Hakaluki haor: Largest haor of Bangladesh

Sylhet division has many haors as an integral part of its unique ecosystem. Hakaluki is one of these haors. It is the home of numerous animals, fishes and birds and a large variety of flora and fauna.

Hakaluki haor is situated in the eastern part of Bangladesh adjacent to the Assam-Bangladesh border. 5 upzillas comprise this haors total area. 3 of them Kulaura, Juri and Baralekha are under Moulvibazar district. While the other 2 upzillas – Golapganj and Fenchuganj are under Sylhet division. It covers a large surface area of about 181.15 km2. Around 40% of this land falls in the territory of Baralekha upzilla. This huge land coverage makes it Bangladesh’s largest haor and one of Asia’s larger wetlands. However, 80 inter-connecting beels form the Hakaluki haor. In dry season this haor dries up much as like other haors. During monsoon establishes itself in a full to the brink condition. Then the inter-connected water bodies combine with each other to function as one.

This haor basin supports numerous wetland habitats. Different types of plants are found here. Various known- unknown plants and rare aquatics adorn this area with shades of green. The abundance of trees and herbs is surprising. But these aren’t the greatest treasure of the land, rather the wide range of wild animal is. It provides sanctuary to many species of animals and birds including some very rare kinds – already declared as threatened, vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species.

A total of 558 species of animal and birds have been identified here. Amphibians, reptiles, aves and mammals all of them enrich the biodiversity of this haor region. Among these animals are the freshwater Turtle and Tortoises, Otters, Capped Langur, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, dolphin, snakes and many more.

Besides trees and animals Hakaluki haor has something more special for the bird lovers. Presence of birds of many different species adds life to this haor. 417 species of aves have been spotted here among which 26 are totally threatened, 2 are vulnerable, 10 are endangered and 14 critically endangered species. Besides local birds many migratory birds visit this area in winter. The number of migratory birds are increasing every year. As a result Hakaluki haor has become a significant site for bird watching. Wide variety of waterfowl seen here is one of the main attractions. Among the other species are the Fulvous Whistling Duck, Lesser Whistling Duck, Falcated Duck, Ruddy Shell Duck, Tufted Duck, Common Shell Duck, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Greylag Geese Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller, Graganey, Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Common Teal, Ferruginous Pochard, Common Pochard, Indian Pond Heron, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Large Egret, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Purple Swamp Hen, Pheasant-Tailed Jacana, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Asian Open bill, Common Coot, Pintail Snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Green Shank, Red Shank, Red-Wattled Lapwing, Brown-Headed Gull and Black-Headed Gull. Rarely seen – Bears Pochards and Grey-Headed Lapwings are also found here at times.

ClassTotal SpeciesTotal threatenedVulnerable categoryEndangered categoryCritically endangered category

Amphibia
127520

Reptilia
704320194

Aves
4172621014

Mammalia
5923698

Total
55899334026

Hakaluki haor has been designated as an ECA – Ecologically Critical Area under environment conservation act in 1995. It is also declared as a protected Ramsar with a view to conserve wetlands and utilize them properly.

Travelling:

Regular bus service to Srimangal or Moulvibazar is available from Sayedabad Dhaka. It takes only about 4 hours. once you reach any of these places you may take a rent a car to go to hakaluki haor. You can also go to Srimangal by train. If you are eager to squeeze the time duration from hours to minutes you can also use the airway with little increase in the expense. In that case also you will be requiring a car or local bus to take you from the Sylhet Osmani Airport to the haor region.

Accommodation:

For accommodation there are hotels available in the Moulvibazar town. You can easily go to Hakaluki haor from there during daytime and stay in the town hotel during the night.

When to visit:

Hakaluki haor Adorns itself differently in different seasons. During monsoon the haor area turns into an endless sea. In winter it’s a different picture. Hundreds of migratory birds flock together and make the haor heavenly for the spectators mainly the bird watchers.

Hakaluki Haor is a unique place to visit specially for the nature-lovers. So if you are one of these lovers don’t forget visitng hakaluki when you are on vacation next time.

MOULVIBAZAR : The Land of Tea – Part :II

Shopping: A major part of Moulvibazar inhabitants live abroad, mostly UK. This fact greatly influenced the development of the region in different sectors. Shopping centers are one of those sectors.

  • M. R. Plaza
  • Big bazaar
  • Ahmed mansion
  • Bilash
  • Payel Western plaza
  • Mahbub Plaza

Julia shopping center etc – are some of the well-known shopping malls. All the modern commodities are readily available here.

