We visited Baniachang, the largest village in Asia.
After completing the Rema Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary expedition, this time our destination is Baniachang, the largest village in Asia. Baniachang Upazila is an administrative area in Habiganj district. Its area is 482.48 square kilometers. It is bounded on the north by Shalla Upazila and Dirai Upazila, on the south by Habiganj Sadar Upazila and Lakhai Upazila, on the east by Nabiganj Upazila and Habiganj Sadar Upazila and on the west by Ajmiriganj Upazila, Mitamin Upazila and Ashtagram Upazila.
Baniachang Upazila is the cradle of natural beauty and history. Geo-structural degradation adorns the haor-left of the land. It is an eye-catching golden land inhabited by innumerable rivers and lakes and canals. In the rainy season, the water level in the haor is high. The country of these water waves, illuminated by the rhythm of the song on the boat. Horizon crop fields in autumn. The fragrant smell of aman paddy in the aroma and the traditional form of luminous Bengal in the kaltan of Nabanna. Green ceremonies all around during the Boro season. Liluya swayed in the wind playing with the young dagger of the paddy. On Boishakh, the heart is filled with golden colored paddy stairs. The joy of harvesting becomes a festival. The continuous life on the banks of the Haor is based on “Paddy in the Gola, fish in the water and song in the throat”. The greatness and excellence of humor in the characteristics and variety of struggling life.
A small kingdom was formed with this haor or downstream area of ’East Bengal’, which is part of the ancient state of Bengal. The capital was Baniachang. The reigns and heroism of kings, zamindars and jagirs are written in the pages of history. Many ancient monuments and antiquities still exist. Four hundred to five hundred year old mosques, temples, ruins of palaces, arenas of Vaishnavism stand as witnesses of the times. The story of Queen Kamalavati’s self-immolation in and around the crowd of visitors to Sagar Dighi, the second largest in Bangladesh, is still fresh in people’s minds. Baniachang, the largest village in the world, known as Palliraj or Mahagram, attracts tourists. Rows and rows of trees and ancient settlements, mounds and hills, bushes and jungles seem to be a thing of the past. Inside the village there are innumerable beels and canals. In the rain, the village floats like a picture of Taitambur in the water. Along the banks of numerous canals and lakes, the aesthetic position of the mahal and the neighborhood attracts visitors. Curiosity draws us closer to the rural tradition. This Baniachang is the birthplace of the legendary legend Subir Nandi, who is associated with the legends of Alal-Dulal, Rani Bhabani, Amena Sundari, Afzal Khan and Arju Banu. This green land of ancient settlements, haor baor, pak-pakhali and abundant nature is a reflection of proud Bengal. There is a wide variety of folklore to fascinate tourists and visitors.
On the first day we had plans to visit Bithangal Ashram, Rajbari and Sagardighi but we did not go to Bithangal Ashram as it was late to reach Baniachang. So I freshened up at the hotel, reserved a tomtom and went out to see the palace. There is nothing but the ruins of the old palace, a few rows of betel gardens, a pond ghat next to it and a beautifully decorated mosque in front of the palace. Then we went to Sagardighi. At dusk we went around Sagardighi and in the evening we went to an old Kali Mandir. After spending about half an hour there, I came back to the hotel. We ate at night at Himel Hotel in Barabazar Post Office Alley. The food at this hotel was good, especially the fish fillet.
The next day at 8 am I went out to see the water forest of Lakshibao, which is locally known as Harati Jungle. An impossibly beautiful place, where your mind will be better. In such a rural environment, there is no such jungle in the middle of the canal beel in Bangladesh. We walked around for a couple of hours and got ready to return to the hotel. In fact, you have to take a little time to visit these places, then you can visit many more places. As the train was in a hurry, I packed my backpack and left the hotel. I came to Habiganj first from Baniachang and then I went to Shayestaganj. After lunch I went to the station after a while. The train arrived on time. This is how our trip to Rema Kalenga and Baniachang ended with many memories.
