Sylhet is the capital of Sylhet district in Bangladesh. Situated in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst picturesque tea plantations and lush green rainforests, Greater Sylhet is a major attraction for all tourists visiting Bangladesh. Sylhet developed because of remittances from expatriates living in Britain. Situated between the hills of Hasiya and Jaintia in the north and the hills of Tripura in the south, Sylhet breaks the monotony of this flat land with its many terraced tea gardens, hilly terrain and exotic flora and fauna. Here dense rainforests abound with many kinds of wildlife, spreading their scent around the typical hearth and homes of the Mainpuri maidens known for their dancing.
In 1303, Lahnauti Sultan Shamsuddin Firoz Shah conquered Sylhet by defeating Gowinda Gowinda. Sylhet was a kingdom of the Bengal Sultanate. In the 16th century Sylhet was under the control of the Zamindars of Baro Bhuyan and later became a sarkar (district) of the Mughal Empire. Sylhet became the most significant Mughal imperial outpost in the east, and its importance remained so throughout the seventeenth century. British rule began in the eighteenth century under the rule of the East India Company. Because of its ancient seafaring tradition, Sylhet became a key source of lascars in the British Empire. The municipal council of Sylhet was founded in 1867. It was originally part of the Presidency of Bengal and later of East Bengal and Assam; the city was part of Colonial Assam between 1874 and 1947, when it became part of East Bengal after the referendum and partition of British India. The Sylhet City Corporation was established in 2001. In 2009, the government of Bangladesh designated Sylhet as a metropolitan area.
The interior of the Sylhet Valley is the largest oil and gas producing region in Bangladesh. It is also the largest center of tea production in Bangladesh. It is noted for its high quality cane and agarwood. The city is served by Osmani International Airport, which is named after General M.A.G. Osmani, commander of the Bangladesh Liberation Forces. People from Sylhet make up a large part of the Bangladeshi diaspora, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, but also in other Middle Eastern countries.
Sightseeing in Sylhet
Tea Gardens, shrines of Hazrat Shah Jalal Yamani and Hazrat Shah Farhan (rahmt.), Shahi Eidgah, Chandni Ghat, Ali Amjad Clock Tower, Keena Bridge, Shah Jalal Bridge, Osmani Museum, Jafflong, Parjatan, Shah Jal University, Osmani Medical College and Hospital, Sylhet Polytechnic Institute, theme parks, etc.
Ali Amjad Clock, Hadarpar, Goainghat (From Amberhan point in Sylhet to Hadarpar Bazar by CNG cab or any bus, then by boat to Bichanakandi) It is known as “Big Ben Sylhet”, it is the oldest clock tower located on the banks of the Surma River. The tower was built around 1895 under the supervision of Nawab Ali Amjad Khan, owner of the former Prithimpasha Estate in Sylhet. Bichanakandi, Hadarpar, Goainghat (from Amberkhan point of Sylhet to Hadarpar Bazar by CNG cab or any vehicle, then by boat to Bichanakandi). This is a great place for travelers who love nature. Near the Bangladesh-India border; famous for its crystal clear water, rock, hills, green and wide landscapes. Griva Pit – Mahalakshmi Pit: about 4 km south of Sylhet is a place called Joinpur (Dakshin Surma – Surma is the river flowing through Sylhet). This is where the temple of Sri Mahalakshmi is located. As every shakti poet has his bhairav temple, and for this poet the bhairav temple is located 1 km away from this shakti poet. Kalibari @ Jaflong: Kalibari temple, which is one of 51 shakti poets, is located near Jaflong. This place is unsupported because of the decline of the local Hindu population. Lawacherra Rain Forest: The Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the important and well-protected forests in Bangladesh. Here the visitor can see gibbons swimming among the trees and birds such as owl owl parrot. It is good habitat for deer, leopards, wild chickadees, squirrels, and python. Don’t miss it, especially if you like birding. The terrain is hilly and the vegetation is quite dense. There is only one rare chloroform tree of Asia and the main attraction of the trip Madhabkunda: Madhabkunda, surrounded by lush tea estates and full of lilies, is unique. The ruined gas and oil field at Magurcharas, which was inadvertently blown up while digging and burned at 500 feet (150 m) for over 3 months. Many burned trees now carry symbols of disaster. Everywhere many rubber and lemon plantations form a beautiful landscape. And you can visit the Madhobkundo waterfall. Raja Museum, raja kunyo, zinda bazaar (folk museum in Sylhet) Huge and rare collection of folk musical instruments, artifacts of the film Hason Raja (winner of the best film award 2002) and various folk and mystical poets. Sri Mangal: Sri Mangal is famous for the largest tea gardens in the world, covered in a lush green carpet. You can see the spectacular processing of tea at the Tea Research Institute. Bangladesh produces and exports large quantities of high quality tea every year. Most of the tea plantations are in Sri Mangal. It is called the Land of Two Leaves and Buds. It is also called camellia, green carpet or tea mountain. There are many tea plantations here, including the largest in the world. Be sure to try the seven-layer tea in Sri Mangal. Tea garden terraces, pineapple, rubber and lemon plantations with beautiful scenery. It is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh. Just offer to enter the tea estates, the pleasant smells and green beauty will take you miles away. Also, visit the mini zoo created by Sirishranjan in 1972. The best time to visit the tea plantations is the rainy season, when the women pick tea in brightly colored saris. Photographers often visit at this time.