Travelling:

ROAD: Direct bus service is readily available from Dhaka and other major cities to Moulvibazar. From Dhaka if you leave early in the morning it will take about 5.30 hours. You can also take a train although there is no direct train service to Moulvibazar from Dhaka. But you can easily get off the train at Srimangal station and take a car to Moulvibazar. The whole process will take about 5 hours.
By Air: Planes from Dhaka fly to Sylhet daily. The Osmani International Airport of Sylhet is only about 45 miles. Reaching the airport you can take a car and head to Moulvibazar. This will in total take about two hours but will surely cost more than the other modes of transport.

Places to visit:

  • The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra)
  • Madhabkunda waterfalls
  • Madhabkunda Eco park
  • Lawachara national park
  • Hakaluki haor
  • Madhobpur tea garden and lake
  • Barshijora Eco park
  • Memorial of Birshreshtho Hamidur Rahman
  • Monipuri village
  • Damaged gas field at Magurchara
  • Manu barrage
  • Baraura lake
  • Magurcherra Khasia punjee
  • Nirmai Shibbari
  • Orange gardens
  • Baikka beel
  • Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI)
  • Muktijuddho grave yard
  • Old court building
  • Palace of Hindu Raja Raj Chandra in Khalilpur union is famous for its architectural heritage.
  • Ekatuna is one of the richest unions for its pounds and dollars coming from UK and USA

The Mazar of Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra) :

The mazar of Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra) is located at the center of the Moulvibazar town. He was a descendent of the 4th Khalifa Hazrat Ali (Ra). About 700 years ago he came to Sylhet as a companion of the great Sain Hazrat Shah Jalal (Ra). Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra) began to live at Mostafapur of Moulvibazar district. He spread the words of Islam there and established a peaceful society. It is said that the place was actually named after Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra). The city Moulvibazar has been named after his successor Moulvi Syed Kudrat Ullah. Many people come daily to visit this mazar. Visiting this mazar will instill a feelings of holiness in your mind.

Madhabpur tea estate lake:

Madhabpur tea estate is another beautiful spot near Moulvibazar. It is about 50km from the town in Kamalganj upzilla. The estate offers great natural sceneries with all the tea plants standing in line on the hillocks. The presence of a lake in this tea estate makes the surrounding gorgeous. The lake is huge and it has small hills are on all the sides. The water here is awesomely cool and refereshing. It will be hard to control yourself from not jumping into it. Arrangement for boat riding in the lake is also available. Generally evening time is best for boat riding in the lake. Rare blue lotus and water lily mostly pink ones decorate the banks of the lake from time to time. These flowers add final touch of elegance to this lake’s charm. In winter this lake becomes a home for migratory birds.

Barshijora Eco park:

It is located in Moulvibazar Sadar, 2km from the zilla sadar. This eco park is also an attempt to conserve our precious nature. It is not yet that much developed as other eco parks but when you are in the town and have a little time with nothing to do at all, this might be the place you may make a short visit to.

MOULVIBAZAR : The Land of Tea – Part : I

Welcome to the land of tea is what a sculpture says on the entrance of the Moulvibazar district. It portraits a female tea-plucker with a basket on her back. This is enough to let you know the main attraction of this place is the tea-estates. But it will be only half of the picture, as moulvibazar has so many other fascinations besides the tea-estates.

Moulvibazar is a north-eastern district of Bangladesh. On its west is Habiganj. On the north side it is surrounded by Sylhet distrtict. While on the South and east sides it has a boundary with Indian states Tripura and Assam respectively. From these adjacent states various streams find their way into Moulvibazar. The Dholoi, Manu and  Juri ,the main rivers of this region, are such rivers.

History:

The place was named Moulvibazar after Moulvi Kudratullah, who used to preach Islam here. He was one of the descedents of Hazrat Shah Mustafa (Ra), a companion of the great saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (Ra) who spread Islam all over Sylhet. In the 17th century Moulvi established a small bazaar near his house which was moulvibazar by the local inhabitants. In course of time this market flourished and the place became familiar as Moulvibazar. However before the 14th century, i.e. before the Muslim era, this region is thought to have a majority of Hindu inhabitants. Hindu religious book revealed Moulvibazar as holy place and river Manu as divine tribute.

Natural beauty:

Moulvibazar offers great scenic beauty and immense natural charm. Tea-gardens, mixed evergreen forests, mountains and waterfalls running down these mountains are the major fascinations of its beauty. Among other attractions of the land are the interesting lifestyle of the tea-garden workers and the unique culture of the local tribal people. The luxurious residences made by the expatriates may also be noted in the Places to See list.

