Tour-Bandarban/Bangladesh- A tall of Khums and natural wonders of Bangladesh. Amiakhum-Nafakhum-Velakhum-Thanchi-Remakri-Sangu River-Padma Jhiri-Big Stone-Tindu-Debota Hill
‘All good things are wild and free’, The proverb is proven true in the mountains. You will be mesmerized by Amiakhum -Nafakhum-Velakhum-Thanchi-Remakri-Sangu River-Padma Jhiri-Big Stone-Tindu-Debota Hill for sure. They sit with their beauty to mesmerize you. But your minimum preparation is essential to see the extraordinary beauty; It is physical and mental. A picture of a picnic or a beautiful smiling face and red saree on the spot will be a real mistake.
Generally the buses from capital city Dhaka leave for Bandarban at midnight and arrive at 5:30/6:00 AM. Then Chand’s car (Chander Gari) will take you to Thanchi through the green hills, which is roughly 85/90 kms. On the way you will find restaurants with good views for breakfast. In total it will take 3:30 hours to reach to thanchi. On arrival and on the way, you have to register at least 4 places, one is again like climbing a hill where pictures are taken for security purposes. After lunch, the boat will start. Our destination was Remakri, which is about 2:30 hours’ drive through the Sangu river. The Sangu is a river in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Its source is in the North Arakan Hills of Myanmar, located at 21°13´N 92°37´E. The Arakan Hills form the boundary between Arakan and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. One of the most beautiful rivers in the country.
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Now get ready to walk, the first destination is Nafakhum, which is about 2/2:15 hours walk from Remakri. The beauty of the narrow paths and winding paths make you forget the pain of walking. You will then be overwhelmed by the sweetness of Nafakhum, capturing the beautiful pictures. But handle the legs very carefully, it’s very slippery. You can also take a shower here. Then you will hesitate to decide whether to spend the night at this para or go to Jinnapara or Thuichapara. It takes 2:30 hours. You have to keep the flashlight handy because you have to wade through rocky paths, narrow paths, and water during that time. In the meantime, the guide will keep telling you that there is a shop in front, be patient, we will have hot tea. And you’ll be talking to yourself and your teammates about when and how to beat the guide (haha).
After reaching the tea shop, it will really relax you. You will forget the pain in no time. After that, without asking the guide, you will ask the shopkeeper stealthily how far is Jinnapara, they will say that we will be able to reach in 20 minutes and you will need 30/35 minutes. It will take you 50 minutes to reach by dinghy path and small hill and again while thinking about beating the guide (haha) you will see the cottage of the tribes.
Everyone in the team will forget about food and go to sleep. At the call of the guide, they will tell you to eat it with rice, chicken, bamboo chicken, and it will be so much nectar. Then sleep while snoring.
After breakfast in the morning, the expedition started again. A small 2/3 hills will be climbed very enthusiastically, you will feel victorious. Eat eggs, bananas and tea while sitting in the tribe shop. Then you will hear that you have to climb the huge big mountain afterwards. You will go up with enthusiasm and tell everyone what the fuss is about. Then the guide will say loudly that now we will continue to descend with extreme caution keeping a distance of 3 hands. All of a sudden you will see the steep downward path behind 2/3 of the trees and at that time you will fall, head over heels. After going down 2/3 steps it will be difficult to decide whether to go down or go back.
To get down you have to ensure maximum use of hips, you think bear grylls’’ will be the best idol in the world and Sura Kalam (Duwa’’) will be your partner. People with height phobia will be advised to skip. Shoes with good grip will be required, full attention should be on the feet. Everyone is on their own except the guide brother. Get off and abuse the person who told you to come (haha).
And keep saying that I probably won’t be able to return this way today. If there is any other way, how to get up, these are the most valuable questions in the world for you. Two- and Half-hour workout you will find yourself in the sound of water. As much as the stunning surroundings try to overwhelm you, the thought of returning again and again. You do not want to follow any instructions of the guide. You go quickly, the time is running out. The stream of cold water is coming down at a tremendous speed, spreading milky white foam over the green hills and stone barriers. Surrounding the rocky mountain you also enjoy the vella (Made by bamboo) ride here.
You will have to assume the role of Spiderman during the climb, but it is incredible that you will be surprised to find yourself at the top within 45/50 minutes.
Think about this incredible thing for a while. The winner will immediately smile. Return to your cottage by the same route by 6:30 PM.
You will hear the next day’s return plan, you will think about how to walk 16/17 miles, you may not be able to. Have to get up again in the morning at 6 o’clock.