When you visit Baniachang, you will actually see these places of interest:
* Bithangal arena:
The arena is located at Bithangal village on the banks of Haor, about 12 km southwest of Baniachang Upazila Sadar. Which is one of the pilgrimage places for Vaishnavism. Around this akhra, kirtan is performed on the last day of the month of Kartik on the occasion of Bhola Sankrani. The fifth Dol Utsav is celebrated five days after the Dol Purnima on the full moon day of the month of Falgun. On the eighth day of the month of Chaitra, the devotees worship at the ghat of the river Mohra and Baruni Mela is held at the ghat. Besides, the rath yatra was held in the second week of the month of Ashar. The festival attracts 5,000 to 10,000 devotees at each festival. Among the spectacular objects in the arena are a 25-foot white stone stool (bed), a throne made of brass, chariots rich in antiques, and silver birds and gold crowns.
How to get there: In the dry season from Habiganj Kamrapur Bridge by jeep to Sujatpur by boat or on foot in the rainy season by boat from Habiganj Kalar Duba or from Baniachang Adarsh Bazar by boat.
* Ruins of the palace
After Govinda Singh became the ruler of Baniachang kingdom, he built a palace on the west bank of Padmanabha or Karnakhan Dighi. At present some parts of that palace exist. Next to it is the tomb of Dharma Singh Govind Singh (wrapped in ancient bricks). The remaining walls of the palace were removed and Loknath Raman Bihari High School was established about a hundred years ago. Stones in the rubble
There are 4 pillars of the building standing on it and there are pieces of sand and marble stones lying on its four sides. They are called ‘Habya’ and ‘Ghoma’. In the fairy tale, ‘Habya’ and ‘Ghoma’ were two brothers wrestlers. It is said that they used to play daraguti with this piece of stone on the bank of the lake. In fact, ‘Habya’ and ‘Ghoma’ are the same name. From Habib, ‘Habya’ and from Govinda, ‘Ghoma’ are mispronounced. In about the seventeenth century, Dewan Abed Raja moved that palace to the north of Baniachang Kasbar. That area is known as Dewan Bagh. At present the palace is a dilapidated ancient building and a place of interest in ancient Mughal architecture.
# How to get there: From Baniachang Upazila Parishad on foot or by rickshaw.
In the twelfth century, King Padmanabha dug the dighi in the middle of the village to alleviate the water shortage of the people. There is an anecdote in the region that Rani Kamalavati, the wife of King Padmanabha, gave up her life after the digging of this dighi. For this reason, this dighi is also called the dighi of the orange queen. Radio Mancha dramas including Bengali movies have been written about this dighi. Sitting on its banks, the village poet Jasim Uddin composed a poem called ‘Rani Kamalabati’s Dighi’. That poem is included in his book of poems ‘Suchayani’. This lake is known as the second largest in Bengal. At present the lake is spread over an area of 6.00 acres. There are 40.00 acres of water boundary and 26.00 acres of four banks. Many tourists are of the opinion that it would be interesting to build a tourist park in the shape of Ram Sagar in Dinajpur on those four banks. At present, the government is bringing this lake under fish farming and earning a significant amount of revenue annually by leasing it.
# How to get there: From Baniachang Upazila Parishad on foot or by rickshaw.
* Shyam Baul Goswami’s arena:
Sri Sri Shyam Baul Goswami was a great man of the age, capable of attaining Siddhi in Ishta Sadhana, possessing miraculous powers. After being initiated by Sri Sri Rama Krishna Goswami, he came to Baniachang to preach Vaishnavism. After overcoming many obstacles, he finally established an arena in Jatrapasha mahalla. He took place in the hearts of people as the savior of helpless diseased beings. Shyam Baul has many devotees and disciples in the northeast of Bangladesh and in India. Every year the eighth bathing fair is held in the month of Chaitra in his memory near the akhra.
