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.
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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.
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.
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.