Let’s go to the top of Keokradong
Why not be surprised! I weigh about two pounds. There is a huge pot. And I am extremely lazy in walking a little. Age is more than 30. I was able to climb to the top of Keokradong by walking up and down the mountain path from Baga Lake in the scorching heat. That means you too can conquer Keokradong. Only one thing is required for this. That is great will power.
Now come to the story of Keokradong. Starting from March, the headache started to go to Keokradong. How to go, with whom to go? Search by typing Keokradong on Facebook.
April has three travel team events. Among these are Tour Around Bangladesh (TAB-TAB) tour group event details. The cost was affordable. One night will be at the beautiful Baga Lake, another night will be at the peak of Keokradong.
After confirming the event, I bought a few things. Such as: Anglet, Knee-Cap, Mango Bar, Orsaline, Torchlight etc. Finally on Wednesday 12th April we started our long awaited journey by night bus. The entire bus was reserved. We were 36 people.
Journalist Hasanul Banna Bhai sat next to me in the bus. Being a fellow traveler of the same profession, the story continues with him. However, talking with others was not left out. The host Al Amin Ghazi, Jim Ahsan and Abutaleb Islam Shishir and other passengers were also very happy and relaxed. Laughing, singing, the time on the bus passed quickly.
The bus reached Bandarban city on Thursday morning. Have breakfast at Tajingdong Cafe. Then I left for Ruma market by mini bus.
Some people climbed on the roof of the bus. The bus was moving along the curved, high-low road. I was looking at the wonderful beauty of the mountains. The headache that lasted for a month was slowly decreasing. Reach Ruma market after about three hours. After landing there, our two guides gave us the information form of the local army camp. One by one I wrote there name, father’s name, address, mobile number. After walking, I went to the army camp located on the hills of Bangladesh Agricultural Bank in Ruma Bazar.
Everyone signed their names there and got into Chand’s car. We had three cars fixed for us. After going some distance, the cars stopped at Ruma police station. There again everyone’s name, address has to be signed. Then started running.
After some distance, I saw that the work of widening the road by cutting the hill is going on. The two-lane road will go to Baga Lake. After two hours our car reached Kamalabazar area of Baga Lake. The organizers bought everyone a thin bamboo to climb the hill from there. Then begins the most difficult climb up the very steep hill of Baga Lake. After a while I gasped. Seeing a mountain with a height of more than a thousand feet, I was thinking, can I climb this mountain in this life! Someone from the side said that he will not go to Keokradong tomorrow morning. Baga Lake will be there tomorrow as well. TAB admin Jim Ahsan said, ‘Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. Then you will gasp less.’ The method works.
When I climbed the hills of Baga Lake with two or three halts, it seemed that no one was happier in the world than me. The reason is two. One. Climb high mountains.
Two. Seeing a beautiful natural lake in the middle of the mountains. It may seem to a common person, someone comes to see the mountain pond with so much difficulty!
But for those who love Bangladesh, love nature, whose hearts are filled with gratitude for God’s wonderful creation, Baga Lake is truly a wonder. Everyone has to go to Baga Lake and sign again, at the army camp there.
At the end of the signing session, we went to Zimolian’s cottage. Our cottage was right next to Baga Lake. Baga lake when you open the window. Huge balcony.
We quickly left the bag tags and ran to take a bath in the clear, cool water of the lake. There was a prior restriction that none of us could swim in the lake. Bathing should be done very close to the shore. Bathing in the lake water was the best bath of my life. As soon as the body gets wet, a flock of small fish comes on the back. Money in the bin was matching the fish spa!
After bathing, have lunch at Zimolian’s cottage. Among the many items, Pahari sweet pumpkin curry and small mango pickles tasted amazing. Many people slept in the cottage after eating their fill. I also get extremely hungry. But like Mr. Bean in Rowan Atkinson’s ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’ movie, let’s hold off on sleep. I say to my mind, I didn’t come here to sleep, I came here to travel, to see mountains, to see beautiful Bengal.
After that I sat by the Baga lake for quite some time. Along with taking pictures. In the evening, almost everyone gathers in front of the cottage. A great story, chat begins.
From family, journalism, healthcare, there is no topic that is not discussed there. The fire continued on one side. The singing phase begins. After the fire is extinguished, the chicken is burnt with burning coals. At night, after eating, we chat for a while and go to bed. Because you have to get up early for Keokradong. Our cottage was huge. There were several beds there. At night we were 20-22 people. Laughing while sleeping, I don’t know when I fell asleep.
The next day was the Bengali New Year, the first day of 1424 Bangald means the first Baisakh. I wake up early in the morning and get fresh. After breakfast, I started walking towards Keokradong at 7:10. There was a huge bag behind the back. There was thin bamboo to hold.
There was a guide in front of us. And behind was another guide. They said it will take about three hours to go to Keokradong. In between we knew where to take a break. At the beginning will be shrimp shower. Then Darjeelingpara.
Everyone started walking together, but after a while everyone split into several small groups. I also went up the hill with a small group.
Sometimes I was panting. But that trouble was nothing to Roopsudha of the hills. We were climbing a little higher hill, and saying ‘wow’. This mountain path was sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. If you are a little nineteen-twenty, you will have to fall into a deep ditch. Sometimes tall bushes were falling.
After a quarter of an hour’s walk we reach the Prawn Spring. You have to climb high rocks there. Wash your hands and face in the shower and get fresh. Drink some water.
