The surprise package of northern Bangladesh

by  Reema Islam

Photos –

surprise-packageThe North-Eastern belt of Bangladesh is dotted with the images of hills across the border as the land starts to undulate and create the most spectacular views. Sherpur is one such border district in Mymensingh and is home to the Garo Hills, an extension of the Meghalaya hills, named after the indigenous tribes that reside there. These tribes have been calling these hilly areas their home for many centuries now as they lived in unison with the elephants and other wild animals of this area. But Sherpur has one other attraction that is sure to give it a special corner in the best site list of Bangladesh: the Brahmaputra River that flows through this Eastern district. Along with tourist friendly places like the Madhutila Eco Park in Nalitabari, Sherpur is quite a surprise package tucked neatly into the northern parts of Bangladesh.
surprise-package2Sherpur was once home to a population of elephants that made their way from the Meghalaya hills into this side of the border and went all the way up to the Madhupur forest region, to the west of Sherpur. However, eversince the Indian border area installed wired fences, these elephants have lost their return pathways. This caused a major problem a few years back as the elephants attacked the agricultural lands of areas within Sherpur, including the Nalitabari environs, as they scourged for food and shelter. An approach that allows both the people and animals to co-habit is much needed, as the animals lose their habitats, to humans, landslides and other factors.
One of its most visited regions is however Nalitabari, home to the Madhutila Eco Park and Gajni. This site is accessible from Ghinayhati which is about 20 kilometres from the Sherpur bus station.
surprise-package3The Gajni Abakash Kendra falls under the Ghajini hill range and is a picnic spot which has a watch tower at a height of 60 feet, two lakes with an overhanging bridge and a 150metretunnel called the ‘patalpuri’that you enter through the mouth of a colorful dragon figure. The watch tower offers a panoramic view of the area, from the neighbouring hills to plain lands, to the tin roofs covering the homes of the Garo community members.

The Ghajni Forest rest house built by the LGED provides guests the chance to relax while the sound of flowing water from the nearby dams, that feed the lakes, offers a further sense of calm. Gajni rolls on towards the Madhutila Eco Park which comes under the Madhutila forest range and is an eco-park over a large tract of land, built to follow the same mechanism as the Dulhazra Safari park in Coxs Bazar.
surprise-package4A mini zoo attracts visitors as the deer come close by and benignly pose for the cameras while an array of exotic plants and other greenery offers a completely relaxing experience. A double storied guest house within the eco-park area overlook the indoor lake while pond herons and other birds can often be your distant companions.
Sherpur has quite a few options for accommodation and can be accessed through the website for a range of choices.

The author is the public relations manager for Jovago, the online hotel booking engine, now in Bangladesh

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