A December Day in Jessore

For the past few semesters, we been planning for daytours whenever we sense a little relaxation is due. This time with very little planning, we made a trip to Capital City of Flowers, Jessore!

Published on: January 20, 2017
Music from Jukedeck - create your own at http://jukedeck.com.
(Jukedeck is an artificially intelligent music composer, which with help of machine learning can produce professional quality music. You can make your own customized music from choosing 10 genres, different moods, customized length and tempo with the option to choose instruments!)

For the past few semesters, my friend Sadi and I have been planning for daytours whenever we sense a little relaxation is due. But this time we almost had to abandon our plan due to two very high profile IEEE events, SPAVe and BDS Annual Dinner & Awards Night. Just the next morning after SPAVe, and only two days before the Awards Night, we decided it’s now or never! So let’s go and enjoy our rightful excursion! And when we decided that morning to start our journey on that night, we had absolutely no idea where we’d be the following day!

After day trips to Sonargaon and Mymensingh, this time we thought someplace a bit far should be our next target but surely not as far as Sajek! Even starting in the earliest would mean we’d waste half of our day in journey like we did in previous tours, so how about a night journey? We started searching for railway website to find a suitable timed train schedule. At the same time, I found a very tempting and detailed post on Facebook about the Godkhali Flower Market in Jessore. To our surprise, the route of Sundarban Express is via Jessore! What a luck! Sadi set off to buy train tickets and I sat down with my laptop to do a bit research on Jessore.

Like the past three tours, we called Nafi after sorting out all the tour details since he usually leaves the planning part to us. Only this time we sadly found out that he was unavailable on the scheduled day. Since we couldn’t manage any other time, we asked our expert tourist friend, Maruf if he was available. He excitedly agreed to join the tour with his friend Mubin. We reached the optimum number of tourists for a team!

Sadly, the train tickets were all sold off, so we turned to our next best alternative, Hanif! The bus started from Gabtoli bus station at 9:30 PM and in only 2.5 hours we found ourselves on the ferry! We took over the top floor of the four-decker ferry and wasted no time in taking selfies.

Although we estimated we’d land at around five in the morning, the skilled Hanif driver dropped us in the deserted Garikhana, Jessore city at three! We roamed around a bit until we found a campfire to heat ourselves up. We decided it’d be a great idea to walk over two kilometers to the railway station to buy the return ticket since we had ample time in our hand before sunrise. Little did we know that mugging is quite regular in Jessore city! The chill of the December night had little effect on us as we walked down the eerily deserted streets singing and laughing. To our utter dismay, we found the tickets to Dhaka to be sold out too, which is really rare during the weekdays. So we decided to leave our life on Hanif driver once again, took our breakfast and jumped onto the bus to Godkhali at five in the morning.

We got off at Godkhali market when it was still pitch black. As expected, the market consisted only of a few street dogs and closed stores. We went to a nearby mosque for our morning prayer. Upon returning, we found sellers started arriving in groups with their vans and bicycles loaded with freshly cut flowers. Within half an hour, the deserted place turned into the most aromatic market I’ve ever been to! It's a wholesale market, with bundles made up of 50-100 flower sticks. The most abundant was Gladiolus which were sold at 250 BDT for a bundle of 100. But the most beautiful Gerbera was sold at around 300 BDT for a bundle of 50! The variety of flowers were kinda absent. The other flowers available were red roses and marigolds.

The freshly cut flowers couldn’t just fill our hearts, so we set out for the nearby flower farms riding a van. We entered a Gerbera farm after taking permission from an elderly person inside, whom we initially presumed to be the gardener. Even after knowing the actual name of the flower, gerbera, Maruf was making fun of the name with Mubin. The apparent gardener overheard us and politely said not to make fun of names. He then went on to say about the history of gerbera flower, how it was named after a man named Mr. Gerber and how the flower was discovered. He then said that it was he who first brought and successfully grew Gerbera in Bangladesh and pioneered the boom of flower farming in the 1980’s. We were baffled since the tempting post I mentioned earlier spoke of the great man named Sher Ali Sarder, who was the forefather of floriculture in Bangladesh. And here we were, standing with him and learning from him! This was surely one of the most memorable experience from the tour. He invited us for cup of tea and also told us to explore the flower fields. We happily went off to breathe the fresh air in the fields filled with colorful Gladiolus.

Mr. Sher Ali Sarder is considered to be the pioneer of flower gardening in Bangladesh!

Our next target was to taste the acclaimed Roshgolla (a kind of sweetmeat submerged in syrup) of Jamtola. To be quite honest, it couldn’t reach up to my (over) expectation. We went back to Navaron bus stand to take a bus to Benapole. Instead we found the electric three wheelers to be cozy enough with the same fare. The Benaploe border was the closest I’ve been to any other country! The large number of Indian trucks that enter Bangladesh really amused me. We then walked to the Benapole railway junction, which mostly remain empty nowadays except for the times a train to Jessore arrives/departs.

Maruf and Mubin decided to visit their friends at Khulna so it was time we went on our own paths. The bus to Khulna passes by Jessore city, so we all hopped on. We bade them farewell and got off at Chachra Point. Sadi and I went straight to the Hanif counter to secure our return ticket that night and then went off for roaming around the city. We bought locally produced Date Jaggery. By suggestion of the shopkeeper, we headed to New AC Noor Restaurant for lunch and ordered Choi Jhal. Choi Jhal (Piper Chaba) is a spice tree which is especially popular in the south west region of Bangladesh for its stem and is usually cooked with mutton. The food was exceptionally good and the taste of Choi Jhal was truly remarkable.

We visited a nearby Shiva Temple at Chachra. What was curious about the old structure is, it has no description about its history anywhere. The afternoon was peaceful and we returned to the city. Our short trip to Jessore started with visiting the Jessore Railway Junction and it came a full circle when we got off there on our way to the city center. The station seemed nearly deserted with no train. But it soon changed when one arrived and the station was filled with people. It seemed as if the station was alive and breathing with thousands of people depending on it.

The journey was a much needed one for us to refresh our mind of the pressure and fill our lungs with the freshness of the earth. Do make such short unplanned day-tours and I can guarantee it will give you the fuel you need for the toxic city life.