Day 02 & 03 : Dhuppani waterfall & kayaking
After a while Afreen joined us. She had a fever due to the pain. Then Nabila apu, Shoumik and Yaseen joined one by one. Shiropa also had fever and headache, so she didn’t came. But she told us when we were returning that she would go to Dhuppani with us. Although we were not sure enough to go. Because our mind was in a bit chaotic state for the rain – tiredness – fear of leech. Electricity was coming for a moment and was then going away. There was IPS or solar power system but we could use it for a short period of time. We were not turning on the light so that we did not have to eat dinner in the dark. If ‘Dadajan’ of the drama ‘Aaj Robibar’ were there, he would have been very happy to see our thrift. “I am leaving you the dinner, you guys can eat whenever you want” – Shanto sir said to us while fixing his umbrella. This region can be called a village. As soon as the evening comes, everything becomes silent. People don’t stay awake till late in the night. I think they fall asleep around 9 o’clock. After deciding to eat late, we all started watching the Bangladesh-India T20 match in the mobile. Gossip was still going on along the match. Abir said laughing – “I told Afreen that you don’t need to go through such trouble here. Just go down with a slide. If you do, the fat will also be cut. Then Afreen fell as soon as she said “I wish”. Ha ha ha.” We were all laughing hearing Yaseen’s story. Robi – Airtel’s network was well available there.
Teletalk too but no other network was available. My mobile was of no use there except taking pictures and flashing lights. There was omelette and vegetables instead of fish in the dinner. After the meal, everyone started talking about ghost stories. Abir, Sabbir and I came back to our room. I needed a sleep or else it would have been impossible for me to go to a long trekking the next day. It was already decided at night that the girls would not go. Sabbir and Faraby also showed disinterest to go. The condition of the rest was not good either. We were like – “we will see in the morning”. The rain had stopped for a while. I went to sleep seeing the moon which already had come out from hiding behind the clouds. I fell asleep listening to the ghost stories of Mitul floating through the window. We woke up in the morning at Nitto da’s phone call. I found out that it was raining outside.
Abir asked me – “What do I tell him? Do you want to go?” Without thinking anything I told him –“Tell him we will let him know in one hour.” Then I woke up again at the call of Shanto Sir. He asked – “Won’t you go to Dhuppani? It will be difficult to go when it is late.” I found out that Shoumik and Shovi had got up by then. Abir and I did not waste any time too.
We informed Nitto da over phone that we 4 of us were going. So he should bring his boat. As we were getting ready, Mitul and Yaseen also got up. Yaseen had pain in his leg and still decided to go as we don’t visit these places again and again. We immediately got ready and got on the boat with our breakfast. When we took permission from the army camp in front, it was already 8:05 in the morning. The officer told us to come back before 5 o’clock. This time there was 6 of us in the journey. Shovi, Shoumik, Abir, Yaseen, Mitul and me. As we were leaving, Nitto da and Shanto sir assured us that there was not much fear of leech. And the next day there was a religious ceremony too so we would be happy to go there. As I was returning to the boat with the permission from the camp, I saw Yaseen, Shovi and Mitul burst out laughing on the shed of the boat. They couldn’t stop laughing. When I asked for the reason Yaseen said – “brother, before you know the reason I have to tell you the backstory. Yaseen started as I was curious to know what had happened – you know, after you went to sleep we started talking about ghosts. I was telling the story of Hasin that he used to hear some strange sounds in the night like – hmmm …hmmm when I used to live in Niketon. Right away there was a squeaking sound like – khok! Khokhh! And right after that Allah go…Allah go (Oh Allah, Oh Allah)! Later when we went to find the source of the sound we saw Faraby was doing this in his sleep. We laughed our heart out.” Then Mitul started talking from the side – “when you went to the camp, the three of us were staring at the sky thinking that the sky was so beautiful that it merged with the lake. Breaking the silence of a few minutes, Shovi suddenly started shouting copying Faraby “Allah go…!” from the side. Hearing this, I started laughing with them. Then when I showed them the video of Faraby’s snoring, we all burst out laughing again. Then we started singing. From singing we switched to introduction of birds. Mitul is a good photographer. Once he was the President of the Photography Club of RUET. He was sharing various experience with us. It was he from whom I heard the name ‘Cattle Egret’.
