Beauty of Southern Belt
by Shafi Newaz
Photo : Tanvir Mahmud Konok
Barguna district is in the division of Barisal in south-central Bangladesh. Barguna town is the administrative headquarter and the largest town of Barguna district. Located on the bank of Khakdon river, the town covers an area of 15.58 square kilometres.
Differences of opinions are found about the origin of the name "Barguna". People generally believe that the name originated from Bengali name "Baragun" meaning high tide. In the past, the timber traders from the northern part of the country came here to buy timber and had to wait for Baro-gun (high tide) to pull their boats into the river Khakdon against strong current. While others say, Barguna was named after an eminent Magh community who settled there and started habitation. According to the history and folk, the place was officially named Barguna, likely in 1871, through creating Patuakhali subdivision under Bakerganj District (present Barisal).
In the thirteenth century, the entire region was full of jungle and a part of it fell under the territory of the Sundarbans. However, at the early fourteenth century, people started settling here for cultivation. It was then a part of Bakla-Chandradwip kingdom. The inhabitants of the region were oppressed by the Maghs and repeatedly attacked by Portuguese pirates. Umed Khan, the son of Shaista Khan established authority of the emperor Aurangzeb and saved the locals from the Maghs. During the rule of Nawab Ali Vardi Khan, a group of Rakhine people settled permanently in Baliatoli near the present town.
Barguna, once, was one of the most important territory of the Sundarbans and was the healthiest of the Sundarbans estates. Nawab of Dacca claimed it as belonging to Aila-Fuljhuri but was ultimately decreed to British colonial Government by the Privy Council in 1870.
The climate of Barguna is generally marked with monsoons, high temperature, considerable humidity and heavy rainfall. The hot and humid weather begins to take effect early in April and continues till July. The average annual temperature in Barguna remains around 28.0 °C.
Cycle, rickshaws, auto rickshaws, buses, micro-buses and cars are the main means of transport here. Barguna can be reached only by bus or launch as there is no railway facility here. The bus station and launch terminal in the town serve as the communication hub with the other districts of the country.
Haringhata Reserved Forest
In Haringhata, there is a beautiful forest situated at the lap of the sea. Besides the forest and the sea. It is one of the most eye-catching places in Pathorghata area. Different species of wild animals and birds are found here. Large groups of deer roaming around the vegetation is a lovely sight to watch. It is a remarkably pleasant observing the blue water of the sea, green trees of the forest and enjoying the gentle breeze in the afternoon.
>> How to go
Once you reach Barguna by bus or launch, you can take a road transport such as CNG autorickshaw or motor bike to get to either Pathorghata or directly to Haringhata.
Laldia Reserved Forest and Sea Beach
The enchanting, lush green forest of Laldia lies 6 kilometers away from Patharghata subdivision, covering an area of more than 5,600 acres spreading from Char Lathimara to Mutainnya, between the beautiful Bishkhali river in the west and the Baleshwar river in the east and extends to the Laldia sea beach. The estuaries of these two rivers together with the coastline surround the forest and add to the natural beauty of the forest. Although it seems small, Laldia forest does not fall short on the splendors of nature. Several different species of birds, monkeys, pigs, deer, wild cats, different species of snakes etc. are found here in this forest and many birds come here from far-off to take shelter at night. It is one of the many shelters for migratory birds. With the birds chirping in the backdrop and rivers flowing on the side, you are sure to have a wonderful time as you relax and observe the nature’s beauty in the pleasing atmosphere of Laldiar bon.
>> How to go
One can take bus or launch to reach Pathorghata. From Pathorghata motor bike, easy bike, boats and trawlers are available to reach Laldia Reserved Forest. There is a 2 km long trail to Laldia Reserved forest from Haringhata.
Tengragiri Reserved Forest
Tengragiri Reserved Forest, locally known as Fatrar Bon or Sonakata Bon lies in the newly formed Sonakata union covering an area of 9,975.07 acres of dense greeneries. It is located near Fakirhat Bazar, 17 kilometers away from Taltali. Kuakata on the east, Sundarbans and Harinbaria on the west, Rakhain Palli on the north and the mighty Bay of Bengal on the south surround the forest area. A number of interconnected lakes spreads through the entire forest making it easier to navigate through the part of the forest where different species of trees such as Keora, Gewa, Bean, Sundri, Kankra, Goran, Hental, Golpata etc. make it quite dense. Monkeys, deer, wild boar, squirrel, wild birds, snakes etc. are found to be roaming around. Forest department has built a wooden trail that is planned to be extended into the deepest part of the reservation. Both sunrise and sunset can be observed from here.
>> How to go
Once you reach Barguna by bus or launch, you can take a road transport such as CNG autorickshaw, motor bike or easy bike to get to Sonakata Union. Boats and trawlers are available for navigation. Trawler from Kuakata takes roughly 30 minutes to Tengragiri.
Bibi Chini Shahi Mosque
Bibi Chini Shahi Mosque, is one of the historical places in our country. In 1659, A Muslim saint named Hazrat Shah Neyamat Ullah (Rah.) came here from Persia to preach Islam in this region. The village and the mosque named after the name of his daughter ‘Hayache Bibi Chini’. The mosque is 33 ft long, 33 ft width and the wall of the mosque are 6 ft wide.
There are three graves located beside the mosque. According to the local people, those graves belongs to Hazrat Shah Naimat Ullah and his two daughters Chini Bibi and Isa Bibi. In 1700, this great Muslim Saint Hazrat Shah Neyamat Ullah (Rah.) died and was buried beside the mosque.
>> How to go
From Barguna main town, CNG autorickshaw, easy bike and rickshaw are available to Betagi. From Betagi one can easily get to reach Bibi Chini Shahi Mosque by easy bike or on foot.
Rakhain community live in 13 villages in Taltali and Barguna Sadar in Barguna. More than 1800 Rakhains live here. The main occupation of the inhabitants of these villages is weaving clothes. Every hut has a hand loom where the female member of the family is often seen weaving beautiful clothes. The Rakhain Polli is a center of cultural vibrance in Barguna. Their lifestyle, food habit, culture, rituals, handicrafts etc. never fails to amaze the visitors. There is a Buddhist temple in Taltali’s Rakhain Polli.
>> How to go
From Barguna main town, CNG autorickshaw, easy bike and rickshaw are available to Taltali. Then you can roam around through the villages on foot or in rickshaw van.