Pohela Boishakh

Suvo Noboborsho!!(A Happy New Year!)
April 14th is Pohela Boishakh, Bengali New Year.
The day is the first day of Bengali calendar, and celebrated throughout the country.
It became 1421.

Last year on April 14th, I was in hospital suffering from fever.
So this time, I tried my best to enjoy this important holiday.

Not like December 31th, the new year starts with sunrise.
My colleague advised me to visit Ramna park in the early morning.
Many cultural events take place there.

I got up at 6 a.m.
Red & white are the colors for the day.
I wore red color saree because it was the only one which includes red.
(It still takes long time, but I can manage to wear saree now..)

Leaving home, I found door of landlord opened.
"Good morning, Shuvo noboborsho!"
They offered me New Year's breakfast, but unfortunately I didn't have time.

There wasn't jam in the morning, so it didn't take long time to go there.
However, roads were closed in the area.
Getting off the bus, and found a Rikshaw puller.....
With hat!
I was excited at the atmosphere of festival.

Girls wore red & white saree.
Going forward, then I found long line to enter the area.
Police officers were giving sweet to people.
Sweet white stuff....not too sweet, "so so" I would say.
But giving sweet to people is lovely idea.
Then passing the gate,
Got in the park.
Kids were playing,
People are sitting and talking,
There was music, but concert would start later.
Getting out from the park, many shops were on the street.
Toy like whistle was sold, and people blew loudly.
I wondered if it wasn't too much volume for themselves.

Anyway, my next mission is to have typical breakfast for New Year, "Panta Bhat" and "Ilish(Hilsa) fish".
Panta bhat is "water rice" in direct translation.
It is originally eaten in village.
leftover rice was soaked in water to be kept cool, and be prevented spoiling during hot summer season.
Village people have it with salt, onion and chili.

Ummm............but wouldn't it be spoiled faster if you pour water??
But as people used to do it, maybe it is true....

Anyway, it became the typical food for Boishakh breakfast.
I am in doubt if panta bhat is tasty, but I have to try.
I asked around restaurants on the street, and finally found.

So let's eat.
Panta bhat came with fried Illish fish, fried eggplant, bodda(mashed vegetable), and chili.
Looks normal......

However, water was found slightly in the plate.
You can see more clearly in the big pot.
This is Panta bhat!!
Taste is......"rice in water".
Not really my favorite, but my Japanese friend liked it.

Around 11 a.m, rally started.
Rally takes place to wish peaceful, fruitful year.
There are symbol for the year, and duck and owl are ones for this year.
Umm....too much people.
If you miss rally, you can visit faculty of art in Dhaka university to see the work.
This is work by students.
There were many people inside the campus.
There were also many people taking pictures.
As Japanese pint of view, their pose is.....surprising.

I planned to leave a bit earlier, but I stayed there whole morning.
Walking in crowd under sun exhausted me.
It is very vibrant, lively event.....but you have to prepare yourself before getting into the crowd!

After walking around, I and my friends visited Bangali friend's home.
Actually, my friend's friend.
Even though I have never seen him, he and his family warmly welcomed us, and treated very well.
Panta bhat, Illish fish, Potato bodda were served.
Biscuit which looks like leaf is sweet.
This sweet is available everywhere on the day.
At super market, a corner is for New Year's sweet.
I was exhausted, but New Year's Day hadn't finished.
My friend invited me to "Boishakh Buffet Dinner" at Ascott Hotel in Baridhara.
Restraints and Hotels hold the Boishakh fair, so it is also one choice to visit one of them.

Terrace seat felt good at night.
Live folk songs were played in front.
As we sat, traditional mango drink was served as welcome drink.
It was a bit sour.
Juice is made of Mango, salt, and chili.....chili again!
But wasn't bad.
Bengali food was available.

Harim, soup and variety of curry....illish of course, chicken, beef, shrimp...e.t.c.
I don't eat beef much in Bangladesh, but the beef was very soft!

Of course, dessert is for New Year's Day.
Walking in crowd and feeling live atmosphere was good.
However, setting at terrace and having dinner with music is definitely lovely.
I couldn't see any last year, but I saw twice as much in this year.
(Though I was tired twice as much.....)
April 14th is one of the best time to visit Bangladesh.
Come to celebrate New Year's Day in 1422!
(Though I am not here..)



I have been planning to visit Narayaganji for almost a year.......and finally visited last weekend.
Why didn't I?
I think I had been lazy.

Narayaganji is about 30km south from Dhaka, famous for garment industry.
I looked for tourist attractions since it is decent distance for a day trip from Dhaka.
My colleague lives there, so he told me that he would show me around and invited his house as well.

I took bus from Glistan in the morning.
It took about an hour to get Chashara, the center of Narayaganj.
Bus ride should be around 30 minutes, but local bus I took went slooooow.
If you don't like bus, train is also one choice.

These days it is hot.
We met up(one another colleague joined) and at first went to his home.
His wife prepared snacks at 11am.
Coming from outside, water melon, pickles, orange, pineapple with fresh mango juice were perfect.
Doesn't it look pretty?
Playing with his kids, taking pictures....and then, start for Narayaganj excursion!

The first place we have visited is "Hajiganj Fort".
Once the place was bank of river, and the fort was built against pirate during Mughal era.
Inside is now playground for boys.
The remain of building in the left side of above picture was watchtower.
 Remain of stairs.......training for solders was given here, too.
 The holes on the wall.
What is interesting is 1hole has 3 holes outside.
Difficult to explain, if you look into a hole you will see 3. 
There was a big mango tree.
Can you see a boy on the tree? It is very high!
I would love to climb up....but didn't bother to say it. 
It was very peaceful place.
Isn't it pretty kids picking up mango and playing cricket in the ruin?

Then, we moved to river side.
The small port is Hajiganj port.
 You will find traditional Bangladeshi boat as well as engine boat.
 The purpose crossing river is to see this mosque.
It is quite a big mosque.
Wash my hands and feet, went up stairs.
Footprint of Prophet is preserved in this mosque.

On the way back, we had "Bakorkani" which is originally famous in Old Dhaka.
Light and crispy, easy snack.
It is only available in Dhaka and surrounding area.
this is salty

this one is sweet.
On the way back, we took the traditional boat.
My colleague told me to cover my hair.....
"woman who was married goes back to her father's home by a boat"
This is a kind of typical scenery in Bangladesh.

Do I look like Bangladeshi?

Lunch was at the restaurant on the boat.
 It was owned by Bangaldesh Tourism corporation, but now private operates.
He ordered Bangladeshi food for me, but somehow it came out Chinese style....
But anyway, it was good.
This is "Bhorta".
Paste of boiled vegetable and dried fish cooked with spices.
Potato is typical for Bhorta, but I had eggplant and cilantro leaf.
It was first time for me.

Our lunch was nearly 4 p.m.
After finishing lunch at 4p.m, I got on the way....but then another colleague with us invited to his home.

We were full including him, but he offered tea, fruit, cookies....
He, his wife, son and daughter welcomed.
I uploaded some pictures of food because I want to show how Bengali people treat guest.
You really can not leave Bengali's home without having tea.
Not only tea, but in all the ways, their hospitality for guest is incredible!

It was whole day programme.
I was very tired indeed, but good weekend.
If you feel like to go somewhere outside of Dhaka, Narayaganj is one choice though it is better if you have any friend there!