Memos from Asia

Life in Tanguar Haor: Beautiful Wetland Ecosystem of National Importance

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(Photo Credit: Asikul Islam Himel, CC BY-SA 4.0)

If you are someone who loves being on the water, then Tanguar Haor is the one place you must visit. Sylhet is blessed with many beautiful places, and Tanguar Haor is one of them. If you have always wanted to spend a night on a boat, staring at the sky full of stars, then Tanguar Haor is the right place to do this.

This wetland is located at the foot of the Meghalaya mountain ranges. More than 30 waterfalls flowing down from the Meghalaya, engenders this vast wetland. The total area of Tanguar Haor is 100 square kilometers containing 46 villages within the haor. The livelihood of more than 40,000 people depends on the wetland. In winter, more the 200 types of migratory birds can be seen around the Haor. Tanguar Haor is also home to more than 140 species of freshwater fish.

The haor basin was declared as a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance) in the year 2000. However, life can be very different here for both tourists and the inhabitants of the Haor.

The Inhabitants

(Photo Credit: Abdul Momin, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Boats being the only way of communication, it can be troublesome for the inhabitants of the Haor to run their daily errands efficiently. School going kids have to navigate their boat towards the school when the Haor is full of water. In the rainy season, their only way of livelihood is catching fish and selling them in the nearby markets.

(Photo Credit: Sumon Mallick, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The houses sometimes get flooded in water.

(Photo Credit: Balaram Mahalder, CC BY-SA 3.0)

In summer and winter, you will see a whole different scenery here. Without the presence of water, the whole Haor turns more greenish than one can imagine. The people living there usually grow watermelon and other crops in that area in summer or winter.

A heavenly experience for the tourists

(Photo Credit: Asikul Islam Himel, CC BY-SA 4.0)

As for the visitors, the experience is rather enjoyable. You can visit Tanguar Haor in both summer and rainy season. The summer will present to you a Tanguar Haor with a sky as blue as the ocean in the morning, and a sky full of stars that reflect on water at midnight. The rainy season, on the other hand, is rather gloomy. Though a fine drizzle throughout the day will make you go romantic.

To visit Tanguar Haor, you can rent a car to Tahirpur Upazila of Sunamganj from the city of Sylhet. To gain an even better experience and to get familiar with the locals, I will suggest you hop on public transport from the Kodomtoli bus terminal that goes to Sunamganj. From the Sunamganj bus terminal, take a taxi to Tahirpur. After reaching Tahirpur walk to the nearby dock which is also called Kheyaghat by the locals. From the dock, you can hire a boat to roam around in Tanguar Haor.

(Photo Credit: Priom Pritom, CC BY-SA 4.0)

You will also find some boats called “Bojra” which are specially made for the people willing to stay the night on the Haor. I will suggest you hire a Bojra, which may cost you $50 – $100 for a whole day and a night. The boatman will prepare your meal right on the deck of the boat by catching fish from the Haor. So you won’t have to worry about food. At night, get on the roof of the Bojra and lie down there to look up at the Milkyway while the boat slowly drifts away. Trust me on this, you’ll cherish this one moment your whole life.

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