Sulakbahar

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Sulakbahar The Sultani port of Chittagong was probably situated at Sulakbahar on the river Karnafully in Ward No. 11 of the Chittagong City. In the medieval period, it was an important entrepot of sea-borne trade. The place-name (Sulakbahar) has an Arabic origin, meaning a place of journey to the sea. One of the major items exported from the ports of Bengal from the early days was called Karpasika. There is a locality called Godir Para in Sulakbahar-Solashahar area. Tradition goes that this Godir Para was a famous centre for shipbuilding and ship repairing activities of the visiting Arab-merchants. Remnants of broken ships or part of it were unearthed at the time of digging ponds and other earthwork in this locality. A hillock named Godir Pahar, which served as a dock, is still traceable in the vicinity. Ghat, an Arabic word, means dipped or plunged into. Probably newly built or repaired ships were used to run into the river from this earthen dock and the local name 'Godi' is a corruption of ghat. The description of building a 'brig ship' on such a high land on the bank of the river Karnaphuli in early twentieth century is available in the Probhasi and this venture might bears a remnant of a traditional technique. The jihat godi (goda) or marammat jahazat has been referred to as one of the mahal of the mahalat-i sa'ir at ports. The location of Sulakbahar is approximately twelve miles inside the river Karnafully from its mouth. Chittagong port has been a window on the Indian Ocean since 7th century AD from the days of harikela; and during the sultanate rule it served as a principal port for Muslim pilgrims and for the export of cloths, sandalwoods and other goods. [Shamsul Hossain]