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Friday, 28 March 2008

The Land of Great Rivers

Rivers of Bangladesh have nurtured this region, with its ancient civilizations and enduring culture. These mighty waterways offer wonderful opportunities to explore the variety and beauty of the landscape and the life they support. Hence Bangladesh is called the land of rivers or the gift of rivers.

Almost 300 rivers and their tributaries crisscross the country. The outflow of water from Bangladesh is the third highest in the world, next only to those of the Amazon and the Congo systems.

Major rivers include the Padma, the Meghna, the Jamuna, the Brahmaputra and the Karnaphuli. They are an inseparable part of the lives of the people and can bring sorrow when there are severe floods. But most of the time, they make farmers happy by fertilizing the soil.

Many poems, songs and novels have been written on the rivers and their role in the lives of the Bangladeshi people. Some of the rivers are regarded as more poetic because of the nature of their flow and their effect on the countryside.

Tourists are sure to enjoy the riverine beauty of Bangladesh, the various types of boats plying smoothly to the rhythm of waves; and the sky and the river meeting in a spectacular sunset. Relaxing on the riverbank they can easily forget the bustle and anxieties of city life for a while.

One of the most important features of the wetlands and dazzling river systems of the country are the Sundarbans, the great mangrove forest where the Ganges-Brahmaputra flows down into the Bay of Bengal. This great delta is a 16,700 sq km World Heritage Site of which two-thirds lie in Bangladesh and one-third in India. A network of tidal rivers, creeks and canals separates over 200 islands. Local people live off the forest products, chiefly honey, wood and fish.

Dubla Char in Bangladesh is a hive of activity with fishing from mid-October to mid-February. The amazing ecological diversity of the Sundarbans supports endangered creatures, such as the tiger (which has adapted to the salt-water environment), the estuarine crocodile, the Gangetic and Irrawaddy dolphin and a host of smaller mammals, migratory birds, reptiles and amphibians.

 
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