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.

Class Total Species Total threatened Vulnerable category Endangered category Critically endangered category

Amphibia
12 7 5 2 0

Reptilia
70 43 20 19 4

Aves
417 26 2 10 14

Mammalia
59 23 6 9 8

Total
558 99 33 40 26

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.

Tanguar Haor : Unique itself (part – II)

Tanguar haor exhibits a unique wetland ecosystem. Realizing its importance in national and global environmental perspective some steps have been taken to preserve it.

It has been declared as the Ecologically Critical area in 1999 by the Bangladesh Government. It has been marked as a ramsar site under the Ramsar convention of 2000.But all these protective measures will result into failure if we do not become conscious about restoring it and its wildlife.

Travelling:

Your modes of travel will depend on the time you choose to travel the haor. During dry season many of the wetland dries up. If you go there in summer, first you have to take a boat from Sunamganj town’s Shaheb bari ghat and reach the other side. From there the next destination is Sripur bazaar or Damper bazaar. It will take about 2 hours to reach there by motorcycle or car and may cost about 200 taka. From Damper bazaar boats are available for taking a ride through the Tanguar haor. These boats usually cost in between 300-400 taka.

If you are interested to visit Tanguar haor in the rainy season. It is even easier. You can reach Tanguar Haor directly from town ghat (Shaheb bari ghat) either by engine boat or speed boat. Engine boat takes 5 hours to take you to the haor and costs about 2500 taka. While it only takes 2 hours in speed boat with a higher cost which is about 8000 taka.

Accommodation:

For night stay there is a government rest house, 3kms away from the haor. It is a rest house of the tekerghat lime crushing unit. You need to book your room in advance. No other known accommodation facility is available there.

When should you visit:

You can visit Tanguar haor at any time. But different seasons adorn this haor area with different beauty. In rainy season the whole area turns into a sea.
If you are a fan of boat journeys then monsoon is the time you should visit tanguar haor. In dry season, however, much of the area dries up. The scenic beauty of the place doesn’t decrease at all because of these events instead these changes add another degree of uniqueness to tanguar haor.

Tanguar haor is not only a magnificent place where you can peep into the nature closely but also experience the lifestyle of various animals, birds and fishes. Such an amazing place is hard to find out nowadays in any corner of the world.

Tanguar Haor : Unique itself (part – I)

Tanguar haor is one of the largest wetland areas of Bangladesh. It is bestowed with unique combination of rare animals, birds, plants and herbs.

Tanguar haor is a vast flood land situated at the north-eastern part of Bangladesh and extended over Tahirpur and Dharmapasha upazillas of Sunamganj district. It comprises of 51 wetlands which covers about 7000 acres area, 6912.20 acres to be precise. The marshes of this area are interconnected by narrow channels and during monsoon merge into a vast single water body. It then covers as much as 20,000 acres of land if the reed forests are included.

This haor area is astonishingly charming. The surrounding green forests, different flora and fauna, variety of animals and birds and the vast water bearing wetland stretching beyond the horizon create a dazzling scenario. The nature as if awaits there to overwhelm you with its charms. The khasia hill of Meghalaya province of India in the background of the haor basin adds to the beauty of the land.

Tanguar haor is the home for numerous plants and animals. A number of rare animals, fishes, birds and platns are found here along with the common ones.

It harbors 200 aquatic plants and many aquatic lives. Hijol, koroch, balua, reeds , ban tulsi and some other threatened plant species can be found here. Besides these the haor also has blue lily, helencha, pani fol, shoal, sheetol pati, shotomuli, shornolota and some more rare kinds of wetland plants. Tanguar haor provides shelter to 141 fish species, 208 bird species, 34 reptiles and 11 amphibians.

In winter thousands of migratory birds of about 98 more species fly here to take shelter. Among the birds are many globally endangered birds such as Palaces Eagle, large Grey King stork, vultures, Baikal teal, Slaty wood pecker, Red headed trogon, Pallas’s fish eagle, Mangrove whistler, Mangrove pitta, Masked finfoot ,White winged wood duck and numerous other migratory birds. Local birds pankouri, kalem, boidor, gallinule, and other variety of ducks, river gulls, stork, cranes are also seen here. As the humming sound of all these various birds combine with each other it feels like some heavenly music being played.

In the winter it provides sanctuary to almost 50-200 thousands migratory birds every year. The reason that many migratory birds flock here may be the geographical situation of the haor. The birds seen here sum up to almost half of the total bird species found in the whole Indian subcontinent. Tanguar haor provides great opportunity to watch these large number of bird species closely. This haor is like a little heaven for birdwatchers.

Tanguar haor doesn’t only provide haven for birds it acts a as mother fishery enabling many fishermen to earn their living. As a result it plays vital role in the local as well as national economy. This haor offers one crop in the marshes during winter and serves as a source of livelihood for the inhabitants of the 46 surrounding villages.