Kuakata: The goldmine of majestic beauty

Patuakhali, a district under Barisal division is in South-western part of Bangladesh is a land composed of alluvial soil of the Meghna basin and of a number of char lands. The main and majestic tourist attraction in Patuakhali is the historical Kuakata sea beach. The southern district is bounded by Barisal sadar on the north, Bay of Bengal on the south, Bhola on the east and Barguna on the west. Kuakata, the second largest tourist centre of the country is called ‘The daughter of the sea’ for the beauty of both the sun rise and sun set from the same beach. Natural catastrophe like cyclones, floods and tornadoes are common phenomenon that hit the region almost every year as it is situated in the vulnerable coastal belt. The most important and exciting travel destinations here are Buddhist Temple, Mog and Chakma tribal villages etc. about which we will discuss.

Spot light on Kuakata:
At the historical sanatorium of Kuakata, excellent blending of the picturesque, eternal and perpetual natural beauty, white sandy beach, blue sky, huge expanse of the Bay of Bengal, evergreen trees and forests are not only eye-catching but also heart touching. From its long natural and unbroken seashore a tourist can easily watch the rare panoramic view and beauty of both the sunrise and sunset. The coconut trees and adjacent bushes upsurge the scenic beauty of this uncommon majestic seashore. Kuakata, locally known as ‘Sagar Kannya’ (virgin daughter of the sea) is a rare scenic beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. Kuakata is situated in Latachapli union under Kalapara police station of Patuakhali district. The renowned tourist and sanatorium resort of Kuakata famed for its spectacular sea beach. It is about 330 km away from the capital city of Dhaka. With the unending expanse of natural beauty and unique in immense tourist potential- the real worth and the eternal hidden beauty of Kuakata still remains mostly unexplored.
With the perpetual majestic view of the Bay of Bengal on one side and the well-set columns of charming coconut groves and forest on the other, Kuakata is really an earthly paradise and a unique tourist attraction. The vast and evergreen green leaves of coconut trees always dance in uninterrupted cool breeze blowing from the sea. Scores of fishing trawlers are anchored in pensive sleepy mood and silence. The inexpressible beauty of Kuakata is as such that it is not an easy task to draw an exact picture of it.

Virgin beach:
Kuakata is truly a virgin beach, a sanctuary for migratory winter birds, wild animals, a series of trees mostly betel nut and coconut, dry sandy beach, the blue Bay, and a unique feast for the eyes. Trawlers, fishing boats ply all over the Bay of Bengal with various colorful sails, towering and the surfing silver waves touches tourists’ emotion. Exclusive traditional customs and costumes of the people of ‘Rakhyne’ tribal families who are hardworking and active and the artistic almost a century-old Buddhist Temple specify the ancient inheritance and multi-cultural heritage of this area which are really objects of wonder and pleasure. Kuakata is indeed the abode of pilgrimage of the Hindu and mainly the Buddhist communities. Innumerable devotees arrive here every year from far and near to visit places of religious importance during the traditional festival of ‘Rush Purina’ and ‘Maghi Purnima’ responding to their sacred religious zeal.

On the occasion of these two festivals they take holy bath here and attend colorful traditional fairs that are held simultaneously to mark the occasion. All these activities and additional offers add to the panoramic beauty of this land and make the beach more befitting, gorgeous and enjoyable to the tourist. One who is interested to enjoy the beauty of Bangladesh can visit Kuakata and discover its real majestic beauty.
The author is a freelance writer, professionally engaged in telecom services & interested in tourism & social welfare

The painful experience of a sojourner to Kuakata is transportation. There exists partially smooth road communication between Dhaka and Patuakhali district headquarters with disruption of frequent uneven pot holes. One has to go to Barisal first for Kuakata. Barisal is accessible by road, water or air transport. Then travellers can choose either journey by road or water to Kuakata. Also from Dhaka one can move direct to Patuakhali by bus & from there they can reach Kuakata by microbus available at rent. It is, however, desirable that one travel up to Patuakhali direct by waterways (launch), which is an overnight pleasant journey if it is in a luxury cabin, and one can also enjoy the unique view of rivers at night. Instead of going to Patuakhali, one can go to Khepupara by launch, which is also an overnight journey and from Khepupara it is possible to go to Kuakata by microbus. A direct BRTC bus service is also available from Dhaka to Kuakata that leaves from Sayedabad bus terminal at night. It takes 12 hours to reach Kuakata if the service is a nonstop one. But this might turn to be a hectic bus journey because of two ferries. One is over the mighty river Lebukhali.
Winter is the best time for making a tour to Kuakata. But all over the year tourists visit this place. In Kuakata tourists can visit the lifestyle of tribal ‘Rakhain’ people. They are very friendly to tourists but often conservative in their propensity. Various handicrafts made by this tribal people are also sold in Kuakata. Misripara and Keranipara are nearest Rakhine villages from the Kuakata beach. All these villages are the exclusive areas where tribal people reside. Travellers may visit a 100-years old Buddhist temple at keranipara named Seema Mandir. Seema Mandir is made of eight different metals.
Tourists can visit the Buddhist temple about four km off from Kuakata town, where the statue of Goutom Buddha (biggest of its kind in South Asia) and two 200 year-old wells. There’s an interesting popular tale behind the name of this place. Local name of these wells are ‘Kua’ and ‘Kata’. Kuakata district is believed named over these two famous wells. Village of the fisherman is another attractive place where one can also visit and watch the poverty stricken but contented and ever struggling lifestyle of the fisherman in the coastal region of Bangladesh.
Adventurous-minded travellers may also go for fishing on the fishing boat if they can manage local fishermen. This will give them extra pleasure and a thrilling experience, which they won’t be able to enjoy anywhere else in the country. In the village of the fisherman they will find the fisherman coming back from fishing and tourists can purchase some fresh Hilsha and other sea-fishes from them if they wish. And by the side of the village there are some local restaurants from where visitors can get the taste and flavour of fried fresh Hilsha and other sea fishes. Taste of fresh Hilsha at Kuakata is worth remembering because of its unique taste and flavour. From Kuakata there is a scope to visit a fragment of the great and evergreen Sundarban mangrove forest, which is called Gangamoti Reserve Forest. It is an hour speedboat journey. Kuakata was once a part of the Sundarban forest when the Rakhyne community settled in 1784 after the Mughals drove them out of Arakan in Myanmar. Basically, Gangamati Reserved Forest is the additional part of the Sundarban forest in Bangladesh. This forest belt protects the coast of Kuakata against tidal surges. This part of the forest provides an opportunity to tourists for enjoying the beauty of this unique forest. There are many types of trees and plants in this part of the forest including keora, gewa, baen, kankra, goran, hetal, golpata and also wild animals including wild bear, deer, monkey and different species of birds are available in this forest. Gangamotir Lake is another attractive tourists spot. Fatrar’s Char is also another enchanting tourist place nearby Kuakata which is almost difficult to avoid during the tour.

