Wednesday, February 24, 2010

bangladesh travel guide: Hakaluki haor- welcome to water kingdom.

The numerous permanent and seasonal freshwater lakes and marshes of the flood plains are known as haors, baors and beels. A haor is a bowl-shaped depression between the natural levees of a river, or a succession of such depressions. Most are found ineastern Mymensingh and Sylhet, in a region known as the Haor Basin.

Hakaluki Haor is a marsh wetland ecological system of Eastern Bangladesh in an area bordering Assam, India. It is one of Bangladesh's largest and one of Asia’s larger Haor. Some 190,000 people live in the surrounding Hakaluki haor area. The surface area of Hakaluki Haor is 181.15km2, of which 72.46km2 (40.01%) is within the territory of Barlekha Upazila. It contains about 47 major haors and more than 6,000 beels, or freshwater lakes, nearly half of which are seasonal. Hakaluki Haor itself is a complex of more than 80 inter-connecting beels located in the Maulvi Bazar district. During the dry season, the beels cover an area of approximately 4,400 ha. However, during the rainy season, the entire area gets flooded, and the beels are united as one large lake, or haor, with an area of approximately 18,000 ha. This makes it the largest haor in Bangladesh. Hakaluki haor is a highly significant site for a wide variety of waterfowl. The haor is partly under the jurisdiction of Barlekha Upazila. Barlekha is an Upazila of Maulvibazar District in the Division of Sylhet.

Hakaluki Haor was designated an Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) by the Director General of the Department of Environment, as the ecosystem is considered to have reached a critical state. It also is a protected Ramsar site of international importance for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands.

Its overall significance is perhaps best expressed with reference to the various criteria for inclusion as a Ramsar site. "It is a particularly good representative example of a wetland which plays a substantial hydrological, biological or ecological role in the natural functioning of a major river basin85" (Ramsar Criterion 1.c); "It supports an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species of plant or animal, or an appreciable number of individuals of any one or more of these species." (Criterion 2.a); "It is of special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region because of the peculiarities of its flora and fauna." (Criterion 2.b); "It regularly supports about 20,000 waterfowl." (Criterion 3.a); "It regularly supports substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of waterfowl, indicative of wetland values, productivity or diversity" (Criterion 3.b).

It is important for wintering migratory birds. Every winter, tens of thousands of guest birds of about 150 species from Siberian and other cold regions flock to the haors. They include Bright and Rose King-duck, Pati-duck, Bali Hash, Lenja, Chity, Sorali, Boikal, Nilshir Piyan, Pantamukhi, Pankouri, Buti-duck, China, Rangamuri, Black-duck, Peributhi, Chokachoki, Giria, Khonjona, Patari, Dolpipi, Water-hen, North-Giria, Dahuk, Patibatan, Common-chill, Cotton-Chill, Gergini, Cottontail, Pintail, Toughed Duck.

Winter is good for traveling. But its versatile beauty figured out individually in every season. There are very different experiences. Especially, in rainy season it takes youthful and significance looks. Haors are flooded every year by the monsoon floods, and most retain some water throughout the dry season. In rainy its look like infinite water kingdom. Traveler enjoys a good time fully artificial free life with nature. It refreshes mind and body together.

If you're traveling from Dhaka, daily bus services (AC- Tk 400, non-AC TK 200) from Sayedabad Bus Terminal to Srimongal are available every couple of hours and take about 4 hours and even has a good direct train . Trains are available everyday from Kamalapur Railway station. Traveler easily gets information from CWBMP office at kulaura. Or they can travel follow the road of kanongo bazzar via Barlekha.

In reasonable price deferent categories of hotel are available in Maulvibazar town and srimongal. Traveler also contract to stay at DFID Tea resort, Bangladesh tea board, Bhanugach Road, Srimangal, Maulvi Bazar, Bangladesh.

Another attractive place at Maulvi Bazar: Archaeological heritage Khoaza Mosque at Laghati village of Dasergram union (16th century), Madhav Mandir at Madhabkunda Waterfall. Manufactories 18 tea gardens in Barlekha, tribal life, Sujanagar is famous for producing incense and attar (essence of flowers).

Information courtesy: various sources from internet [ wikipedia, banglapedia, flickr and others ]

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