Srimangal – The Tea Capital of Bangladesh
Srimangal, the tea capital of Bangladesh, contains gentle sloped hills which are very favorable for the tea production. Thus it is called “the land of two leaves and a bud”. The trees standing in rows on the hills with narrow streams of water flowing along them represents a beautiful scenario. Other trees like pineapple, rubber and lemon are planted in between tea trees to lend them required shelter from the sun’s heat. The thick fruit gardens and tea estates and other surroundings fill the entire area with an amazing tranquility.
Srimangal has large tea estates, even the largest one in the world. Besides the tea gardens one can also see the processing of tea from leaves in the Tea Research Institute.
Among inhabitants of these hills main are the tribal people. They live on the hill tops in close contact with the nature. Manipuri and Khasias are the main tribes of this area. Tourists can visit these tribes to get acquainted to their customs and traditions. Manipuri dance is one of the must-see features of this area. Manipuris are also famous for their traditional weaving. Their handicrafts, shawls, saree, bags, bed covers etc can be bought from local markets. Khasia’s on the other hand are well
The another attraction of Srimangal is Lawachara forest. Lawachara is one of the last remaining chunk of rain forest in Bangladesh. Lawachara National
Park is located approximately 160 km northeast of Dhaka, 60 km south of the city of Sylhet in the civil administrative units of Kamalganj Upazilla, Maulvibazar District – about 10 kilometers from the town of Srimangal. The Park incorporates the southern and eastern parts of West Bhanugach Reserved Forest, within Lawachara, Chautali and Kalachara Beats, Moulvibazar Range, Sylhet Forest Division. The area was formally established as a National Park in 1996, incorporating an area of 1,250 hectares. Many of the large mammal species have long since disappeared from the Park area (e.g. tigers, leopards, bears, wild dogs, and sambar) probably as a combined result of hunting and habitat fragmentation. However, viable populations of many small and medium sized mammal species that can survive in disturbed or secondary habitats (e.g., jackals, small cats, barking deer, wild pigs) still remain. The Park also supports important populations of; gibbons, langurs and macaques. Two of these (hoolock gibbon and capped langur) are key indicator species for the development and implementation of conservation measures here. The Park and adjacent Reserved Forest support a documented avifauna of 337 species, one third of the total bird species known from Bangladesh.
The avifauna includes a large number of species that are dependent on dense ground cover and undergrowth (47 species) and/or forest cover (175 species). The Park is also thought to support a rich diversity of other faunal groups (reptiles, invertebrates, some fishes and amphibians). However, very little information on these groups is currently available. Finally, the Park is drained by a number of small, sandy bedded streams, all of which dry up following the end of the rainy season in October November. Although limited in extent, aquatic habitats and riparian (streamside) vegetation are important elements of overall habitat composition. Both of these elements are thought to harbor specialized plant and animal species although inventories are incomplete.
There are several other similar forest areas near Lawachara. Satchari National Park and Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary are two such forest areas nearby. But those two areas are some distance behind Lawachara in terms of development for ecotourism. This is the main reason behind selection of Lawachara as my first venture into the world of rain forests.
Buses or cars are good options for the journey. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Srimangal by bus from Dhaka. From Sylhet it only takes 2 hours. Train service is also available from Dhaka to Srimangal.
There are many hotels and rest houses available for tourists ranging from economic to expensive. So you can easily pick up one accordingly.
Srimangal presents nature in a panoramic view. It should be visited to get closer exposure to the nature. If you are a nature lover, you would never want to miss out the wonderful experience of this place. It would certainly be a trip which one would remember for quite a long time.