The trip north to Bogra was amazing. The past week I was missing my previous summer in Poland and other comforts of the familiar. I was beginning to think that Bangladesh was a place I would never return, a feeling which I don’t usually have while traveling. The fact of the matter is I don’t like Dhaka, but I love Bangladesh. This is a beautiful country of bountiful nature and kind-hearted people. There are many large cities I avoid when I travel, I just happen to be studying in one of the most crowded cities. Now I know Bangladesh is an absolutely wonderful place!
Now back to the beautiful Bangladeshi countryside. There are not enough adjectives to describe all of the amazing sights of this past weekend, suffice to say it was very National Geographic (yes that will be my adjective of choice). Bangladesh is blessed, and sometimes cursed, with an abundance water making it prime for growing many crops. In the area we traveled there were small plots of rice, banana trees, sugar cane and jute. The abundant fields are interspersed with small man-made holding ponds for washing and gathering drinking water. This is a way of managing and directing all that water into a manageable and useable location. In the short video clip below you can see the countryside as our group travels down the road on a small side trip.
The focus of our Bogra adventure was Bangladesh’s archeological treasures. There are several old ruins in this area. On Friday we visited Pararpur, a 1400 year old Buddhist monastery. Parapur is the largest monastery south of the Himalayas. It was chosen as the secluded educational site for 177 Buddhists monks. The monks lived in small chambers that surrounded the main temple area in the center. Mahashangarh is the ruins of an 8th century temple and town center. You can walk the old city walls for miles. You can see some of the photos on the right.
Of course we ended the trip with another trip to a sari weaving factory in Tangail. These saris were woven on mechanized loom (not electric) similar to a large treadle sewing machine. The patterns were formed by cardboard hole punch cards that the silk thread passed through. The ‘factories’ are the size of a large garage. The people often work 6 days per week. Needless to say, it was enlightening to see where these goods originate.