Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

Coin return
Dawki's Bangladeshi visitor photographs the outsider photographer.
Flow of the Dawki River as seen from the overhanging road that arrives from the high threshold of the Indian state of Meghalaya.
bathers but little
Muslim and Bangladeshi, Hindu and Muslim vacationers share the shallow water of the Dawki River.
"Betelnut" slope
House of a hamlet upstream from Jaflong Zero Point, lost in a forest of areca palms.
Bangladeshi fashion
Group of young Muslim women dressed in long dresses hijabs, despite the tropical mid-afternoon heat that is felt.
reflective tandem
Fishermen fish in the shade of large Vietnamese-style hats, over the translucent stream of the Dawki.
Duo elegance
Bangladeshi couple, in elegant attire on the pebble edge of the Dawki River.
Border - 0 Point
Military patrols the border area from the military barracks at Jaflong Zero Point.
almost redhead fashion
Muslim elder visiting the Indo-Bangladeshian border, with his hair and beard dyed orange, like so many others.
Bangladesh's approaching
Fishing and pleasure boats descend the last few meters of the Indian River Dawki. Shortly thereafter, Jaflong Zero Point and the territory of Bangladesh appear.
S. Kumar
Military S. Kumar controls the transgressions of Indians and Bangladeshis over the border line of Jaflong Zero Point.
popular throne
Photographer promotes his scenic throne installed over Dawki's water.
Another Dawki
Area where the Dawki River leaves the mountains and spreads out into a sandy alluvial expanse, already inside Bangladesh.
old-fashioned washerwoman
Native teenager from the border area washes clothes on the pebbles of the Dawki River.
Bare feet
Traditional shoes and sandals on Jaflong Zero Point pebbles.
talk tide
Friends cool off with their feet in the Dawki's water on one of so many days of tropical heat.
Rowing Trio
Rowboats descend the last meters of Indian Dawki, at the end of the river's mountainous section.
Socializing without losing foot
Bangladeshi family live in the shallow water of the Dawki, above Jaflong's Zero Point.
The overexploited Dawki
Stone miners walk on an alluvial bank of the Dawki River.
We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.

At a certain point, the road ends at the threshold of Meghalaya Highlands. Myrrh and is worn out. Makes us dive into hooks against hooks.

Some of those, after the eminence of the border of Meghalaya with Bangladesh, we noticed at the surface how much the temperature and humidity had increased and how the vegetation had thickened and become entangled and tropical.

We hardly pass by other vehicles. However, 80km and 2h30 after the morning departure, we find ourselves in a new traffic nightmare.

The Dawki River flows below. Impatient drivers and passengers leave their cars. They descend and climb the ramp again, hoping to understand what was generating that chaos. Some, more proactive, even bet on solving it. In vain.

In her contagious peace of mind, Sharma processes the new reality and communicates to us the recommended procedures. “It will take a while to get out of here. Anyway, the bridge is close. If you don't mind, you'd better keep walking.”

Already half-saturated from the trip, we didn't hesitate. We retrieve our backpacks and set out on our way. We are the only Europeans around. Our sudden appearance surprises the natives. It evokes successive comments, invitations for conversations and, of course, for selfies.

With Dawki in View

The forest opens up. It gives us a glimpse of a foggy floodplain. In the distance, to the south, the river and its bed, which the dry season had made to wane, served as a base for a multitude of wandering black figures, like a colony of ant colonies in disarray. Immediately, we saw the canyon in which the Dawki flowed, tight and verdant, before spreading out into that unusual immensity.

Dawki River, Bangladesh

Area where the Dawki River leaves the mountains and spreads out into a sandy alluvial expanse, already inside Bangladesh.

A fleet of handcrafted rowboats occupied the shore here. Some of its owners sent tourists on board, others waited or left. Still others took advantage of the interregnum to wash themselves on the Dawki with an almost religious vigor and zeal, indifferent to the hurls that their fellow rowers on duty did them.

All that fluvial bustle intrigued us. Caught by the spell of the exotic unknown, we forgot that Sharma was certainly looking for us.