“We will get down here as there is no way anywhere.” – We looked ahead hearing those words from Shovi and thought the same. We were looking ahead trying to find a way with our four pair of sharp eyes and after a while Mitul said that there was a path on the left. The texture was so fine that it seemed the grass and trees from one side had merged with the other which had deceived our eyes.
On the way, we had to submit our papers in one of the camps. Meanwhile, I liked one thing very much. Unlike in Bandarban, the officers here were not rude or grave. They were very friendly. Then it was time to board the dinghy. Then a young man wearing a light green t-shirt came and told us that we did not have to do that anymore. The water level was low so we could walk. His name was Shyamal. He was our guide for the day. The word ‘Volunteer’ was written on the back of his t-shirt. But there also we had to pay 500 taka. Although it seemed very logical to us. Dhuppani is the largest of the three waterfalls here. So naturally we had more interest in it. But the path of the beginning made our interest disconsolate. We had to walk through mud like cement. Somewhere it was knee deep and somewhere even higher. We couldn’t walk for long with our shoes on, so we started walking with shoes in our one hand, bamboo stick in the other. Whereas Shyamal da was moving in a very sublime manner as if the path was smooth. There too we found cows with bells tied around their neck and Cattle Egrets. We were walking along a narrow canal. Sometimes this side, sometimes we had to cross the canal and go other side. That is how we entered into the dense forest. Then we walked and walked. The fear of leech was less but we were having trouble breathing. So we had to stop every now and then and take rest. We had to cross 3 hills that was in front of us. Among them the first one was the main challenge for us. It was not only very steep but long also. Even under such hardship, we were taking pictures and videos. Thus we were going from one hill to another. Several species of spiders and mountain centipedes were spotted on the way. I didn’t saw any centipede that big before. At one time, it seemed that having saline and water would have been very helpful. As soon as I thought about that, a hill shop caught my eye. We decided to take a break there. We ate some bananas, chanachur and juice there. During the time of the rest, two cats accompanied us well. Shoumik spent more time with them than the food. I asked Shyamal da – “How much longer?” “Just 20 minutes more” – he replied. That was where the “20 Minutes” started. We did not have any trouble to understand that there was no relations between those ‘20 minutes’ with the twenty minutes of the clock. After two or three of those ‘20 minutes’ we finally saw Dhuppani.
At some point, the road was divided into two directions. Just at the beginning of the left path, there was a signboard that says about the fountain. By reading the signboard, we learnt that the place is actually of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Buddhists monks come here to meditate. So it has been specifically asked not to make any loud sound.
We tried our best to be respectful of their social and religious customs. Then it was time to go down the steep hill. Since people often come here, the mountain has been cut down and made like a staircase. We had to take our steps very carefully because the wet soil was broken in places due to monsoon. It was normal for the feet of strangers like us to slip there. However, we reached the bottom without any incident. There it was, Dhuppani of eternal youth. The sound of water falling from about a hundred feet above was ringing in our ears. The jhiri path to the fountain was a bit risky because of the strong current and slippery stones. Mitul fell when he tried to cross. We crossed carefully and reached the fountain. It has taken a lot of space with a semicircular shape. Water was falling from one side of that. We understood that in heavy rains, water falls from the other sides too. It is as if the God himself has created a perfect art by cutting a groove on the hill. We had an advantage in coming during the cyclone – there was no one but us. Here we are, the kings of that heavenly kingdom – I thought. Abir and Shoumik kept sitting on a distant rock and we went beneath the fountain.
There is a huge groove at the bottom, like a cave. Sitting there, you can see the water of the fountain flowing through the front. Some perceptions can’t be expressed in writings. Some beauty can’t be explained. Vocabulary is just a courtesy there. Then it was time to go back. The trekking took two and a half to three hours to reach Dhuppani. But I think it took a little less time to return. Although we were all tired and we forgot them as we were busy making funny rhymes. Coming back to the plane land, we recorded a video of the recitation of one of our rhymes in our mobile. We all slipped and fell more or less except Abir. The poor guy thought that at the end of our tour he would take a picture with victory sign for that but luck did not let him do that after all. He slipped and fell while crossing the canal, excellent example of a boat sinking ashore. Ha ha ha.
