Sylhet: Land of boundless beauty – Part 1

If I am asked to name a good tourist spot in Bangladesh I may utter Sylhet spontaneously.

The only reason to mention Sylhet is it’s boundless beauty and flourishing culture.

Geographically, Sylhet stands on the banks of Surma river surrounded by Khasia and the Jaintia hills on the north, and the Tripura hills on the south. This hilly region adds a variation to the flat land Bangladesh. The terraced tea -gardens, winding mountainous rivers, thick tropical forest and country side extending to the horizon combine to make greater Sylhet a major tourist attraction of the country. Here the lavish forests are full of a variety of greens and many species of wildlife. This region is also well- known for its profound art and culture in which the contribution of the local tribes is mentionable.

sunset at hakaluki haor

sunset at hakaluki haor

Surma and Kushiara are the two main rivers forming Sylhet valley. These are in turns joined with a number of other hill streams. Apart from these streams, sylhet has many haors which are bowl shaped shallow dips. During rainy season these haors go under deep water turning into turbulant seas. While in the dry season the water drains out and leaves rich alluvial soil used extensively for rice cultivation. These haors also provide shelter for a large number of migratory birds flying from cold countries.

Hazrat shah jalal mazar at Sylhet

Hazrat shah jalal mazar at Sylhet

Sylhet has also a very rich history. Before the Muslims, it was ruled by local tribal leaders. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) came to Sylhet from Delhi with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated Raja Gour Gobinda. From then to now Sylhet has improved a lot. In last few decades this development has been remarkable economically due to the remittances by the expatriates living abroad, mainly in Britain.

dol jatra

dol jatra

A fascinating feature of Sylhet is the aboriginal tribes living there. The Monipuris, Garos, Khasias and Tipperas are the main tribes of this region. Their lifestyle on the hills, practicing age-old rites, rituals, traditions and celebrationg festivals continuing from time immemorial has made Sylhet’s culture richer. During festivals like Rash Leela (Full-moon night in February) and Doljatra, charming young tribal girls adorn themselves with colorful robes, Then they dance with their chosen and loved males of the tribe. The famous Monipuri dance is performed on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.

Traveling:

With the improved communication system going to Sylhet has become much easier.

By air: Since Osmani International Airport is served by all major domestic carriers different flights like Biman Air and GMG Airlines, United Airlines, Royal bangle airlines are available. Please check the airline’s website for latest schedule. It takes only about half an hour to three quarters to reach Sylhet from Dhaka by air.

By train: Trains run from Dhaka ,Chittagong and Comilla to Sylhet everyday. From Dhaka, there are three train named Joyontika, Parabat and Upoban depart at morning, noon and night respectively. The duration of the journey from Dhaka is usually 5 hours.

Train schedule from Dhaka to Sylhet

By bus: There are many luxury and economic bus services from Dhaka to Sylhet. Some notable luxury services are provided by Shohag Paribahan, Saudia, Green Line, Silk Line, Shamoly, Holy city etc. These service is available from early morning to late night ( a range of about 7.30 am to 10.30 pm) . The non-AC bus services, such as Shamoli, Hanif, al-mamun and al-mobarakh etc, are available at Sayedabad bus terminal. These buses depart in almost every half an hour from 6am to 12am. Bus journeys may take more time than the other modes of travel to reach the destination. For latest schedule it is recommended to contact with particular company.

Accommodation:

A number of hotels are available for night stay in Sylhet. It is easy for tourists to choose one as per need. Bargaining over the price helps at times. Some of the hotels are :

  • sylhet town clock

    sylhet town clock

    Hotel Supreme

  • Hotel Palash
  • Hotel Gulshan
  • Hotel Western
  • Hotel Anurag
  • Hotel Al-Amin
  • Hotel Garden’s Inn
  • Hotel Firdous
  • Hotel Panama
  • Hotel Hilltown
  • Hotel Rose View

 

Restaurants:

A variety of restaurants are available here such as:

  • Silver Palace, noya sorok.
  • Chiangmai Chinese Restaurant.
  • Chicken Hut.
  • Pizza Shop.
  • Alpine Restaurant (traditional).
  • Prithiraj (traditional).
  • Paktoon, Rose View Hotel.
  • Pearl Orient, Rose View hotel.
  • Four Season, Rose View Hotel.
  • Sizzling Restaurent, Rose View Hotel.
  • Exotica Restaurent, Hotel Supreme.
  • Dinette Restaurent, Hotel Fortune Garden.

Bars are not that readily available in Sylhet. Although some are available in the major hotels like Sylhet Station Club and Club Royale, Rose View Hotel.

Parjatan facilities:

Bangladesh Parjatan corporation operates a first class motel (Phone : 0821-712426) and restaurant near the Sylhet Airport besides the Duty Free shop at the airport (Pnone : 0821-713206) and transport service. Picnic spot, restaurant, parking facilities have been established near Madhabkunda waterfall area.

Continue reading part 2 here

Majar of Ulugh Khan Jahan Ali: culture of 15th century

Beauty of muslim culture of 15th century is still present here.

The holy grave of the saint Khan Jahan Ali is in Bagerhat, many wonders are around it.

An amazing tour is possible in Bagerhat of Bangladesh to see not only an adventurous graveyard but also some historical but beautiful places. You can find here two of the oldest mosques, the Shat Gambuj Mosque and the one Gambuj Mosque.

In 1442 a muslim saint Ulugh Khan Jahan Ali came in Khalifabad (present Bagerhat) to spread the religion Islam. He used to live on the bank of a river and used to use crocodiles for good works. After his death there was situated a majar around his grave and the river died. But the crocodiles are still there from the time of his death.

Some of the crocodiles of the majar are thousands year old and they does not eat human body without hen and duck. So people can touch them truely without danger and people believe that the crocodiles can make any wish true. I became astonished after touching a crocodile for the first time.

Where the saint is sleeping down there are some strange manners also. The whole majar is decorated in 15th century and the design of former muslim culture is wonderful! The majar is standing here which is made of burn mud from 15th century.

Around the majar there seems like a fair. you can buy things like flute, cap etc. The road transport system is quiet good, available and easy so people come here everyday from different places. You can take an opportunity like me to see the signature of former culture at the majar of Khan Jahan Ali in Bagerhat.

The wind of nearby sea, the trees around a dead river site and the wonders of the majar can’t be neglected by you. Every angle of the environment will attract your sight.