Tea estates are the common most feature of Moulvibazar. Moulvibazar has many hills – small ones and big ones followed by flat lands. These topographic features make it very favorable for production of tea. This is why there are 92 tea- estates in Moulvibazar while there are 154 of them in the whole country. Bangladesh has become one of the leading countries of the world in exporting tea. Two of the greatest tea producing estates in the world are located here. In the tea gardens the tea trees are planted in regular manner in the slopes of the hills. Big trees usually trees bearing fruits are planted in between them to provide shade. Everything there is in a very orderly fashion. Every plant and tree seems to be very strict as if not to disrupt the regularity. In these tea estates various animals find shelter. If you are lucky you may see some rare animals while visiting them.

Accommodation:

Moulvibazar has flourished much as a tourist spot. A large number of tourists from home and abroad every year visit this place. For their accommodation, now a good number of hotels are available here with a few differences in facilities served. Some of Moulvibazar’s hotels are

  • Hotel Sonargaon (contact no: 0861 – 64607)
  • Hotel Helal (contact no : 0861- 52535)
  • Hotel Rezia (contact no: 01716 – 086463)
  • Parjatan Resthouse (contact no: 0861 – 52350)
  • Sheraton Plaza (contact no: 0861 – 52020)
  • Hotel Rajdhani
  • Hotel Camilla
  • Hotel Basundhara
  • Hotel Lal Kella

Some restaurants are

  • Hotel Western Plaza (contact no: 0861 – 64810)
  • Bengal Food and Restaurant
  • Hotel City King Chinese (contact no: 0861 – 62775)
  • Rajmahal
  • Shad
  • Hotel Prince
  • Khawa-dawa
  • Rahmania
  • Manager stall etc

All these Hotels and Restaurants are located in Moulvibazar town. You can also book your rooms in hotels not located in moulvibazar rather than in Srimangal, which may be considered the best tourist attraction spot of this division.

Some hotels and restaurant in Srimangal are

  • Hotel Plaza (contact no: 08626 – 71525)
  • Tea resort (contact no: 08626 – 71207)
  • B.T.R.I (contact no: 08626 – 71225)
  • Tea town restaurant
  • Hotel Prince etc.

You can also take room in Baralekha area in

  • Hotel Al-Amin
  • Hotel Amirat

MadhabKunda: A place you don’t want to miss!

This time, I am not going to guide you to madhabkunda! This time, I am going to share with you a story, the story about a boy visiting Madhabkunda for the first time.

He was told that there was a waterfall where they were going, he was told that it was beautiful! The boy could not care less about the place being beautiful, all he cared about was the waterfall. It was an overcast day, it was the rainy season and it had rained last night .He was with his parents, the micro bus was running through narrow but smooth roads leaving behind tea gardens, rubber gardens! All of these,on any other circumstances, would have made the boy want to stop there on the tea gardens or rubber gardens. But he was too busy thinking about Madhabkunda! Suddenly someone pointed out of the window and shouted ” Look! “. It took a moment or two before the boy realized what he was asked to see and then he saw it…the blue outlines of far tall hills what seemed to him like mountains! He was told that they were going there. The boy became even more restless. He kept his gaze fixed on those outlines as the hills kept coming closer to him. He saw white cloud sitting there on the hills and for the first time that day thought if he could go there! After some time, he could not see the hills anymore because of trees. What he did not realize was that now they were nearly inside the hill tracks! The road took a left turn to a lesser road,it was bumpy but the boy was enjoying every moment when he was informed that they will be there soon. The area looked uninhabited, the boy saw no one, only the trees and jungles and bushes.

They had to come off the microbus as the driveway ended, and the boy was free now! He started to run but was soon stopped by his father. He was told that the path was too sleepy and thus dangerous. The boy could hardly wait. As they walked by a small river with very strong current what seemed to him, he heard a distant rumbling sound and was told that it was the sound from the waterfall. The boy wanted to run but was held tightly by the hand,and the muddy path was slippy indeed. As they walked, the whole area was getting foggy, the boy wondered why! The sound was getting louder and the fog was getting heavier…and then, with a left turn into a rocky opening, he saw it! He did not want to run anymore, he did not want to jump into the water, he did not want to scream, all he wanted to do was see! The water was coming down angrily and roared into the ground. The fog was coming from the impact of water on solid stone and water! Trust me, it was beautiful! After the initial shock was over, the boy became a boy again and started to play,heavily guarded by his parents though! On his way back,he saw two elephants with tribal people and he was lucky enough to ride one of them! How could a day get any better?

