Category Archives: Outside Dhaka

Trip to Paharpur. Day 1

Paharpur is one of the main sights in Bangladesh, the ruins of what was once a buddhist temple. You have seen one of those in Comilla already, but this is the biggest one.

Even though it was supposed to be a 4-5 hour drive, because we happened to go on the same day, what the Indian prime-minister was visiting Bangladesh, the National monument (the one I showed before as well) to be precise, which is in the same direction, it took us 12 hours. It was bad. Very bad.

We got to enjoy a lot of bush art though when we got there.


Kinds get to learn the “picture with the bush” skill when they are very small.


I am trying hard too


The ruins are cool

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People are manually cutting off the grass with little knives.


The light at the ruins was absolutely gorgeous, but still iPhone made everybody look different!

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We are performing

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The layer on top in new, put there to protect the left overs from further destruction IMG_6825

Guess whom I met there?!



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More goats


More bush-pictures

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The area where Paharpur is situated, Rajshahi district, is famous for its mangoes. Therefore here is the biggest part of our dinner — mangoes and lychees.


To be continued!

Trip to Sonargaon

Sonargaon is a town south-east from Dhaka about one hour bus ride that is famous for it architecture.

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To get there we met our guide by the National Mosque


Bought the ticket from (as you would think) random guy sitting on the street


And got on the bus with a non-working speedometer (they all are like this)


In Sonargaon we took a big CNG


The first stop was a museum with old stuff and things, things and stuff, but here is a photo of us and some student group


After the museum we went for a walk in the surrounding park and found a toilet. Foreigners toilet. I still don’t know what it was supposed to mean, but it cost us 5 taka (nothing). Belive me or not but I was asked for a selfie while I was washing my hands there.


In the park there were some random monuments like this pioneer-looking guy


Next stop — ruins


And since there are some ruins of the buildings, there are some of the toilets as well.


The toilets are standing by the river, since that is where everything was going to


We posed a bit


And then a bit more. This time with a cow (and apparently three of my chins!). The cow was telling me all Bangladeshi secrets.


While wandering around we met some kids. The mark that the baby has on his head is supposed to protect him.


And this is not the first child that I noticed with a weirdly shaped head. Maybe anybody knows why it is so strange?


Another picture with a local at the cha stop


More ruins

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We are practicing the well-known by Bangladeshis,but very new to us ‘pictures-with-the-bush’ skill. (This one was staged by the local, we still suck!)


Trip back in the comfortable bus (not a regular bus)


In the city you can tell that there is a lychee season now, because its leaves are everywhere


And the highlight of our trip — visit to a local bar!


All very few bars in Bangladesh are run by the government IMG_6431 IMG_6435

It is the only place where locals can buy alcohol (foreigners can buy drinks in the clubs and special liquor stores). A can of local barr costs 150 taka (2 euros).


Guys chilling


Trip to Savar

One day we decided to go and watch metal casting. And after researching the area a few other things got added to the list, so the furthest point this time was Shailan Mosque and this time google maps was about right, but again we had to leave at 6 am.


Thanks to wikipedia we learned about the mosque and it was our first destination

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The person who is looking after this mosque offered us some mangos right off the tree!

We walked around the mosque a bit and found the local gym (nobody was working out though)

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Our next stop — Dhamrai Roth, a hindu wooden kind of  temple that gets moved around the town once a year


While waiting for the metal casting we were walking around the city visiting various temples (majority of the population in this particular area are hindu). We randomly found a very nice man who was looking after one of the temples and showed us the others in the neighbourhood. In one of those temples the reaction to me saying that I am Russian was “Russia is good, Russia is India’s friend”

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The metal casting happened right in front of the Roth. The family that runs this workshop has been doing it for over 500 years. The technique is called “lost wax” and the idea is that at first a wax figure is made, then it is covered with a few layers of clay and afterwards is being put in the something like an over when wax runs away and the metal is poured in the forms instead. The process of metal casting is the most interesting one and it was very very hot and very very dangerous. The metal looks beautiful though — acid orange and green.IMG_6249

These were the pieces that have been sitting there for a whle already waiting for us

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But this is not over — because it comes out with many defects, a lot of work is needed to fix it and make it perfect. At that moment they have been working on a big statue for one of the temples (the base was casted), and the head was getting last touches. In italic because it takes months to make it look shiny.

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There is a shop by this workshop and once can see some examples of their work

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The statue like the one above takes about 3-4 months.

And a must-have picture with the family that runs this workshop


They have a very nice house


The next stop — Natinal Memorial. I mentioned the war of 1971 many times already. Here it is like the 2nd World War in Europe, but for one country. It took them 16 years though to build this place, it looks a lot like many other concrete memorials I have seen in my life, but one should never tell this to the locals, for them it is the best memorial ever. Because the locals like to pose (A LOT), we decided to blend in (but we definitely suck)IMG_6266 IMG_6263 IMG_6270

Speaking of posing — many people pose with the bushes. I showed some examples before, but it is super funny — even when there is a monument, a Bush is thing to take a picture with. So we have been working hard on blending in even more


And in the end — a selfie with Mr. Bush!


