Dwip Kanya Char Kukri-Mukri on Bay of Bengal attracts visitors
Achintya Mazumder, Bhola
Char Kukri-Mukri, also known as Dwip Kanya on the Bay of Bengal, with its lavish mangrove forest, wildlife and beautiful beaches, attracts tourists from different parts of the country. Once upon a time it was known as the abode of Dutch-Portuguese pirates, but now it has been turned into a tourist attraction of domestic and foreign visitors.
The island is located about 50 kilometre south of the mainland of Bhola district. Here there is no usual noise of a city, no electricity lamp, no rickshaw; there is only nature’s bounty.
According to sources, near about 400/500 years ago, sediments carried out by different rivers from the upstream have accumulated here, turning it into a beautiful island on the Bay of Bengal. The island situated at the Tetulia-Meghna estuary is rich with different wildlife such as cattle, buffaloes, monkeys and other species.
The main attraction of Char Kukri-Mukri is the presence of migratory birds during the winter season. These birds flock in the island marshes, creating a beautiful sight for the tourists coming here. There are two more islands near Char Kukri-Mukri – Char Patila and Dhal Char. There are similar types of natural resources in those islands also. During the winter, several species of deer, birds, teals help develop an enchanting environment for the visitors.
Recently International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified Char Kukri-Mukri as a place of global biodiversity.
Currently the Char Kukri-Mukri union consists of Babuganj, Nabinagar, Rasulapura, Aminapura, Shahbajpur, Muslim Para, Char Patila and Sharif Para areas.
There is about 20km long mangrove forest in the island, and on the western side, there is a 1,696 acre wide garden which is known as Char Jamir. If visitors want to come to Char Jamir and to the eastern and southern sides of Kali Char, they use aquatic vessels.
The local sources said, one of the 48 Mujib Kellas (cyclone shelters built with high soil stacks) under Charfasion upazila is situated at the Kukri garden. The shelter is currently being used as a forest camp. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, during his tenure, built the shelter. This shelter established on 300 acres of land could be a tourist spot.
Deer, monkeys and other different species of the forest gather for sweet water inside the Kella. To observe deer herd, visitors throng Mujib Kella almost everyday. A narrow canal is flowing into the garden entrance. The estuary is only five kilometres away from the Kella while the Kella is four kilometres away from Char Kukri-Mukri market. But there are no connecting roads between the spots. There is only a muddy field to reach the Kella. Another option is waterways.
Some local boatmen Belal Majhi, Mannan Majhi, and Kajol Majhi said, visitors come here during the winter; so the boatmen remain busy during this time of the year.
Assistant Teacher of Shorif Para Primary School Salma Begum at Char Patila village under Char Kukri-Mukri union said, as there is no highland in the forest of Char Patila, the deer herds suffer; sometimes some deer are washed away in the Bay. To preserve the deer herd, a high soil stack should be built, he opined.
Teacher of Char Kukri-Mukri High School Sushen Datta said during winter season, tourists come here by fishing trawlers. As communication is risky due to torrent river in the rainy season, visitors usually do not come here at that time.
Chairman of Char Kukri-Mukri Union Hashem Mohajan said, government has already taken some projects to develop Char Kukri-Mukri as an ideal tourist spot. The Forest Department has a project to build a multi-storied motel here. There will be 30 rooms with central air cooler system, swimming pool, and sports ground. The project work will start from the next month, the chairman informed.
According to the Forest Department, a forest research centre in Char Kukri-Mukri is under process. There are 2,017 hectares of forest area. The main tree is Caraway which has rich economic value. There are also Sundari and Gewa trees. Besides, a forestation project has been started here. Already 10 acres of land has been brought under Sundari tree plantation. About 50,000 seedlings have already been produced. From 1998, a research to make the island habitable for wild animals has begun.
Side by side different animals and birds like deer, monkey, cougar, otter, fox, wild hen, gray peacock, mathura and quail will also increase the attraction of the island. There is also a plan to create abode for wild cats like tiger and lion in future. There are currently 17 forests in Char Kukri-Mukri. Of these, the Char Kukri-Mukri garden has been created on 1,768 acres of land.
Deputy Minister for Environment and Forest Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, MP, said, the government has taken steps to develop the island as one of the major tourist attractions; international level hotel and motel will be built for local and foreign tourists. If communication with the mainland is established, it will attract more visitors, he added.
Edited By: Amader Barisal Desk