It was almost past 3 o’clock when we returned to the boat. Hurriedly Nitto da started the boat. We said goodbye to Shyamal da and went on our way. About five hours of trekking had exhausted the body and on top of that we could feel the cold mountain air on our wet body which was making it worse. The air seemed to hit straight to the bone. But most of all, my mind was exhausted as I had to say goodbye to the mountains and springs in that light of late afternoon. We crossed the army camp fifteen minutes after the scheduled time. As soon as the cottage was visible, the girls were seen busy taking pictures. Faraby was with the camera.
As soon as they saw us, they started waving at us and when the boat arrived at the ghat, they started asking – “How was your trekking?” we had already decided that we would tell them – “The trekking was very easy. You guys could go with us too.” Then Shovi said from the side – “Very easy. It took only ’20 minutes’.” We all tried to act serious about Shovi’s words but couldn’t because of Nitto Da. “Yes it was very easy. Just ask them how many times they have slipped and fell. If you look at their clothes, you will know” – Nitto da came laughing and said. In the last light of dusk, those sounds of smiles seemed to create an unearthly wave in the water and went away but those smiling faces got stuck in our tired minds.
Meanwhile, it didn’t rain much throughout the day there. So we decided to arrange bar-b-q that night. But any sorts of shopping had not been done for that yet. I wasn’t hungry anyway so I didn’t have lunch. Freshened up, Shovi, Sabbir, Faraby and I rode two motorcycles – to the market. They charged 120 taka for the round trip for two people. In the meantime, the girls were busy doing the cooking arrangements.
It took about an hour to buy all the items from the list and return from the market. As soon as we came back, Nabila apu made tea which Abir had brought from Srimangal. Yaseen mixed chanachur and puffed rice for us to eat. Mitul and the others started gossiping with Shanto sir in the dark veranda. I stayed in the room, it felt like the fever was coming again. Afreen was processing the spices like a perfect housewife. Shanto sir came to us and started gossiping with us then. Shiropa and Yaseen were washing the chicken by the tap. Those were needed to be kept in the spices for a long time and then burnt in the fire. I could feel the fever was rising. At one point we lit the coal. Shanto sir left after helping us. I wanted him to stay with us in our last dinner there. But they are early birds. The place had not yet become tourist friendly so the lanterns were not flown considering the complaints of the locals. The coal fires were slowly getting redder and redder. I couldn’t help falling asleep at some point. I didn’t know how long I had slept, it was about two o’clock at night when Yaseen woke me up. I was for the whole time in a daze. I ate and fell asleep again.
When I woke up, I felt that there was no fever. However, there was still a feeling of exhaustion. It was a bright morning. I was feeling good. Everyone packed their bags and went here and there to take pictures. Shovi, Mitul and I crossed the field and sat down to have tea at a shop. I could see others taking pictures in the distance. The field was just outside the cottage area. At one side, there is a primary school. Shanto sir teaches there. His little girl also goes to the same school. That place is not underdeveloped like Bandarban. When you speak to them, you will notice that they have a sense of self-respect. And that’s why they are very sincere. It can be said that we stayed as a guest rather than renting Shanto sir’s cottage for two days. The rent was next to nothing. Considering his hospitality, it was very little. He came to say goodbye early, as he had to go and attend some kind of training. We had nothing to give him as a gift. As the practice of flying lanterns in religious ceremonies is very noticeable there, we gifted him three lanterns.
