Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) was a famous Sufi saint of the subcontinent. His Dargah and memorial place is the most visited place in Sylhet. Shahjalal is called ‘Walikul Shiromani’, means the best of all Sufis. He is believed to have come to Sylhet region of present-day Bangladesh in 1303 AD to spread the peaceful teachings of Islam. It was through him that Islam spread in Sylhet region. The persecution of Burhan Uddin, the first Muslim of Sylhet, by Raja Gaur Gobind and the arrival of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) and his pious companions 360 Aulia in Sylhet is a significant event in history. For this reason Sylhet is called the land of 360 Aulias. Some even call Sylhet a holy land. The place where Hazrat Shajalal was buried after his death is today known as Shahjalal Mazar or Dargah of Shahjalal.
People call Shahjalal Mazar as ‘Dargah Sharif’. Through this, they pay homage to the great saint Hazrat Shahjalal. It is a very sacred place for everyone, so no attempt is made to attract tourists to it. The caretakers of the Dargah keep an eye on the sanctity of the place. Sometimes visitors are turned away for not wearing decent clothes. So when entering the Dargah, you must pay attention to your clothes.
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Things to do at Shahjalal Mazar
Recite Fatiha standing by the grave
The main task of those who come to Dargah or Mazar of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA.), the great Sufi and soldier of truth, is to stand by his grave and recite the Fatiha to remember the deeds of this great man and to pay homage to his memory. You can do that first. Standing by his grave will give rise to a kind of sacred spiritual feeling in your heart. However, you should refrain from bowing your head to the grave or praying something to the occupant of the grave, as this is ‘shirk’ in the eyes of Islam and is a very abominable act.
There is a large pond on the north side of Hazrat Shahjalal Mazar (RA). There are many Gojar fishes (great snake-head) in this pond. Some of the visitors consider these fishes to be blessed and let them eat small fishes. There is an arrangement to buy small fishes in the western corner of the pond. You can perform ablution in the pond too. On December 4, 2003, more than 700 Gojar fishes were killed in the pond by poisoning. As a result, the pond became empty. The dead fishes were buried in the cemetery on the west side of the mosque. Then, on 11 January 2004, 24 Gojar fishes were brought from Shah Mustafa’s Mazar of Moulvibazar, who was another companion of Hazrat Shahjalal, and released into the pond. At present, the number of Gojar fish in the pond of Shahjalal Mazar has increased again to several hundred.
It is said that Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, knowing the spiritual power of Hazrat Shahjalal, welcomed him. As a token of love, he gave him a pair of surma-colored pigeons. The Surma-colored pigeons that are now seen in Sylhet and its environs are the descendants of the pair and are known as Jalali pigeons. In Sylhet, no one kills or eats this pigeon irrespective of race, religion and caste. Rather, people provide them with food and shelter. Every day flocks of Jalali pigeons can be seen flying in the area of Shahjalal Mazar. The shrine authorities provide food for these pigeons.
To the south of the shrine is a small grilled and star-studded room, which was a place for Hazrat Shahjalal to meditate for Allah in solitude. The place is only two feet wide. It is said that Hazrat Shahjalal spent 23 years of his life in this Chillakhana in the worship of Allah alone. Visitors who visit Shahjalal Mazar get spiritual peace by visiting this small room of spiritual practice.
Tools used by Hazrat Shahjalal
Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) was not only a saint, he was also a heroic warrior. A sword, a pair of clogs, a plate and a bowl used by him are saved for visitors to view. On the south side of Shahjalal Mazar there is an entrance through the Dargah Madrasah building. After proceeding along this path, the house on the left belongs to Mufti Nazimuddin Ahmed. Hazrat Shahjalal’s sword and clogs are kept in this house. Plate and bowl are preserved in the house of the Mutawalli of the Dargah. Everyday crowds of people gather to see these memories.
How to go to Shahjalal Mazar
The shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) is located in Sylhet city. So, if you live outside Sylhet then you have to come to Sylhet city to visit the Mazar or Dargah.
Dhaka to Sylhet by Bus
Buses from Dhaka to Sylhet leave from Gabtali, Sayedabad, Mohakhali, Fakirapul etc. bus terminals. The buses leave at regular intervals from morning till 12:45 am. AC buses of Green line transport, Saudia S Alam transport, Shyamali Paribahan, Ena Paribahan and non-AC buses of Shyamali, Hanif Enterprise, Unique and Ena transport go to Sylhet. AC bus fare is 800 to 1100 taka and non-AC bus fare is 400 to 470 taka.
Take a look at this article to know more details about Dhaka to Sylhet bus fares, counter locations and phone numbers: Dhaka to Sylhet Bus : Ticket Price & Contacts.
Dhaka to Sylhet by Train
Going to Sylhet from Dhaka by train is more comfortable and less expensive than other public transport. From Dhaka, 4 intercity trains and 1 mail train go to Sylhet regularly. Some of these trains have weekly holidays. For detailed information about Dhaka to Sylhet train list, train schedule and ticket price, please see this article: Dhaka to Sylhet Train Schedule.
Dhaka to Sylhet by plane
From Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Biman Bangladesh, United Air, Regent Air, Novo Air and US Bangla Air fly daily to Osmani Airport in Sylhet.
Kadamtali to Shahjalal Mazar
After getting off at Sylhet Railway Station or Kadamtali Bus Stand, you can reach Shahjalal Mazar by rickshaw or CNG-powered autorickshaw. Autorickshaw fare 20 taka, rickshaw fare 30 taka. If you take autorickshaw reserve, the rent will be 80-100 taka. You have to cross Surma river, Bandar Bazar-Zindabazar-Chauhatta and reach Shahjalal’s Dargah.
Sylhet Hotel List
There are many residential hotels in Sylhet. You can choose any type of hotel according to your needs. Among the well-known hotels are Hotel Dargah Gate, Hill Town, Gulshan, Surma, Kaikobad etc. You will find the lowest rent hotel in the red market area of the city.
Below is a list of a dozen popular and famous residential hotels in Sylhet city with location and phone number:
|Hotel Rose View||Upashahar||0821-721439|
|Hotel Star Pacific||Dargah Gate||0821-727945|
|Hotel Hill Town||VIP Road||0821-716077|
|Hotel Metro International||Bandarbazar||0821-721143|
|Hotel Fortune Garden||Naiorpul||0821-715590|
|Hotel Dallas||Jail Road||0821-720945|
|Hotel Garden Inn||Link Road||0821-814507|
|Hotel Dargah Gate||Dargah Gate||0821-717066|
|Hotel Urmi||Dargah Gate||0821-714563|
Where to Eat
Tasteful food is available at affordable prices in food hotels in Sylhet city. Panch Bhai, Pansi and Palki in Zindabazar, Hotel Alpine in Chowhatta, Hotel Pakshi and Asia in Bandarbazar and Ishtikutum Restaurant and Habib Restaurant in Amberkhana are very popular.
There are also numerous quality food hotels in every area of Sylhet city. You can take food anywhere you want at your convenience.