Volume 4 Issue 26| July 16, 2011|


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Journey Through Bangladesh
From Bandarban

Visiting Bagakain Lake

Bagakain or Baga Lake is located in Ruma Mouja in the Bandarbans. Situated at 2,700 feet above sea level, local legends believe it to be a dormant volcano that has turned into a lake. The following is a first person travelogue of visiting Baga Lake.
Rezwan Ul Haque

Getting to the Bandarbans was easy, but from there to Baga Lake was a different ordeal. It involved two separate stints of rides of Chander Gari or Moon Cars (yes that's what the locals call the jeeps that are the only mode of transportation through the hill tracts). First, we went from Banderban city to Ruma Bazar and it took us around three hours. There we had lunch, bought some snacks and most importantly, hired a guide for the trip. Then we hired another Chander Gari which would take us all the way to Baga Lake.

The narrow path leading to Baga lake

The journey on the road was an amazing experience. The roads through the hill tracts had a lot of ups and downs, and also a lot of small bridges that connected one hill with another. It was like a vast amusement park ride built in nature's lap. The road from Ruma Bazar to Baga Lake was more intimidating than the first part of the journey. The roads were narrower, and the hills were steeper, but at the same time, the view along the way was more picturesque. There were two or three Army check posts on the way through the whole journey, where we had to register our name for security reasons.

Around three hours later, we reached the hill where Baga Lake starts. Our guide suggested us to get off from the vehicle and hike through the walkway that leads to the top of the hill. What I didn't realize at the time was that, for a non-athletic person like me, it was a very bad idea to listen to him. The path was much steeper than I originally imagined, and it was an endearing task to climb the hill. I suffered from cramps two-thirds on the way! Although it was an experience that I would always remember, but it would have been a better choice if had stayed on in the Chander Gari that also went all the way to Baga Lake.

Finally, we arrived at Baga Lake. At first look, it seemed like one of those places you see on television and wish if you could ever go to a place like that in real life. While some of my tour-mates went to register our names for the final time in the Army camp situated there, I stayed on at the top to appreciate the beautiful view around me. Then we all checked in to one of the wooden houses situated on the side of Baga Lake, called Laram Rest House. Soon after, we changed and went for a dip into the lake. The water was very clean and we stayed in the water nearly an hour.

As night approached, the temperature started to go down rapidly. During the day, I had literally forgotten that it was winter, as it was as warm as a regular summer day. Fortunately for us, the locals prepared chicken barbeque for dinner. Being 2,700 feet above sea level meant that we were that much closer to the sky. The view of the sky was breathtaking - our eyes could literally sense the difference in the size of the moon and the stars compared to what we are used to seeing in Dhaka. We stayed outdoors in the shivering cold till almost midnight before we went to sleep.

The next morning was bright and sunny when we woke up. The view of the lake looked even amazing than the day before. We went for a walkabout around the lake, but as soon as we were done exploring the area, we set out on our way back. By the evening we were back at the city heart of the Bandarbans.


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