Tamabil-Jaflong: Situated amidst a magnificent panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on the Sylhet-Shilong road, about 55 km from Sylhet. In addition to the enchanting views of the surrounding area, you can also see waterfalls across the border from Tamabil. Jaflong is also a picturesque place near the tea gardens and appreciates the beauty of rolling stones from the hills. Because of the stony rocks, a natural look has emerged. It is located on the Bangladesh-India border of Tilagor. It is a place with small and large hills that are cut or not. There are poultry farms, dairy farms, and houses on the cut hills. There is also a tea garden there. Ratargul (2nd Sundarban), north side of Saheb Bazar in Goainghat (from Amberhan point in Sylhet by CNG cab or any other means of transportation). Ratargul Swamp Forest is a freshwater swamp forest located in Goainghat, Sylhet. It is known as the 2nd sundarban of Bangladesh. It is the only swamp forest in Bangladesh and one of the few freshwater swamp forests in the world.
Its origin comes from the Sanskrit words śilā (meaning stone) and haa (meaning market). These words correspond to the landscape and topography of the hilly area. Shilā stones were abundant throughout Sylhet, and King Gowinda was known to use stones to protect his capital. The word changed to Shilhot because of the deletion of the letter ô in Bengali.
In 1995, the government of Bangladesh proclaimed Sylhet as the sixth administrative center of the country. Sylhet has played a vital role in the economy of Bangladesh. Some of the finance ministers of Bangladesh were members of parliament from Sylhet. Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran was the longtime mayor of Sylhet. Humayun Rashid Chowdhury, a diplomat from Sylhet, served as president of the UN General Assembly and speaker of the national parliament of Bangladesh.
In 2001, the municipality was transformed into the City Corporation of Sylhet. In 2009 it was transformed into a metropolitan city.
Geography and Climate
Sylhet is located at 24.8917 °N. 91.8833°E, in the northeastern region of Bangladesh within Sylhet District, Sylhet and Sylhet Sadar Upazila. Sylhet has the typical tropical monsoon climate of Bangladesh (Köppen Am), bordering the humid subtropical climate (Cwa) in the uplands. The rainy season from April to October is hot and humid, with very heavy downpours and thunderstorms almost every day, while the short dry season from November to February is very warm and fairly clear. About 80% of the average annual rainfall of 4,200 millimeters (170 inches) falls between May and September.
The city is located in a region of rolling hills and basins that make up one of Bangladesh’s most distinctive regions. The physiography of Sylhet consists mainly of hilly soils, including several large depressions known locally as “belies,” which can be classified mainly as old reservoirs caused by tectonic subsidence, mainly during the 1762 earthquake.
Geologically, the region is complex with a varied sacrificial geomorphology; high relief of Plio-Miocene age. Available limestone deposits in various parts of the region suggest that the entire area was under the ocean in the Oligo-Miocene. The city has had three major earthquakes with magnitudes of at least 7.5 on the Richter scale in the past 150 years, the last one occurring in 1918, although many people are unaware that Sylhet is in an earthquake-prone area.
Sylhet is also home to many hospitals that strategically provide medical care to the community, such as Shahid Shamsuddin District Hospital, Sylhet Magh Osmani Medical College, Jalalabad Raghib Rabey Medical College, Northeast Medical College, Sylhet Women’s Medical College, Parkview Medical College, Ibn Sina Hospital Sylhet Ltd, Noorjahan Hospital (pvt) Ltd, Oasis Hospital, Mount Adora Hospital, Square Medical Service, Popular Medical Service, Medinova Medical Service, Labaid Ltd and Mohanagar Hospital as well as the leading five-star hospital in the world like Al Haramain Hospital.
The city has recently opened a medical university called Sylhet Medical University. Under the prime minister’s order, a medical university will be established in each department to strictly supervise the medical colleges’ adherence to medical standards. According to the order, Chittagong Medical University and Rajshahi Medical University have already been established. Sylhet Medical University is the 4th medical university of the directive.
