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Dhaka Tribune

Gopalganj celebrates Vishwakarma Puja with rowboat competition

The race featured Sarenga, Chhip, Kosha, and Bachhari traditional boats

Update : 19 Sep 2018, 12:34 PM

On the occasion of Vishwakarma Puja, traditional Nouka Baich, the rowboat competition, has been held in four areas of Gopalganj.

The competition was organized on Monday in the: Kaliganj, Rakhilabari, Guadhana, and Mohatali areas. Hundreds of boatmen from: Gopalganj, Madaripur, Pirojpur, Narail, and Barisal participated in the events using different type of traditional rowboats such as the: Sarenga, Chhip, Kosha, and Bachhari.

In Kaliganj, the rowboat competition was held in the two kilometre stretch of Babur Canal. The added attraction of the venue is a boat fair. Thousands of people enjoyed the rowboat race from both sides of the canal.

The boats, adorned with colourful decorations, were cheered on by the thunderous applause by spectators—all the way to the finish line.

Speaking with the Dhaka Tribune, Kolabari Union Chairman Michael Ojha said: “The custom of rowboat races began around 200 years ago in the region. This is a centuries-old tradition organized and observed by our people.”

Thousands of people attended the traditional rowboat competition to celebrate Vishwakarma Puja in different areas of Gopalganj on Monday, September 17, 2018 | Dhaka Tribune

Meanwhile, Kotalipara Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) SM Mahfuzur Rahman told the correspondent: “I have seen rowboat competitions across the country, but in here, it is organized in a very exciting and colourful manner.

“The administration will provide full support for this local tradition for centuries to come.”

In Rakhilabari canal under Tungipara upazila, twenty boats participated in the traditional rowboat race. Fifteen boats participated in the same competition held in Guadhana Village. 

In Chanda canal of Mohatali village, a rowboat race and a fair were organized. These events were attended by around 60,000 visitors.

Proshanta Sen, 75, a long-time resident of Rakhilabari Village said: “Boat owners participate in rowboat competitions out of sheer competitive spirit and fun. We really enjoyed this year’s festival.”

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