One of the most picturesque and archeologically rich regions in South Asia, is the Sylhet Division. Its bourgeoning economy has become a part of the attractions of the region, as landscapes are filled with fragrant orange and pineapple gardens and breathtaking tea plantations. Many Sylhet community members have found work and residence abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom and have been using remittances to fund projects and industries within the Sylhet Division, allowing the export industry and foreign investment sectors to grow.
This is the area lying on the north eastern part of our country bordering Indian states of Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya. In the north it has got Khashia & Jayanta Hills and in the south east he Tora Hills. The whole of north east part of Bangladesh is covered with terraced tea estates, patches of tropical forest, lemon & pineapple cultivation and orange groves. Most of the tea produced in Bangladesh comes from this area. The climate of this area is one of the best in the country being temperate and cool with clean, crisp air in winter. It is moderately warm in summer, but has an annual rainfall of 5000 mm, the highest in the country.
Besides the tea plantation there are many more to experience in this part. In Sylhet town, Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal, the 14th century sufi saint, is a very important pilgrimage site for the Muslims. On the north the foot of Khasi-Jaintia hills predominantly lives all the tribal people Khasi, Tripura, Pangou & Monipuri. Of them Khasi, Tripura & Pangou people tend to shun regular contact with the outside world, venturing only occasionally from their settlements. The Monipuri are the exception. They have become artisans, jewelers, businesspeople and have entered into the general Bangladeshi community.
There are the `haors’ (depressed land) where plenty of birds including migratory birds are visible between December and March. Srimongal, about 150 km north east of Dhaka and 75 km south of Sylhet is the tea capital of Bangladesh. The slightly hilly vast areas covered by green carpet of tea leaves are the most picturesque sights. Occasional presence of lemon orchards and pineapple plantation and the rubber plantation makes this a perfect place for a visit. Also the tropical forests, water fall, lake - all these are the attractions of this area.
Land border check point Tamabil, (Dawki on Indian side) is only a couple of hours drive from Sylhet.
Travel Information - how to get there
Sylhet possesses the third major international airport of the country after Dhaka and Chittagong. Regular international flights arrive here from UK and middle-east. There are several domestic flights arriving from Dhaka. Intercity train runs regularly from Dhaka and Chittagong to Sylhet via Srimongal. Very good air conditioned coach services are also available from and to Dhaka.
Main Tourist Spots in Sylhet Division
Tea PlantationTea is the heart of life in the Sylhet division. It produces over 55 million kg of tea annually from more than 150 tea estates spread over 40,000 hectares. You can stroll in the tea estate and wander a short way into the bushes and talk to the tea-puckers and learn something about the processes that culminate into our morning tea.
Madhabkunda waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. It is a large spot for the tourists and a major spot in Sylhet division. Lots of tourists and picnic parties come to Madhabkunda every day for their enjoyment.
You can go to Madhabkunda from Sylhet by road or train. On the way you can see the greenish beauty of tea garden, the hills and the zigzag road through the hills will increase the joy of your journey. In Madhabkunda you will see the great waterfall – falls of million tons of water from 200 ft. height. There is a Parjatan Motel with a good restaurant for accommodation and food. There is also a district council Bunglow for night stay. Here you can enjoy adventurous feelings to stay in a jungle. All you need to have a prior booking for the bunglow from Moulovibazar Zilla Parishad Office.
Haors of Sunamgonj
A Haor is a low lying depression on a floodplain, part of which dries during the drys eason. Haors are one of the main features of Sylhet division. They are mostly on Sunamganj district. Situated below the foothills of the Himalayas, the vast wetlands, locally known as ‘haors’, attract huge flocks of migratory birds in the winter months (October- March).
Sunamganj wetland area is unspoiled and remains largely unexplored by tourists. Cruising through the shallow and clear waters is a special treat for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike. Varieties of rails, raptors, ducks, sand-pipers and others congregate in these haors of Sunamganj are the most spectacular features here.
Among the tourist spots in Sylhet division, the most attractive might be Jaflong. It’s about 60 km from Sylhet town and takes two hours’ drive to reach there. The aesthetics of Jaflong makes it a rare beauty among the whole country and of course the most beautiful place for the tourists in Sylhet. The scenic beauty amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills make you wonder why you have not visited this place before.
Jaflong is situated besides the river Mari in the lap of Hill Khashia. The Mari river is coming from the great Himalayas, bringing million tons of stone boulders with its tide. You can watch the stone collection from the river in Jaflong as well as you can enjoy the boating in the river Mari. The beauty of Jaflong is enhanced a great deal where hills are greenish with the forests. In Jaflong you can see the lifestyle of tribal people, mainly of Khashia. If you intend to visit Jaflong it is advisable to start early in the morning from Sylhet so that you can comeback by evening covering the spots of nearby areas of Jaflong. The other tourist areas nearby Jaflong are Tamabil, Sripur and Jaintapur.
SripurSripur is another beautiful tourist spot, the major feature is a number of waterfalls with great tide falling from the hills. After completion of visiting Jaflong you must visit Sripur on the way back to Sylhet.
It’s only 7-8 km from Jaflong on the same road to Sylhet, a sub road entered into Sripur waterfall. Here you can see the stone collection and orange garden if you go inside Sripur crossing the hills.