We come to the entrance to a large iron bridge with a military profile over the Dawki. Two policemen dressed in mustard uniforms and imbued with a mission spirit alert us to the fact that the bridge is a border bridge, strategic and that, as such, we could not photograph.

Boats on the Dawki River, India

Flow of the Dawki River as seen from the overhanging road that arrives from the high threshold of the Indian state of Meghalaya.

But, we are armed with documents from the Indian Government. They attest to us as more than tourists. They validate a necessary exception, with the promise that we would only shoot from the bridge, not the structure itself.

We move forward. We peek at the action below and upstream through the rusty grill. Fishermen in the shade of conical hats alternate shooting and collecting their lines.

Fishermen on the Dawki River, India

Fishermen fish in the shade of large Vietnamese-style hats, over the translucent stream of the Dawki

On the way to… Bangladesh

Pleasure boat passengers spot them and wave enthusiastically. Until the police approach us again. “Sorry but people are not wanting to understand why you can and they can't. We've already tried to explain, even because your machines are much bigger than their cell phones.

Even so, two or three boring ones don't let us go. If you could speed up your work, we would appreciate it.

We accept the restlessness. Despite the agents' almost military posture, the four of us ended up laughing together. After which we finish crossing the bridge and follow the foot of a steeper slope than the opposite one.

We thought that there we would find the customs infrastructure. This has not yet been the case. We fear we are entering Bangladesh and getting into trouble. Even so, we continued.

Boaters on the Dawki River, India

Fishing and pleasure boats descend the last few meters of the Indian River Dawki. Shortly thereafter, Jaflong Zero Point and the territory of Bangladesh

In a shady corner, the road reveals to us the place where the river left the gorge, the threshold where, in an unexpected meander, it surrendered to the sandy and vaporous vastness that we had glimpsed from the top of the opposite bank. In our minds, the India was left behind. Otherwise, what is the meaning of the police, the notices and the barrier on the military bridge.

We got closer to Dawki. We found a profusion of sales, of samosas, of put puri (a popular snack on the streets of India), other food and drink, clothing and a wide range of items Made in China.

A Surreal Beach Frontier

Onward, the most exuberant bathing mob we have ever witnessed filled a surreal beach. Detached from it, a military man with a whistle and a baton at the ready, tried to maintain an order that we failed to understand.

Visitors from the Jaflong, Bangladesh-India border

Muslim and Bangladeshi, Hindu and Muslim vacationers share the shallow water of the Dawki River.

Even though we were reluctant, we made our way towards the river, soon, through the crowd that was strange to us.

The women wear their best attire: bright and shiny saris, hijabs e dupattas to match long salwars, some with pendants tikka ou maang tikkas to adorn the heads, in sets as exuberant as the Hindus.

Men, in turn, share a fashion that has been stripped of the traditionalism of other times. Only one or the other wear tunics kurtas ou thobes and wear matching Tupi skullcaps.

Family in Jaflong Point, Bangladesh

Bangladeshi family live in the shallow water of the Dawki, above Jaflong's Zero Point.

It's not that rivers or water or India nor to Bangladesh who, in addition to the Dawki, share the imposing Ganges and Brahmaputra (which unite in Padma), among others.

We intuited that what led all those people to gather there was the fact that they lived and refreshed themselves on the emblematic frontier, similar to what they were (is it still?) the incursions from Elvas to Badajoz, from Vila Real de Santo António to Ayamonte and so many others along this Portuguese-Spanish streak outside.

The Rocky Magnetism of Zero Point Jaflong

The place that welcomed them became known as Jaflong's Zero Point. Jaflong became popular in the minds of Bengalis as a hill station idyllic surrounded by rainforest and tea plantations and the predominance of the Khasi ethnic group, the same one we found in Shillong and the rest of the state. Meghalaya. That is, until greed sets in.

The alluvial plain of the Dawki and Goyain rivers hid a lode of stones. Not the precious stones that we would normally assume, mere common stones.

In those parts where incomes are so meager, the natives realized that if they extracted and crushed them from sunup to sundown and sold them to be transformed into cement, they would profit much more than their previous activities.

