Sudden Visit to Mymensingh, a City that Contains the Air of Village
The Winter season had just ended. It was the very beginning of Spring though there were still the feel of Winter outside Dhaka. I was planning to visit Mymensingh for a long time but unfortunately, it was just in the plan. Finally, I took the action to visit. Luckily, I have a brother who has just finished his Masters in Bangladesh Agricultural University(BAU), Mymensingh.
Although Mymensingh is the capital of the Mymensingh Division of Bangladesh, it is not a much-visited city as far as I know. So, I visited the city without any expectation as It was just a plan to visit all the remarkable cities of my own country, not to see any particular thing. I visited there just see the city, the livelihood of people and some unknown but remarkable places. The city is located on the Brahmaputra River, not very far from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
Train From Dhaka to Mymensingh
I bought a ticket for train Tista that left the Airport Railway station at 8:00 AM. It was quite an early morning for me as I am not an early bird. To my surprise, when I got out of the home to reach the station I found Dhaka already well awaken. Dhaka is another city that doesn't sleep. The train was on time, it was leaving Dhaka behind and instead of using any smart device I kept my eye opened looking outside through the window beside me. As soon as the train passes the busy atmosphere of Dhaka, the weather got changed! Seems like outside of Dhaka was still sleeping, there was still fogs out there to cover the asleep trees and grass from our sight. I was having a feeling of going near nature to breathe natural air...
The train reached Mymensingh station at around 11:00 AM being almost 40 minutes late. I think this delay was due to fogs on the road. By the way, my brother was standing in the station to receive me. This was the starting of mission Mymensingh!
Bangladesh Agricultural University(BAU)
From the station, we went straight to BAU, one of the biggest agricultural universities in Asia. The university is so big that I don't have enough time to visit even just interesting things about the university on foot. Therefore, we took the traditional vehicle of Bangladesh, rickshaw. We visited places like Fish Museum Biodiversity Center(FMBC), the road that contains lines of mango trees in two sides then blackberry trees then litchi trees!
The road is amazing. We visited different faculties of the university. My brother showed me how all the faculties are smartly interconnected with each other. Even if there is rain you can go one faculty to another faculty easily through those connecting pathways. There is a platform inside the university which is not active currently, we spent some time sitting around there. We drank grape juice in a popular place among the students called Jabbar's point. After all, the university is so nice and big that it made me feel like a little student who can learn a lot of things from there.
The Botanical garden is maintained by the university as it is a part of BAU. Being a computer engineer I was not much fascinated about different types of trees in the botanical garden. The enthusiasm in the eyes of my younger brother made me think again! He is a student of Agroforestry, as a result, he knows a lot of things about trees. Some of the information was amazing. I was just fortunate to have him beside me!
From the university we left for Shoshi Lodge, also know as Mymensingh Rajbari. The founder of this original Rajbari was Surjo Kanto Acharjo Chowdhury and named it the name of his adopted son Shoshi Kanto Acharjo Chowdhury. But the original building was destroyed in 1897 by Earthquake. Then it was reconstructed by his Son Shoshi Kanto Acharjo Chowdhury. Currently, there is a museum inside the Building. Beside the pond on the backside of the building is nice including the old walls of the boundaries.
Zinul Abedin Park & Brahmaputra River
After visiting Shoshi Lodge we started walking towards Alexander Castle. Alexander Castle is one of the most amazing and renowned structures in Mymensingh District. It was built by Maharaja Surjo Kanto Acharajo Chowdhury in 1879 in the memory of the 1st Zilla magistrate of Mymensingh Mr. N .S Alexander at the time of Jubilee festival. This structure is not properly being maintained anymore, but still, it was nice to see. We went to Zinul Abedin Park. The best thing about the park is that we can see the beautiful river Brahmaputra while walking alongside the park! As the winter just ended, there was not much water in the river. The Brahmaputra is a trans-boundary river which flows through China, India and Bangladesh. We had the chance to have a journey by boat in the famous Brahmaputra River. Though the journey by boat is not a new thing for me, I enjoyed it a lot.
Zinul Abedin Art Gallery(Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala)
Zainul Abedin was a Bangladeshi painter. He became well known in 1944 through his series of paintings depicting some of the great famines in Bengal during its British colonial period. After the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, he moved to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In 1948, he helped to establish the Institute of Arts and Crafts (now Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Dhaka. He is a pride for us(Bangladeshi People). His art gallery is just beside the Zinul Abedin Park. It was evening by then when we entered into the art gallery. Though I don't have much knowledge about paintings, still I can understand the paintings painted by him were the reflection of his time in this part of the world. Those paintings were a telescope for us to see the tragic past. After visiting the art gallery it was dark out there. We went to Ananda Mohon College, one of the oldest educational institutes in Bangladesh.
Muktagacha Jomidar Bari & Monda
We started our journey from Mymensingh early in the next morning. From the town hall of Mymensingh, we hired a CNG to go to Muktagacha. Muktagacha upazilla is 16KM west to the Mymensingh Sada upazilla. It was Sunday and the Jomidar Bari (Jomidar's House) was closed that day. We requested the guards to enter into Jamidar Bari saying that we had come a long way from Dhaka to visit this house. They kindly allowed us to enter! This jomidar bari was bigger than the jomidar bari(Shoshi Lodge) in Mymensingh. We both were happy to visit the palace. Now comes the time for world-famous Monda(a type of sweets) of Muktagacha. It was quite fascinating to taste Monda of Muktagacha for the first time. The taste was amazing, I won't forget this taste any time soon. After having monda, I took my way back to busy Dhaka.
Though trying the food is not the intention of visiting a place, I always try to taste the special foods of the visiting places. We had our launch in Spice Klub on the first day, then we had a special kind of sweets(Sondesh) made of Date Palm Jaggery as our desert in Doyamon Mistanno Vandar. The taste of these Sondesh was exceptional.
We had Jhalmuri made with achar in front of Ananda Muhon College which is also special. At night, we had our dinner in Nababiyana which was not much remarkable though the food was good enough. Finally, the most remarkable item was Monda of Muktagacha! I believe the taste of food varies from person to person, so don't expect that the food I have mentioned will also bring the same experience for you.
The experience of visiting a new place depends on so many things! I didn't have much expectation about Mymensingh as the city is not in the top list of travelers. The truth is, there is not much attraction for travelers. But if you are tired of overcrowded cities like Dhaka, then Mymensingh can be a good choice to get some fresh air. Visiting the Agricultural University, Botanical Garden, Brahmaputra River, Zinul Abedin Art Gallery, Muktagacha and eating some really tasty and famous food item can be a relief from the busy life. I am happy that I have visited Mymensingh, one of the most traditional cities in Bangladesh.