continuing from part 2
some distant church bell lazily announces that it is an hour to midnight. for dinajpur, that deep dead into the night. at around half past eight, i was out for pre-dinner walk around town cum window shopping. but surprisingly, not only were the shops closed, even the roads were almost deserted apart from a astray dogs playing around and health conscious elderly people walking a mile after dinner.
its been a long day for us. earlier in the morning, after two bus changes (including an hour-long ride standing) and two hours of bore-some waiting, we finally reach dinajpur at an hour before dawn. the morning azan (call for prayer) is still due, yet shops and restaurants are lighting on their bulbs and opening up for another day of business. later in the evening, i discover dinajpurians are not only early to rise, but early to bed too.
having failed to find ourselves a hotel room, we decide to set out exploring the place right away. driving out in our rented 1962 model series 60 nissan patrol, I can sense adventure pulsating up in myself. we are in a old four wheeler passing through an old little town, and our destination is the three hundred years old kantanagar temple. it felt like we had traveled back a few decades in time.
completed in 1752, this hindu temple - a magnificent exhibit of the exuberant terracota art - took thirty years to built. the temple was greatly damaged in a devastating earthquake in 1897, but substantially restored in early 20th century by the then maharaja. sadly, much of the beautiful artwork adorning its walls is slowly getting damaged due to lack of the proper attention and delicate care that this kind of antiquities require. (more about the temple)
next point of interest is the huge man-created tank ramsagar dated back to around the same time as kantanagar temple. i say created because this 1000 m-by-300 m lake was actually dug by people, 1.5 Mil of them. legends say the then ruler ordered digging of this huge water tank to supply drinking water for the drought-hit locality. initially no water rose in the tank. a priest prescribed sacrificing the young prince ram and throwing him into the tank to remedy the situation. hence the tank was called ram-sagar (sagar means sea in bengali). the water now is no longer drink-able, but ofcourse bath-able, so without a second thought we opt to enjoy the tank from within.
kanta nagar and ram-sagar sips away the little energy we had left after our long and tiring journey last night, and by the time we step into our hotel rooms, the welcoming bed is all what we can see.
we will return to dhaka tomorrow after visiting shwapnapuri, a theme park cum shooting spot (shwapnapuri literally means dreamland, which is rightly reflected in the theme park's eye-catching design). the direct train to dhaka was sold out, so we will instead be taking the night bus from rangpur, the neighboring town which is two hours journey from here.