Last summer my aunt and her family came to visit me. I was still living in the city I grew up in, which was also her hometown a few decades ago. This was her first visit home in such a long time, she was shocked to see how the city completely changed. She saw a small suburban gown, which is now a concrete jungle.
Albeit, I couldn’t anticipate I too was in for a surprise myself when we decided to go see the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Tungipara, the founding father of the country. It’s about 20 kilometers from my home and the last time I was there, I was in my teenage years and went there riding a bike on my own. It has changed drastically since then. What I knew it to be, in essence, a decorated tomb 20 years ago. There wasn’t much sightseeing. No picnic parties hanging around. Now everything is so very different, altered.
Now it’s a full-blown tourist spot with red brick architecture, the paths paved with modern settings and controlled vegetation, picnic spots, and restaurants–clearly meant to attract visitors. People everywhere. The feeling of any solemness of a tomb isn't slightly present.
Getting there wasn't a memorable experience though. The sky darkened suddenly on the way, it was a heavy downpour. We had to stop a few times to avoid accidents. Also were worried that by the time we reached there, we could be stuck indoors the entire visit.
Fortunately, when we reached there, the wide blue smiled again, as if she had nothing else to cry about and she made peace with whoever she was mad at. The world became sunny, dazzling with a bright blue sky. I don’t usually see such blue skies in this country, as the air is pretty bad, filled with dust particles.
The first structure I interacted with. Not sure what this gallery is for, but I suspect cultural programs are held when there’s a national holiday that bears significant historical facts. It was there during my last visit, although not polished like this. Some renovation went into this for sure.
A canopy of climbing plants, there’s a corridor underneath it.
My younger brother, posing for the photo. The tower behind him belongs to the mosque I believe.
The architecture here has a bungalow like feel to it, cozy and vibrant.
Rain-soaked wide courtyard, glittering. Best moments of my visit.
Of course, the food inside is quite costly, even the packaged ones, which isn’t uncommon in this country, everyone is always trying to scam each other.
This is the old house where Sheikh Mujib used to reside when he was young. It was destroyed in 1971 during the liberation war of Bangladesh. Part of the ruin still exists.
I tried to take the photos avoiding people, waiting for them to get out of my shot, otherwise, all the photos would look like this.
This is the main mausoleum complex.
Looking back, it was a tiresome visit, albeit an enjoyable one. I think I would enjoy the place way more without the crowd. Ah well, that’s an unreasonable thought, isn’t it?
I like what they did with the place, but some part of me misses the solemnity it used to have. "Tungipara" has become a synecdoche of the political party (led by the daughter of Sheikh Mujib) that's been ruling the country for 15 years, and the regime has been questioned many times by many political moguls, but it shouldn't have been like that. It's a pity my respect for the father of the nation was partly clouded by political anxieties. Perhaps someday we'll cherish him apolitically, that is my dream.