Striking features:
The most striking feature of the tour to Kuakata is beautiful view of both the sunrise and sunset enjoyable from the same place. It is a unique opportunity for tourists in the globe. No other place in Bangladesh as well as over the world can boast of such a rare panoramic natural beauty. Kuakata is one of the rarest places, which has the unique advantage for witnessing the full view of the rising and setting of crimson sun in the golden water of the Bay of Bengal in a serene environment of eternal solitude. This perhaps makes Kuakata one of the world’s unique beaches. The long and wide beach at Kuakata has a typical natural setting. Sandy beach of Kuakata has gentle slopes into the Bay of Bengal and bathing there is safe and pleasant as is rambling and diving in sea shore.

Jhaoubon at Kuakhata:
Jhaubon is a very beautiful place at Kuakata and it is close to the sea beach. Trees have been planted by the forest department for the beautification as well as protection of the beach against soil erosion along the coast line. Tourists can visit the panaromic view of the artificial forest while walking in the gentle breeze. Jhau bon is surrounded by both Jhau trees and coconut trees. This place is also convenient for enjoying unique view of sunrise and sunset.
There is a nice ecopark at Jhaubon area of Kuakata. This ecopark is an excellent spot for picnic or excursion. It is located about 2.5 kilometres east of the zero point of Kuakata. Coastal Forest Department in Patuakhali has constructed this ecopark. This park is surrounded by both mangrove and non-mangrove forests.
There are many types of trees and plants in this park and it is a safe haven of birds with over 42000 plants species. There are two watch towers, five picnic sheds, a wooden bridge, culvert, and internal walkways in the park.
Shutki polli is another place at Kuakata where tourist can visit. It is located 4 kilometre west from Kuakata beach. Tourists can purchase quality dried sea fishes free from preservatives from nearby firms. On the way to Lebur bon/Lebur Chor one can visit shutki polli as well. From Shutki polli one can also get the experience about how to make dry fish (shutki). Visitors can witness the full process of making dry fish and gather the idea how pure they are. Lebur Chor located five kilometre east of Kuakata beach. This area comprising about 1000 acres of land and it is locally known as Lembur Chor or Nembur Chor.
There are many types of trees and plants in this char like keura, geowa, goran, koroi, golpata etc. Lebur Char once was a part of the Sundarbans but it is now detached from the Sundarbans; it is situated near Kuakata and easily accessible to travellers.
Narikel Bagan (coconut gardens) is at the walking distance and it is situated at the east of the sea beach. This is a nice place to visit as well. According to the local people, these coconut gardens are more than 40 years old and they are covering a large area. Narikel bagan, however, is on the verge of destruction now and deserve steps for protection from the authorities concerned. Another lovely place of Kuakata is ‘Kakra Beach’ (lobster beach), which is very clean & beautiful with specialty of having thousands of small lobsters running and roaming around all over the beach.

Hotels and accommodation facilities:
Because of the high importance as a sanatorium and one of the top destinations in Bangladesh for tourists from home and abroad, Kuakata, by this time, has become successful in drawing the attention of investors. There are a good number of hotels, motels, rest houses, and holiday homes in the beach area developed at private and government initiatives to meet the demand of thousands of visitors both domestic and foreign. There are facilities of accommodation for the middle income groups, as well as for the upper class. And also there are arrangements for low priced accommodation. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has constructed a luxury holiday home at Kuakata for making stay of the tourists comfortable. Currently, Kuakata has got a new life with both public and private investments in various sectors for massive development and extension of tourism facilities.
The people are hopeful that the authorities concerned will take a master plan for the development of Kuakata as a tourism city. Tourism is a vibrant sector in the globe. Kuakata bears enormous potential for playing a vital role in the economy. Concerned quarters have to explore its tourism resources. The Kuakata sea beach holds the nature’s abundant gift of rare goldmine of eternal beauty and most of its potentials and worth, however, remains still unexplored. Let us look forward to the best for Kuakata.
The author is a freelance writer, professionally engaged in telecom services & interested in tourism & social welfare