Natural Treasures of Barlekha in Bangladesh
With India’s Assam State as its eastern border, the Upazila of Barlekha is located in the Maulvi Bazar District of the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh. Known for its numerous tea gardens, each with its own tea-processing factory, Barlekha is also famous for its production of incense and attar – perfumed oil extracted from flower petals and agarwood. Many families in Barlekha make a living out of cottage industries such as bamboo and cane work, pottery, ironwork and sitalpati – soft mats woven from reeds.
Barlekha has a number of attractions that will appeal to visiting tourists, one of these being the magnificent Madhav Kunda Falls. As the largest waterfall in Bangladesh, it tumbles down from a height of 61 meters into a circular pool below. Although the pool below the waterfall is not deep, visitors are cautioned not to underestimate the force of the waterfall if they decide to stand below it. Local followers of the Hindu religion consider the waterfall and pool as sacred, with pilgrims travelling from far to worship there. In its lush green setting, the waterfall is surrounded by some of Barlekha’s many tea estates and is a popular tourist destination.
Another natural treasure located in Barlekha Upazila is the marsh wetland eco-system of Hakaluki Haor. Considered to be one of the largest of its kind in Bangladesh, and one of the larger wetland marsh resources in Asia, Hakaluki Haor is registered as a Ramsar site, identifying it as being of international importance for conservation efforts and to promote the sustainable use of wetlands. Located on the border with India, forty percent of Hakaluki Haor is located in Bangladesh and falls under the jurisdiction of Barlekha authorities. Fed by the Juri, Kushiyara and Sonai Bardhal rivers, the wetlands change according to the seasons, becoming a single huge body of water during the rainy season and splitting into marshy wetlands and low-lying water-filled depressions in the dry months. Hakaluka Haor is a haven for birds traveling from colder regions in the north and tens of thousands of birds, representing more than 150 species, visit each year. With the arrival of the birds, tourist activity also increases as nature-lovers enjoy viewing the temporary residents of this beautiful spot in the Barlekha Upzila of Bangladesh.