I have skipped many parts and places and natural beauty as it was not a travel story, it was a memory! I will be more than happy to provide any information you ask for. I have been there 10-12 times and I know the place very well.  It is heart breaking that the place has been stripped off many of its natural beauties in the recent years, but still it is beautiful enough to give at least 3 visits! So do it at least once, you will regret if you don’t!

Splendid Sunamganj : part- I

Sunamganj is one of the four districts of Sylhet division. It is located in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh, 70km west to Sylhet town. It lies on the lap of the  Khasia and jaintia hills. It is surrounded by many of the other districts. On south are Habiganj and Kishoreganj districts, on east is sylhet district, on west are Netrokona and greater mymensingh and on the north are the hills. Among other geographic features of the region are the two rivers Surma and Kushiyara and numerous haors.

History

The name Sunamganj is believed to have originated from the name of a brave Mughal soldier Sunamdi. Sunamdi is the regional form of Sunam Uddin. He was rewarded with some lands in this region by the then Mughal emperor for his bravery in one of the battles. Later Sunamdi donated this land to establish a market. In recognition to his generosity it was named after him as Sunamganj.

However, the history of Sunamganj is far too old. It is thought that most of the parts of Sunamganj was once submerged under kalidoho sea. With time it was revealed from under water. Besides many geographical changes Sunamganj has also experienced a great deal of historical events.

Sunamganj has been the birthplace of many a renowned mystic poets and devotees of art and culture. Hason Raja, Radharaman, Durbin Shah, Shah Abdul Karim , Gias Uddin Ahmed, Mohsin Reza Chowdhury, Moniruzzaman Monir, Nirmolendu Chowdhury, Abdul Hai, Brahmanendu Das, Lalanirendu De, Bipin Paul, Khirod Sharma, Toroni Kanto De, Sadir Uddin Ahmed, Shah Abu Taher and many more legends of the country comes from this region. Besides them Sunamganj has also given the country with many war heroes who fought for freedom. Among them Nankar rebellion Sukhair is notable.

Travelling:

From Sylhet there are regular buses to Sunamganj bus station at Amberkhana . This costs about Tk 50-75 and takes 2 hours time on an average. There might be some local bus services from Dhaka to Sunamganj. If you are interested to take up a train from Dhaka then you’ll have to go Sylhet by train and then make the rest of the journey with a rent a car or local bus to reach Sunamganj.

Accommodation:

For accommodation a few hotels are available here. Besides a few governmental and non-governmental rest houses are available.

  • Hotel Nur
  • Hotel Palace
  • Hotel  Nurani
  • Hotel Sarpinia
  • Hotel Mizan

Along with these hotels there are a government circuit house, zilla parishod rest house and some other rest houses.

Nature

Sunamganj is a land of natural beauty. Hills, rivers, haors, beels, trees, wildlife everything here make this place magnificent. Even lifestyle of the members of hill-tribes makes this land more interesting. The cultural diversity of the local people is mentionable in this case. Many languages and different practices are seen over the whole region. Some of these trends are due to the influence of the nearby districts habiganj, sylhet and a bit far from these two Comilla. All these add a different dimension to the natural glory of the region, making it more attractive.

Due to the presence of a huge number of wetlands Sunamganj has become one of the favorite spot for birdwatchers.

Many people, unaware of Sunamganj’s treasure, may not consider it as a tourist attraction. But you should visit to find out the unbound beauty this place offers.

Sunderban Tour

Last January we four friends arranged a tour to Sunderban leaving aside our busy days. Our plan was formatted within a very short time. One public holiday was there near to the weekly one and we used the opportunity to cover a four day tour. As incidentally I am of Khulna origin so we choked up an economy plan. We started from Dhaka at evening from air port train station to get the essence of a journey by train. Reaching to Khulna in the morning we came to our home to be fresh and got breakfast. Earlier I contacted Shahin a photo journalist and associated with forest dept for their video coverage to manage permission for Sunderban entry. Due to his position he could easily manage the permission with one step ahead to make the voyage by using one forest launch MV BONOMALI.

Our passion and the supporting environment were running parallel. The forest launch was destined for a three day night voyage particularly for a team from Dhaka university botany dept. They were to conduct some experiments on the mangrove forest, salinity and the harmful affect on the forest itself. We were not concerned with the science but the scientist was surely adorable to us for his generosity to allow us to be in the ship. There were two forest guards with fire arms, one chef with his assistant, Shahin the photographer, the Sareng (captain) and we four friends. Boat started just at 11.00 AM.