After a while I started walking again. But this time I fell far behind my team. I kept walking in the bushes and praying. To be honest, I was very scared. I was wondering whether to wait for the rear group or not. Also, it would not be wise to stand alone in the bushes on the mountain road. If a wild animal or terrorist group suddenly attacks! So I continue to move forward with courage. After 10 minutes I found a group ahead. On a high hill some of us were sitting resting and buying and eating bananas from a mountain garden. A pair of five rupees. I also started eating a couple of bananas. Meanwhile my group started walking forward. I continue to rest. When the next group came, I started walking with them. After a short walk, I found a very steep red hill. It is very difficult to climb that mountain. I take a step and it seems that someone behind me will pull me down. You have to take a break two or three times to climb that hill.
After walking for a while I found a shop again. Only mountain bananas and papayas are available there. Rest for a while in the shop and walk again. I walked to a high mountain. From there, the first peak of Keokradong can be seen. Then the walking speed increased. Speaking of which, I didn’t realize when I moved to Darjeelingpara, the cleanest and highest village in Bangladesh (almost two thousand feet above sea level). The neighborhood is very nice, tidy. If you had a house in this neighborhood! In Darjeelingpara we complete the bathing phase. The villagers collect water from the spring and pull it through the pipe with a motor. We bathed in the cool water of the shower and forgot all the sorrows.
Keokradong is located about 1,100 feet above Darjeelingpara. It was visible from the neighborhood. It will take a little more than half an hour to walk.
The drive up from Darjeelingpara to Keokradong is quite beautiful. Looking down from the steep hill, the body was shivering. Rest for a while twice to climb that path.
After walking, we reached the peak of Keokradong at around 12:30 pm. Officially, its height is 3,172 feet above sea level. I say to myself, I can, I can conquer Keokradong.
There, I washed my hands and face at the cottage of Lala Bom, the landowner of Keokradong Hill. At this time, I heard that there will be Friday prayers at the army camp on the top. After performing ablution, I went to perform Friday prayers. It was the best Friday prayer of my life.
After the prayer, a lively chat started under the canopy of Keokradong, the fifth highest peak in the country. Taking pictures from time to time. In the afternoon go and sit on the helipad next to it.
You can see a beautiful sunset from there. But our foreheads are bad. Shortly before sunset, dark clouds covered the western sky. Still, the evening went very well. Different beauty on each side of the helipad. At night, the clouds surround us. Touches the whole body and goes elsewhere. Then the night was spent in extreme stories and chats.
The next morning, Saturday, April 15, I woke up and thought I would sit on the top of Keokradong and watch the sunrise. But as the sky was covered with clouds, that luck was not there. After breakfast we leave for Baga Lake. Now most of the hill is down, and walking. I left for Darjeelingpara in 10 minutes. I am very careful when going down. Because I had heard earlier, many people were injured in accidents due to the carelessness of getting off from Keokradong.
A terrible incident took place on the way to Baga Lake after crossing the Shrimp Falls. I was in front of a small group. The thin bamboo was in hand. A slimy green snake, the gourd tip or green viper snake, passed in front of me. I kept shouting snake, snake. Someone came from behind and killed it with a bamboo. Then continued to say that their house is in Narsingdi, they regularly kill poisoned cows. This snake is not a matter of death!
After that I was no longer afraid to be in front of the group. From Keokradong, it took about two hours to safely descend to Baga Lake. After arriving, take another bath in the lake water. We came down carefully from the steep hill of Baga Lake to Kamalabazar. From there I got back in the car of the moon.
Vaisabi festival was going on in the hills. Saturday was water sports day. We were told earlier to cover bags, mobiles, cameras. The mountaineers will soak us with water on the way. That’s it. On the way to Ruma Bazar in Chand’s car, two young women drenched all three of our cars in a neighborhood. From Ruma Bazar again take the bus. On the way, the bus stops at a neighborhood where we are drenched with water drawn from a motorized pipe. Arrive at Bandarban city in the afternoon. Night bus to Dhaka. We freshen up in four rooms of a hotel to rest. Then have lunch at Tajingdong Cafe.
After standing in front of the hotel for a while, I saw the hills and Bengalis divided into different groups, renting jeeps, moon cars, mini trucks and easy bikes to roam around the city.
And soaking the people on the side of the road. Several boys in our group also started water sports after that. After a little afternoon, we went to the main Panikhela festival – ‘Maha Sangraing Poeh’ in Raja’s field of Bandarban city. There was water play along with Marmad dance and music. Only enlisted Marma youths participated in that game. The rest of us, along with the others, got involved in water games behind the stage. Went to the hotel room shortly before evening. Get fresh and pack the bagtag. After finishing the meal, I left for Dhaka by night bus. I reached Dhaka in one sleep. End of a memorable journey.
How to go: To go to Keokradong, you have to go to Bandarban first. Bandarban city can be reached by bus from Dhaka or Chittagong. Non AC bus fare from Dhaka is Tk 620. Then you have to go to Ruma Bazar by minibus, moon car, jeep or CNG powered auto rickshaw from Bandarban city. 100 rupees per person. Renting Chand’s car or jeep reserve will cost Rs 4,000 to 5,000. According to the rules, if you want to go anywhere in the mountains from Ruma Bazar, you have to take a guide, the guide service charge is 600 taka per day. There are guide societies in the market. Go to them and you will get a guide. Generally people go from Ruma Bazar to Baga Lake in two ways. One. By moon car/jeep car to Baga Lake or near Baga Lake to Kamalabazar, two. Walk along the path.
Chand’s car rent is 2500 to 3000 taka. For those visiting Keokradong for the first time, it is better to go to Baga Lake and stay overnight. The guide will fix the cottage for you. The fare is Tk 120 to Tk 150 per person. There are various cottages, one- and two-story. If you want to stay in Keokradong, you can also stay at the owner Lala Bom’s cottage. Catering is available at both locations. They charge 160 to 170 taka per person for food.