Friday, April 17, 2009

Sylhet 2009 (Day 1): Wake Up and Smell the Tea !

Me, Pulak and Rumman have been calling each other constantly, planning a trip to Sylhet. We all needed a big break, a breath of fresh air after the turmoil that we went through last month. We planned to go to Srimangal directly, instead of going to the city of Sylhet first. We wanted to have some fun on the way, so we booked train tickets. On the night of April 10, Friday, the six of us, me, Pulak, Rumman, Imran, Kanon and Rocky all gathered at the Kamlapur Rail Station in time. As scheduled, our train started for Srimangal at 10:00 p.m.

Our seat arrangement was the best we could ask for, six of us facing each other. The whole night we spent awake, gossiping, laughing and constantly hitting on each other. We had some great laughs while playing chor-pulish, a famous pen-and-paper game in our country. It was a moonlit night, so as the train passed beyond the urban areas, the surroundings got more and more spectacular. I spent a lot of time just looking out from my window into the hills and forests that lay beyond. We reached Srimangal well before dawn, and we went straight to the rest house which we had already booked.


The first morning at Srimangal we gave for Lauachhara National Park, it's a semi-evergreen forest 'supervised' by an organization called Nishorgo Support Project. The 'park' was more like a forest than we expected it to be. After walking about half an hour into the heart of it, the environment became pretty amazing indeed, with dense trees on both sides and typical forest like silence. But our timing wasn't ideal to catch the sight of any wild animals. All we got to see was some monkeys and lizards. Nonetheless the walk inside Lauachhara was pretty enjoyable.


Back from the forest, we had lunch and got ourselves a quick nap. In the afternoon, we got out again to look around some of the tea gardens at Srimangal. I was a little disappointed to see that the tea gardens here are mostly flat. Then in the evening we went to the Nilkantha Tea Cabin to taste the famous multi-layered tea. After waiting for a long time, the tea arrived, and indeed it looked out of the ordinary, with six layers of tea visible separately. It didn't taste as good as it looked, but the change in taste from one layer to another was evident.

At the night, we all walked about the Srimangal town by ourselves. It was pretty amazing to see that even at 10:30 p.m. the town was still alive, with people moving around and shops still open, whereas Dhaka becomes a ghost town after 10.

So came the end of the first day of our Sylhet trip. And from the looks of things, we were expecting a great couple of days ahead of us.

Read on about Day 2 of this trip!