Dhangmari , the gate way of Sunderban

All the way we had been enjoying the panorama and once it reached the gate way of Sunderban named Dhangmari we discovered a serene beauty what we never witnessed. I can only compare the beauty as heavenly as none is there parallel I saw before. Scientist forgot his assignment, we forgot to talk to each other and even express the cheering. The boat with low noise slowly was advancing slitting the calm water of the river. Ripples were spreading towards the bank making an angular shape. Reflecting the golden focus of sun set from calm water of the river. We are speechless.

Monkeys are tearing leaves and deers are taking, so glamorous!

Suddenly some noise and Shahin’s call brought us in the worldly surroundings. Shahin guided and we also looked at the bank and found so many monkeys on trees and some deer less in number to the monkeys, wow! We didn’t expect so early we would find deer. The boat slowly moves and caused no disturb to them. What we read in our boyhood that we saw, monkeys tearing leaves and deer are taking, so glamorous. Mean time it was evening. Scientist asked the guide the area where he wants to get down to find samples of the trees dyeing. Is this only salinity or other root cause there, this is his subject for experiment. No harm, let him do for the forest and let us enjoy the forest.

Dacoits are more dangerous than tigers in jungle

Boat anchored at one convenient and safe area. Guide told us dacoits are more dangerous than tigers in jungle. This added a double climax on our thoughts. They affirmed us that robbers don’t come to forest boat and more over we are gunned so no risk there. We carried from Khulna enough snacks and the food stuffs to cook. Chef prepared tea and offered with snacks and started cooking for supper. This forest boats are very modern equipped with beautiful cabins, freezer, electricity etc. We enjoyed the moonlit night sitting on the deck and the nocturnal beauty of the forest, a huge mystery in side.

Meeting with the Royal Bengal Tiger

We were not feeling to go for sleeping rather sitting on the deck the gentle breeze just covered us with a calm and cool sense of comfort. At around 2 o’clock mid night we buzzed, let’s go for sleeping as tomorrow will be the day to explore more of the jungle mystery. Suddenly we got a bad smell in the air. I knew this odor only comes from the majestic tiger. I told my friends and kept them vigilant into the jungle. We heard a sound like chasing or rush in the darkness of the jungle and within a minute before taking the second breath we saw what we use to see in animal planet channel. The bore just rushed out to the river bank and in split of a second the Royal Bengal Tiger jumped out to catch him by neck and fled into the dark jungle. Still the dragging sound remained for some seconds while the gorgeous animal disappeared with his prey.

This is merely a luck to find a tiger in the forest safely. The honey collectors (moual) and the axe men (bawali) they do not want to see the tiger as there happens regularly sad killing of these professionals by the jungle protectors the tigers. We were over there for next two days and enjoyed the serene beauty from top to the bottom but we fulfilled our bag on the very first night only.

Idea for travellers who want to visit Sunderbans

Now for those who want to visit Sunderban may have some idea for conducting a journey. You could contact BPC (Bangladesh Porjoton Corporation) and can find from there so many package tour agents and deal with them for a package tour. Other option is to go to Khulna by bus or train, then to get permission from forest office. There are boats destined from Khulna also but going to Mongla from there also small launch available for the guided tour.

Editor’s note: Recommended Reading: The Lawachara Rain Forest: Where Wildlife Can Breathe Safely

The Charming Jaflong-Tamabil

Jaflong-Tamabil is located at a short distance from Sylhet town. It is one of the main tourist attraction spots in the surroundings of the town.

The border outpost on Sylhet-Shilong road, Tamabil is surrounded by beautiful nature. It is about 55km away from Sylhet town. Along with the area the road to this destination is also wrapped with wondrous natural beauty.

Mountainous streams running along the zigzag road catches the sight of the tourists. The green carpeted mountain ranges across the border are as if busy trying to touch the sky. Waterfalls flowing from these mountains to portrait a flawless natural scenario.

Some distance ahead of Tamabil is Jaflong. At Jaflong the nature represents itself in an even more astounding grace. It’s a riddle how the crystal clear water of the river there manages to be very cold under the red hot sun all the time. So if anyone visits Jaflong it’s a must to stand for a while in the river water.

If you don’t do this your visit will be an incomplete one. Rocks of various sizes underlying the river also capture one’s attention. It is common for tourists to cross the river or just spend some time on the river as boats are available there.  The entire nature with a surprising calmness makes the total experience a unique one.

