Kuakata (Bengali: কুয়াকাটা) is a beach town known for its panoramic sea beach. It is in southeastern Bangladesh and is the number sizeable tourist destination in the country. Kuakata beach is a sandy expanse 18 kilometres (11 mi) long and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide. From the beach one can have an unobstructed view of both sunrise and sunset over the Bay of Bengal.
Daughter of ocean
From top: Fishing, Sunset at Kuakata beach, Buddist temples, Sea shore, Mangrove forest and Kuakata Grand Hotel & Sea Resort
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The name Kuakata originated from the word 'kua' — the Bengali word for "well" which was dug on the seashore by the early Rakhine settlers(Burmese tribes) in quest of collecting drinking water. They landed on the Kuakata coast in the 18th century after being expelled from Arakan (Myanmar) by the Burmese extremests . Afterwards, it has become a tradition of digging wells in the neighbourhoods of Rakhaine tribes for water.
Kuakata is a place of pilgrimage for Hindu and Buddhist communities. Innumerable devotees arrive here at the festivals of 'Rush Purnima' and 'Maghi Purnima'. On these occasions the pilgrims take holy baths at the bay and participate in the traditional fairs. One may visit a 100-year-old Buddhist temple where the statue of Goutama Buddha and two 200-year-old wells are located.
Kuakata offers a full view of the sunrise and sunset from the same white sandy beach in the water of the Bay of Bengal. Locally known as Shagor Kannya (Daughter of Ocean), the long strip of dark, marbled sand stretches for about 18 kilometres (11 mi). The long, wide beach at Kuakata has a typical natural setting. This sandy beach has gentle slopes into the Bay of Bengal. Kuakata is also a sanctuary for migratory winter birds.
On the eastern end of the beach is Gongamati Reserved Forest, an evergreen mangrove forest and snippet of the original Kuakata. (When the Rakhines settled in the area in 1784, Kuakata was part of the larger Sundarbans forest. However, the Sundarbans is one-hour away by speed boat.) As a mangrove forest, Gongamati, like the Sundarbans, offers some protection against tidal surges. However, it too is being threatened by logging and deforestation. The best way to reach the forest is by foot or bike along the beach, where flag-flying fishing boats can be seen trawling the coast. Visiting Gangamati in the late afternoon is a perfect time to watch the sun cast shadows on the exposed mangrove roots.
On 13 September 2007 the government had announced a red alert in Kuakata as caution for a possible tsunami.
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