August 01, 2003


I had my vacation at last. We originally planned for a holiday in Thailand. But it did not work out. I was desperately looking for another option. Now it is the rainy season in Bangladesh. So, we had to eliminate Cox's Bazaar Beach. The Chittagong hill tracts are also inaccessible due to mudslides and flooding of some hilly roads. Finally, we opted for Rajbari, to visit her uncles. Well you cannot call it a holiday trip; it was merely a courtesy visit lasting two days. Actually the travel was worth telling.

Rajbari is a town of 12.14 sq. km. Approx 130 km from Dhaka. The distance doesn't seem so far but one has to cross the mighty Padma with Ferry on the way. So the journey takes almost 4 hours. You might wonder why there is not a bridge on the river Padma. Then I guess you should know more about Bangladeshi Rivers.

The pride of Bangladesh is its rivers with one of the largest networks in the world with a total number of about 700 rivers including tributaries, which have a total length of about 24,140 km. Consider that in terms of Bangladesh's total landmass of 147,570 sq. km and a population of about 130 million. The water mass consists of tiny hilly streams, winding seasonal creeks, muddy canals, some truly magnificent rivers and their tributaries and distributaries. Bangladesh has predominantly four major river systems: (1) the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, (2) the Ganges-Padma, (3) the Surma -Meghna, and (4) The Chittagong region river system. However, Brahmaputra is the 22nd longest (2,850 km) and Ganges is the 30th longest (2,510 km) in the world.

(click here for a detailed map of the rivers)

We have one notable bridge on the river Jamuna, which is 4.8 km long and cost billions of dollars. It took almost ten years to complete the bridge. The width of Jamuna River is min 5 km to maximum 15 km. With continuous erosion these rivers widths are always changing. The Padma has a width of min 3 km to maximum 10 km. Feasibility studies are underway to determine where to erect the proposed Padma bridge so that the length would be minimum and it would be accessible to existing highways.

And the landscape was looking beautiful from the bus. Notable color in Bangladesh is 'green'. You'll see agricultural lands with green paddy or other crops in both side of the highway. Numerous trees nested around the village homes (usually single storied). So you will see green everywhere. And there is of course water masses everywhere; numerous river, ponds and canals adding beauty and contrast to the green base. Low agricultural lands are now submerged in water due to heavy rains, which will dry out in Autumn and will generate another picturesque view.

I was reluctant to come back to the congested Dhaka. I wish if I could live a simple and relaxed life in the village with all its natural beauties. There is nothing relaxing than sitting in a riverbank watching all the activities in and around the river. Specially when its the rainy season.


  1. I wish to visit a detailed river map of Bangladesh.