc. Sadly enough, we don't pay that same attention when it comes to capturing that special moment.

Wedding photography, until now, has not been a much popular concept in our country. While we are generous when reserving an expensive hall and make no compromise with the food, we forget, or the budget just seems to fall short, when we deal with wedding photography. Eventually, the task falls on the shoulders of a cousin or a close friend, or an amateur or a cheap photographer with little knowledge and experience on the subject.

The attitude is changing, however. “We are getting married next month and have already booked a wedding photographer for the holud and the wedding,” says Samia. “Thirty years from now, I will not cherish how tasty the kachchi biryani was or how well the band performed. What would matter most is that I got married to the special person in my life that day; with all the special people around me.”

The role of wedding photographers, therefore, must not be underestimated. So make sure you hire a wedding photographer when you tie the knot. But where do I find them and how do I decide whom to choose, you ask.

First of all, see if your friends and relatives, other married couples, want to refer someone. You could also search for the name and contact information over the Internet. Once you are done making a list of photographers, sit together with your spouse-to-be and the photographer.

It's important that you are comfortable with the photographer; remember that he will be one of those people in charge of producing a smile on the corner of your lips a decade later. Observe his previous works. Discuss his approach/style of wedding photography. Make sure you get in touch with him well in advance, so that you get him free on the right date. Last but not least, go easy on the budget.

It's simple enough. To start with, you can just ask for all the packages they have and they'll simply mail it to you or give a website for you to visit. Wedding photographers offer various packages.

Taufique Hossain and Ashraful Awal Mishuk, who work as a team, have, broadly speaking, two packages. They charge on an event basis. The first package, where they'll be staying from 7:30 pm till midnight, will cost you Tk 15000. They promise unlimited pictures that will be delivered to you by DVD and 75 5R prints on an album. Another package will be covered by one person (Taufique Hossain). He will mainly be taking pictures of the bride and groom and the important group photos. This service has a price tag of Tk 7000.

On the other hand, Tanvir Murad Topu has five packages. One of them, called the Exclusive Package, consists of him and another photographer covering the whole event, charging Tk 25000. Along with unlimited pictures provided via DVD, he'll provide 100 5R prints, six exclusive 8L prints and one exclusive big print. The least expensive one you can get will cost you Tk 10000.

Photographers have various strategies and pricing policies. Take Pritto Reza for example. He mainly charges on a per-roll-basis. He approaches the wedding as a story, and tries to make a 'documentary show' with his pictures. Every photographer has different preconditions (e.g. duration, shooting only at the venue, etc.,) that vary widely from one to another; so heed him well.

Wedding photographs are passed on to future generations. Long after all the flowers have dried out, the food has been digested, the hall gets constantly rebooked for other ceremonies and you once again get busy with the daily chores, you will only be left with that extremely intense memory- a complicated mix of happiness, joy, thrill, love, hope, nostalgia. Make sure you cherish those memories and remember that wedding photographers help you to possess a 'hard copy'.

Thanks to:
Sazzad Ibne Sayed (01715390121), Pritto Reza (01714105098), Tanvir Murad Topu (01711336730), Ashraful Awal Mishuk (01819217269) and Debashish Som (01912006255)

By M H Haider


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