A budget day trip and lots of fun
After going through a series of hectic events at the last stage of undergraduate life, me and my friends decided to give ourselves a holiday. We wanted to do it right after the submission of our dissertation paper, without delaying a single day. We needed to divert ourselves without worrying too much about what’s going to happen next. Taking a trip seemed to be the best plausible option at that time. So to take a trip without worrying too much about the expenses or the passport – we pinned down to the option of taking a day trip to Comilla. Not Gazipur, not Chittagong, but Comilla. You may be surprised to know the reason and that’s a story you would want to hear.
With the magic of social media we started surfing deep on the net. With the few hours available in our hands we found the best places to explore in Bangladesh – all in the Facebook group, Traveler of Bangladesh (ToB). If you haven’t added yourself in this group yet, you surely are missing out the amazing adventures you could give to yourself in Bangladesh. From gathering information to which places we could go to in Bangladesh, to finding the safest routes and buses to take, this group made our finger tips to go easy on heavy search mode. Finally, deciding to take a journey to Comilla, we then jotted down a list of places to explore all within one day there.
For conveyance we looked for a cheap yet comfortable ride and found out about Royal Coach Bus that dispatches every 20 minutes from Dhaka to Comilla and vice-verse. To be travel ready we geared up for the 8am ride with snacks, sanitizers, extra tissues for emergency and of course with mosquito repellent spray and lotion to prevent ourselves from the dangerous Aedes mosquitoes. On arrival at the bus station we bought tickets and immediately got into the bus. The minute I stepped in the first question that came to my mind was “Am I inside Green Line Scania?”. In 250 bucks we were inside a bus that was (a) hygienic (b) clean (c) the driver did not drive recklessly at all (d) the ac worked! And (e) we reached Comilla exactly in two hours safely.
Nevertheless, after reaching our destination we first decided to go to Cotbari, Shalbon Vihar in other words ‘The ruins of 7th Century’ in Maynamati. The archaeological site of Shalbon Vihar is one of the famous tourist spots in Bangladesh that signifies the Buddhist culture. The monastery like building that is now ruined was once hand made with baked bricks. It is interesting to see how these were made, and with such dedication and time that these monasteries have lasted for generations. Now the question comes to why should one come so far to see this? Acres of empty lands with ruins scattered in different places depicts the peaceful environment in which the earlier Buddhist students would come to this royal place to preach. The ruins that still exists leads us to our historical context. It shows the reigns of different Rajas and its architecture is something worth seeing in this time when there are so many tall and concrete buildings that tend to make people in the city claustrophobic. A different sight is always a good sight.
As we walked aimlessly above and around we found the Buddha Mandir. The Shalbon Buddha Mandir depicts the history of the Buddhist religion. The Buddha Mandir too was open for tourists. Tourist or not, everyone is meant to enter the place barefoot. Walking bare foot may seem very pleasant, but when the sun above is giving the scorching heat, you can tell what the condition of the ground can be like. While I watched my friends jumping here and there to avoid burning their toes, I walked calmly with the socks that I luckily carried with myself.
After hours of strolling when our stomachs started rumbling we decided to have our lunch. One interesting fact in Comilla is that for conveyance and tourists spots per head everything is charged TK20. Be the destination closer or distant the same is the charge for all rides. Then hopping inside an auto we decided to go to BARD to explore the place and have lunch there as well. Sadly, the restaurant there was all booked and the military guards asked us to have lunch near the market. With Tk160 we had the Comilla’s mouth watering shaghs, bhortas with bhaat and daal. If you’re waiting to read on the part of their famous roshmolai, don’t! Because we forgot to satisfy our stomachs with sweets.
Having already explored two places we were already tired so we decided to make one last stop – to War Cemetery.
The auto that we took from the market left us at the the side of the busy road and suddenly a micro-bus came and stood there for us to enter. While few of our friends got inside, rest of us got in as well and kept thinking to which situation we were putting ourselves into. While we were inside the micro riding to get to our destination, few more passengers hopped in and then we finally realized the micro was Comilla’s local bus that stops at specific destinations.
As we reached War Cemetery we strolled around the burials of the soldiers who died in World War ll. The details about each soldier were given while some whose information were missing were written “known by God” on the plaque. Interestingly the War Cemetery of Comilla is exactly similar to the Chittagong one. This also shows with the honour they give to the British structural system that the British strictly maintain. There were also the burial of Muslims and Hindus who died fighting during the war. After strolling around we sat down to rest our body, breathed some fresh air and basked ourselves under the sun.
After retaining our energy we headed out to find the nearest Royal Coach station to go back to Dhaka. If you are wondering that the day trip was simply walking and sight visiting, then yes, you are right. If you love hiking, walking or sight seeing, then you can take the same trip as we did. Now to my honest verdict. Other than the horrendous incident we faced to find a clean toilet (which is why we carried layers of tissues), the trip was worth it. With total expense of TK800 we gleefully dozed off in bus with the ultimate satisfaction of having to not worry about the next chapter in our entire day.