Sylhet – Bangladesh

Sylhet BangladeshSylhet or Srihatta (land of beautiful huts), as this region was originally known as, became the sixth administrative Division of Bangladesh in the year 1995. This division is situated in the North eastern portion of Bangladesh and is flanked on three sides by India and on the western sides by Dhaka and Chittagong and is bounded by the Surma and the Kushiara rivers. Sylhet is further divided into four districts called, Habiganj, Sunamganj, Maulavi bazaar and Sylhet. It is located between the Khasia, Jaintia and the Tripura hills.

Sylhet town proper occupies about 10.49 square kilometres. Sylhet scores high where literacy is concerned and the town has literacy rate of approximately 66.9%. However, average literacy in the entire division is about 27%

Mention of Srihatta can be found in very early texts. It gained prominence in the early ages as a large market place. Indo-Aryan Hindu Bengalis, people of Assamese, Munda and Dravidian ancestry occupied this region. During the medieval ages, Sylhet was ruled by chieftains, it is said that the last chieftain of Sylhet was Gaur Gobinda. During this period, most of the people of this region were Hindus. During the 14th century, an Islamic saint of Turkish Origins, Hazrat Shah Jalal, came from Yemen. Owing to his influence, a major portion of the population converted to Islam.

Sylhet is renowned for a number of things. Important amongst them are tea, cane products, matches, vegetable oil etc. Sylhet has large tea estates, about 150 to be more precise primarily in its Srimangal area and is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh. Sylhet has the rare distinction of having the three largest tea estates in the world, both in terms of size and production capacity. Most of tea is exported. Abundant rainfall and sunlight has promoted the growth of a rich tropical forest in this region. There is a wide variety of flora and fauna to be enjoyed by any nature lover in this region. The very beautiful Surma Valley is an example of the overall beauty of Sylhet, with rolling hills with tea estates as well as vibrant green tropical forests, with fields of orange and pineapple plantations are an added bonus. A glimpse into the tribal life of Sylhet with a brush with varied forms of tribal art like the Manipuri dance is possible here. Monipuri, Khasia and Garo are the tribes, which primarily dominate Sylhet.

Sylhet has vast stretches of natural depressions in the valley called Haors. These are filled with water and are home to migratory Siberian Birds in winter.

Sylhet town has a very strong foreign influence. 90% of Bangladeshi expatriates in UK are from this region. The very famous Indian restaurants of London are actually run by Sylhetis. Even rural Sylhet is accessible through high-speed cable telephone connection from Dhaka as well as abroad. Sylhet is well-connected by road, air and rail.

The places of interest in and around Sylhet are Madhabkunda waterfall, Srimangal, Tamabil and Jaflong, Jointapur Rajbari, which is a palace, Shahi Eidgah, Gour Gobinda fort, the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal, the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran, and Sripur etc

Bangladesh Tourism has set Parjatan motels in Sylhet, which offer comfortable budget stays.

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