Dublar Char prepares for popular ‘Rash Mela’ amid tight security

Dublar Char prepares for popular ‘Rash Mela’ amid tight security

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Authorities have taken special security measures ahead of the famous three-day ‘Rash Mela’ at Dublar Char Island near the Sundarbans, beginning on Tuesday.Hundreds of thousands of people, irrespective of their beliefs, throng festival at Alorkol, which is located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Sarankhola upazila of the district.Unlike previous years, one will require to obtain permission from the Forest Department to attend the event this year.Besides, the department has fixed eight waterway routes for devotees and visitors to go to Dublar Char to join the Rash Mela. No one will be allowed to take any other route other than the permitted ones, said Divisional Forest Officer (East Range) of the Sundarbans Md Saiful Islam.The routes are: Dhangmari/Chandpai Station to Dublar Char via Pashur River and the Trikon Island, Bogi Station to Dublar Char via Supati Station and Kochikhali, Sarankhola Station to Dublar Char via Sholarchar, Burigoalini to Dublar Char via the Hangsraj River,Koikhali Station to Dublar Char via Madargang and Dobeki, Arpangasia to Dublar Char via Kaga Dobeki, Koyra to Dublar Char via the Khashitana River and Marjat and Nalian Station to Dublar Char via Marjat.Some other regulations have been set for Rash Mela participants and visitors, he added.The visitors have to finish all festivities within 24-26 November and return before sunset on the last day of the festival because no boat will be allowed to travel in the area after sunset.Saiful also noted that everybody has to seek permission from the Forest Department before joining the Rash Mela and will have to pay Tk 50 to get the permission. Besides, boats of different sizes will have to pay Tk 200-800 for transporting people to and from Rash Mela. The boats need to have adequate stock of fuel for a 3-day travel during the festival.Samir Saha, general secretary of Rash Mela Celebration Committee, told UNB, “All preparations are afoot for this year’s Rash Mela. Normally, thousands of visitors come here to experience Rash Mela every year. But this year, we are expecting more visitors compared to that of previous years.”Separated by 100kms from the Sundarbans mainland, Dublar Char is the focal point for Rash Mela that has been celebrated in the area over the last 150 years.The events normally takes place on the full-moon night of the Bangla months of Karthik or Agrahayan every year which corresponds to the month of October-November of the Gregorian calendar.There is no exact information on who started Rash Mela but some have named Mutua Guru, Sanyasi Harijan and Raja Pratapaditya as the probable founders of this festival.At the festival, Hindu devotees worship Lord Sri Krishna and pay tributes to his legends. They also take a ‘holy bath’ in the salty waters of Bay of Bengal hoping that it will cleanse their sins.The Hindu devotees travel to Dublar Char through waterways on the first day of the festival. They perform some rituals on the second day and conclude the festival by taking a bath in Bay of Bengal on the third day.Meanwhile, to prevent poachers from entering the forest during Rash Mela, a red alert has been imposed all over the Sundarbans. The holidays of the forestry department staff have been cancelled and they all have been asked to remain standby.Check-posts have been installed at regular intervals of the 8permissible waterway routes. The forest guards have started their special patrol as well.Bisnu Proshad Chakrabortty.UNB, Bagerhat

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