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

The Lawachara Rain Forest: Where Wildlife Can Breathe Safely

It is one of the most important rain forest and major reserve of Bangladesh. To preserve the wildlife the government declared as a national park in 1997.

Photo credit: Nazimgarh Resorts

The park is home to a large diversity of about 460 species among which 167 are plants, 4 amphibian species, 6 reptile species, 246 bird species and 20 mammal species. Bee-eater owls, parrots are found here. So for bird watchers it is a must to visit this place.

Hoolock gibbons, highly endangered in Bangladesh, are also seen here jumping from one tree to another. Leopards, deer, wild chicken, wild bore, squirrel, python, even king cobra are among the other inhabitants of this forest. Besides these animals one rare type of Chloroform tree of Asia is found here.

Visitors can enjoy hiking and walking to indulge themselves in the nature close to the wildlife using the numerous trails in the forest.

The hill tops of this forest are the home for different tribal peoples. Khasias and Manipuris are the main inhabitants here. Tourists can visit these tribes to get acquainted to their customs and traditions. Manipuri dance is one of the must-see features of this area. Manipuris are also famous for their traditional weaving. Their handicrafts, shawls, saree, bags, bed covers etc can be bought from local markets. Khasia’s on the other hand are well known for betel leaf cultivation.

Traveling:

Taking a bus from Sylhet town may take you to the destination in or about 2hours. Or one can manage to go from Srimangal also. It will take 3.5hours to reach Srimangal from Dhaka and a few minutes from there to the forest. Train service from Dhaka to Srimangal is also available.

Accommodation:

Visitors can spend their nights in hotels, bungalows or resorts in Srimangal.

COX’S BAZAR: A sea beach could not get better! – Part 2

Try spending a full day here at Inani beach.

As the daylight starts to fade, get yourself seated facing west. You are about to experience something you have never experienced before as beautifully. The red hot sun will come down into the horizon. It would seem very close to you and you might feel like running into the see and touch it. Well words are not enough to describe the scene or the feeling. You must come and see it yourself. Spending time there as it starts to get dark is never a waste of time as the darkness will sharpen your ears and you will be able to listen to the sounds you could not notice so far, the sound of waves this cox’s bazar sea beach crushing into sand, the sound of wind blowing through the trees, sounds of unknown birds! You could enjoy the sea in moonlight or you could celebrate life watching the stars in crystal clear sky!

Colorful ornaments shelves in a stall at Cox's bazar sea beach

Colorful ornaments shelves in a stall at Cox’s bazar sea beach

There are several other things you could do during your stay at Cox’s Bazar specially new  cox’s bazar sea beach. If you are a shopping lover then you are in luck. There are unique things you could buy. Ornaments made of colourful shells are available everywhere. You could buy handmade tribal clothes and handicrafts. You could also buy different pickles and spices if you like.

The better hotels offer alcohol. If you need to put off your thirst. But you might not find your favorites here if you are an enthusiastic and the service quality might not be up to your expectations. The prices might be higher than you expect.

food at mermaid cafe in cox's bazar

food at mermaid cafe in cox’s bazar

One of the best parts of Cox’s Bazar Sea beach is the food of this place. You can find almost anything here starting from tribal, local, traditional Bangladeshi to International such as Thai or Chinese food here. So if your stomach is ready to take anything then jump in, throw it a challenge and take the taste of your lifetime!

The easiest way to get around places is by rickshaw.

The fare should not be more than 20 BDT in most cases. The rickshaw pullers tend to demand more from the foreigners so this is something to be careful of.

 

There are places as beautiful you could visit if you have enough time around Cox’s Bazar sea beach such as Maheshkali, Ramu, Sonadia Island, Teknaf and many more. Each place is worth visiting if you can manage!

So if you are looking for a travel destination you have already found it. Please don’t think twice before coming to Cox’s Bazaar sea beach, a natural wonder, as this could be an experience of a lifetime and a story you would love to tell in many years to come!

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

Srimangal : The land of two leaves and a bud

If you want to go somewhere close to the nature, a place where peace and calmness prevails then Srimangal is the place to visit. With all the trees and gardens this place manages to remain beautiful with astounding serenity.

Srimangal is said to be the tea capital of Bangladesh. The gentle sloped hills here are very favorable for the tea production. Thus it is so “the land of two leaves and a bud”. It is also called Camellia, green carpet, ocean of green or tea mountain. The trees standing in rows on the hills with narrow streams of water flowing along them create a beautiful picture. Other trees like pineapple, rubber and lemon are planted in between tea trees to lend them required shelter from the sun’s heat. Together all these greens create a very appealing scenery. Besides the aroma there creates an outstanding atmosphere. The thick tea estates and fruit gardens and other surroundings fill the entire area with an amazing tranquility.

Srimangal has large tea estates, even the largest one in the world. Besides the tea gardens one can also see the processing of tea from leaves in the Tea Research Institute.

Among inhabitants of these hills main are the tribal people. They live on the hill tops in close contact with the nature. Manipuri and Khasias are the main tribes of this area. Tourists can visit these tribes to get acquainted to their customs and traditions. Manipuri dance is one of the must-see features of this area. Manipuris are also famous for their traditional weaving. Their handicrafts, shawls, saree, bags, bed covers etc can be bought from local markets. Khasia’s on the other hand are well known for betel leaf cultivation.

Traveling : Buses or cars are good options for the journey. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Srimangal by bus from Dhaka. From Sylhet it only takes 2 hours. Train service is also available from Dhaka to Srimangal.

Accommodation : There are many hotels and rest houses available for tourists ranging from economic to expensive. So you can easily pick up one accordingly.

Srimangal presents nature in a panoramic view. It should be visited to get closer exposure to the nature.

If you are a nature lover, you would never want to miss out the wonderful experience of this place. It would certainly be a trip which one would remember for quite a long time.