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Sylhet Division

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© Lonely Planet Publications
146

SYLHET DIVISION

Sylhet Division
Damp and green Sylhet division, a place of myriad waterways and gentle bumplike hills
crowned in lurid green tea plantations, is one of the more scenically attractive parts of the
country. Aside from the regional capital, Sylhet, which is a town of worldly ambition and
religious contentment, this is a state kitted out with the naturalist in mind. Such people will
find endless opportunities for entertainment in the forests and lakes that weave a tapestry
around the numerous rivers and fruit plantations.
It is tea, though, that is the real heart of life here. Sylhet division produces over 55 million kg
of tea annually, with more than 150 tea estates spread over 40,000 hectares. It’s the chance
to visit a tea estate and learn something about the processes that culminate in your morning cuppa that has put the friendly town of Srimangal, in the south of the division, firmly
on the fledgling Bangladesh tourist map.
The area along the northern border of this diverse region, at the foot of the Khasi-Jaintia
hills, is tribal land and for the adventurous anthropologist the opportunity to make friends
with the shy Khashia (or Khasi), Pangou and Tripura people is an exciting notion. Another
major tribal group of the area are the Monipuri (Manipuri), much more integrated into
mainstream Bangladeshi life. The best-known feature of their culture is the tribe’s classical
dance, which tells the story of Krishna’s love affair with the female cowherd Radha. She
symbolises human spirituality, while Krishna is the embodiment of divine love. Regardless
of cultural background this love and spirituality is what shines through in all the people
you meet here.

HIGHLIGHTS
„ Learning the secrets of your morning cuppa

in the montage of tea estates surrounding
Srimangal (p152)

Sunamganj

„ Feeding black magicians with fish food at

the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (opposite),
a 14th-century Sufi mystic in Sylhet

Shrine of Hazrat
Shah Jalal

„ Swinging through the trees of the densely

vegetated Lowacherra National Park (p154)
in search of the elusive gibbons
„ Ticking off ruddy crakes, pochards and bee-

eaters on the haors (wetlands) near
Sunamganj (p151)

Lowacherra
National
Park
Srimangal

lonelyplanet.com

S Y L H E T D I V I S I O N • • S y l h e t 147

SHRINE OF HAZRAT SHAH JALAL

Sylhet is a strange kind of place. The majority of British Bangladeshis are from the city
or its environs and are likely to wax lyr...
SYLHET DIVISION
Damp and green Sylhet division, a place of myriad waterways and gentle bumplike hills
crowned in lurid green tea plantations, is one of the more scenically attractive parts of the
country. Aside from the regional capital, Sylhet, which is a town of worldly ambition and
religious contentment, this is a state kitted out with the naturalist in mind. Such people will
find endless opportunities for entertainment in the forests and lakes that weave a tapestry
around the numerous rivers and fruit plantations.
It is tea, though, that is the real heart of life here. Sylhet division produces over 55 million kg
of tea annually, with more than 150 tea estates spread over 40,000 hectares. It’s the chance
to visit a tea estate and learn something about the processes that culminate in your morn-
ing cuppa that has put the friendly town of Srimangal, in the south of the division, firmly
on the fledgling Bangladesh tourist map.
The area along the northern border of this diverse region, at the foot of the Khasi-Jaintia
hills, is tribal land and for the adventurous anthropologist the opportunity to make friends
with the shy Khashia (or Khasi), Pangou and Tripura people is an exciting notion. Another
major tribal group of the area are the Monipuri (Manipuri), much more integrated into
mainstream Bangladeshi life. The best-known feature of their culture is the tribe’s classical
dance, which tells the story of Krishna’s love affair with the female cowherd Radha. She
symbolises human spirituality, while Krishna is the embodiment of divine love. Regardless
of cultural background this love and spirituality is what shines through in all the people
you meet here.
Sylhet Division
© Lonely Planet Publications
HIGHLIGHTS
Learning the secrets of your morning cuppa
in the montage of tea estates surrounding
Srimangal ( p152 )
Feeding black magicians with fish food at
the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal ( opposite ),
a 14th-century Sufi mystic in Sylhet
Swinging through the trees of the densely
vegetated Lowacherra National Park ( p154 )
in search of the elusive gibbons
Ticking off ruddy crakes, pochards and bee-
eaters on the haors (wetlands) near
Sunamganj ( p151 )
Sunamganj
Shah Jalal
Park
National
Lowacherra
Srimangal
Shrine of Hazrat
146
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