Sylhet Division also known as Greater Sylhet or Sylhet region, is the northeastern division of Bangladesh, named after its main city, Sylhet which was previously known as Jalalabad. It is bordered by the Indian states of Meghalaya, Assam and Tripura. Sylhet is considered one of the most archaeologically rich regions in South Asia. This division has major Islamic Sufi shrines and Hindu holy sites. Its growing economy has contributed to the regional attractions of landscapes filled with fragrant orange and pineapple gardens and tea plantations. Many Sylheti communities are residing abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom and people often cite sylhet 2nd London. They send remittances to fund projects and industries within the Sylhet Division. The name of Sylhet is the characterized form of the ancient Indo-Aryan term Srihatta. In 1303, the Sufi Muslim leader Shah Jalal conquered Sylhet by defeating the local Hindu Raja. Ibn Battuta visited Sylhet in the 14th century and saw Bengali Muslims transforming the region into an agricultural basket. In the 16th-century Baro-Bhuyanzamindarscontrolled sylhetand became a district of the Mughal Empire. British rule began in the 18th century under the administration of the British East India Company and Sylhet became a key source of lascars in the British Empire. The Sylhet municipal board was established in 1867. The town was the part of Colonial Assam between 1874 and 1947, when following a referendum and the partition of British India, it became part of East Bengal. The Sylhet City Corporation was constituted in 2001 and it was designated Sylhet metropolitan area in 2009 by the government of Bangladesh.
Scholars believe that Sylhet was an expanded commercial middle point since the medieval period. During this time, most of the inhabitants were HinduBrahmins. The population might also have included other contemporary South Asian ethnic groups as well as Arabs, Persians and Turks. Historians believe that the Ancient Kingdom of Harikela was situated in modern Sylhet.The 14th century was the starting of Islamic influence in Sylhet. During the ancient times, Sylhet was a leading center of Persian-speaking Muslim missionaries.A Muslim saint, Shaikh al Mushaek Jalal Uddin, popularly known as Shah Jalal, arrived in Sylhet in 1303 CE from Mecca via Delhi, together with 360 companions and army generals such as Sikander Ghazi, Syed Nasiruddin and KhwajaBurhanuddinQahafan, who defeated Govinda of Gaur. Under the spiritual leadership of Shah Jalal and his 360 companions, many Hindus were converted to Muslim. Shah Jalal died in Sylhet in 1350 CE. His shrine is located inside the parameter of the mosque complex known as Dargah-e-Shah Jalal. Many visitors all over the year come here to visit the Dargah. By the 15th century, Sylhet became a center of the Assam and Bangla languages. Sylhet is home to two of the fifty-one body parts of Sati, a form of Goddess Durga, which fell on Earth according to accepted legends. Krishna Chaitanya’s’s ancestral homes are in Golapganj and Habiganj and the Hindus believe Chaitanya was a reincarnation of Krishna and will return during thekalyug or end of world. The British East India Company became interested in Sylhet and considered it as an important strategic place in the war against Burma. Slowly the British took over the Sylhet under their control, and governed it as a part of Bengal. After the British administration Sylhet was incorporated into Assam. It remained a part of Assam for the rest of the era of British rule.In 1947, during the Partition of India, Sylhet became a part of East Pakistan, which was incorporated into the new Indian state of Assam.A majority of 43.8 per cent voted in favor of East Bengal andin 1971, Sylhet became part of the newly formed independent country of Bangladesh.The Sylhet region has a “friendship link” with the city of St Albans, in the United Kingdom. The link was established in 1988 when the St Albans District Council supported a housing project in Sylhet as part of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Sylhet was chosen to build a housing project in Sylhet as part of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless because it is the area of origin for the largest ethnic minority group in St Albans.
Sylhet is popularly known as traditional tea growing area. The Surma Valley is covered with terraces of tea gardens and tropical forests. Srimangal district of the division is known as the tea capital of Bangladesh. The area has over 150 tea gardens, including three of the largest tea plantations in the world, both in terms of area and production. Nearly 300,000 workers, of which more than 75% are women, are employed on the tea estates. 95 percent of the ethnic British Bangladeshis originated or had ancestors from this Sylhet region. The Bangladesh government has set up a special Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Sylhet, in order to attract foreign investors.