Boga Lake: The Only Crater Lake in Bangladesh
Because of its rich natural beauty, Bandarban is known as the queen of Bangladesh. This hill district has many beautiful tourist spots to travel. Among them, Boga Lake is most notable. Its geographical setting has made it one of the most attractive and must visit tourist destinations in Bangladesh. It looks like that nature has formed this lake naturally by collecting water on top of the mountain. This piece of land full of lush greenery, cold water, and hills will appear to you as heaven. It is also known as resting place for those who love trekking. Trekkers take rest here and get down into the lake to refresh their body and soul.
Boga Lake, also known as Bogakain Lake, is a naturally created sweet and deep water lake. This almost 2000 years old lake is located approximately 2,000 feet (610m) above the sea level. It covers a total area of 18.56 acres (75,100 m2) of land. Three sides of the lake are enclosed by mountain peaks which are covered with thick bamboo bushes. As it is a closed lake, there is no outlet by which water will drain out from the lake. Even there is no way of entering water into the lake. However, there is a small spring or falls named Boga Chhara, which is 153 meters below the lake. So there is no doubt that rain water is the only source of water of this lake. The average depth of the lake is 38 meters.
The water of the lake is very clear that you can see fish swimming under water. The mystery lies under water. The surface of Boga Lake is covered with rocks and boulders of different shapes. According to the remarks of chemical experts, high amount of acidity made the lake inappropriate for growing any kind of flora or living any fauna. But the interesting thing is that you can find the existence of both the things.
The thing that will make you spellbound is the change of lake’s water color in different times. It happens because of sunlight, clouds, humidity and seasons. Generally, the crystal clear water of the lake is blue, which indicates the reflection of the blue sky. When sunlight falls on the lake water, it reflects like pearls. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the lake then you have to stay there at night. In order to do so, you have to set camp beside the lake. So organizing camp fire near the lake can be a memorable incident in your life.
History of Boga Lake:
There are many stories regarding the creation of Boga Lake. The most popular and widespread mythology about the history of this lake is that long days ago there was a tube-shaped or funnel-shaped mountain. This remote and inaccessible mountain was covered with thick forest. People belong to different ethnic groups- Mro, Bawm, Tanchangya, Tripura etc. lived at the foot of the hill. Livestock and small children from the nearby villages often went missing in that mountain. A group of brave young men from tortured villages went to investigate the reason and saw a terrible looking Baga living in a cave on top of the mountain. In Bawm language, ‘Baga’ means dragon. Some of them attacked and killed the dragon. Immediately after the demise of the dragon, a deafening roar and fire came out of the cave and turned everything to ash. After that the lake was formed in the hill. According to some senior citizens, the origin of the lake was related with a deity who was killed and eaten by the inhabitants of Khumi village. Later the divine being appeared before them again in the form of a dragon. An earthquake took place instantaneously, causing the hillside being collapsed and the village disappeared where a deep lake was formed instead.
What the geologists of Bangladesh think about the mystery of the creation of Boga Lake is that it is the crater of a dead volcano. The collection of rain water in the crater later turned into a big rectangular-shaped lake.
How to go there?
Boga Lake is situated in Rumaupazila of Bandarban district. So you must go to Ruma Bazar first if you want to visit this beautiful lake. At first, you have to go to Ruma Bazar from Bandarban city by bus, boat or Chander Gari (public Jeep car). From Ruma Bazar, you have to reserve another jeep to go up to Komla Bazar. However, often due to landslide during rainy season, vehicles can barely move up to a place named Egaro Mile. But during dry season, Chander Gari arrives till Boga Lake. From Ruma Bazar to Egaro Mile or Komla Bazar, you have to take the experience of the roller coaster ride due to the muddy, hilly and zigzag roads. The steep hill by the side of Komla Bazar has risen up towards the sky. Boga Lake is located on its summit. If you climb the hill for 20-30 minutes from Komla Bazar then Boga Lake will be appeared in your eyes. If the vehicle goes till Egaro Mile, you will have to reach Komla Bazar by walking, which will take one and half an hour to two hours for trekking. However, taking a guide from Ruma Bazar, you have to go to the army camp to make entry of your as well as your guide’s name within 4 pm and then go out towards Boga Lake. After 4 pm, you will not get permission from the army camp and roads are also not safe for the journey at night.
In the second path, travelers will not have to go through any roller coaster like experience. The path is long and troublesome, but the beauty of the canal and narrow hill road is beyond explanation. You can take a narrow road from Ruma Bazar to walk up to Boga Lake. It is almost 18 kilometer long path, which will require eight hours to reach. Those who are physically and mentally strong and want to experience a thrilling journey in their lives can only think of going in this route. It is a challenge. But it is better to avoid this road during rainy season as there is danger in facing flash flood and sudden flood. This path is arduous as well as beautiful. In this path, Suffering would seem insignificant to the natural scenery.
Chander Gari (Public transport):
From Ruma Bazar to Boga Lake (Egaro Mile or Komla Bazar), the rent of jeep is around Tk. 2000. You have to pay additional Tk 500 if the road is better till Boga Lake. But during tourist season, rent of jeep can be up to Tk 4000-5000. Besides the reserve vehicle, one can go to the tourist spot by local Chander Gar which will cost Tk. 70-100 per person.
You can hire a guide from Ruma Bazar. You have to write down your as well as your guide’s details information in the army camp. Without registered guide, you will not get permission from the army camp to move ahead. Per day, you have to pay Tk 300-500 to guide.
Where do you stay?
There are around 20 cottages in the surrounding of Boga Lake. Among them, Siam Didi’s cottage, Laram’s cottage and Robert cottage are most popular. Some cottages are made on a high raise bamboo platform just beside the lake. Each person will have to spend only Tk. 100 for accommodation. If you visit the place during off season, you do not need to reserve the cottage in advance. But advance reservation is needed if you want to go there during on-season.
Visitors will not have to face any problem regarding food. They will get fresh and hygienic food to eat. Foods that are arranged by cottages are plain rice, potato smash, pulse, egg fry and vegetables etc. Per meal will cost TK. 100 only. There is a church behind of it locally made hard drinks are found. You can taste it.
When do you go there?
If you want to go to Bandarban just to visit Boga Lake then winter is the best time. You will not have to go through any trouble. But if you are an adventurer and want to see the real beauty of the mountain then visit there during rainy season or just after the end of the rainy season. There is an army camp in Boga Lake. So there is no concern about safety. Visitors have to report in the army camp soon after their arrival.
Things you should follow:
Tourists must wear good quality gripper shoes or sneakers. If you want to walk through the narrow and bushy hill road then plastic sandal with grip is best. You must carry back pack and take as less dress as possible (It is impossible to walk in mountain carrying trolley or hand bag). Visitors will always abide by the law in mountain. They do not show any disrespectful attitude or make any bad comment towards the culture of tribal people. Do not harm wild animals or environment. Do not take photos of tribal people, especially girls, without taking their permission. Do not go anywhere without guide in any situation. You must carry enough food while travelling to narrow path for there are no restaurants or food shops.
You can watch the video. It will increase your desire to visit this beautiful place (Boga Lake).