Traveling:

Transport by bus from both Sylhet and Dhaka is easily possible. It takes about 1.5 hours from Sylhet to reach this place. Private or rent a car can be good options in the case.

Accommodation:

Accommodation facility is not that much developed in this region. As journeying facilities is easy tourists prefer staying at a hotel in Sylhet town.

The enchanting views of Jaflong-Tamabil region is indeed an amazing experience. Anyone on the way to explore true beauty should visit this place.

Madhabkundo: Fountain of charm

Madhabkundo is one of the most fascinating tourist spots in Sylhet. The waterfall here makes the surroundings a unique one.

Madhabkundo is famous for its waterfall. It is the biggest waterfall of Bangladesh. This waterfall carries million tons of water which fall from a height of 200

ft every day. As the water comes from ground resource, it is much cold in all the weather. You can sit on the stones scattered all around with your feet in the flowing water and listen to the sound of the waterfall in the quietness of the surroundings. This would leave you with an amazing feelings of the beautiful nature. Around this fall large black boulders are scattered. All these in combination with each other portrait a magnificent scenery.

Like other parts of Sylhet Madhabkundo is also surrounded by a

variety of greens. The journey to Madhabkundo is an exotic one. The lush green carpet, the hills and the zigzag road through the hills on the way to the waterfalls enhance the beauty of the landscape. The sides of the road is also surrounded by terraced tea-gardens which add to the variety of the greens of this region.

Everyday a large number of people come to visit this place. Picnic parties even from Dhaka are also commonly seen here. This is because the journey from capital city  does not take much time.

Traveling : Bus, train service both are available for the travel. You can go by bus or car to Madhabkundo from Sylhet. From Dhaka also buses run to Madhabkundo. You can also use train from Dhaka In that case you need to get off at the Kulaura station and travel a short distance to reach Madhabkundo by a microbus or car. Rent a car service are available here.

Accommodation : There are some hotels where variety of services are available. A Parjatan Motel

with a good restaurant for accommodation and food facility is available here. For adventurous feelings you can also stay in a district council bungalow.

Madhabkundo is the most beautiful waterfall of the country. Its beauty will certainly charm the visitors.

Nilgiri Bangladesh: on the top of the world

It was a full moon of late autumn.

Gentle breeze was blowing down the hill side and thin clouds were hanging around on their way to casual fly. Dimmed through the clouds, silver moon light was rolling down the folds and slopes.

Getting out of the cottage I walked to the end of the hills and looked around. I felt like I was standing on the top of the world at my feet. This is what Nilgiri Bangladesh really is. Now I am going to table before you the beauty of Nilgiri and how to tour there with an account of likely budgets you need to make. I will also mention other places you may visit on way to or return from Nilgiri. Nilgiri Bangladesh’s highest hill resort.

Nilgiri is the highest hill resort of Bangladesh. 47 KM away from Bandarban. If you get on a Bus from Dhaka at around 10 o’clock you will reach Bandarban at dawn. For better freedom one can rent a microbus or car from Dhaka. To save time you can reach Cox’s Bazaar by air for onwards move to Nilgiri by bus or rent a car. You have to stay at Bandarban hotel and next day you can move to Nilgiri. On way you may have a round on Meghla Tourist Spot near Bandarban city. Spend one or two nights at Nil Giri and then return with a night stay at Bandarban. The accommodation in Nilgiri, in fact, makes its difference. Good hotels are there at Bandarban city too. . Accommodation and food for 3 days will cost near tk 10000. Conveyance will depend on means you choose from tk 7000 minimum to maximum tk 11000 if you go by plane to Chittagong.

sadra falls at thanchi bandarban

sadra falls at thanchi bandarban

Nilgiri Bangladesh’s highest hill resort with amazing natural beauty. One can reach Nil Giri by bus, rented car or by a combination of bus and car or plane and car. Good accommodations are available both at Bandarban and Nilgiri. Expenditure may range from tk 17000 to 21000 basing on traveling means and comfort you prefer.

However, you can get me written, your tour will worth the cost you pay. Last but not the least, if you are a foreigner you must take permission from DC, Chittagong to be at Nil giri. Wish you enjoy at Nilgiri.

Nilgiri hill resort booking information.

If you want to go to Nilgiri, Bandarban by train, there are no direct train service. You can go to Chittagong from Dhaka by train and then go to Bandarban by bus. Dhaka to Chittagong train schedule.

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.

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