Tea capital Srimangal & Around
Sylhet may be the area’s major city, but Srimangal is the undoubted star of this region and a few days spent cycling around its tea estates and exploring nearby villages and forests will almost certainly rank among your most treasured experiences in Bangladesh The town itself is small, friendly and easy to manage, but it’s the surrounding countryside that’s the real draw, with cycling, hiking, wildlife-watching and, of course, tea-drinking all high on the agenda.
Tribal Villages of Monipuri, Khaisa & Tripura
SIGHTS / TRIBAL LIFESTYLE
There are several Khasia villages (called punji) , Monipuri villages (called para ) and Tripura villages scattered among the tea plantations in the Srimangal area. Khasia villages are often on hilltops surrounded by betel-nut trees, which is their cash crop. When visiting a Khasia village you should first call in on the local chief, as the community will not extend full hospitality without his permission. The easiest way of visiting one of the Khasia communities is to ask one of the guides at Lowacherra National Park to lead you to one of the villages situated around the park fringes.
The closest Monipuri village to Srimangal is Ramnagar . Local tours will usually include a trip here, but you can walk here yourself. Of all the ethnic groups of this region, the Monipuri are the most integrated into mainstream Bangladeshi society, making villages like this one relatively accessible. Villagers have even opened shops here so tourists can buy the beautiful fabrics that you’ll see being woven on handlooms in back yards. Those not involved in weaving tend to work in agriculture so you’ll also see fruit trees galore (mango, lemon, jackfruit, banana) as well as the small rice paddies on the edge of the village. Most Monipuri are Hindu, and small temples and shrines dot the village. You may also notice the flame-like Hindu-temple symbol of the Monipuri, which is often woven into the fabrics they sell.
The best known Tripura village near Srimangal is Dolubari . It’s a half-hour cycle from town, through some gorgeous countryside, and you’ll find villagers are friendly and welcoming, even though they speak little English. Dolubari predates Srimangal itself and is set among some beautiful fruit-tree orchards; lemons and pineapples are the order of the day. The village has a much more rural feel to it than Ramnagar, with most villagers – there are around 600 – managing small plots of land beside their mud-hut homes, where they keep farmyard animals and grow vegetables. Tripura are also mostly Hindu, although a handful of families are Christian, hence the small church on the approach into the village.
Lowacherra National Park
SIGHTS /Nature & Wildlife
This wonderful patch of tropical semi-evergreen forest, around 8km east of Srimangal, provides not only some lovely forest walks but also your best chance of seeing the endangered hoolock gibbons in the wild. These are the only apes found in Bangladesh and there are only around 200 left in the country, 60 of which make their home here.As well as the hoolocks, a further 19 mammal species have been identified here including capped langur, macaques, the delightful slow loris, orange-bellied Himalayan squirrel and barking deer. There are also some 246 bird species and 20 varieties of orchid.
Remember this is dense forest so chances are you’ll get nothing more than a fleeting glimpse of anything. One thing you won’t miss, though, are the enormous orb spiders; black, red and yellow monsters that hang from Spiderman-sized webs between trees but are, we are told, completely harmless.There are three walking trails (30 minutes, one hour and three hours), with maps on wooden signboards marking the way. A guide, though, will be able to take you off-piste without getting lost. There’s a tea-and-snack stall by the visitor centre.
Clycing in and around Sreemangal
Cycling round Srimangal (Bangladesh). 'Much of Bangladesh is perfect terrain for cycling, but it’s only in Srimangal – the tea- growing capital of Bangladesh – that travellers can easily rent bikes to go exploring. The landscape here is a casual cyclist’s dream: hilly enough to be interesting, but not too steep to be exhausting.' it is one of the best part to do clycing tour . easy to get rent and easy to travel . recommanded by lonely planet & Bradit guide Book .
Tourist Hub Sylhet
Sitting in the midst of Jaintia and Khasi mountain ranges on the north and Tripura ranges on the south is the blessed territory of Greater Sylhet, which is a valley washed by rivers flowing from those ranges and has been famous for its legendary landscapes and distinctive cultural features since prehistoric times. The natural beauty of Sylhet has always captivated many including the divine Arjun from ancient Mahabharata, famous Chinese traveler Huansung in the seventh century and the globally celebrated Ibn Batuta in the thirteenth century.
In addition to being the birthplace of Lord Sri Chaitanya, one of the most prominent Hindu avatars, Syllhet has been recognized as one of the key centres in the preaching of Islam in the Indian subcontinent thanks to the efforts made by Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) and his 360 holy companions. Notwithstanding a Bengali majority, the culture of Sylhet has been enriched by a diverse range of indigenous communities including the Khasis, Monipuris, Garos, Tripuras and Hajong.
Modern Sylhet, which is a north-eastern administrative division of Bangladesh comprising the districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj, boasts of a total of 138 tea gardens that have deservedly earned it the reputation of an essentially green valley. Here in this division is the second largest reserved forest in Bangladesh, namely Rema-Kalenga, besides famous national gardens like Lauachora, Satchori and Khadimnagar. What’s more, Ratargul, the one and only swamp forest in the country, is not too far away from Sylhet city. At the foot of Jaintia and Khasi mountains on the northeast lie top tourist attractions like Lovachora, Lalakhal, Jaflong, Pangthumai, Bichanakandi and Bhulaganj. In the rainy season, green mountains camouflaged by white clouds and cascading fountains together with the tides of mountainous rivers like Piyain, Lova, Sari and Surma engender a charm that allures tourists and the locals alike. The large haors or swamplands on the northwest, especially the Tangoar Haor, along with their diverse flora and fauna, attract tourists in both winter and rainy season.
In view of the mountains, forests, rivers and haors, and the diversity of its population, history and culture, Sylhet is one of the top tourist attractions in South Asia.