After Eid, let’s visit Satla, the state of Shapla.
What a strangely beautiful scene! On one side is the gentle form of the evening river, on the other side is the red water lily. From a distance, it seems that a large natural paradise of red water lilies is waiting for us on the clear water! Several boys and girls are floating in the boat in the kingdom of boiling water lilies. Going from one side to the other, they are picking water lilies.
Such a red world of shufflers can be seen in four bills of Wazirpur in Barisal. Satla and Harta adjoining two unions of the Upazila. Satla, Nayakandi, Patibari as well as three bills of these two unions. A little further away is another bill in Harta Union. The name is Kalbira. The colorful festival of colorful shufflers runs through these four beels for eight months of the year. The red water lilies blooming in the huge beels have made the nature look more alluring.
Over the last three-four years, the Red Shuffler Sanctuary has become an attractive tourist attraction. Because when you come here, you can see the fascinating natural scenery of a smooth Bengal. Looking at the red water lilies on the green bill, it would seem that thousands of Bangladeshi flags are scattered on the bill. Seeing such a scene will catch the eye of any Bengali. The golden sunshine of the morning sun and the twilight of the last afternoon add a new dimension to the shuffler bill. If you can go very early in the morning, you can see the boiling water lily. After 10 o’clock in the morning, when the intensity of the sun increases, the water lily wraps its petals. After the evening the flowers begin to bloom again.
According to locals, the beels have land owned by about 100 people in the village. Satla Beel is located on approximately 600 acres of land. Naturally, water lilies come back to this big beel of this village like guest birds for ages. It is understood that except for the children of remote areas, even if they know the water lily through books, in reality they are completely deprived of enjoying the beauty of the lily and the joy of picking lilies by themselves from the lake.
It is known that every year from Jaistha to Kartik, water accumulates in this Satla beel for a total of six months. Due to the accumulation of water in the bill for six months of the year, the bill has become a crop land. Although the land is cultivated every year during the paddy season, the water lily seeds are mixed with the soil. As a result, with the arrival of water in the bill next year, shufflers are being born again from these seeds. In the hat-bazaars of these areas, small children to adults are seen selling shapla as a vegetable in the morning for their livelihood. Not only shaplai, but also the root part of the shaplai i.e. watermelon is boiled and eaten in rural areas.
How to get around:
If you want to tour the Red Shuffler Kingdom, you will definitely need a boat. For this, the sailors of Satla have to take refuge. They will arrange a boat for you to go around for a small fee. Depending on the size of the boat and the number of people traveling by boat, the cost can range from Rs 500 to Rs 600. And don’t forget to take a camera with you when you go out for a walk. Because, if you want to remember this captivating environment for the second time, there is no alternative to the picture taken with the camera. Small and big snakes can be seen on the leaves of the shuffler. There is no reason to be afraid, these will not do any harm. However, it is better to maintain distance carefully.
Where to stay:
There is no better way to stay in Satla. However, you can spend the night with the help of local people. This is the best intelligence. Because you have to go to Bill in the morning to see Shapla, it will be easier for you to spend the night in that village. Even eating and drinking must be done here. Of course you will be impressed by their hospitality. There are also two low-cost hotels for overnight stays in the short-distance Harta Bazaar, but it will not be very comfortable for urban people. For a comfortable overnight stay, one must take refuge in Wazirpur or Barisal.
When to go:
Shapla in the bill starts blooming from the month of June. However, from the last week of July to October, Shapla is full. During these months of the year, if you visit Shapla village, you will see thousands of water lilies. And of course you have to go very early in the morning, because as soon as the sun goes down, the flowers bloom. Shapla flower traders take it to sell in the flower market.
How to get there:
From Sadarghat in Dhaka between 8pm and 9pm, the Sundarbans 7/8, Survi 8, Parabat 11, Kirtankhola 1/2 launches leave for Barisal. And if you want to go in the morning, you can go to Greenline launch. The night launches reach Barisal around 5 am. The deck rent of these launches is 150 rupees, double cabin rent is 1600 rupees and VIP cabin rent is 4500 rupees.
You can also go by road. But that will not be an advantage. It takes about 7 to 8 hours to go from Dhaka to Barisal. From Dhaka’s Gabtoli bus terminal, regular buses ply to Barisal from 6 am to 10 pm. Buses usually go to Barisal through Paturia Ghat, but some buses go to Barisal via Mawa Ghat. The buses stopped at Natullabad bus stand in Barisal city.
You can come to Shikarpur by bus from Barisal and go to North Satla by renting an auto. Besides, when going to Barisal by bus from Dhaka, you can get off the Nutanhat bus at Wazirpur and go directly to Satla Shapla Bill by auto from there. Or you can reach your destination in 2 hours by direct bus service from Nathullabad bus stand in Barisal to Satla and Bagdha villages. You can also drive from Barisal to Mahindra to Shapla village.