A Wonderful Day at Mymensingh

Muktagacha Palace, Mymensingh, Bangladesh

I was looking for an opportunity to step out of my monotonous routine. Traveling has become my passion in recent years and I try to mingle with people who are attached to the habit of roaming around. On 23rd September of the year 2016, I took the opportunity of visiting Mymensingh City. It was a wonderful day at Mymensingh city. To begin, we can go through some vital information about the city. Mymensingh (/maɪmɛnsiːŋ/) is a beautiful city in Mymensingh District. The district is positioned in the central region of Bangladesh and ideally situated at the bank of Brahmaputra. The Brahmaputra gives the city a special flavor. Like many others, I believe that a place is only as good as the people who live in the place. The people of Mymensingh value education and precisely because of the reason the city is known for educational institutions like Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh Medical College, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensingh Engineering College, Mymensingh Ananda Mohan College, Mymensingh Zilla School, Mymensingh Girls’ Cadet College, Mymensingh Muminunnesa Women’s College, Vidyamoyee Govt. Girls’ High School, Mymensingh Polytechnic Institute, Women Teachers Training College, Mymensingh Engineering College, Notre Dame College Mymensingh and Shahid Syed Nazrul Islam College etc. The city is located about 120 kilometers north of Dhaka.

Dhaka to Mymensingh Bus Route
Dhaka to Mymensingh Bus Route (Mohakhali Bus Stop – Maskanda Bus Stop)

I failed to manage a ticket for any train to Mymensingh and decided to travel by bus. However, I managed to reserve the return ticket of Agnibina Express online. The route to Mymensingh is quite straightforward as illustrated on the Google Map above. However, I did not have any idea what was waiting for me. I would have avoided bus journeys on the route. On the evening of 22nd September, I got on a bus of SHOUKHIN Paribahan from Mohakhali Bus Stand. I was informed about the bus service by my host Sajedul Islam and he warned me about the poor records of some services. I did not have much of a choice as I reached the station late after saying the evening prayer.

The journey was boring and I felt exasperated. It was Thursday evening and the outbound traffic of Dhaka city was beyond control. It did cost us about three hours to cover a distance of about 36 kilometers from Mohakhali to Gazipur. On a normal day, the distance could be covered in about one and a half hour. After passing busy traffic of Gazipur, we felt relieved and the rest of the journey was soothing.

We reached Mymensingh just after midnight. The place where the bus concluded the trip is called Maskanda, and I felt thankful as my hosts of Mymensingh Polytechnic Institute literally rushed to the bus stop to pick me. The hosts were so amiable and friendly that I forgot the straits of five long-lasting hours. The dinner reminded me of my solitary years in Chittagong. It was tin-shed building, a makeshift private dormitory for 16 young engineers of Mymensingh Polytechnic Institute (MPI). I lived under similar conditions in Chittagong city for almost six years. I felt nostalgic and admired the dedication of the future engineers. Their enthusiasm and hospitality elated my soul.

Being tired, I settled down quickly on the single bed of Apan Chandra Shaha, the amazing CSE guy from MPI. I even forgot to ask him whether there was another place where he would be able to sleep that night. How thoughtful of me! He took so much trouble for me in the few hours I stayed in Mymensingh that I got a complete picture of the people of Mymensingh in a day. The next day was Friday — the official weekend. I got up late and kept pushing my hosts to get ready for our special tour. Sajedul, Apan and Emamul Hasan Shifat (another radiant youth from Electrical department of MPI) accompanied me throughout the day. We started with Mymensingh Medical College and the adjacent Medical College Hospital. I have been to a few public hospitals before but the maintenance and texture of Mymensingh Medical College Hospital impressed me a lot. The garden within the hospital compound is captivating. We came across Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Science, a special organization that works under Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission.

Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Mymensingh
INMAS, Mymensingh

We took light refreshments in the hospital canteen (where special chairs are reserved for doctors). You have to appreciate the taste of the locals. I loved the chairs and felt sad that I never tried seriously for medical sciences. Alexander Castle Mymensingh and Ashraf AhmedOur next destination was Alexander Castle, the present library of Higher Secondary Teachers Training Institute, Mymensingh. We took a few snaps of the dilapidated building. The building was built in 1879 and it is still intact. I made my presence public using the “check in” feature of Facebook. It would have been great to have a look at the books preserved in the library. But it was a holiday after all and I had to move on quickly. Our next destination was Shoshi Lodge (Women Teachers Training College), a beautiful structure stationed close the office of District Commissioner of Mymensingh district. The gardeners were working on the resplendent garden when we walked in. The place radiates energy. It has to be the perfect place for training teachers who build our society and enlighten young minds. We took some blissful selfies before leaving the place. Shifat and Apan disappeared for a while as we explored the surroundings of Shoshi Lodge and DC office. The regional post office is also located in the area. We took lemon tea at a local shop. Oh! I would not forget the taste of the tea for a while. I wish I were a regular client of the tea-stall.

In the meantime, we decided to go to the Zamindar’s Palace located at Muktagacha, a suburb of Mymensingh city. It took a 30-minute ride by a three-wheeler to reach Muktagacha. On the way, we caught the sight of Mymensingh Divisional Stadium (Rafiq Uddin Bhuiyan Stadium) and Mymensingh Engineering College. The time of special Friday prayer was approaching. The security guards at the gate of Rajbari did not allow us to go in and advised us to go after the prayer time. We went to the local mosque and listened to the sermon of the Imam attentively. The preacher was an old man but he was full of enthusiasm. His explained a few misconceptions of our society giving examples from his own experience as an adolescent. The speech itself would suffice for all the troubles I faced to visit Mymensingh. The approach of an Imam tells a lot about a society and the beliefs of a community. I felt refreshed after the prayer. All on a sudden, it started drizzling. When we entered the famous palace, the sky started to smile again. We took mesmerizing photographs of the palace. If you go through the pictures available on Internet, you will be disappointed. However, I cannot resist the temptation to give you the good news. The renovation works are in progress. You will discover the palace in a better condition the next time you visit the palace.

Inside Muktagacha Zamindar's PalacePassing some memorable moments at the palace, we decided to have the famous dessert of the locality — Monda. The ancient dessert shop of Gopal Paul (where the dessert is prepared originally) was established back in 1824. The sweets are unquestionably the best I have ever had. S0 delicious! It was time to return to the city and visit some other remarkable places. We had our lunch at a restaurant named

It was time to return to the city and visit some other remarkable places. We had our lunch at a restaurant named Pinaki near the town hall. The food was decent and we left the place in a satisfied state. Apan left us just after we reached the city and promised to meet us at Bangladesh Agricultural University campus. The most amazing part of the day was waiting for me. We passed the Circuit House and walked to Zainul Abedin Park. The park is on the bank of Brahmaputra. You can hire a boat and enjoy your time. The park was crowded as it was the weekend. I have never seen suck an organized park in my life. At the entrance, you will find a famous restaurant named Sarinda, and the park includes all the amenities you might want. We crossed the park and visited Zainul Abedin Museum. The famous paintings, photographs and other memorials of Zainul Abedin kept us engaged for a while. We had to give up the plan of visiting the botanical garden of Bangladesh Agricultural University. It was a great loss but we could not help it. The weather also turned against us. As soon as we left the park arena, it started to rain cats and dogs. I was supposed to catch a train, and the rain would not allow us to move.

The exciting day came to an abrupt end as rain poured heavily. Sajedul and Apan helped me to reach the railway station on time. They ran around to find my allotted seat. I must say that their hospitality moved me beyond my wildest imagination. I was tempted to stay another day against all the odds. My return journey by train was uneventful. I reached Dhaka Airpor Railway Station at 11.15 PM. Compared to the bus journey, the train journey was comfortable. Honestly, I plan to return to the blessed city for a prolonged visit soon.

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About the Author: Ashraf Ahmed

Ashraf Ahmed is a graduate of English Language and Literature from University of Chittagong. He did his MA from Leading University. He pursued a career in information technology.