Chittagong is famous for its natural harbour and is the major seaport in Bangladesh. With no specific destinations and no defined plan, we decided to get down in Chittagong. We were returning to Dhaka from Cox Bazar and there was a sudden change in plan. Hence we spent a day in Chittagong.
In my previous story on Cox Bazar, you must have read about the Greenline bus services. If you have not then read my post on Cox Bazar. We were travelling from Cox Bazar during daytime and there was no Greenline bus from here at this time so with speculation we booked the tickets from Sohag Transport. This is another renowned transport service that operates its buses in Bangladesh.
We were so much enticed by the Greenline services that we had a preconceived notion that neither the bus nor the journey will be the way we wanted. Again beyond our expectation the bus and journey both turned out equally wonderful. The bus was double-decker as well as comfy and spacious, very similar to those of Greenline buses.
Traversing through the forest, paddy fields, water bodies, village markets and localities our bus entered a beautiful compound. The place was beautified with landscaped garden and it was well maintained and clean. It was a break for 20 minutes. This food joint too was huge, well decorated, clean and hygienic. I was pleased to see these food joints which mainly caters to the bus services being so well maintained. The large hall was tastefully decorated. The food was not complimentary here. The place has an appeal for the aesthetic pleasure.
This is where we decided to visit Chittagong. We spoke to the supervisor of the bus and asked him to drop us at Chittagong. We also booked a hotel online and thus we were in Chittagong. Maybe it was the harbour and the dock that attracted us while on our way to Cox Bazar. It was the night time and large lights were only seen from a distance while crossing the Shah Amanat Bridge over the Karnaphuli river. It kept us guessing if it was the dock.
Sadly, we could not make out much of Chittagong with our sudden enthusiastic change of plan. The city seemed busy and chaotic like Dhaka. Within the hustle and bustle, we managed to reach our hotel. We enquired about the places that we can visit in this short time in hand. They said that in Chittagong there is not much to see other than the Naval beaches (1 & 2). Naval 2 is comparatively closer than that of Naval 1 so it can be visited by the evening while the Naval 1 can be covered the next morning.
As per their advice, we immediately dropped our luggage and hired an auto rickshaw and started for the Naval 2. Braving the busy streets and dusty lanes we took some time to reach our destination. But to our dismay, the BDR personnel stopped us. He said that since a few months the place is closed for commoners due to some antisocial activities in recent past. He said that as we arrived from India and we are the guest of the country he could have shown us the port area if not the dark time.
Sadly we returned back to the city booked our return ticket in Greenline Bus for Dhaka the next day. To make up for our failed efforts we had a feast in an Indian restaurant with every possible item from north to south Indian menu. After fueling ourselves, with a new vigour, we wanted to make our next day worthwhile. We enquired about any museum or any monument built to commemorate the famous Chittagong Armoury Raid in 1930 during the freedom struggle from the British forces.
None could make out what we were talking about. They could not link any such incidence during their independence struggle in that period of 1971. Even trying hard we could not cover the communication gap of the independence struggle and we retired for the day. Again with few hours in hand before starting for Dhaka, we planned to go to Naval 1 or the Patenga beach, which is at a distance of about 18 km from our hotel.
Again we hired a vehicle and started off for Patenga or the Naval 1. This is where the Karnaphuli river meets the sea. On reaching the spot we realised that this was just not the time of visit. Everything around was sleepy. A handful local people, who were either lazing and some honing their fishing skills, cast a strange glance on us. Then our driver explained that people generally come here in late afternoon and stay late and enjoy the beach activities.
It was a calm mouth of the river merging in the vast blue sea. There were many vessels in the water – small to large. Fishermen were checking their nets and anchors. We sadly watched all the activities for sometime and after clicking a handful pictures returned back to the city to board our bus back to Dhaka.
After the not so fruitful sojourn in Chittagong, my spirit was revived by the MAN bus of Greenline services waiting to carry the passengers to Dhaka. I was overjoyed to see the bus and at once boarded it. The interior was even more plush and cosy. Or it may be my mind was tricking me to say so. Whatever be it, to satisfy my ego I would say this bus was even better than the previous buses. Again there was the routine announcement.
And the wheels rolled on. Now we crossed the Shah Amanat bridge on the Karnafuli river in the broad daylight and got the opportunity to click some not so crisp photos of the dock and the river. Gradually the landscape changed from concrete jungle to green and blue. Green for the paddy and the forest and blue for the vast water bodies. Yes, you got it right. It is Comilla, known for its Banks and Tanks.
In yesteryears, Comilla was known for its Banks because people who lived there were mostly wealthy and for tanks, because there are so many ponds and water bodies. As we were admiring the natural beauty the bus entered a food joint and then the complimentary warm lavish lunch was served with equal warmth and affection. Thus with such warm feeling in the heart, we reached our destination in Dhaka.