People in this part of the world have earned an undeserved infamy for living in their own cocoon. To go by the great epics unsurpassed by any ancient people, expeditions were made in the hoary past to discover -and perhaps conquer - lands beyond seas. Malay, Singapore (Singhapur), Thailand bear testimony to this. Adventure, however, is not associated with war expedition only, they are ingrained in human psyche as an urge to see places and peoples if they are similar or different in dispositions. Connecting peoples was important then as it is now. A place itself has its attraction for its unique sight and sound. No wonder, people travelled even in the days when modern transports were beyond imagination from one continent to another. Some of them were famous globetrotter. Marco Polo and Ibne Batuta are the most iconic names.
Admittedly, the people in this country fell from favour with the colonial rulers and the heavy burden they had to borne squeezed vitality out of them. For more than two hundred years, they were not only exploited of their resources but also of the vibrancy of minds. Poor and cornered, the people had to struggle to have their both ends meet, the question of visiting places does not arise. Only the privileged class had the means and minds to embark on family excursions. That is now changing because people of different classes have raised their income several times more -some to a level where they are unsure how much money they have at their disposal.
When money is aplenty, people seek some diversions. Not that the diversions are always healthy but certainly sightseeing is a soul-soothing experience for people either tired of a hectic life or otherwise troubled. However not all people's interests are alike -thank God it is so. Had everyone rushed to the same destination, it would not have been a pleasant thing either for the holidaymakers or for the places of interests. Some love to go to sea beaches, others like mountains and still others exult in forests' primitiveness. God's own creations are so enchanting and irresistibly beautiful that tourists flock there in order to administer a psychological therapy to their minds.
The Bangalees in Bangladesh have started late to catch up with the excursion fever. It is fever because not all are equally disposed towards touring places. Some rush because they have money and others do so and they must not lag behind. For this reason, the tourism culture is yet to develop here in a healthy manner. There is a need to respect the sanctity of a place -either historical or of natural attractions. That some places are declared world heritage by the UNESCO is not for nothing. This means that a place must be maintained as much as in its original state as possible without interfering with its ambience in any way so that it gets damaged. Clearly, this cultural orientation is lacking for the holidaymakers entering late in the fray. This is a small country with an oversize population and its places of attractions must be treated with extreme care.
The fact that some young enthusiasts have taken the extra assignment to explore places of exquisite beauty in areas unknown before to outsiders is indicative that people are driven by an insatiable hunger for natural beauty. In Sylhet and Chattogram Hill Tracts, they have found a few tourist spots. Bichhanakandi, Ratar Gul have made headlines by this time. But then there is an uncharted territory to which excursionists have of late taken their fancy. This is beel (swamp) or wetlands. Unlike the sanctuaries like Baikka Beel, Hakaluki, Tanguar Haor these are less known to people outside the surrounding localities.
Now people from far and wide have started visiting those places because of the special kind of attraction they have. Baikka Beel has lotuses, so have a few others. Padma Beel in Habiganj is such a one. Satlar Beel is another which is treasure trove for red lilies. There are other such wetlands where water lilies bloom in profuse. But wetlands like Satlar Beel are special because of the red colour of lilies. Colours run riot there. Under the full moon the ethereal beauty is heavenly. Even the white lilies in full bloom unfold a seductive and surrealistic aura cut out from a world beyond. If the blue lilies had had a monopoly of a wetland and unfolded their petals all over the water, how magical and irresistible would have been the appeal!
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