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See pictures documenting the magnificent Padma river

STEEPED in vibrancy and antiquity, these bold images document the Padma, a major river flowing through Bangladesh that makes up the last leg of the journey of the river Ganges. They are taken from The Great Padma Book: Life and times of an epic river by Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, which sets out to paint a comprehensive picture of the land, water and people of the Padma, a word that means lotus flower in Sanskrit.

Starting from the Himalayas, the Ganges ends its 2500-kilometre journey in the Bengal delta, where it becomes known as the Padma (shown in the main image). This is the largest river delta in the world and is a rich culmination of not only waterways, but also history and culture, shaped by the river’s flow.

Ashraf writes in his introduction of how, in the past, “perhaps a greater attention was given to the origins” of the Ganges in the mountains, “not to how it ends in the sea”. His book, which features a preface from author Amitav Ghosh, “takes off where others have stopped short”, he writes.

The images above shows (top to bottom): a fragment of a map by Venetian cartographer Fra Mauro from the 1420s, suggesting a delta in the Ganges region; mangoes being transported to market in Chapai Nawabganj, known as Bangladesh’s capital of the mango; a boat market in the country’s Manikganj district (pictured above).

The Great Padma Book is out now.

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