Stone extraction from the Dawki River, Bangladesh

Stone miners walk on an alluvial bank of the Dawki River

This financial stimulus attracted thousands of spontaneous miners who occupied state land and even part of a nature reserve. They opened ditches and disemboweled the landscape to the point of forcing the Dhaka government to intervene and forcing the reforestation of various sectors of the destroyed area, far from recovering it in its entirety.

All this had passed and continued to pass a few hundred meters downstream. There, at the Zero Point, only the soap used by some washerwomen installed on pebble islets stained the Dawki.

Washer on the Dawki River, Bangladesh

Native teenager from the border area washes clothes on the pebbles of the Dawki River.

The flood of incoming visitors from India and from Bangladesh, he was filled above all with color, with good mood and with selfies and family photos, some taken with simple smartphones, many of them in charge of professional photographers who roamed the area to impose their services.

With the aim of attracting more customers, one of these entrepreneurs maintains, on the water, a scenic yellow-toned armchair, next to sellers of postcards, peanuts and salads chat of grain, of paani puri and others.

Far from inviting or providing baths, the Dawki only wets the feet of visitors. Some stay by the inaugural meters. Others venture almost halfway through the shallow stream. The lateral movement of vacationers continued, however, limited, which brings us to the military with a baton at the ready and to its intriguing functions.

Singh & Kumar, the military duo with the order's mission

As a border line, Jaflong's Zero Point was guarded. We later noticed a camouflaged checkpoint, elevated on a platform made of pebbles.

Two Indian soldiers, Man Mohan Singh and S. Saj Kumar – took turns controlling the events from there and, from the riverside, the population's wanderings. Both one and the other seemed to identify without difficulty who was coming from the India and from Bangladesh

S. Kumar, serviceman on the Jaflong Zero Point border line

Military S. Kumar controls the transgressions of Indians and Bangladeshis over the border line of Jaflong Zero Point.

We got into a conversation with S. Kumar. This one, swells when seeing its redoubled protagonism. He ignores the expected military common sense and modesty and authorizes us to photograph him both with us and alone. We asked him what he controlled, after all, with his whistle and bat.

Kumar, an ethnic Tamil soldier, displaced from southern India, explains everything in detail: “Do you see the little hut over there? And that big rock? So, the boundary is an imaginary line that comes from above, passes through the rock and flows inwards to the other bank. What I have to do is prevent the Indians from going over to Bangladesh and the Bangladeshis to the Bangladeshi side. India. "

Both he and Singh took the mission seriously. As soon as a popular crossed the intangible frontier, the military whistled, raised the baton and decomposed it. If the offense was repeated, they aggravated the reprimand with threats of expulsion. That's how it started out with us too.

But when they found out about what we were and what we were doing, the guards started to ignore the incursions we forced, increasingly transgressive, there yes, already in Bangladeshi lands.

Photographer prop over the Dawki River, Bangladesh

Photographer promotes his scenic throne installed over the water of the Dawki

A unique Earth in times

Originally the territory of the Indian province of East Bengal, Bangladesh emerged from the painful Partition of India August 1947. It was one of two new nations (the other being Pakistan) hurriedly created to accommodate the many millions of Muslims with no place in India, the fruit of growing incompatibility with the Hindu majority.

Years passed. As the military assures us, "apart from the problem of illegal emigration of Bangladeshis to the north which India fails to control, we have a relationship if not cordial, at least acceptable."

Bangladeshi couple at Jeflong Zero Point

Bangladeshi couple, in elegant attire on the pebble edge of the Dawki River.

It was, in fact, that we would choose to classify it after a good part of the afternoon spent among Hindu “neighbors”, Christians of Meghalaya and Bangladeshi Muslims.

Shaken by several hours under the tropical sun and by all that bathing commotion, we find ourselves ecstatic, hungry and thirsty. We returned to the road where Sharma was waiting for us. Through our air, the driver immediately intuited what we wanted.

Hillside full of betelnut on the Indian side

House of a hamlet upstream from Jaflong Zero Point, lost in a forest of areca palms.

Minutes later, we are seated at a restaurant table in the shade of an areca palm plantation. Even spicy explosive, we devoured the menu thali fish that, at that late hour, were still served to us. We went back to the car. We ended the day exploring more of the rugged, verdant and Indian domains upstream from the Dawki.

