Bhimruli floating market

Text and Photos by Afsana Juthi

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Imagine being on a boat passing through the canal while enjoying the green trees with fruits on every branches and all the colours of nature on both sides – the feeling is almost heavenly. A short trip to the Bhimruli Bazar in Atghor Kuriana, where the floating guava market is, can be a delightful and unforgettable experience.

This majestic market is an age-old tradition that continues to this day. Here thousands of tons of guavas are taken from river-adjacent orchards and transported by boat to Barisal, also known as the Venice of Bengal.

To get a glimpse of the beauty of the southern part of my homeland, I decided to visit the magnificent place with some of my class-friends of Barisal University economics department on July 24, 2016. This is when the canals become full to the brim and branches of guava-trees bow down to river when the guavas are almost ready for harvest.

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We started our journey from Barisal’s Chowmatha around early morning. It was a 40 minute Leguna ride to reach Kuriana Bazar and then the much anticipated boat ride to reach our desired place. Boat is the only means of transport to Bhimruli Bazar.

Within a few minutes, I felt the sun’s warmth on my skin and I could hear the gentle sound of water as the boat started to move down the river. We spotted full guava trees on both sides of the canal. Most of the plants were almost submerged as the canals were overflowing with rainwater. My friends and I were very eager to enter the guava gardens, most of which remain flooded during the season.

I felt very much at peace with all the greenery around and excited about exploring the floating market. Within another 10 minutes of journey we reached the market place. It was filled with locals, who were selling the guavas they had harvested, and wholesale buyers, who were trying to bargain with each other. We could see around 50-60 boats that were circling the larger area of the canal. Most of us bought some fresh guava from the market at a comparatively cheap price.

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Although, I was born and brought up in Gournadi of Barisal, the local language of the people was very different from what I am used to.

When our boat was passing through, many of our friends got busy taking photographs to frame the memories, while some other started singing songs with joy.

Visiting Atghor Kuriana had another surprise waiting in store for us as we came to know about a Zamindar Bari, from our oarsman. The Zamindar Bari was located at Kirtipasha, around another 20 minutes by boat from the floating market.
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We reached there in time and were amazed to see a place with such a rich history. Despite being a historic site, there had been no initiatives by the government to try to preserve it so it appeared as though it was abandoned with brushwood everywhere.

The writer is a first batch student of Economics from University of Barisal.

 

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