Destination Bangladesh : Sylhet Division
Sylhet division occupies the north east part of Bangladesh, has an area of 12596 sq. km and a population of 7.899 million. There are 4 districts and 14 municipalities under Barisal. It is a natural hilly, forest area with ox bow lakes and famous shrines.
Sylhet City :
Nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, greater Sylhet is a prime attraction for all tourists visiting Bangladesh. Laying between the Khasia and the Jaintia hills on the north, and the Tripura hills on the south, Sylhet breaks the monotony of the flatness of this land by a multitude of terraced tea gardens, rolling countryside and the exotic flora and fauna. Here the thick tropical forests abound with many species of wildlife, spread their aroma around the typical hearth and homes of the Mainpuri Tribal maidens famous for their dance.
The Sylhet valley is formed by a beautiful, winding pair of rivers named the Surma and the Kushiara both of which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and the south. The valley has good number of haors, which are big natural depressions. During winter these haors are vast stretches of green land, but in the rainy season they turn into turbulent seas.
These haors provide a sanctuary to the millions of migratory birds who fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid the severe cold there. Sylhet has also a very interesting and rich hilstory, Before the conquest by the Muslims, it was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal came to Sylhet from Delhi with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated the then Raja Gour Gobinda.
Sylhet thus became a district of saints, shrines and daring but virile people. Its rich potentialities became easily attractive and the 18th century Englishmen made their fortune in tea plantation. About 80 km. from Sylhet town connected by road and rail, Srimangal, which is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh, is the actual tea center of the area.
For miles and miles around, the visitor can see the teagardens spread like a green carpet over the plain land or on the sloping hills. A visit to the tea plantation in Sylhet is a memorable experience. Sylhet, the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens but also proudly possesses three largest tea gardens in the world in both area and production.
Sylhet is the land of Shrine's, natural Hills, forests, beautiful tree plantations and lots of Haors. It is an old city with full of natural beauties. A large number of tourists come every year to visit Sylhet. The main attraction of Sylhet city is the Shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal(R) and Hajrat Shah Poran (R). Shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal (R) is on the top of a hillock (tilla) in Sylhet city. Thousands of visitors are coming everyday in this Shrine. Shrine of Hajrat Shah Paran (R) is eight km far from Sylhet town on the Sylhet-Jaflong road where also thousands of visitors visits this Shrine everyday. Road journey to Sylhet is an wonderful experience through roads running ups and down the hills and green lush tea gardens of nature at its best.
Main Tourist Spots in Sylhet Division :
01. The Shrine of Hazrat ShahJalal 02. Sri Chaitannya Dev Temple 03. Shahi Eidgah 04. Gour Gobinda Fort 05. Jaflong 06. Tamabil 07. Sripur 08. Jointapur's Rajbari 09. Srimongol 10. Madhabkunda Waterfall 11. Lawacherra Rain Forest 12. Handicrafts of Sylhet 13. Manipuri Dance.
Ø The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal :
Shrine of Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal is the most historical interest in Sylhet town. Today, more than six hundred years after his death, the shrine is visited by innumerable devotees of every caste and creed, who make the journey from far away places. Legend says, the great saint who came from Delhi to preach Islam and defeated the then Hindu Raja (king) Gour Gobinda, transformed the witchcraft followers of the Raja into catfishes which are still alive in the tank adjacent to the shrine Swords, the holy Quran and the robes of the holy saint are still preserved in the shrine.
Ø Temple of Sri Chaitannya Dev :
About 500 years old famous about 45 km southeast from Sylhet town. The place is revered from being the ancestral home of the famous Vaishnava saint. Yearly fair is organized on the full moon day of the Bangla month Falgun. Hundreds and thousands of devotees from home and abroad attend this colorful fair.
Ø Shahi Edgah :
Three kilometers to the northeast of the circuit house, the Shahi Eidgah was built on a hill by the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb in the 17th century. It looks like a grade fort but is actually meant for Eid congregation-the two biggest Muslim festivals.
Ø Gour Gobinda Fort :
The Murarichand Government College is situated in a beautiful surrounding on a hilltop. To the northwest of the college lie the remains of King Gour Govinda's Fort.
Ø Jaflong :
Jaflong is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Sylhet division. It's about 60 km far from Sylhet town and takes two hours drive to reach there. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills. It is situated besides the river Mari in the lap of Hill Khashia.
The Mari river is coming from the great Himalayas of India, which 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. Jaflong is totally a hilly area of real natural beauty where hills are greenish with the forests.
