Back from 3 weeks in Bangladesh. Visited several places around the country and Traffic clogged, dusty Dhaka city.
Most memorable part of our trip was few days spent in Srimangal, Sylhet Division.
It seems a world away from Dhaka city. Clean fresh air in the tea gardens, rubber plantations and other sites. The Town of Srimangal is nothing much to write about but the surrounding countryside is worth visiting. It is still much less travelled by tourists.
We organised a microbus with driver @ 2500 Takas plus fuel/gas per day from Dhaka and travelled to Srimangal.
Managed to book a Govt. guest house, which was quite good. There are several guest houses bookable by tourists and mentioned elsewhere in this forum.
The best part for us was visiting the tribal people living in this area. Main one is the Khasia tribe and some small community of Manipuri community.
The small Manipuri community lives in Ramnagar Monipuri Bosti and they does beautiful hand weaved scarves, bags, clothing and worth buying as they are very cheap, and helps the local tribes to survive. A nice scarf made of wool cost 100 takas( just over a dollar).
A part of our visit was to go up in the hills to see the Khasia village(Poonji) and a new Quiet relaxiation centre in its infancy, called PROTASHA BON ASHRAM).
Started by an eccentric, called James Kiron. He can be contacted (Mob: 01745 696824), if anyone wishes to visit. This really woke us up. In a country like Bangladesh or any other western way of life it is very hard to get away from the daily turmoils and chaos.We really enjoyed our time there. It is situated about 10Km away from Srimangal Town and can only be reached by 4 wheel drive jeeps. These are readily available in Town and the Railway Station. To travel on one individually cost about 1100takas and the driver will drop you and collect you when called. Alternatively the regular service although once a hour or so( cost about 50 takas per person) will take you and drop close to the site and someone will be able to take you inside if arranged as above.
It is a humbling experience to be so close to Nature. The area has Pineapple plantation, fruit trees, mature trees and over 68 species of herbs and spices in this site.
They all have various animals and most of the things are used in a sustainable way. You can feed the cows, goats and chickens etc.. There is also a ECO TOILET! This has to be seen to appreciate.
The locality is called Julekha poonji. It is close to Julekha Nagar Tea Estate.
We also visited nearby Khasia Village where the tribal people live a very simple and frugal lifestyle. They have to go down 200ft ( not very safe in wet weather) to fetch water for their daily chores!!
Although James Kiron started this site back in 1997, the Relaxation Centre is very much in its infancy as he spent the last years dealing with new plantations and developing a self sustainable way of life. Any visitors he said will be very welcome and can spend the whole day there but at this time there are no places to stay there. They will be very hospitable and arrange simple meals. One can enjoy the fruits of the site as fresh as it can get. There are no costs but a donation would be welcome. We can thoroughly recommend this scenic and most beautiful site, hidden away from hustle and bustle.
In Dhaka city if anyone wants to get more information about this Srimangal Site can contact Dr Gomes (mob: 01711408356).