Writer: Shafi Newaz
Photo: Junnunur Rahman, District Information Page
Adjacent to the delta of the Sundarban, Pirojpur district is a lush green piece of land surrounded by beautiful rivers with full of resources like the Kaliganga, Baleshwar, Damodar, Pona, Gabkhan and Sandhya. The land full of diversity, Pirojpur is surrounded by Gopalganj district in the north, Barishal and Jhalakathi in the north-east, Bagerhat in the south-west and Barguna in the south-eastern region. Most of the land is low-lying, 10-19 feet above the sea level to be precise. As the Bay of Bengal is not very far from Pirojpur, the area has a unique blend of coastal flavor as well as an estuarine and swamp. The soil is very fertile. Paddy, jute, sugar cane, wheat, guava, banana, coconut, hog-plum, betel leaf, betel nuts are grown in abundance here. The major attraction is the guava orchards and the dense greeneries spreading almost through the entire district covering an area of 24,000 acres. Almost 80% of the guava produced in Bangladesh comes from different villages of Pirojpur. The largest guava orchard is in Pirojpur. Launches, steamers, trawlers and boats are used for navigation through the rivers. The local port is called Hoolarhaat Launch Station (ghaat). Buses, autorickshaws and rickshaws are also available for transport. As the locals say-
‘‘ফিরোজ শাহের আমল থেকে ভাটির দেশের ফিরোজপুর, বেনিয়া চক্রের ছোঁয়াচ লেগে পাল্টে হলো পিরোজপুর।’’
Floating Guava Market
The beauty of the southern Bengal is simply breathtaking. Almost every household in the villages of Barisal, Pirojpur and Jhalakathi are surrounded by green trees, creepers and bushes. People of the villages carefully planted this vegetation and it kept on growing over the years. This vegetation creates a solid barrier against natural disasters and fills the air with oxygenated freshness. The unique thing that attracts tourist from home and abroad is the Guava orchards spreading through the whole region. A network of 5 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep dug by the farmers connects almost every household in this part of the country, where low and high tides occur twice a day. This unique navigation system in this particular area has given birth to another spectacular scenario – the floating market.
The floating market accommodates all the guava growers who bring their collected produce by small boats weaving through the narrow creeks. From the market set in Kuriyana, Aatghor, and Bhimruli wholesale buyers purchase the guavas. These floating markets run every day in the morning during the peak season, precisely from May to November. Not only guava, other fruits and vegetables such as hog plum, lemons, coconuts, and bananas are also sold in the markets throughout the year. Almost 80% of the guava is produced in this region. While cruising through the market tourists get to experience how people collect guava, brings them and how it is sold. It creates a bustling atmosphere where tourists can also buy fresh fruits and vegetables.Boats are also sold in another floating market every week. People call it “Noukar Haat” (boat market) located at Kuriana in Swarupkathi. The two-kilometer-long marketplace is noted for the trade in different kinds of boats during the monsoon season. “Panis” or “Pinis”, “Dingi” “Khoksa” and “Naak Golui” are mostly sold items. It is built by local craftsmen from the Muktahar, Chami, Boldia, Inderhaat, Boitha Kata, Dubi and Kathaliya.
A passage through this incredible system of canals can be an exquisite and soothing experience. Throughout the region, hundreds of kilometers of these trenches attract fishes from the nearby rivers, as locals are seen trapping fish in traditional methods. As you move down the canals on a boat, the absolute silence can only be broken by the sounds of the surroundings; the noise of the oar, the water dripping from the oar into the canal, occasional chirping of birds, the crowing of the flocks in a farmer’s yard or the melody of the Azaan.
Both banks of the canals represent hundreds of human plantations like rain trees, coconuts and fruits, which occasionally appear as a canopy overhead riddled with millions of holes to let the sunlight reach through. Along it, a treasure of wild foliage of ferns and hundreds of other tropical plants slowly unfold.
How to go:
Both Road and waterway can be used. From Dhaka bus can be taken to Natullabad or Banaripara. From Banaripara Nosimon and motorbikes are available to Kuriyana. On the other side of the Kuriyana bridge, autorickshaw to Aatghor and Kuriyana bazar is available. Trawlers can be taken from Bhimruli as well.
Rayerkathi Landlord Palace
About three hundred years ago, a historic landlord family settled in Kuriyana. According to the locals, this landlord palace was built as a complex. The complex accommodated a royal building, court house, a guest house, theater and numerous temples. There were about two hundred and fifty large buildings in the palace. Of these 40 or 50 were tall and high enough to be considered as skyscrapers by the locals. Currently there are remains of only 7 buildings. In 1658, a temple of Goddess Kali was built in the complex. There is a massive Shivalingan weighing 1 metric ton. It is one of the largest Shivaligans in the subcontinent. There are 10 types of Shiva temples here. The Landlord complex is 3 kilometres away to the north from the city.
How to go:
Autorickshaws are available from Pirojpur Sadar.
Baleshwar Ghat Martyrs’ Memorial
In the first week of December 1971, a group of people including Moslem Ali Sheikh, Abdur Rahman Sardar, Abdul Gaffar Master of Khaulbunia, Jalil Hawlader, Zakkhola's Shatish Majhi and Sammur Faraji were brought in together tied with rope on the bank of the Baleshwar river from the village Baleshwar in the western side of Pirojpur. They were brutally murdered there.
How to go:
Rickshaw is available from Pirojpur Sadar.
Akon Baari is situated in the village of Burirchar on the northernmost part of Mathbaria upazila. In the front yard of this 200-year-old traditional house, lies the Momin Mosque- a hundred-year-old mosque. The complete structure of the mosque is made of wood, this mosque is a wonderful artistic exhibit which was a new form of architecture built in the Indo-Persia and Europe-based architect's own basic ingenuity. The mosque is unique in Bangladesh as a work of art. So, to preserve it, the Ministry of Culture has listed it as "protected archaeological resources" in the notification issued on April 17, 2003.
How to go:
Ricksahws are available from Mathbaria UNO office. It’s around 2 kilometers away from the UNO’s office.
Parerhat Landlord Palace
The royal palace of Lala Babu is an old and traditional landlord palace of Parerhat Union, situated 18 kilometers away from Pirojpur town in Zia Nagar upazila. The activities related to rates collection were carried out from this very palace during the rule of A. K. Fazlul Haque. There were regular judicial arrangements to maintain law and order situation and discipline. After the extinction of the zamindari tradition, the palace of Parerhat has lost all its glory. The huge pillar of the palace is standing tall as a silent witness of the gradual decaying in the course of time.
How to go:
One needs to take rickshaw from Zia Nagar Upazila Parishad to Zianagar College Square. From Parerhat College Square autorickshaws are available to Parerhat bus stand. From there, another rickshaw ride is all it takes ti reach the landlord’s palace.
However, there are other places where tourist can visit such as DC Park, Hoolarhat River Port, The residence of poet Ahsan Habib, Tomb of Azim Farazi, Ashram of Anukul Thakur etc.