Wednesday, February 24, 2010

bangladesh travel guide: Road to Jaflong, Sylhet .

Jaflong is a natural tourist spot in the Division of Sylhet, Bangladesh. It is located in Gowainghat Upazila of Sylhet District and situated at the border between Bangladesh and the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is just below the mountain range. Jafflong, famous for its beauty, boulders, betel nuts and is home of the Khasi tribe. It’s about 60 km to the northeast of Sylhet town and takes two hours drive to reach there. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills.

Nestled at the foot of the Khasia-Jainta hills, it is a place of pristine loveliness. The Piayin river slices through Jafflong and the river is woven tightly into the lives of the local people. A riverboat trip is one of the main attractions. Although the boatmen are used to fleecing tourists, and will charge exorbitant sums, a bit of haggling will get you an engine boat for Tk. 250. The whole family will fit in, and the clear waters of the Piyain will soon be rushing past as the boat heads towards the Zero Point -- the border between India and Bangladesh.

The Indian town of Dauki Bazar can be seen on the mountain. Duing the rainy season torrents of water can be seen gushing down the mountain forming small waterfalls. Visitor also see a enormous beautiful waterfall on the way of Sylhet to Jaflong. But that are all in Indian side.

The spot where most tourists gather is called Bollar (boulder) Ghat. Boulders have become Jafflong's bane. With stone mining companies using heavy machinery to extract stones from the river and that treated Jafflong's natural beauty. Efforts are underway to preserve the area as an ecopark.

Visitors who venture to the far side of the river can see the little Khasia villages or “Punjees”. The Khasia, the indigenous people of the hills, live in total harmony with Jafflong's idyllic beauty. The punjees consist of cute houses on bamboo stilts. A walk through the Khasia Punjees will take you through large plantations of Paan (betel leaf) and Supari (betel nut). The Khasia once practiced a pagan religion, and old records portray them as a fierce and warlike tribe. But nowadays the Khasia lead a simple and quiet life growing paan-supari and fishing. Many of them have converted to Christianty.

The forest walk will take you to the palace of the Khasia king. It's a modest wooden affair but in the grounds you can catch sight of one of Sylhet's vanishing attractions -- an orange grove.

Tamabil is the border area with India and is 05 km before Jaflong. If you intend to visit Shilong of India then you will have to cross this border by completing your customs formalities. To go to India you require valid Visa.

Sripur is another beautiful tourist spot where you can see the waterfall with great tide falling form the hills. Besides the enchanting views of the area, one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border of India. Very Big stones sometimes are coming in this waterfall in Sripur. After completion of visiting Jaflong and Tamabil you must visit Sripur on the way to go back to Sylhet. It's only 7-8km from Jaflong on the same road to Sylhet a sub road entered into Sripur waterfall. Here you can see the stone collection and orange garden if you go inside Sripur crossing the hills.

On the way back from Jafflong, don't forget to stop at Jaintapur. Jaintapur is famous for its megalithic archaeological ruins. Jaintiapur is only 5 km. from Jaflong, a scenic spot amidst tea gardens. Jaintapur was the capital of Jainta Kingdome at 18th century. Jainta Rajbari was the palace of Kings of Jainta, it's just adjacent of Jainta Bazar. Though the condition of this king's palace is already damaged enormously but a huge number of tourists visit here due to the historical background of Jainta Kingdom. At about 35 km. northwest of Sylhet town, linked by rail, road and river is Chhatak, the seat of Assam Bengal Cement Factory, Chhatak is famous for orange garden.

At Bollar Ghat there are local cottage industries that cater to tourists. Local artisans carve souvenirs out of stone, and shopkeepers sell everything from mementos to sarees. Despite the large number of people who flock to Jafflong every day there are no good places to stay and no restaurant worth its tablecloth. Visitors are well advised to carry their own food from Sylhet.

How to go: Sylhet city is roughly 230 km from the capital and it is a smooth 4-5 hour drive. First-rate highway restaurants along the way mean you can stop for a breather as often as you like. Train journeys take slightly longer, but can be fun as the line passes through the Lawachara national forest range Sylhet International Airport is half an hour's flying time from Dhaka, and most of the private airlines as well as Biman offer several daily flights. Transports are available form Syhlet town to Jaflong. Don’t forget to take food.

For accommodation at Sylhet town, some reasonably good hotels are available.

Attractive tourist place at Sylhet division: The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal and Shah Paran, Lawachara National Park, Madhabkunda Waterfall, Srimongol, Hakaluki Haor.

Information and photo courtesy by wikipedia, the daily star, the new nation, Sylhet City Corporation official web site and flickr.

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