Sylhet has a very diverse culture that differs markedly from Bengali culture because of the influx of multi-ethnic immigrants in ancient times. There is a widespread misconception that Sylhetis are generally considered conservative; a very inaccurate portrayal of Sylhetis and their culture, when in fact the opposite is true due to the liberal and supportive pluralistic worldview of Sylhet culture. Sylhet is religiously very diverse and has been known since ancient times for peaceful coexistence, harmony and mutual respect among its inhabitants of different faiths. Sylhet has distinct cultural and economic development as well as linguistic differences (the Greater Sylhet region was part of Assam State and the Surma Valley for much of British rule compared to the rest of Bangladesh), and given that Sylhet for much of its recent history, was a region of larger enterprise. Because so many Sylhet residents live abroad, Sylhet has a significant flow of foreign exchange from non-residents of Bangladesh. The major holidays celebrated in Sylhet include traditional and religious festivals. Cultural or nationalist holidays include Language Movement Day, the laying of wreaths at Shahid Minar in memory of martyrs, Bangladesh Independence Day, Victory Day, celebrated by parades of schools and academies, and Pokhela Baishah, a celebration of the Bengali people. New Year’s Day. Marriages are practiced in the traditional Muslim style sylheti, sini faan (engagement) with gaaye halud (haldi or turmeric ceremony), mendi (henna ceremony), akht (nikah or Muslim way of marriage), bidai (ruhsati / baraat or farewell to bride), waleema (reception) holy prayers. The traditional dance of Sylhet is called Sylheti Dhamail. Shah Abdul Karim and Hason Raja are two of the most prominent figures of Bengali culture for their contributions to Bangla music.
How to get there
By air Osmani International Airport (ZYL IATA) is served by all major domestic carriers, Biman Air, GMG Airlines, Regent Airways and Royal Bengal Airlines. Please check the airline’s website for the latest schedule.
By Bus There are many luxury buses and coaches from Dhaka to Sylhet. Some famous services are Hanif, Shohag Poribahan, Green Line etc. D. These services are available from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. For the latter schedule, it is recommended to contact the particular company.
For travelers on a tight budget, there are non-air-conditioned buses available from Sayedabad Bus Station (locally known as Jonopath mor, near Sayedabad Hujur Mosque) that departs every half hour from 6am to midnight. Efficient budget bus companies are Hanif, Unique Service, etc. Д.
By train There are daily trains from Dhaka, Chittagong and Comilla to Sylhet. From Dhaka there are four trains named Joyontika, Kalni, Parabat and Upoban, which leave in the morning, afternoon and evening. From Chittagong there are two trains named Udayan and Paharika, which leave in the morning and at night.
Sylhet Railway Station (সিলেট রেলওয়ে স্টেশন). The main train station, located on the south side of the Surma River.
Where to eat
Silver Palace, Noah Forty. Chiang Mai Chinese Restaurant. Chicken Shack. Pizza Express. Alpine restaurant (traditional). Paktun, Rose View Hotel. The Pearl of the East, Rose View Hotel. Four Seasons, Rose View Hotel. Exotica Restaurant, Supreme Hotel. Dinette Restaurant, Fortune Garden Hotel. Woondal Restaurant, East Zindabazar Free Wi-Fi! Eatopia East Zindabazaar (amazing chicken reshmi) Spicy Restaurant, Sylhet city center, 10th floor, Zindabazaar. Panshi Restaurant, Zindabazaar. It is located in the heart of the city and is known for its cheap and delicious food. Cafe La Vista, Zindabazar.
Sylhet Station Club drink. Only suitable for drinking water and juice. Club Royal, Rose View Hotel. Panshi, Mirzajangal, Sylhet (near Zindabazar). This is one of the most popular restaurants in Sylhet. It is located in Mirzajangal, near Zindabazar, in the heart of the city. It is known for its cheap and delicious local food. It has a large space to welcome a huge number of customers.
Hotels, hostels and other
There are many hotels in Sylhet that offer decent rooms at reasonable prices. Bargaining always helps.
Supreme Hotel Palash Hotel Gulshan Hotel Western Hotel Anurag Hotel Garden’s Inn Hotel Hilltown Hotel Rose View Hotel Golden City Hotel (হোটেল গোল্ডেন সিটি), ☏ +880 821-726379. East Zindabazar. Nirvana Inn, Mirza Jangal Rd, ☏ +880 821-727640. Modern hotel in the center of the city. Air conditioning. The air conditioning in the rooms can be too efficient and the beds are a little hard. The restaurant has very good food at a reasonable price. Indoor pool on the first floor. Wireless Internet is available throughout. Richmond Hotel & Apartments Sylhet, Al Hamra Tower (in Zindabazar district), ☏ +880 1721509598. Suites and apartments in a hotel with a restaurant.
Sylhet has many shopping malls and bazaars that offer shoppers a variety of goods for sale. The relatively new influx of foreign money has quickly turned Sylhet into a city of shoppers. Handmade fabrics are a special art. Zindabazar and Kumarpara Road are a shopper’s paradise, where most of the big shopping centers are located. For the famous local Manipuri fabric, all the good stores are located in the Lamabazar area. Watch your personal belongings when you walk, pickpockets are rampant and invisible among the large crowds.
Places to shop: Al Hamra Blue Water Millennium Aarong Monorom