With sweaty palms and more than hint of trepidation I boarded a tiny vessel equipped with nothing more than an oar, a Bangladeshi man sporting a toothy grin and a tiny wooden plank for a seat. Within moments we began our journey down the most functionally chaotic river port I had ever witnessed with my own two eyes. Off in the distance, I could see colossal vessels that dwarfed the puny craft I had just boarded. Like lowly pawns on a chessboard, tiny rowboats crisscrossed and zigzagged around the larger vessels with an uncanny ability to weave in and out of the way. The white knuckle grip I had on the side of our rowboat soon subsided as my previous reservations about the entire journey were melted by the lovely faces I encountered as we paddled along. From Bangladeshi men dancing on the plank of gigantic freighters to oarsman with smiles plastered from ear to ear, I felt a welcome party was being thrown in my honor.
In Old Dhaka, the river Buriganga is the lifeblood of the city and a microcosm off the hectic pace of life that extends throughout Old Dhaka. With nearly 30,000 people and what seems to be an infinite amount of vessels nearby the Sadarghat river font, visiting here is a pandemonium unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. A never ending rindle of humanity pours into vessels where the cries of horns, voices and calls to prayer berates your ears. A journey along the Buriganga river is an absolute must for those visiting Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. The following is a travel photo essay where I hope to capture the intensity, chaos and friendly encounters one can expect as a passenger on a humble little craft:
A Bangladeshi man, an oarsman on a small vessel, flashes a wonderful radiant smile; one of many smiles that would make my day.
A close-up telephoto shot of a group of young Bangladeshi boys/teenagers on a small river boat plying the waters of the Buriganga.
Bangladeshi women splash water on their faces nearby a less crowded ghat.
A group of adorable Bangladeshi boys wave to me as I take their photo.
An oarsman with a stern face and white beard glares at me as we pass his vessel.
The rowboat you see in front of us is nearly identical to the one I’ve just boarded.
This photo should give you a sense of the sheer size of the large vessels in comparison to the smaller passenger rowboats that all share space along the Buriganga.
These friendly Bangladeshi men greeted me with their warm smiles.
There was dancing. There was joy. There was plenty of hamming it up for the camera from these three Bangladeshi men.
One of the more distinct faces I encountered along the way.
This Bangladeshi man tends to the small fire at the ghat.
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned that I felt like I was having a party thrown in my honor. Check out all of these smiling faces!
I took off my sandals along the way so I could stretch out my feet.
Here I am relaxing on the rowboat as we pass numerous other small vessels nearby the Sadarghat.
The button down shit and lungi (Bangladeshi skirt for men) are typical attire for Bangladeshi men – especially the oarsmen.
Travel video capturing my experience
What a treat! Smiles and a dance – just for me!” alt=”What a treat! Smiles and a dance – just for me!
This was a typical scene along the Buriganga River near the Sadarghat with small vessels weaving in and out along the chaotic waters.