Tanguar Haor is located in Sunamganj district of greater Sylhet. Spread over an area of about 100 sq km, Tanguar Haor is the second largest freshwater wetland in Bangladesh. To the locals, the haor is also known as ‘Noykuri Kandar Choykuri Beel’. After Sundarbans, it is the second Ramsar site (internationally important wetland) in Bangladesh.
What is a haor? In Bangladesh, a huge basin-shaped shallow wetland is called a haor. It is flooded by rain water every year and takes the shape of a waveless sea. Haors are submerged in water for seven months of the year. Haors, on the other hand, feel like a boundless wilderness in winter and summer. When the water recedes, the banks of the beels in the haor dry out. The locals call them Kandha. Water accumulates inside the beels surrounded by kandas. It contains a lot of different species of fish. Then the water in the beels dries up. The land then grew green grass. The vast haor became a pasture for cattle. The villages hiding in the haor raise their heads. Farmers cultivate rabi crops and boro paddy in the fertile soil deposited as a result of floods.
Expansion & Biodiversity of Tanguar Haor
Tanguar Haor occupies ten mouzas of Dharmapasha and Tahirpur upazilas. There are 120 small and big beels in this haor. The total area of Tanguar Haor, including 46 villages in the two upazilas, is about 100 sq km, of which 2,80,236 hectares are wetlands.
Tanguer Haor is home to about 208 species of birds, 150 species of aquatic plants, 34 species of reptiles and 11 species of amphibians. Every winter, more than 200 species of migratory birds from different cold countries of the world choose this haor as a safe haven.
There are more than 140 species of freshwater fish in Tanguar Haor. Notable among them are Rui, Kali Baush, Katal, Air, Boal, Gang Magur, Baim, Tara Baim, Gulsha, Gutum, Tengra, Titna, Gajar, Goria, Beti, Kakia etc. The taste of Rui and Kali Baush fish of Tanguar Haor is incomparable.
The mountains of Meghalaya in India can be clearly seen from Tanguar Haor. About 30 small and big springs flow from Meghalaya and merge into Tanguar Haor. There is a watch tower in Haor for visitors. The water is so clear that it can be seen through the water up to the bottom of the haor. The villages of Tanguar Haor feel like floating islands. The Government of Bangladesh declared Tanguar Haor as Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) in 1999. In 2000, Tanguar Haor was listed as a Ramsar site.
Tanguar Haor Tavel Time
The rainy season is the best time to visit Tanguar Haor. Because at other times of the year the water in the haor is comparatively less. But if you want to see migratory birds, you have to travel in winter. When you start visiting Tanguar Haor, you can see some other places nearby as well: such as small swamp forest scattered here and there, Shaheed Siraj Lake (Niladri Lake), Barik Tila, Jadukata river, Lauder Garh, Shimul Bagan etc.
How to get to Tanguar Haor
From Dhaka to Sunamganj:
Every day Mamun Paribahan and Shyamali Paribahan buses leave directly from Dhaka’s Sayedabad bus stand to Sunamganj, and Ena Paribahan’s buses leave from Mohakhali. These buses (non-AC) will cost 550 taka per person, and will take about six hours to reach Sunamganj.
From Sylhet to Sunamganj:
Local and seating buses are available at Kumargaon bus stand in Sylhet to reach Sunamganj. Seating bus fare is 100 taka, it will take about two hours to reach Sunamganj. On the other hand, small cars to Sunamganj are available from the front of Shahjalal Mazar, rent 200 taka.
From Sunamganj to Tanguar Haor:
When you reach Sunamganj, you will get off the car and go to the big bridge built over the Surma river. Tahirpur-bound Laguna, CNG and bikes are available there. Arrive at Tahirpur, rent a boat from the boat dock according to your need and ability, and go down to Tanguar Haor. If you travel in winter, you will have to proceed by land to Solemanpur. Once there you will rent a boat to float in the haor. If you go in winter, the experience of watching thousands of guest birds will be very enjoyable for you.
Where to Stay
There are no arrangements for overnight stay in Tanguar Haor. However, you can spend the night on the boat, in which case try to stay close to the shore for safety. If you want to rent a room, there is a wooden house called Haor Bilash in Tekerghat area, where you can rent a room at a low price. But if you have the experience of staying one night in a boat at Tanguar Haor, you will definitely like it.
