Getaway of the week #3 - Cumilla
Cumilla is a famous and historical town with a bagful of surprises. With a rich history spanning from ancient Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms to the British Era, World War 2 and home to the famous Rosh-malai, Cumilla is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Bangladesh.
Located 100 km away from Dhaka, you can get to Cumilla in about 3 hours by bus. Comfortable AC buses operated by BRTC leave from Kamalapur from 7AM onward. The ticket costs TK 150. The cost is cheaper if you choose non-AC buses.
After getting off the bus, have breakfast in any of the local restaurants. There are a lot of local and highway restaurants around the bus drop off point.
From there you can take a rickshaw to the War Cemetery. Costs TK 30. The War Cemetery is a peaceful place that houses the deceased allied and a few axis Japanese soldiers who died during World War 2. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth Society and is a calm and quiet place to spend some time and contemplate the fate of the fallen soldiers.
You can take an auto rickshaw to the ruins of the palace of Queen Maynamati, and explore the rich history once this region held. You can walk around and discover hidden paths that goes up the hill and leads to a temple, or another path that leads into a jungle. There’s all kinds of hidden gems to discover there.
From there, you can take a CNG to the Shalban Vihara, the ruins of an ancient Buddhist Monastery. There’s a new massive Buddhist temple there as well, built quite recently. Pay a visit there to experience a different culture. Explore the deep Shalban forest. Visit the Maynamati museum to learn about Cumilla’s history.
Visit the Jagannath Temple by an auto rickshaw. The Jagannath Temple is also called the seventeen jewel temple from the seventeen jewels it once crowned, but are currently damaged.
Besides the magnificent histories of ancient kings and Buddhist monasteries, Cumilla is also steeped in colonial history. Cumilla Victoria Government College in the city was named in memory of Queen Victoria. On the darker side of colonial history, communal tension spread over Cumilla when a Muslim was shot in the town during the partition of Bengal in 1905. In 1931, approximately 4000 peasants in Mohini village revolted against a land revenue tax. The British Gurkha soldiers fired indiscriminately on the crowd, killing four people. In a major peasant gathering, the police fired at Hasnabad of Laksam in 1932. Two people were killed and many were wounded.
You’ll find bits and pieces of the colonial era lying almost everywhere in Cumilla. After you’re done with all of that, visit Monohorpur to taste the Rosh Malai from the famous Matribhandar. Take a rickshaw and visit Rani Kuthir and Dharmasagar Lake.
It’ll almost be evening by the time you’re done exploring Cumilla. Go to the bus stop and catch a bus to Dhaka to get back in the city by 9.