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 Mainpuri 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 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. Sylhet has also a very interesting and rich hilstory, Before the conquest by the Muslims, it was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal came to Sylhet from Delhi with a band of 360 disciples to preach islam and defeated the then Raja Gour Gobinda.
Sylhet thus became a district of saints, shrines and daring but virile people. Its rich potentialities became easily attractive and the 18th century Englishmen made their fortune in tea plantation. About 80 km. from Sylhet town connected by road and rail, Srimangal, which is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh, is the actual tea centre of the area. For miles and miles around, the visitor can see the tea gardens spread like a green carpet over the plain land or on the sloping hills. A visit to the tea plantation in Sylhet is a memorable experience. Sylhet, the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens but also proudly possesses three largest tea gardens in the world both in area and production.
The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal: Among the several places of historical interest in Sylhet town is the shrine of Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal. Even today, more than six hundred years after his death, the shrine is visited by innumerable devotees of every caste and creed, who make the journey from far away places. Legend says, the great saint who came from Delhi to preach Islam and defeated the then Hindu Raja (king) Gour Gobinda, transformed the witchcraft followers of the Raja into catfishes which are still alive in the tank adjacent to the shrine Swords, the holy Quran and the robes of the holy saint are still preserved in the shrine.
Hairpur Gas Field and other spots: Twentytwo kilometers from Sylhet town is the Haripur Gas Field and at 35 km. point is the Jaintiapur’s Rajbari.
Only 5 km. from Jaintiapur is Jaflong, a scenic spot amidst tea gardens. At about 35 km. north-west of Sylhet town, linked by rail, road and river is Chhatak, the seat of Assam Bengal Cement Factory, Chhatak is famous for orange garden.
Tamabil-Jaflong: Situated amidst splendid panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on Sylhet-Shilong Road about 55 km. away from Sylhet town. Besides enchanting views of the area one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border from Tamabil. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills.
Manipuri Dance: An interesting feature of Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as the Tipperas, the Monipuris, Khasis and Garos who still live in their primitive ways in the hills, practising their age-old rites, rituals, customs and traditions. During festivals such as, Rash Leela (Full-moon night in February) and Doljatra, the attractive young girls dressed in colorful robes, dance with the male members of their choice & love. The Monipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.
Handicrafts: Sylhet is well-known for its wide variety of exquiste handicrafts. Well-known Sylhet cane products such as chair, table, tea trays, flower vases, bags and the exquisitely designed fine Sital Pati (a kind of mattress having natural cooling effect) are colorful souvenirs.
Temple of Sri Chaitannya Dev: About 500 years old famous temple of Sri Chaitanya Dev is located at Dhaka Dakhin about 45 km south-east from Sylhet town. The place is revered from being the ancestral home of the famous Vaishnava saint. Yearly fair is organised on the fullmoon day of the Bangla month Falgun. Hundreds and thousands of devotees from home and abroad attend this colorful fair.
Shahi Edgah: Three kilometers to the north-east of the circuit house, the Shahi Eidgah was built on a hill by the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb in the 17th century. It looks like a grade fort but is actually meant for Eid congreation-the two biggest Muslim festivals
Gour Gobinda Fort: The Murarichand Government College is situated in a beautiful surrounding on a hillttop. To the north-west of the college lie the remains of King Gour Govinda’s Fort.
Jaintiapur: Situated 43 km. to the north of Sylhet town, on the Sylhet- Shillong road, Jaintiapur was the capital of an ancient kingdom which included the khasi and Jaintia Hills and plains of Jainta. Interesting ruins of this forgotten period lie scattered throughout Jaintiapur. A drive to Jaintiapur is an interesting and worthwhile experience
Srimongol: Srimongal is famous for the largest tea gardens of world covered by lush green carpet. One can have a look into the spectacular tea processing at Tea Research Institute. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tea every year. Most of the tea estates are in Sremongol. It is called The land of two leaves and a bud. It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one in the world. The terraced tea garden, pineapple, rubber and lemon plantations from a beautiful landscape. It is known as the tea capital in Bangladesh. Just offer entering into the tea estates the nice smells and green beauty will lead you many kilometers away.
Lawacherra Rain Forest: Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the important & well-reserved forests in Bangladesh. Here visitor may see gibbons swimming through the trees and birds like bee-eater owls parrot. It is a good habitant of Deer, leopard, wild chicken, squirrel, and python. Don’t miss it especially if you are bird watcher. The terrain is hilly and vegetation is fairly thick. Only one rare Chloroform tree of Asia is here and a prime attraction of travel
Kasia & Manipuri is two important ethnic-tribe live here. Manipuri is famous for its rich culture especially for dancing, singing. They are also famous for their traditional weaving. You can buy their handicrafts exquisitely woven woolen. Shawls, Sharee, Napkin, bed-cover and some should a bags. It is known as colorful community. Kasia tribe is famous for their betel leaf cultivation. They make their villages high on hilltop in deep forest and so far from town. It is like a Piece of paradise. Certainly it will please you.
Pineapple cultivation in numerable rows of Pineapple cultivation covering largest area is very amazing and fascinating. Largest quantity of pineapple grown here of Bangladesh. It is also sweetest and best quality. Pineapple is really a greatest offer of summer but now it is cultivated all the year round. So, you can enjoy the juicy summer fruit in any time coming to its real field. Just after entering into pineapple plantation.
Madhabkunda: Madhabkunda surrounded by lush tea estates and full of waters lilies is a unique one. Madhabkunda is a famous tourist spot for round the year natural water fall.