Padma Beel, or the lake of lotus, in Khulna is now full of pink flowers, pulling in hundreds of visitors every day.
On holidays, the visitors to the lake – nestled mostly in Khulna’s Terokhanda upazila and partly in Narail’s Kalia upazila – multiply. They mainly come with family and friends from the city and nearby areas.
It has opened up an income opportunity for some locals.
They consider it as crucial for their survival during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Md Javed Iqbal, deputy chief information officer of Khulna Regional Information Office, said in the wake of the pandemic, he along with his family visited the lake, widely known as Bhuter Beel, in north Khulna to enjoy its beauty.
He said they spent almost the day at the lake feasting their eyes on the beauty.
Recalling the visit, he said, “Only Padma Beel is where my two eyes go. The lake is really a feast for the eyes.”
The officer suggested developing a seasonal tourist spot centring on the lake, saying that if developed in a planned way, it could pave the way for many poor people to have an extra income.
Hearing about the beauty of the lotus flowers at the lake, Shampa Gain, a housewife, recently came to visit there.
"The beauty of the lotus in this beel and the taste of the fish here greatly attract the people from the city," she said.
For want of a proper drainage system, water logging occurs at the lake every year. The lake extends up to an area of around 3,500 hectares. And the lotus flowers cover around 50 to 60 hectares of the lake.
The whole lake is full of algae and weeds too. There are about 22 villages around this lake. The water of the lake mainly drains out into the Atharobaki and Chitra rivers. But the rivers are dead now. The canals flowing for a while through the lake are now full to the brim too.
Locals say the lake used to be full of water hyacinths. After rotting, it would create gas and thus flames at night, which people nearby would mistake for ghosts. They started calling the lake ‘Ghost Beel’ too.
No such flames have been taking place for the last few years, they say.
With the lotuses covering a part of the lake and offering an eye-catching view, people have now renamed it Padma Beel.