Like caged birds freed after a long time, people began flocking to Netrakona to enjoy a panoramic view of haors and hills, ranging across the frontier, now that prolonged lockdowns are lifted.
Home-stay to ward off highly infectious coronavirus -- with both domestic and international communications cut off -- casts strains on people's mind, especially of backpackers. The end of the ordeals creates in them a penchant for taking fresh air and relieving mind with scenic beauty.
Nature lovers, in particular, are turning out to see the familiar but eye-catching landscape. Netrakona is a popular destination for tourists.
Traders of this place are also happy with the increase in the number of guests at the ecological tourist spot.
Visiting the site recently, it could be seen that every tourist centre, including Panchgaon, is a plain hill with tourists on foot. According to locals, thousands of tourists have flocked to visit the hills.
"Someone is happy taking a bath in the shower water. Some are taking pictures while climbing the hill, while others are sitting on big rocks and taking selfies," says a spot account of the pastimes.
Many have come with their families -- freed from a rut of routines and restrictions.
On top of the list of tourist attractions are the white soil of the natural hills at Vijaypur in Durgapur, Birishiri Cultural Academy, Kamala Rani Dighi, Tonk Shaheed Memorial, Ranikhong Mission Tila Catholic Church, Rashmoni Memorial, the so-called Naidya Thakurgaran, Kalmakanda Lengura Saat Shahid Mazar, Kala Pani, Mominer Tila, Chandradinga, Patlabon, Chengti Hill Temple and Gobindapur Hill Tourist Spots.
The presence of local and surrounding district-upazila visitors looked like a feast for the eye, locals claimed.
With the arrival of a large number of tourists, the busyness of auto drivers, CNG, bikers has increased, so has their income, after one and a half years of penury for the covid-induced lockdowns.
At the same time, there has been a huge business buzz in markets.
Tourists Shahjahan and Moni, who came from Netrakona Satpai, said they had been under 'house arrest' for a long time. After the lifting of the lockdown, he came to Beda with his family. "We are really fascinated by the nature of the open-sky mountain here."
Kajal Talukder, a local media worker in Kalmakanda Upazila, feels that the 'road-ghat' communications system in the hilly border areas is not very good. Toilet facilities are inadequate, too.
"With a little planning, it can become an attractive place for tourists or those who have a thirst for travel, although not much has been done in the development of the tourism industry in this potential town," he says.
Kalmakanda upazila's Ali Usman, a local hotel owner, said, "There was a huge response from tourists on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hopefully, after the pandemic, we will be able to start business anew. I hope there will be good business in the future."
Netrakona Deputy Commissioner Kazi Md. Abdur Rahman said the matter had been discussed with officials of Bangladesh Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism. At their suggestion, two project proposals are being prepared for Kalmakanda and other tourist spots in Durgapur.
"With approval for the two proposals, it will be possible to do some work on a large scale. But, before that, there are plans to do something locally to make tourist spots more attractive, including a mobile app, accommodation for tourists, communications and other issues," he said.
"Implementation will start soon."