Picturesque Sylhet

, Leisure

‘Sylhet Division, in the northeastern division of Bangladesh, is named after its main city, Sylhet’

Sylhet has a very interesting and rich history, before the conquest by the Muslims; it was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal came to Sylhet from Yemen with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated the then Raja Gour Gobinda.

Nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, greater Sylhet is a prime attraction for all tourists visiting Bangladesh. Laying between the Khasia and the Jaintia hills on the north, and the Tripura hills on the south, Sylhet breaks the monotony of the flatness of this land by a multitude of terraced tea gardens, rolling countryside and the exotic flora and fauna.

Here the thick tropical forests abound with many species of wildlife, spread their aroma around the typical hearth and homes of the Manipuri tribal maidens famous for their dance. The Sylhet Valley is formed by a beautiful, winding pair of rivers named the Surma and the Kushiara both of which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and the south.

The valley has a good number of haors, which are big natural depressions. During winter, these haors are vast stretches of green land, but in the rainy season, they turn into turbulent seas. These haors provide a sanctuary to the millions of migratory birds who fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid the severe cold there.

An interesting feature of the Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as the Tipperas, the Manipuris, Khasis, and Garos who still live in their primitive ways in the hills, practicing their age-old rites, rituals, customs and traditions. During various festivals such as Rash Leela (full-moon night celebrated in the month of February) and Doljatra, young girls dressed in colourful robes, dance with the male members of their choice. The Manipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.

The Sylhet Valley is formed by a beautiful winding

pair of rivers named Surma and Kushiara

How to go: Osmani International Airport (ICAO: ZYL) is served by all major domestic carriers. There are many luxury coaches and bus services from Dhaka to Sylhet. There is also train services from Dhaka to Sylhet every day.

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