One of Rabindranath Tagore's family estates in Shilaidaha, Kuthibari, was home to a houseboat admired by the poet. He spent many nights on it and would often use it to travel.
Many of his famous poems and stories were written while he sat on the houseboat, looking at the serene water and beautiful nature.
Inspired by Tagore's houseboat, a trip of backpackers Sadifuzzaman Diganta, Naymul Hassan and Rayhan Riyad launched 'Bojra - the house boat' on the wetlands of Tanguar Haor, Sunamganj, in May this year.
Docked at the Shahebbari ghat, Bojra - the mahogany vessel floating in magnificence - attracts the eyes of every passerby.
The 71-feet-long caramel-on-blue belongs to B-Travellers, a tour operating company run by Diganta.
Livelihood in the land of rivers, Bangladesh, used to be very different from what it is now. The vast networks of waterways that flow within the country were once the primary means of transportation.
Riverways are still used to transport people and goods within the country but as more transportation options became available, many river transports became relics of the past.
Houseboats, which were once used to travel long distances on rivers, are one example of such an object. For affluent people, houseboats were a symbol of aristocracy.
"House boats were a symbol of luxury up until the 20th century. We built Bojra based on the ideology of providing travellers a luxurious experience with a pinch of heritage," said Diganta during an interview with The Business Standard.
As you step foot on Bojra, the entire lobby and hallway can clearly be seen through the acrylic double doors framed with wood.
With seating arrangements on both sides, the antechamber is enclosed with transparent acrylic sheets and wood.
Sunlight pours into the lobby area - a place where you can see beautiful sunsets and never ending mountains, spend time with friends and family, or simply enjoy a cup of tea with your favourite book.
Separated by the antechamber, the cozy cabins - three on each side - can accommodate up to 18 people on its queen-sized mattresses. At dawn, you will wake up to the most serene view - clouds gliding over the bold mountain ranges of Meghalaya.
"Bojra is 14-feet-wide and each cabin has a window wall that offers guests breathtaking views of Tanguar Haor throughout the journey. The house boat is powered by a generator that provides guests with an LED-light, small fan and a three-port charging socket in each cabin and the lobby," said Naimul.
Many people who have visited Tanguar Haor will know the difficulty of using the small washrooms fitted into the boats.
Keeping this issue in mind, owners of Bojra installed a spacious washroom that comes with a high commode and a washbasin.
Bojra's 30-square feet bathroom offers ample space for guests to use it as a changing room as well.
"Over the years, guests would often opine that it was difficult to move inside boats. Thus, we decided to design Bojra in a way that allows guests to move freely back and forth in its 40 to 45-feet-long hallway with a ceiling height of five feet and 10 inches," said Diganta.
Bojra operates to and fro Sunamganj's Saheb Bari ghat. The houseboat offers a two-day package and caters to three meals a day with snacks, unlimited tea and water starting from breakfast on the day you arrive till dinner the next evening before Bojra reaches the dock.
The Bojra experience highlights Tanguar Haor's delicacy - fish and duck with various green leafy vegetables and an array of bhortas. However, your group can choose a menu of their choice upon prior discussion.
Within the two-day trip, Bojra cruises through the haor and docks on the Jadukata River for the night.
On the next day, it takes its guests to popular destinations such as Barikka Tila, Watch Tower and the picturesque Shahid Shiraj Lake.
You can jump into the water anytime for a swim or simply float inside your life jackets or tubes available at Bojra.
This 40-hour trip on weekends and holidays will cost Tk6,000 per person for a group of 12 people and the price can go as low as Tk5,000 for a group of 15 to 20 people.
Bojra offers discounts for weekdays; rates may vary from time to time. The houseboat is quite high in demand and needs to be booked a few weeks prior to your journey.
A breath of fresh air with surreal views
It is an experience you cannot forget. This luxurious house boat is a step forward for tourism in Sunamganj that offers an escape for city dwellers to relax and rejuvenate with family and friends while experiencing the beauty of what mother nature has to offer.
To know more, visit 'Bojra - The house boat' on Facebook.