Sitakunda Upazila is a land of great natural beauty. This place is formed in a mixture of hills and plains. This town is not only a major pilgrimage site for Hindus but also one of the destinations for tourists. Chandranath temple is such a place of pilgrimage. The location of this temple is right on the top of Chandranath hill. The green kingdom of Chandranath hills and the vast sea have given Sitakunda a unique perfection.
After crossing the crooked, high and low, rugged mountain path, when you climbe to the top, one can feel an unearthly beautiful feeling. The vast sea seen from the top of the hill invites tourists to get lost.
The hill is located just 4 km east of Sitakunda Bazar. From Sitakunda Bazar, one can reach Chandranath hill on foot, by rickshaw or by auto-rickshaw. If you go to Chandranath hill on foot, you can enjoy more. Numerous religious sites of Hindus can be seen on the way to the mountains on foot.
Lifestyle of the residents can also be visualized. Also, if you go a little deeper in the mountains, you will see Zum farming. Zum farming in the mountains will be a wonderful sight for you. There are also commercially cultivated flower gardens.
There is a small fountain on the way to Chandranath hill. There are two ways to climb the mountain from this waterfall. The path on the right has a staircase to the top of the hill. The path on the left is completely hilly. It is usually relatively easy and exciting to climb the mountain path. However, it is easier to get down the stairs than to get down.
Although walking up this 1152 feet high mountain is a hard work, the amazing scenery around you will give you miraculous power. This environment of natural beauty will not let you feel tired even for a moment. Rather, it will float in the sea of thrills to the abyss of happiness.
It usually takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the top of the hill. However, the time depends on the walking speed. Walking slowly will take more time. If you walk fast, you can reach the top within 1 hour. Although the mountains seem full of youth during the rainy season, climbing the mountains is quite dangerous. So, extra care should be taken in rainy season if you want to climb on foot at that time.
Chandranath temple is located at the very top of Chandranath hill. There are small tong shops in the middle of Chandranath hill and at the very top of the temple. These shops offer light meals and worship essentials.
Festivals of Chandranath Temple
This Chandranath temple is one of the oldest temples in Bangladesh. Located on the top of a hill, this temple hosts various festivals throughout the year. On the occasion of the festival, innumerable saints, monks, worshipers and visitors came from home and abroad. The area is crowded during the festival.
The biggest festival celebrated here is Shivchaturdashi Mela. In Chandranath temple special puja is performed every year on Shivratri i.e. Shivchaturdashi. A huge fair is organized in the temple premises centering on this worship. This is known as Shiva Chaturdashi Mela. Hindus living in the vicinity of Chandranath hill organize this fair every year in the month of Falgun. The fair lasts till Dolpurnima.
How to Go to Chandranath hill
Chandranath hill, located in Sitakunda, can be reached by bus or train. Sitakunda can be reached by any bus from Dhaka’s Sayedabad, Fakirapul and Mohakhali to Chittagong. Non-AC bus fare is around BDT500 and AC bus fare varies from BDT800 to BDT1000 per person.
There are two ways to reach Sitakunda by train from Dhaka. You have to take any intercity train from Dhaka to Chittagong and get off at Feni station. From Feni station you have to go to Feni Mahipal bus stand by rickshaw or auto. The rent will be BDT15-20. From there you can take a local bus to Sitakunda for BDT50-60. From Sitakunda you can go by CNG or rickshaw to the foot of Chandranath hill.
Sitakunda can also be reached directly by train from Chittagong. It will cost BDT250-300 to come to Sitakunda from Chittagong railway station with reserved auto-rickshaw. You can also go to Sitakunda by local bus. In that case, you have to go to Chittagong city’s A.K. Khan or Kadamtali Road. Local bus fare will be BDT40-50 per person. You can go from Sitakunda Bazar by CNG or rickshaw just like the previous road at the entrance of Chandranath hill.
Sitakunda Eco Park has no equal for those who are attracted by wildlife and biodiversity. This eco-park is a wildlife sanctuary located in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong. Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Ecopark was established in 1997. This wildlife sanctuary covers an area of about 600 hectares. Located at the foot of Chandranath hill, this ecopark is divided into two parts- the 1,000 acre of Botanical Garden and the 996 acre of Eco-park area. Built for wildlife sanctuaries and for the entertainment of tourists, the park has all kinds of rare species of plants, thousands of eye-catching flowering plants and various species of animals.
This eco-park is rich in secluded hills, deer, bears, various species of monkeys, rabbits and Hanuman, as well as the chirping of various species of birds, natural fountains and evergreen trees. A heavenly atmosphere is created in the eco-park when the sun creates a crimson glow in the evening sky. The Botanical Garden is located on the inner right side of the main gate of the two part eco-park. There are many common and extinct species of flowers, fruits and medicinal plants in the country and abroad.
The Botanical Garden has a nice orchid house. There are about 50 types of orchids of different domestic and foreign species. There are about 35 varieties of roses including rare black roses, lotus, jaba, night queen, ground lotus, rangana, nagaballi, radhachura, kath malati, kamini, baganbilas, alakananda, gandharaja, hasnahena, phoenix and 150 varieties of flowers.
Different species of birds and wildlife can be seen on the bends of the hills here. In the park, you can see Maya deer, monkey, Hanuman, pig, Hedgehogs, fish tigers, bears, banrui and the rooster. There are also teeth, various species of snakes and aquatic animals including Gokhra, Kalanti, Lau Daga and so on.
The biggest attraction of Echo Park is the Watch Tower inside. The greenery can be seen far away from the Watch Tower. The area around it is full of different types of trees, flowers and shrubs. The park has a separate picnic corner. The park has all the facilities for picnic including drinking water, rest house and toilet.
How to Go at Sitakunda Eco-park
You have to get off at Sitakunda bus stand from Dhaka. Just 2 km down from Sitakunda bus stand. Then you have to enter the park through a place called Fakirhat in the south.
Mahamaya Lake, which is about 11 square kilometers wide, spreads amazing beauty. It is hard to imagine the cold water fountain, the greenery and the blue sky spreading the infinite magic. The original form of the lake can be observed by boat.
In addition to traveling, you can also catch fish with a spear if you want. No prior permission is required for this. Just with a spear and bait will really do. A boat trip on this artificial blue lake will cost BDT40 per person and if you reserve the whole boat, you will have to spend BDT 500-1000 depending on the boat. You can also have a picnic on the shores of the lake. This lake of greenery and clear water is an ideal place for a picnic. There are also places to play picnics in the trees.
How to Go
Buses leave for Chittagong from different places including Sayedabad in Dhaka. You have to come to Mirsarai bus stand by these buses. You have to come to Thakurdighi market by CNG auto-rickshaw from Mirsarai bus stand. Mahamaya can be entered through the road on the east side of Thakurdighi Bazar.
Where to Stay
Accommodation can be available in Mirsarai or Sitakunda. As there are no very good quality hotels, staying in Chittagong hotels will be more comfortable.