On the way back, it was same old taking pictures and singing out of tune while sitting on top of the shed of the boat. Shoumik and Abir were lying under the shed. Sabbir was distracted throughout the entire tour. He feels very uncomfortable with us as he can’t say anything in reply when we start pulling his leg. However, Faraby has adapted
with that. Back at the dock, we said goodbye to Nitto da and took CNG. Destination Berannye Resort. We wanted to spend some time and do kayaking there. It didn’t take long to get there. We got there when the sun was still high in the sky. After crossing the bridge, taking the dirt road on the left took us to the resort. It was beautifully decorated in a pleasant environment in the shades of trees. Yaseen had already booked a bamboo-wooden loft there. It was very pleasant to observe the beauty of the lake from sitting in those lofts as they were built just on the shore of the lake. As long as I enjoyed the view there, I thanked Allah in my mind. The food is not pre-made there. If you order food then they will make it. So without any delay, we ordered our food. The girls were taking pictures of themselves. Faraby and Shoumik were taking the pictures of them. Some were swinging on a swing tied to trees and some were in the hammock. After a while, everyone came to the loft and sat down. Half an hour later someone came and informed that the food had been served on the table. I wished to sit like that for a while longer. The food arrangement was pretty good but I didn’t get any taste. Just swallowed everything. Fever and cold makes everything tasteless to me. After the lunch, we sat down in another loft. It was more beautiful than the previous one. We could see the whole lake from there. Everyone was sitting quietly listening to music. “Amare vashte dio, ekla akash e…”(Let me sail to the lonely sky…) – the waves were crashing on the shore and was making sound. If only the time would have stopped there. Just at the junction of sky and water. In the middle of the mountains from both sides. May be with the life of a carpenter or a fisherman. I would spent lazy time with them while throwing fishnet in the water, I would make friends with the nature!
“Brother, get up. If you don’t start kayaking now, it will be too late. We have to leave the place before evening. If an elephant comes down on the way from the mountain, it will be a problem” – I was told. So we had to start kayaking. As if we were floating in an infinite blue water. I did not realize that it would give so much joy. Shoumik and Sabbir did well in kayaking – although luck was on their side as Mitul kept the direction right. We lost our way and went the other way. Time was short. Soon it would get dark around. Then that amazing beauty would seem frightful. I got Mitul’s call and finally we were able to return on time. Then without any delay we left the resort and took the way back. We were going while looking at the moon on one side and setting sun on the other through the gap between the dense trees. There was some fear and excitement because of the wild elephants.
Without facing any problem, we arrived at River View Park. There, leaving the lake aside, with biscuits and coffee chat went for a while. We can never forget how well the owner of the park, Aqeed vai entertained us. Yaseen at some point went and brought the bus ticktes. At the last moment we flew two lanterns with the permission of Aqeed vai. Allah did not leave any wish unfulfilled. In the middle of our dinner, Aqeed vai called and asked the supervisor Monir to come and pick us up from there. At half past eight, we were standing at the park gate waiting for the bus to come. Aqeed vai bade farewell and Monir vai welcomed us. I don’t know the words to describe the pain of coming back. Again lost in our busy life. Commenting on social media and raising a storm of words in the inbox. But what about those smiling faces? At one point sleep came over in my tired eyes. Some lines from a poem by Robert Frost came in my mind as I fell asleep –
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep…
Here I am trying to tell you how to reach there and details about the cost in a short description. We were 11 in number so the cost as follows –
Starting From Dhaka :
*) There are number of buses who directly give the service departed from Sayedabad and Panthapath, Dhaka. From Panthapath, it is available only after 8 pm. But from Sayedabad you can find them in several times. Note that it is good to have the return ticket in advance.
*) I did not mention the cost and details of the meals because it varies from person to person. You have to order the details about your meal for Shanto sir’s cottage and the Berannye lake Shore Café. They served a good quality food that you will like.
*) There are several resorts which provide kayaking. We did it almost the same place as Berannye Lake Shore Café. One kayak board for two person cost 250 BDT and for three person it cost 350.
*) We ate our dinner in River View Park, Kaptai. It is a good place to spent some quality time.
Perfect time to visit :
Rainy season is the perfect time to visit the waterfall in kaptai or Rangamati. Specifically June to October is the time you make plan in between.
Help Contact :
Shanto Sir : +880 184 0828086(Cottage)
Nittaranjan Das : +880 155 8121103(Boat)
Berannye Lake Shore Café : +880 173 2332819
Date we visited : November 9, 2019