Lots of wild animal lives in this forest, so you need to be careful to enter in the forest alone. You can see the lifestyle of Tribe Khashia in Jaflong. If you intend to visit Jaflong it is advisable to start from Sylhet in the early morning so that you can comeback by evening covering the other tourists spots of nearby areas of Jaflong. The other tourist areas nearby Jaflong are Tamabil, Sripur and Jaintapur.
Ø Tamabil :
Tamabil is the border area with India and is 05 km before Jaflong. If you intend to visit Shilong of India then you will have to cross this border by completing your customs formalities. To go to India you require valid Visa.
Ø Sripur :
Sripur is another beautiful tourist spot where you can see the waterfall with great tide falling form the hills. Besides the enchanting views of the area, one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border of India. Very Big stones sometimes are coming in this waterfall in Sripur. After completion of visiting Jaflong and Tamabil you must visit Sripur on the way to go back to Sylhet. It's only 7-8km 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.
Ø Jointapur's Rajbari :
Jaintiapur is only 5 km. from Jaflong, a scenic spot amidst tea gardens. At about 35 km. northwest of Sylhet town, linked by rail, road and river is Chhatak, the seat of Assam Bengal Cement Factory, Chhatak is famous for orange garden. After complete Sripur on the way back to Sylhet don't miss to visit Jointika in Jointapur. Jaintapur was the capital of Jainta Kingdome at 18th century. Jainta Rajbari was the palace of Kings of Jainta, it's just adjacent of Jainta Bazar. Though the condition of this king's palace is already damaged enormously but a huge number of tourists visit here due to the historical background of Jainta Kingdom.
A lots of picnic parties goes 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.
Ø Srimongol :
Srimongal is the place of tea gardens, hills and forest areas on the hills. Within your eyesight you will find green throughout. Its is 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. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tea every year. Most of the tea estates are in Sremongol. It is called "The land of two leaves and a bud".
It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one in the world. The terraced tea garden, pineapple, rubber and lemon plantations from a beautiful landscape. It is known as the tea capital in Bangladesh. Just offer entering into the tea estates the nice smells and green beauty will lead you many kilometers away. There are some hotels in Srimongol where you can stay, but if you can manage to stay in the Tea garden that will give you a different type of memorable experience. For that you will have to take the permission from the owner of any tea state.
Ø Madhabkunda Waterfall :
Madhabkunda waterfall is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Sylhet division. Lots of tourists and picnic parties come to Madhabkunda every day for their enjoyment. You can go to Madhabkunda either from Sylhet if you go by road or from Kulaura if you go by train. From Kulaura rail station its about one hour journey by microbus to Madhabkunda. The journey to Madhabkunda itself is exotic. 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 form 200ft. height. Big bolder of stones and the black stones in giving a shape of care in Madhabkundu. There is a Parjatan Motel with a good restaurant for accommodation and fooding.
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 Moulvibazar Zilla Parishad office.
Ø Lawacherra Rain Forest :
Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the important & well-reserved forests in Bangladesh. Here visitor may see gibbons swimming through the trees and birds like bee-eater owls parrot. It is a good habitant of Deer, leopard, wild chicken, squirrel, and python. Don't miss it especially if you are bird watcher. The terrain is hilly and vegetation is fairly thick. Only one rare Chloroform tree of Asia is prime attraction.
Khasia & Manipuri is two important ethnic-tribe live here. Manipuri is famous for its rich culture especially for dancing, singing. They are also famous for their traditional weaving. You can buy their handicrafts exquisitely woven woolen. Shawls, Sharee, Napkin, bed-cover and some should a bags. It is known as colorful community. Khasia tribe is famous for their betel leaf cultivation. They make their villages high on hilltop in deep forest and so far from town. It is like "A Piece of Paradise". Certainly it will please you.
Pineapple cultivation - Sweetest and best quality pineapples grown here in Bangladesh. Pineapple is really a greatest offer of summer but now it is cultivated round the year. So, you can enjoy the juicy summer fruit in any time coming to its real field.
Ø Handicrafts of Sylhet :
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 and the exquisitely designed fine Sital Pati (a kind of mattress having natural cooling effect) are colorful souvenirs.
Ø Manipuri Dance :
An interesting feature of Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as the Tipperas, the 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.
For accommodation at Sylhet town, some reasonably good hotels are available. Rest-house accommodation at Srimangal and other places are also available for tourists.