untypical of Bangladesh in topography and culture,
the Chittagong Hill Tracts have steep jungle hills,
Buddhist tribal peoples and relatively low density
population. The tracts are about 60km (37mi) east
of Chittagong. The region comprises a mass of
hills, ravines and cliffs covered with dense jungle,
bamboo, creepers and shrubs, and has four main
valleys formed by the Karnapuli, Feni, Shangu
and Matamuhur rivers.
Rangamati, a lush and verdant rural area belonging
to the Chakma tribe, is open to visitors, as is
Kaptai Lake. The lake, ringed by thick tropical
and semi-evergreen forests, looks like nothing
else in Bangladesh. While the lake itself is beautiful,
the thatched fishing villages located on the lakeshore
are what make a visit really special. Boats that
visit the villages leave from Rangamati. Bring
your swimming gear because you can take a plunge
The Hills: The Hill
Tract is divided into four valleys surrounded
by the Feni, Karnaphuli, Sangu (Sankhu) and Matamuhuri
rivers and their tributaries. The ranges or hills
of the Hill Tracts rise steeply thus looking far
more impressive than what their height would imply
and extend in long narrow ridges. The highest
peaks on the northern side are Thangnang, Langliang
and Khantiang while those on the southern side
are Ramu, Taung, Keekradang, Tahjindong (4632
ft, highest in Bangladesh), Mowdok Mual, Rang
Tlang and Mowdok Tlang.
Hill Districts: The
Hill Tracts is divided into three districts, namely
Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
From Chittagong a 77 km. road amidst green fields
and winding hills will take you to Rangamati,
the headquarters of the Rangamati Hill District
which is a wonderful repository of scenic splendours
with flora and fauna of varied descriptions. It
is also connected by water way from Kaptai.
Tribal life: The
inhabitants of the Hill Tracts are mostly tribal.
Life of the tribal people is extremely fascinating.
Majority of them are Buddhists and the rest are
Hindus, Christians and Animists. Despite the bondage
of religion, elements of primitiveness is strongly
displayed in their rites, rituals and everyday
life. The tribal families are matriarchal. The
women-folk are more hardworking than the males
and they are the main productive force.
The tribal people are extremely self-reliant,
they grow their own food, their girls weave their
own clothes and generally speaking, they live
a simple life. Each tribe has its own dialect,
distinctive dress and rites and rituals. The common
feature is their way of life which still speak
of their main occupation. Some of them take pride
in hunting with bows and arrows. Tribal women
are very skilful in making beautiful handicrafts.
Tribal people are generally peace loving, honest
and hospitable. They usually greet a tourist with
The forests: The
valleys of the Hill Tracts are covered with thick
planted forests. The vegetation in semi-evergreen
to tropical evergreen dominated by tall teak trees.
The natural vegetation can be seen best in the
Rain-khyong valleys of the Bandarban district.
This district provides the country with valuable
wood used for various purposes, besides supplying
wood and bamboo for the Karnaphuli Paper Mills
and the Rayon Mills situated at Chandraghona.
Here a tourist may be lucky to see how huge logs
of wood are being carried to the plain by the
The Lakes: Famous
Kaptai Lake, the largest "man-made"
lake, spreading over 680 sq. km. of crystal-clean
water flanked by hills and evergreen forests lies
in the Rangamati Hill District. The lake was formed
when the Karnaphuli river dam (153 feet high,
1800 feet long crest) was built for the purpose
of hydroelectric power project at Kaptai. The
old Rangamati town was submerged under lake water
and a new town had to be built later. The lake
is full of fish and provides facilities for cruising,
swimming and skiing. There are also facilities
for angling and short trip by Sampan, local name
for country boats.
Foy's Lake: Set amidst
picturesque surroundings in the railway town-ship
of Pahartali 8 km. from Chittagong, this is an
ideal spot of outing and picnic thronged by thousands
of visitors every week.
Climate: There are
there main seasons, the dry season (November to
March), which is relatively cool, sunny and dry,
the premonsoon season (April and May), which is
very hot and sunny with occasional shower, and
the rainy season (June to October), which is warm,
cloudy and wet.