After breakfast and with the thought of walking continuously for 7 hours in mind, today we will take another route, Padmajiri route. On the way, you will be surprised by the wonderful nature. You will get light food at the 3/4 stops. The guide will give you instructions to go fast, the feet will be sluggish and you will be hoping for the end of Padma Jhiri. Anyway, finally meet the boat, and onboard the boat and reach Thanchi ghat in 30/35 minutes. After lunch, I reached Bandarban city by Chander car.
Back to Dhaka by scheduled bus.
Bandarban hill district is a hub for Natural beauties. The beauty of its rainforests, waterfalls, highest peaks, and traditions of 15 distinct ethnic groups draw visitors from inside and beyond the country. The whole landscape is covered with the zigzag courses of hills. There are 11 ethnic diversities here in Bandarban creating a versatile color of life. Shangu and Matamuhuri, these two rivers with their violent current, are flowing through Bandarban in a serpentine course. Bandarban is an impeccable wonder. Here is the infinite wonder of nature hidden in the twists and turns. This awe-inspiring nature will bring you face to face with a vast array of mysteries of creation. Bandarban is also a thrilling place for adventure lovers. Here the sky-touching mountains, the green deep forest and the waterfalls hidden in it, the wild will make you intoxicated with a joy-laugh-cry-surge. Bandarban is the kingdom of Khums. Khum in Marma language means reservoir. Here the water originates from different sources and comes to a place through a crooked path and creates a strangely shaped natural aquarium. There may be waterfalls, fountains, jhiri before or after khum.
The word ‘Nafakhum’ originated from the tribal people living in the Bandarban district and speaking the indigenous Marma language. ‘Nafa’ is Arabic for bamboo, and ‘Khum’ is Arabic for cave or hollow. The name alludes to the bamboo trees that line the waterfall’s perimeter and the water’s entry point into a rock hole.
In a different sense, the name Nafakhum (which translates to ‘flame hill’ in the local language) accurately describes the waterfall, as the water pours down the rocks with a burning passion, assembling an ethereal environment.
Amiakhum Waterfall is a magnificent waterfall located in Thanchi upazila of Bandarban district. It is one of the most inaccessible places in Bangladesh. The stream of cold water is coming down at a tremendous speed, spreading milky white foam over the green hills and stone barriers.
Tribal in Bandarban:
Prominent are Marma, Chakma, Murang, Tripura, Lusai, Khumi, Bom, Kheyang, Chak, Pankho and Tongchangya.
The majority of the tribal people living in Bandarban Sadar Upazila are Marmas. They originally came from Burma and settled in the area called Mraima. The 2nd largest tribal community in Bandarban is the Murang (Mro) community. They were defeated in a fierce battle with the Khumis in the late eighteenth century from the Arakan state of Burma and settled in the southern part of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Traditional Foods :
Mundi, a traditional Marma ethnic food in Bandarban. The food has been a part of their culture. Many families of Bandarban have been doing business with this food for many years. Marma people are quite familiar with Arakan where people are used to eating soup and Mundi. Mundi houses are springing up in the district and are selling these dishes that look like noodles. Alongside locals, the food now has appeal for tourists from home and abroad. The dish is served with fish curry, soup, or shrimp. Pepper powder, onion, coriander leaves, lemon juice and dried fish are also mixed for added flavour. These special noodles are made by making manda with the following a special process to make it.
The Bamboo Chicken, a rich and healthy dish native to the region. The mouth watering dish is traditionally known as Huro Chumo (Chakma dialect) to the indigenous people of the area. Now it has turned the heads of many people in and outside the hill area for its unique taste and flavour.
High quality rice wine, specially brewed for the occasion, and non-veg food is called for on Bisikali Day, no visitor can leave without his fill, it is considered inauspicious to let anyone go hungry.
Pachon is cooked with five (pach) local vegetables, it may be any five of these: broad or green beans (sheem), shimul flower, tara fig flower, banana flower, banana plant’s pith, sajna (drumsticks), sajna flower, wild arum, cassava, tender cane vine, pearl aubergine, chalta (elephant plum), radish, pumpkin, ash gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, green plantain, wild watercress, plus numerous plants and vines known only to them. For your pachon you can choose any five of locally available vegetable, but make sure one of them is a leafy vegetable (spinach), one with a sweet taste (pumpkin, sweet potato), one with a creamy consistency (aubergine), one pulpy (gourd) and one earthy (potato).
Nappi or sidol (fermented dried fish paste) is a mandatory ingredient in many of the Hill Tracts dishes. Other ingredients such as white chili, ginger, and turmeric – are all grown through jhum cultivation on the hillsides.
Photo Gallery of local traditional food:
Contributed by NomadLawyer Volunteer/Writer Bangladesh
Md. Morshed Hossain
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