Trip to Tangail

Another trip outside Dhaka this weekend was a trip to Tangail, or to be more precise, a village nearby. This time Google was almost right, but this was probably because we left at 6.30am!TangailOOn the way there we saw a JP Morgan marathon finisher deepfrying some samosas or other dough-wrapped something


We were traveling with a person who owns the land in the village and recently planted the garden there. So first things first — we are picking up peppers! And the whole village behind the fence is watching us!

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The newly built house from inside looks like this. If it not a mud house, it is made of this material


The owner of the land is resolving a dispute

IMG_6147Then we went on a tour in the village. Tangail area is famous for its hand-sewn sarees and in this particural village there were plenty of houses where sarees are being sewn. One of the men offered me to try it myself and of course I agreed! At first it was a bit confusing -both hands and both feet are involved and things should be done in a particular sequence. So in the beginning I totally sucked, but after quite a few unsuccessful attempts I slowly made a few stiches that were sort of okay. It is a very labour intensive work and therefore it is usually men who are doing it. And it is very very loud.

P1060150 P1060153 P1060152What do women do would you ask? They manually cut off all the extra threads with a pair of scissors

IMG_6153Just like this. On the ground, anywhere in the village.

So you see all the kids everywhere? They were following us everywhere

IMG_6154There are also machines for sewing sarees. And many kids who would like to be in the pictures

IMG_6160One hand or mashine sewn saree in the village costs about 700 taka, which is 8,5 euros.

And some random picture. For example, how bananas grow

IMG_6150How pomelos grow


Tiny little mangoes on a soon-to-be big mango tree

IMG_6148Below is the grave of the inviting family’s ancestors. They were the first to bring islan in this area. As the legend goes, when they arrived from India and maybe some places in Middle East, the local hindu king’s daughter was dead and people were about to burry her. The ancestors were not just muslim, but spiritual people as well and told the king that she was not sick, brought a burning hot stick to her body, she woke up and as a gratiture the king gave a very big piece of land to these ancestors and allowed them to spread islam.

IMG_6165 IMG_6164After the village we were invited to their home in Dhaka. I have never seen so many books here (this is just one of many shelfes). So many books I will never be able to read

IMG_6173The father of the family used to be very interested in communism and such when he was young. In fact, the overall concept was very popular here, especially before the Liberation War in 1971. He still has some of the book, for example, to the right from the Lenin’s books is Engels in Bangla

IMG_6170Here is a photo with a mother and a father of the family


And a beutiful picture at the end taken not by me!


Trip to Comilla

This weekend we went to Comilla, a small town that is here

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 21.54.11As usual, Google is very optimistic and it took us almost 4 hours to get there.

Comilla is famous for Salban Vihara, which is place where the ruins were found and also that in the nearby there is a village where our maid lives 🙂

Once we got there, first we visited the museum and got a few pictures (even though it is of course prohibited) with some ancient statues

IMG_6054 IMG_6059Visited the ruins of what people used to think was king’s palace but it was in fact a buddhist monastery

11348069_10153258194675170_2134973916_oIMG_6088 IMG_6096 IMG_6098 IMG_6105Watched guys posing with a bush

IMG_6107And how dates are growing


IMG_6110And took a picture of the guys following us

11354376_10153258194770170_185763008_oIn the park next to it I became friends with a goat sitting alone on the bench

IMG_6065At first I was very shy

IMG_6066But then I decided to test the limits

IMG_6069 IMG_6072 IMG_6074And in the end — a selfie!!


After we went to visit my maid in her village. Her son (23) lives there with his family

IMG_6120The girl is about 18 now and the little boy about 8 months old. I didn’t take many pictures in the village, because it just didn’t feel right, but basically the family of three people lives in a little room, where they have a bed, a fridge and some shelves. They eat and sleep on the bed (although I was told that they eat usually on the floor and it was only for the guests that we were eating on the bed).

Sometimes the streets of the village are covered in pants

IMG_6115That is for the rainy season to soak up the water.

The kid was afraid of me, which everybody found funny

IMG_6128And here is the final picture


Sreemangal. Day 3

Have a look at the view from out guesthouse. There were only 5 rooms, 3 of which were occupied by our group.

IMG_5517We even had coconuts on our tree, see there?

IMG_5518First thing in the morning we went to rent bikes at the place what was also a rickshaw art center

IMG_5521 rick1 rick2And the adventure began! Kids would see us on the other side and thenl run along the river shouting “bye” or “hi”

IMG_5527And what do we see around? Rice fields, people working hard, goats and very very nice people.

IMG_5528 IMG_5531 IMG_5532I was trying to pet a goat and first this lady (you see her white fingers, that’s for that green leaf, paan, that is also why she has such teeth) was helping me to catch one and then the boys brought me this guy

IMG_5533 IMG_5535On the bikes we got to the wetlands where we were taken on a boat ride

IMG_5538 IMG_5542 IMG_5549 IMG_5552It was very quite, very beautiful and very hot.

We had our lunch at one of the fisherman’s house. They are six brothers living together and the family is considered to be pretty wealthy. The house was built very recently. And yes, in Bangladesh you eat with your hands (unless you are in the western parts).