Boat Rentals at Tanguar Haor
When renting a boat, look at some things like whether the boat has a bathroom, mobile charging system through solar panels, lights and fans. Bargain as needed to rent a boat. The amount of boat rental mainly depends on 3 factors: boat capacity, boat facilities and travel season. Usually a small boat can be rented for 1500 to 2000 taka, a medium boat for 2500 to 3500 taka and a big boat for 3500 to 6000 taka. If you want to spend one night in a boat, it will cost 3500-5000 taka for a small boat and 7,000 to 10,000 taka for a big boat. If there is no solar panel and life jacket in the boat, you can rent IPS and life jacket from Tahirpur Bazar. If you pay the boatman for the cooking, he will take the cook with him or arrange the cooking himself. You will discuss all this with the boatman in advance and fix the cost.
Meals at Tanguar Haor
If you can return to Tahirpur Bazaar with daylight left after the trip, eat here before departure and after return. About 20 to 25 species of haor fish curry are available in this market. And if you plan to spend the night in a boat at Tanguar Haor and want to cook for yourself, then before boarding a boat from Tahirpur, buy the essentials you need for your stay in Haor. You can go to the small markets in the middle of the haor to buy fresh fish. You can also take local duck or dried fish with you. However, if you want to avoid the hassle of cooking, you will spend the night at Tekerghat, where you can have dinner from Tekerghat Bazaar.
2 day 1 night Tour Plan for Tanguar Haor
If you go to Sunamganj by night bus any day at your convenience, you will reach there by 7 am. After breakfast in Sunamganj town, it will take about 1 hour to go to Tahirpur by CNG. Before boarding the boat from Ghat, do the necessary shopping for 2 days and 1 night except fish. Try to start the boat ride between 9am and 10am. Then take the boat to the Watch Tower area.
Along with the beauty of the water forest, you will see small children taking small boats around. If you want, you can finish cooking at the Watch Tower. After visiting the Watch Tower, you can leave in the middle of the haor. After seeing the vast expanse of water, start sailing towards Tekerghat in the afternoon. As the boat continues to move in this direction, the water will become clear and you will be able to see up to the bottom of the haor.
If you haven’t bathed in Haor, you can come to Niladri Lake in Tekerghat and get wet. You can spend the night in the boat by tying the boat at this place of haor. Wake up the next morning and set off on a trip to Jadukata River and Barikkatila. You can take a motorcycle from Tekerghat. You can also go there by boat, but the boatman may object or ask for an additional 2,000 to 4,000 taka as it is a little far. So when renting a boat from Tahirpur Ghat, it is best to tell the boatman that he will take you to Jadukata river too.
After seeing Jadukata river and Barikkatila, return to Tekerghat in the afternoon, walk around the haor for a while, return to Tahirpur before evening. From there rent a CNG or ride to the local Laguna, return directly to Sunamganj town.
Travel Expenses for Tanguar Haor
This time, let’s take a little idea of the cost of 2 days and 1 night for a group of 10 people on a trip to Tanguar Haor. The return bus fare from Dhaka is 1100 taka per person. Boat rental for 2 days 1 night 5000 to 10,000 taka. 100 taka per person for two days breakfast. 200 taka for one meal, 800 taka for 4 meals in two days. The cost per person to and from Tahirpur is 200 taka. The fare from Tahirpur to the bus stand is 20 taka per person. Other costs are 200 taka per head.
Caution and Advice on Visiting Tanguar Haor
- Take a life jacket with you when traveling to Haor.
- Take with a torch, a power bank and enough drinking water.
- Carry an umbrella or raincoat when traveling in the rainy season.
- Be sure to take a pair of plastic sandals, a large polythene, toilet paper, a sunglass and a towel.
- Bargain for any purchase or rent.
- The cost will be less if you travel in groups. It is better to have a group of 4-5 people or 8-10 people.
- Stay under the hull of the boat when lightning.
- Avoid throwing food scraps, packets etc. in the haor water.
- Avoid loud mics or instruments.
- Don’t generate extra bright light at night.
- Refrain from catching or harming fish, birds and other wildlife in Tanguar Haor.
- Be careful not to do any damage to the swamp forest of Tanguar Haor.