More information about Meghalaya at Mesmerizing Megalaya and on the Indian tourism website Incredible India.

Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
Guwahati, India

The City that Worships Kamakhya and the Fertility

Guwahati is the largest city in the state of Assam and in North East India. It is also one of the fastest growing in the world. For Hindus and devout believers in Tantra, it will be no coincidence that Kamakhya, the mother goddess of creation, is worshiped there.
Dooars India

At the Gates of the Himalayas

We arrived at the northern threshold of West Bengal. The subcontinent gives way to a vast alluvial plain filled with tea plantations, jungle, rivers that the monsoon overflows over endless rice fields and villages bursting at the seams. On the verge of the greatest of the mountain ranges and the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, for obvious British colonial influence, India treats this stunning region by Dooars.
Gangtok, India

An Hillside Life

Gangtok it is the capital of Sikkim, an ancient kingdom in the Himalayas section of the Silk Road, which became an Indian province in 1975. The city is balanced on a slope, facing Kanchenjunga, the third highest elevation in the world that many natives believe shelters a paradise valley of Immortality. Their steep and strenuous Buddhist existence aims, there, or elsewhere, to achieve it.
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
by the shadow
Architecture & Design
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Ceremonies and Festivities
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
City of Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde
Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Miracle of São Vicente

São Vicente has always been arid and inhospitable to match. The challenging colonization of the island subjected the settlers to successive hardships. Until, finally, its providential deep-water bay enabled Mindelo, the most cosmopolitan city and the cultural capital of Cape Verde.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Bride gets in car, traditional wedding, Meiji temple, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

A Matchmaking Sanctuary

Tokyo's Meiji Temple was erected to honor the deified spirits of one of the most influential couples in Japanese history. Over time, it specialized in celebrating traditional weddings.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Tokyo's sophisticated houses, where Couchsurfing and your hosts abound.
Couchsurfing (Part 1)

Mi Casa, Su Casa

In 2003, a new online community globalized an old landscape of hospitality, conviviality and interests. Today, Couchsurfing welcomes millions of travelers, but it shouldn't be taken lightly.
Tabato, Guinea Bissau, Balafons
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

Tabatô: to the Rhythm of Balafom

During our visit to the tabanca, at a glance, the djidius (poet musicians)  mandingas are organized. Two of the village's prodigious balaphonists take the lead, flanked by children who imitate them. Megaphone singers at the ready, sing, dance and play guitar. There is a chora player and several djambes and drums. Its exhibition generates successive shivers.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Early morning on the lake

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.

ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Meares glacier
Natural Parks
Prince William Sound, Alaska

Journey through a Glacial Alaska

Nestled against the Chugach Mountains, Prince William Sound is home to some of Alaska's stunning scenery. Neither powerful earthquakes nor a devastating oil spill affected its natural splendor.
Goiás Velho, Legacy of the Gold Fever, Brazil
UNESCO World Heritage
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Balinese Hinduism, Lombok, Indonesia, Batu Bolong temple, Agung volcano in background
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok: Balinese Hinduism on an Island of Islam

The foundation of Indonesia was based on the belief in one God. This ambiguous principle has always generated controversy between nationalists and Islamists, but in Lombok, the Balinese take freedom of worship to heart
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Merida cable car, Renovation, Venezuela, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Mérida, Venezuela

The Vertiginous Renovation of the World's Highest Cable Car

Underway from 2010, the rebuilding of the Mérida cable car was carried out in the Sierra Nevada by intrepid workers who suffered firsthand the magnitude of the work.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Rottnest Island, Wadjemup, Australia, Quokkas
Wadjemup, Rottnest Island, Australia

Among Quokkas and other Aboriginal Spirits

In the XNUMXth century, a Dutch captain nicknamed this island surrounded by a turquoise Indian Ocean, “Rottnest, a rat's nest”. The quokkas that eluded him were, however, marsupials, considered sacred by the Whadjuk Noongar aborigines of Western Australia. Like the Edenic island on which the British colonists martyred them.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.