IMG_5560 IMG_5561 IMG_5562I like their ‘wardrobe’.

Here are our bikes standing by the house. They were very heavy

IMG_5563The kids were of course very excited and there was a lot of picture taking and staring


IMG_5616Here is a D&G shirt (says Made in Italy)

IMG_5565I think I mentioned before that one doesn’t have to be a professional photographer to take great pictures. A better camera would help though

IMG_5566In the city I stopped by the bamboo stall to buy a traditional Bangla hat and made a friend

IMG_5567 IMG_5569 IMG_5571After 10 minutes by the stall we got some attention (just on one side!)

IMG_5572On the way from the village we also found a little kitten on the road and kept her. She really loved the hat 🙂

IMG_5575Next stop — seven layer tea. Tasted and smelled like cocoa in my kindergarden

IMG_5579Look inside any street — people sewing

IMG_5583Of course some real tea

IMG_5586And the train back.

IMG_5589A couple of pineapples for a ride (15 take each, e.g. 15 euro cents)

IMG_5588A rare albino person

IMG_5591And our friends seeing us off. They are great.

IMG_5592Here is a video of the tea gardens we were passing by on the way back and the interior od the train (obviously, high class)

Sreemangal. Day 2

Second day in Sreemangal started with a hike through the tropical forest at one of the national parks.

IMG_5419 IMG_5422 IMG_5431There was a heavy rain early in the morning and our route looked like this

IMG_5424It was beautiful and very hot. But very beautiful. Only one thing was bothering us a lot. A LOT. Many leeches. Many-many leaches crawling up the shoes into the shoes, getting into the ankles, feet and legs. In the middle of the walk I really freaked out when I realised that my socks were soaked not in my sweat, but my blood from the leeches that I was pulling out of my shoes.

brrrBecause it was a weekend, there were plenty of school groups in the park. We were popular, but the nice thing about it is that you can also stare back at them and take photos.

IMG_5440 IMG_5447 IMG_5450 IMG_5452After the hike and the leech stress we had a snack — a half of a pineapple and a half of apapaya . This is a 40 taka snack, or 40 euro cents.

IMG_5455The next destination was a pottery village. Here is a village lady cleaning the rice from the dust

riceThis is the rice before the shell has been peeled

IMG_5463Many cows and excited small kids

IMG_5465 IMG_5468 IMG_5487 IMG_5491They love looking at the pictures that were taken

IMG_5469Then each of us took a pottery class from a very patient and nice man

IMG_5481 IMG_5479And got a piggy bank as a souvenir

IMG_5492People are beautiful and very nice. This lady gave me a little piece of a mango bar with some spices — very typical snack.

And remember I was complaining that nobody was smiling back in Old Dhaka? I am taking my words back.

IMG_5488Our guide was a member of an association that is supported by some American NGO. He is promoting eco tourism in Dhaka and half of the money they are earning is being spent on the street kids. That day one of the boys had a “birthday”. In Bangladesh there are no compulsory birth certificates at the birth, some people often get it only when they take their high school exams. For that reason many people, especially ladies, have the birth year in their birth certificates that is a few years later than their real year of birth. With the street kids it is even more complicated. For this reason they just appoint a date for every kid. This boy was turning 14-15 years old, nobody new it more precise. But to me he looked much younger. When we met him the next day on the streets of Sreemangal, he was riding a rickshaw. Our guide told me that he was a drug addict, but they helped him and also got him a rickshaw, so he is working now and visiting their free school for the street kids.

IMG_5493There was a candle and a cake. I told him not to forget to make a wish and through our guide he said that his wish was to become a carpenter.

IMG_5494There were many people at this celebration.


And also some music

Here is Gulam


It was overwhelming.

Sreemangal. Day 1

On the 3rd of May there was a public holiday in Bangladesh and I decided to go to Sreemangal for a long weekend. Sreemangal is here

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 20.53.25And it is famous for its tea.

You see how optimistic google is saying that it only takes 3,5 hours to drive there from Dhaka? Well, we rented a mini bus and it took as about 6 hours. Right. 180 km in almost 6 hours.

Our adventure started with a visit to the tea gardens. See the mountains far away? It is India.

IMG_5381 IMG_5372Usually women collect tea leaves — there should be two leaves and a bud — because they are more gentle. Men also help, usually with what needs to be done with the ground and other hard work. This is one of the guys

IMG_5391He showed us this lovely shy plant. Look what it does when you touch it

The lotus lake was absolutely stunning

IMG_5380 IMG_5396 lotus IMG_5395

We met the sunset there as well

IMG_5385Looking for some fruit we visited the market after.

IMG_5401You can buy fresh fish

IMG_5400Or dry fish

IMG_5403Or more dried fishIMG_5404Maybe some more?

dried fishAnother awesome view

IMG_5408This is what tobacco actually looks like (big dried leaves).

IMG_5409Of course bananas and something like plantains

IMG_5410 IMG_5411And chickens right beside it

chicken on the marketWe finished the day with a visit to a local cinema to watch 10 minutes of this Bangladeshi movie. It was hilarious.

IMG_5417Two more days to come!