Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Up north - Jaflang

One of the highlights was the visit to Jaflang, close to the India border and on the Jaflang River. It was a bizarre place where the river had almost become a desert with huge piles of sand resembling sand dunes. Scattered in between were pools of water while the river still meandered a narrow course in between. Many, many Bangladeshis in their best saris wandered the sand or sat aboard one of the wooden boats and cruised the waterway or crossed to the Khasi village on the other side. We joined them and took the ride to the other side too. However, one fo the most amazinf sights amid the sand dunes of the river bed was to see people digging deep holes into the sand, then seiving the sand and stones to separate the stones that are then sorted into different sizes. Such is the shortage of stone and gravel in Bangladesh. Here is a picture of the workers digging and sieving.The scary thing is that the people work in this environment for 12 hours a day for just 100 Taka, just over a dollar a day!
Obviously used to Bangladesh tourists wandering around, these childen came to peer at the pale strangers that had ventured far into rura Bangladesh.
Besides stones, the area is also known for colourful weaving with a number of stalls on the river edge selling large bedspreads/bed covers that could be purchased for 500 Taka. Did I buy? No as I already have a number but some of the others in the group with me did. Here are the stall sellers showing off their wares.
Close to India - that bridge spanning the gorge is in India, so yes. Unfortunately a visa is required to cross so I couldn't do so this time. This photo also shows the mountains that form the backgrop to this border town.

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