I left Lalmornihat to the north, towards Patgram and the Burimari border crossing. The road follows the left bank of the Teesta river.
The northwest of Bangladesh is a wee bit less conservative than the southeast. Something I haven’t seen in Bangladesh before: girls and women on bicycles! Also, it happened once or twice that groups of school girls waved hello and smiled when I rode past. Something that seemingly would have been impossible in the south.
According to the map there were a few more Indian exclaves along the road, but when I stopped and asked people they said “there is no India here, only Bangladesh”. I wonder what happened.
I arrived in Patgram at around 2.15pm, after 82km of riding. I found a hotel, had lunch, and set out for some more nerdy sightseeing.
One of the biggest (maybe the biggest) Bangladeshi exclaves in India is the Dahagram–Angarpota exclave. At its closest point it is just a hundred meters away from Bangladeshi mainland. Its inhabitants have long struggled to be able to go to Bangladesh, had no electricity and no health care or other support. Only a couple of years ago India and Bangladesh have entered into an agreement where India leased that small stretch of land, called the Tin Bigha Corridor, to Bangladesh, to enable Bangladeshis to cross from/to Dahagram–Angarpota. An Indian public main road crosses the corridor as well. The corridor is guarded by both the Bangladeshi (on both Bangladeshi sides) and the Indian army (inside the corridor).
On arrival the Bangladeshis wouldn’t let me through at first, but when I assured them I had no intentions of defecting to India I was eventually escorted through – by bicycle as well! The Indians didn’t care at all. I cycled all around the exclave for an hour or so. At the far end of the exclave I met a group (two busses full) of students with their teachers who had come from Rangpur for some nerdy sightseeing, too, and a massive picnic.