Looking for Stories: A morning in Sadarghat | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 02, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 02, 2016

HERITAGE

Looking for Stories: A morning in Sadarghat

Ever thought of looking for stories in one of the oldest and busiest spots in Dhaka? A trip to the Sadarghat is what you need. Even though the riverside now looks frenzied and the station seems heavily disorganised, there are certain moments created at the station or by the river that one can never miss. All you need to do is reach the ghaat not after 6 am on a weekday morning, and watch the place transform into one of the craziest spots ever.

As a fruit trader tries to unload coconuts from a rickshaw, some of the fruits roll down the slope towards the river. Not only does the fruit seller scream for his life and run after the coconuts, other tradesmen nearby, along with the rickshaw puller run after the rolling coconuts and put them back into the sack.

A family of four sits at a makeshift shop, waiting for the next boat home. While they wait, Mohammad Shahid, the owner of the shop, whips up some paratas like a pro, while one of the toddlers from the waiting family watch the chef at work with admiration.  And there are so many more stories if you just sit and observe.

Photos: Prabir Das

In ancient times, a city thriving by a river side or any form of water-body was always considered valuable, where historic conquers and wars would take place. Cities built near water-bodies always had access to water routes, whereby trade with other coastal cities happened. Landlocked cities, on the other hand, were limited to land routes only, where trade was concerned, not to mention daily activities. Even today, means of inter-city transport are considered faster and cheaper on water then on land. In addition, cities by major water-bodies always had access to food, natural resources and of course, creating a network of exchange with foreign cultures. In a nutshell, these cities were always considered to be wealthy, educated, beautiful and filled with legends and stories.

Dhaka is one such city that has always been growing, discovering and exploring foreign cultures – not only population-wise, but in terms of economy, intellect, culture, infrastructure and so much more. Built more than 400 years ago, Dhaka was built by the river Buriganga. A weekend trip to Sadarghat – a port or the river station – will showcase elements of trade, transport and also small families looking for work!

One of the largest river ports, the Sadarghat Terminal hosts more than 400 river boats which are used to transport people, goods and merchandise. The number of people who use the station crosses a lakh every single day.

Photo: Anisur Rahman

Centuries ago, homes and families grew around the river Buriganga. Older members of families living in Dhaka today, sometimes reminisce about lives spent near the river as children. Today, the area is chaotic and filled with people from all over the country.

Despite all the commotion and the chaos at the station in Sadarghat, a day trip to the port is a must, especially for the adventurers, history buffs and Dhaka enthusiasts. After all, the river is the lifeblood of the city.

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