A large forest in wetland. A plenty of inundated trees are standing here in rows. This forest is so dense that even the sunlight can not enter the inner side of the forest through the leaves to touch the water. Many people say that it is the Amazon of Bangladesh. Locally this forest is called the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. It’s original name is Ratargul. Various wild animals and birds live here and wander from branch to branch of trees. Rainy season and just after rainy season (from July to October) is the best time to visit Ratargul.
Ratargul is about 26 kilometers from Sylhet. This forest is situated at Guainghat upozila in Sylhet district. In Sylhet range-2 under Sylhet forest department, there is a wetland which area is about 30 thousand 3 hundred and 25 acres. In that wetland, Ratargul forest is in 5 hundred and 4 acres. At the time of rainy season the whole wetland goes under water and in winter it almost dry up.
|Ratargul Forest area in rainy season|
Ratargul is a natural forest. The notable plants of this forest are Hijal, Koroch, Borun, Kadam, Arjun, Jalibet, Mutta etc. about 25 water friendly species. Major portion of supply of Mutta which is the main raw material of Shital pati, heritage of Sylhet, comes from this forest.
Various types of birds are here; such as Kingfisher (Machranga), Dove (Ghughu), many kinds of Crane or Heron (Bok), Water fowl (Pankowri), Folktailed Shrike (Finga), Teal (Balihash) etc. Notable animals of this forest are monkey, Otter, Squirrel, Mechobagh etc. Various types of reptile and snakes are also available here. In 1973, Forest department of Bangladesh declared this forest area as Sanctuary for wild life.
The natural beauty of Ratargul can not be expressed in few words in writing. This is only to enjoy. And to enjoy the beauty properly, it is a must to go there. The deeper you go, the higher the density of trees. In many places sunlight doesn’t enter. If it doesn’t rain one or two days, the water becomes very clear. At that time the reflection of green forest looks like another forest under that forest. While visiting
While visiting Ratargul, journey by boat is an extra enjoyment to the visitors.
How to go
If you come from abroad, you need to come to Bangladesh firstly. There is an international and domestic Airport in Sylhet. So, you may come to Sylhet, Bangladesh directly. Otherwise you may come to Bangladesh through Dhaka and Chittagong. And then, from Dhaka or Chittagong you may come Sylhet by road, railway and air.
Bus service is available from Dhaka. AC buses i.e. Greenline, Shohag, Saudia, Ena transports etc. and non AC buses i.e. Shamoly, Hanif enterprize, Uniqe service, Saudia, Mamun transport, Ena transport etc. from Dhaka to Sylhet starts from Fakirapul, Saidabad, Kamalapur, Mohakhali in Dhaka city. Trains from Dhaka to Sylhet starts from Kamalapur and you may avail train from Kamalapur Railway station or Airport Railway station. Domestic flights are available from Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka to M A G Osmani International Airport, Sylhet. From Chittagong, bus service and train service are available to go to Sylhet. You also may come from Chittagong to Sylhet by air through Dhaka. Sylhet is also well connected with other major cities by road and railway.
From Sylhet, it is possible to go to Ratargul through various ways. But the easiest way is trough Khadim tea garden & Khadimnagar national garden. This way takes the minimum time to go to Ratargul from Sylhet. You may hire a CNG auto rickshaw or a jeep and go to a place named Shringi Bridge. From there you are to enter Ratargul forest by small boat.
You also may go to Ratargul forest from Guainghat. In this case, you are to go to Guainghat Bazar through Sylhet-Jaflong road. From Guainghat bazar you may hire a boat and go to Ratargul. If you go by this way, you will have an oppotunity to enjoy the excellent natural beauty of 'Shari' river in addition. But this way will take little bit more time and cost.