Crossing the Padma, Highlight of the Kolkata – Dhaka Bus Journey
Crossing the Padma
Highlight of the Kolkata – Dhaka Bus Journey
I was delighted to receive the invitation from Wikimedia Bangladesh to attend the 10th anniversary celebration of Bengali Wikipedia in Dhaka.
But I was a little disappointed as the invitation provided for land transport instead of air transport.
But road transport has its own share of charm and the famous zoologist George Schaller points it out “A fast approach by plane robs the journey of anticipation; a slow approach by road always begins with the hope of a pleasure trip, and continues with the hope of simply reaching the destination.“
There are two road options between Kolkata and Dhaka, bus and train and after a long discussion with fellow wikipedian Biswariup Ganguly we decided to take the Kolkata – Dhaka Bus.
The main reason was that there was a rail bridge on the Padma but no road bridge but the vehicles were ferried across the river on huge barges. flat bottom boats, built for river and canal transport of heavy goods, thus providing ample opportunities for photography.
The Padma crossing is the highlight of the 380 km (12 hours) journey between Kolkata and Dhaka along the Asian Highway 1 (AH1).
The river crossing takes place at the junction of Padma (Ganges) and Jamuna (Branbhaputra) rivers and betwwe the two ferry ghats of Daulatdia and Paturia.
Daulatdia, have the notorious distinction of houses the largest brothel in the world, is located on the western bank of the river and is just south of the historic ferry ghat of Goalundo.
Goalundo famous for the Goalundo Steamer Chicken Curry, a simple chicken dish once cooked by the ordinary boatmen of the Goalundo Ferry Ghat, has made its way to the top restaurants of the world.
Once the Goalando Ferry Ghat was the hub of river transportation that connected the whole of eastern India.
Once the Goalando Ferry ghat was connected to far of places like Patna (along Padma and Ganga) and Dibrugarh (along Jamuna and Bramhaputra) by river transport.
In 1871 East India Railway opened the line from Kolkata to Goalando from where passengers have to take a ferry to proceed towards Dhaka.
Thus Goalundo became a stopover point for passengers, who relished their taste buds on the Goalundo Steamer Chicken Curry.
Now the Kolkata – Dhaka Maitree Express takes a northern route and crosses the the Padma on Hardinge Bridge and the Jamuna on Bangabandhu Bridge.
Today Goalundo has lost most of its former glory as the road transport crosses the Padma between Daulatdia and Paturia.
As per schedule we were supposed to cross the river at about 4 pm but a long wait at the boarder crossing delayed us over two hours and as we approached the Daulatdia Ferry Ghat we were greeted by a spectacular sun set.
By the time we reached the ferry ghat the sun had already set but the skies were still lit up by the post sunset glow providing us the oppertunity to capture the sight with our cameras.
By the time we set sail for Paturia it was complete darkness robbing us all opportunity of photography. Luckily the return journey compensated for the all the missed photography opportunities.