Kuakata: The daughter of the ocean (Sagar Kanya)



Kuakata is an exceptionally attractive beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. This placid sandy shore is locally known as the “Daughter of the ocean” (Sagar kanya). Kuakata is in Latachapli union, under Kalapara Police Station of Patuakhali district which is about 30 km in length and 6 km in breadth. It stands in 70 km from Patuakhali district headquarters & 320 km from Dhaka. At Kuakata, there are excellent combination of the picturesque natural beauty, sandy beach, blue sky, huge expanse of water of the Bay and evergreen forest which are really eye-catching.

It is one of the busiest tourist destinations of Bangladesh. That is why there a number of good inns available nearby. This is an uncommon destination in Bangladesh tours and people get to see the unbelievable view of sunrise and sunset in the white sandy shore locality here. Visitors love to glimpse the serene ambience and the rustic enclosures that over ride the sights here.

The name Kuakata originated from the Bengali word kua, which means well & Kata which means digging. It is believed that the early RAKHAIN settlers found it difficult to get fresh drinking water in the place and they had to dig (kata) wells (kuas) to solve the problem. As this place has many wells which are very important for the survival of the people living here, they named it after the wells – “Kuakata”.

Kuakata - a destination in Bangladesh

Kuakata – a destination in Bangladesh

On the eastern end of the beach is Gangamati, an evergreen mangrove forest and snippet of the original Kuakata. Gangamati, like the Sundarbans, offers some protection against tidal surges, however it too is being threatened by logging and deforestation. The best way to reach the forest is by foot or bike along the beach, where a flock of flying fishing boats can be seen trawling the coast. Choosing to visit Gangamati in the late afternoon is a perfect time to watch the sun caste shadows on the abstract exposed mangrove roots.

Word is, about 25 years ago a father and son from Musullipara village went into the deep forest of Gangamati by the Bay of Bengal to collect fuel wood. At one point the duo felt thirsty. Customarily both started to dig the sandy surface with their hands and soon hit something hard. As they removed the sand over a small area, they sensed that they hit something precious for the emerging wooden structure glittered with golden decorative sheets. The duo, with their wood cutting machete dismantled the golden bits and then started to dig further for more. The more they dug, more of the metals emerged from what it looked like a very large wooden boat buried under the sand. As the sun was about to set, both decided to call it a day and left the place promising to return early morning the following day. But the daylight never came for the father and son. During the night both died under mysterious circumstances, prompting widespread gossip. Soon people learnt about the buried boat in the forest laden with gold. The unexplained deaths of the father and son, who had collected “gold” from the mysterious boat, triggered another rumour suggesting that the boat was cursed and haunted. Till today many people in Kuakata believe that anyone trying to explore the gold-laden boat would face the same fate of the father and son. This time, superstition probably saved the ancient relic from being plundered. On June 29 the low tide first exposed the boat on the beach near Gangamati.

‘Rakhine’ tribal families

‘Rakhine’ tribal families

Superficially, harmony appears to be brewing between the Bangladeshis and Rakhines. A government-funded temple is currently under construction, designed to replace the original Buddhist temple that was destroyed during the 1971 cyclone. The temple will house the locally renowned 80 year-old brass-Buddha. The undercurrent however is that of developing tourism rather than cordial indigenous relations. The small Buddhist community nestled within this conservative Islamic belt, offers more than just religious variance.

There is a vast Buddhist figurine here in the state of Misry Para where one can glimpse the highest Buddha Personification of Bangladesh which is approximately 21-foot tall located just 12km from the sandy shore of KuaKata. Kuakata is also a holy target to all Hindus and Buddhists throughout the carnival of ‘Rush Purnima’ and ‘Maghi Purnima’. On these two days, a huge number of devotees appear here to take holy bath in the ocean water and enjoy customary fairs.

The unique custom and costumes of the ‘Rakhine’ tribal families attracts the tourists to visit KuaKata. After sunset visitors proceed to the Rakhine Mohila Market (Women’s) where traditional weaving and different grades of home brewed rice wine produce a unique coastal spirit as one can buy handicrafts and lot of stuffs directly from the indigenous women to ensure his or hers contribution returns to the community.

All these supplementary boasts to panoramic beauty making the sandy shore more appealing to the tourists. One should visit Kuakata and discover the lovely attractiveness of Bangladesh. The best option to travel from Dhaka is the overnight launch departing daily in the evening from Sadarghat to Patuakhali where one can board a local rickety bus to Kuakata, about three hours. Branded as the place ‘where the sun meets the sea,’ Kuakata is veiled by an intriguing cultural diversity. Here the ocean breeze wisps away the heaving insanity of Bangladesh’s bustling development and leaves you wishing you could stay longer.

Shores of Kuakata in Bangladesh

Shores of Kuakata in Bangladesh

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