# How to get there: From Upazila Parishad, you can go by rickshaw or CNG through the new market.
* Lakshibao Wetlands:
Lakshmi Baor Swamp Forest (Jalban) in Baniachang Upazila of Habiganj can be an interesting tourist spot. Located on the outskirts of Baniachang Upazila on the south side of the Kharati River in a huge haor, this wetland is also known as Kharati Jungle to the locals. Even the elders cannot say when this jungle was created. This variety of nature is really wonderful here. During the rainy season, the water of the haor and the green forest of innumerable plants of the forest have given an aesthetic look to the environment. Looking at the forest from a distance in Haor, it will seem as if it is floating on water. Hijal, Karach, Varun, Kakura, Boulla, Khagra, Chailla, Nal, etc., this water forest full of innumerable trees and shrubs has been undiscovered for so long. Recently, when news was published in newspapers about the swamp forest called “Ratargul” in Gowainghat upazila of Sylhet district, it was found to be compatible with the Lakshmi Baur wetland of Baniachang. Ratargul Swamp Forest is mentioned by some as the only swamp forest in the country, but according to Wakebhal Mahal, Lakshmi Baur Swamp Forest in Baniachang belongs to the same category and is much larger. During the rainy season, the forest plants are submerged in water for several months. There are several canals and beels inside the forest. In the clear water of these, the reflection of the forest can be seen. Even though the water dries up in autumn, water accumulates in many beels in the forest. Lots of fish are found in the beels. There are different species of birds, reptiles and mammals in this wetland. These include fish snakes, foxes, gui snakes, keute, ladduka, daraish and other venomous snakes. It has been decided to hand over the hunter to the police along with collecting a fine of Tk 5,000 if anyone hunts birds.
# How to get there: 5 miles north of Adarsh Bazar Naukaghat in Baniachang Upazila Sadar, 12 miles from Habiganj.
* Nagura Farm:
The research institute is located in Nagura under Baniachang upazila near the district headquarters, which is the first deep-water cultivation in the subcontinent. Officially known as Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Nagura, it is better known to the public as Nagura Farm. Founded in 1934, the research institute developed rice to compete with rainwater. As a result, the rice rush never goes away. Among the hybrid varieties of rice developed in this farm are Bri-51, Bri-52, Bri-29, Bri-19 etc. In addition to inventing new varieties of paddy, experimental cultivation of paddy is done here and necessary information is collected. Government and private officials from various training centers at home and abroad, including the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center, came to visit the institute as part of their training. Note the green of this laboratory
Ampas has become a sanctuary for thousands of birds of various species. The campus has already attracted the attention of tourists as a place of interest due to the ingenuity of Paki and the creativity of talented scientists.
# How to get there: Baniachang Upazila Parishad by CNG / bus via Habiganj Sadar or by CNG / bus from Habiganj Sadar.
* Makalkandi Memorial:
August 16, 1971. Makalkandi is a Hindu village in Kagapasha Union, a remote area of Baniachang Upazila. In the morning, the residents of the Hindu inhabited village were preparing for Manasa Puja at the Chandi temple in the village. At that time 40-50 boats came with the help of Pak army razakars and attacked. Worshiping men and women stood in front of the Chandi temple and killed many villagers, including 11 members of the same family, in a brush fire. The Pakhanadar forces indiscriminately shot and killed 141 innocent Hindus with bayonets. The assassins did not stop at this, they disgraced women after the barbaric killings. Later, the villagers looted their belongings and set fire to their houses. Even today, the relatives are shedding tears silently with the memory of that terrible day in their chests. After a long 36 years of independence, a memorial was built in 2006 with the help of the locals and the efforts of the then Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mr. Mohammad Noor Alam Siddiqui. Later, a memorial with the names of the martyrs was erected at that place during the war of liberation. At present Makalkandi Genocide Day is observed on 16th August every year by the upazila administration under government management.
# How to get there: The ideal market of Baniachang Upazila Sadar is to go by boat in the rainy season, motorbikes in autumn, light vehicles including trolleys and on foot.
Shayestaganj – Habiganj -> 25 Taka (CNG)
Habiganj – Baniachang Barabazar> 40 Taka (CNG)
It will take 150-200 rupees to travel from Baniachang Barabazar to Rajbari and Sagardighi with Tomtom Reserve.
If you want to go to Lakshibao, you have to take a tomtom reserve from Barabazar, in that case you can go to Maiddya ghat with 300 rupees, from there you can reserve another tomtom and cross the river bank and walk around Harti forest for 500-600 rupees.
If you want to go to Bithangal Ashram, Tomtom Reserve will charge 400-500 rupees.
Hotel Al Aman Residential (Barabazar) – TK 200 (per person)
Phone No. 01776115779
If there are female persons in the group, please tell them at the hotel first.
* “Hotel Himel” is good for food. Phone No. 01715509853
* Guide is not required to visit Baniachang.
* Keep your surroundings clean while traveling, do not throw dirt there. Do not behave in a way that harms the people around you.