Jointapur’s RajbariJointapur is only 5 km from Jaflong, a beautiful spot surrounded all over by tea gardens. At about 35 km northwest of Sylhet town, linked by rail, road and river. Jainta Rajbari was the palace of the king Jainta. However the palace is already damaged enormously but this place is still of a great interest to people , tourists due to the historic background of Jainta Kingdom and a large number of tourists visit here.
A lots of picnic parties go to Jaintapur forests and also other areas of Jaflong, Sripur and Tamabil to enjoy a full day in the nature. So if you are planning to visit Jaflong you must cover up all these four places at a time and by the evening you come back to Sylhet for your night stay. Generally winter is the best season to visit Jaflong but if you want to enjoy the real beauty of wild waterfall then you should visit Jaflong in monsoon.
Holy Shrine of Hazrat Shah JalalOne of the most visited places in Sylhet division is the holy Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal, a Mulim Sufi saint during the 14th century who came to Bangladesh to spread Islam. The place is of utmost interest of the tourists when they visit Sylhet, nobody normally misses its visit while visiting Sylhet. This is situated on the north of Sylhet city, off the airport road. The tomb of Hazrat Shah Jalal is located inside the shrine complex.
It is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in the country and a fascinating place to visit. Hazrat Shah Jalal’s sword and robes are preserved within the large new mosque, but are not on display. The tomb is covered with rich brocade, and at night the surrounding places are illuminated with candles.
Holy Shrine of Hazrat Shah ParanAbout 8 km east of Sylhet, just off the highway to Jaintapur, is the Shrine of Shah Paran in the tiny village of Shah Paran. It is a single dome mosque that attracts about 2000 pilgrims a day. This shrine is almost as popular as the shrine of the one of Shah Jalal.
The ‘tea capital’ of Bangladesh, a place blessed with tea gardens, hills and forests, Srimongal is a true beauty of nature. Within your eyesight you will find green throughout – greens of countless tea plants and leaves. It’s famous for the largest tea gardens of world covered by lush green carpet. One can have a look into the spectacular tea processing at Tea Research Institute situated here. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tae every year to all over the world. Most of the tea estates in the country are in Srimongal. It is called “The land of two leaves and bud”.
It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one of the world. If you enter the tea estates the nice smells of tea leaves will enchant you and green beauty will carry your soul to elsewhere. There are some hotels in Srimongal where you can stay, but if you can manage to stay in the Tea garden that will give you a different, memorable experience. For that you will have to take the permission from the owner of any tea state.
Tropical ForestsLawachhera National Park:
Located about 8 km east of Srimongal, this 1250 hectare park is a beautiful, evergreen tropical forest locally known as Shyamoli. This is one of the most important & well reserved forests in Bangladesh.
It has the country’s largest population of critically endangered Hoolock gibbons – the subcontinent’s only ape species - as well as a large variety of mammals, birds and orchids. Lawachhera is home to 19 mammal species including the capped langur, the delightful slow loris, orange-bellied Himalayan squirrel and barking deer. Some 246 species of birds have been identified, which includes the blue-bearded bee-eater and the red-breasted trogon.
Satchhari National Park:
This 243 hectare park is situated in Hobiganj, 60 km southwest of Srimongol. Though less popular than Lawachhera, it has a higher diversity of plants and animals and far less human disturbance. It has seven streams, the origin of the name “satchhari” came from these seven streams. A fair number of hoolock gibbons, fishing cats, phayre’slangur, jungle fowl, pygmy woodpeckers and oriental pied hornbills are the major feature of this park.
RemaKalenga Wildlife Sanctuary:
Located near Satchhari National Park, it is the country’s largest natural hill forest with a variety of plants, animals and birds and four different ethnic forest communities. If you visit Satchhari National Park, you must not miss this sanctuary.
Monipuri DanceAn interesting feature of Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as Tipperas, Monipuris, Khasias and Garos who still live in their primitive ways in the hills, practicing their age-old rites, rituals, customs and traditions.
During festivals such as Rash Leela (Full – moon night in February) and Doljatra, the attractive young- girls dressed in colorful robes, dance with the male members of their choice & love. The Monipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.
Tribal VillagesThere are 11 Khasia villages called “Punji” and several Monipuri villages called “Para” scattered among the tea plantations spreading in Srimongal and Sylhet areas. Khasia villages are usually on hilltops surrounded by betel nut trees, which is their cash crop. In the Monipuri “Para” you can see the traditional weaving.
Sylhet is well known for its wide variety of exquisite handicrafts. Well-known Sylhet cane products such as chair, table, tea trays, flower vases, bags, shawls, share, napkin, bed-cover and the exquisitely designed fine SitalPati (a kind of mattress having natural cooling effect) are colorful souvenirs. You can also buy the traditional crafts as souvenirs.
For accommodation at Sylhet town, some reasonable good hotels are available. Rest-house accommodation at Srimongal and other places are also available for tourists.
To cover all these places it will take 4-5 days- time. We have different set itineraries covering these areas. Please ask for them. In case none of those covers your subject or fulfill your interest, we shall be very happy to customize one especially for you upon request.
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