Sunamganj District

Sunamganj, naturally blessed and culturally enriched, is a beautiful district of northern Bangladesh. The name ‘Sunamganj’ is after the name of the founder of the district Sipahi Sunamuddin. Sipahi Sunamuddin established a bazaar which later named as ‘Sunamganj’ on the bank of the river Surma. Sunamganj District is located in between 24°34′ and 25°12′ north latitudes and in between 90°56′ and 91°49′ east longitudes with a area of 3,669.58 sq km. It is bounded by Netrokona district on the west, Habiganj aand Kishoreganj district on the south, Meghalaya state of India on the north, Sylhet district on the east. Sunamganj is made of 11 upazilas, 4 municipalities, 36 wards, 139 mahallas, 82 union parishads, 1711 mouzas and 2813 villages. The 11 upazilas are, Bishwamvarpur Upazila, Chhatak Upazila, Derai Upazila, Dakshin Sunamganj Upazila, Dharmapasha Upazila, Dowarabazar Upazila, Jagannathpur Upazila, Jamalganj Upazila, Sullah Upazila, Sunamganj Sadar Upazila and Tahirpur Upazila. Among of this  eleven upazilas Dharmpasha is the largest upazila containing 496.03 sq km of the areas and Bishwambarpur, the smallest upazila contains aabout 194.25 sq km of the areas.


Literacy rate of the district is 34.4% among a total population of 2013738 which is divided into 1036678 male and 977060 female. Majority of the people in the district follow Islam as a religion. The number of Muslims are 1715033 while 294765 Hindu, 2843 Bhuddist, 136 Christian and 961 other are part of the same territory. Surma, Kushiyara, Dhamalia, Jadukata are the prime rivers of the region. Sunamganj was a Sub-division until it turned in to a district in 1984. Municipality in this area was established in 1960. Sunamganj mahakuma (sub-division) was upgraded to a district in 1984. Average temperature of the district is 29.600 C and average rainfall of the district is 5000 mm.


Sunamganj was under the jurisdiction of the Laur Kingdom in the eldern era. In 1303, Kingdom of Gauiurh, known as Sylhet in present days, was conquered by Muslims under the spiritual guidance of Shah Jalal(R), Shah Kamal Quhafa(R). They established a capital in Shaharpara along with their twelve disciples. The second son of Shah Jalal(R), Shah Muazzam Uddin Qureshi established a sub-administration office at Nizgaon on the bank of the river Surma which known as Shologhar (a village of Sunamganj) in present days.  That sub-administration office was executed by one of his afterbearers. Between 1300 AD and 1765 AD, Sunamganj district was under the independent state of Muazzamabad. In 1620, Sunamganj was acquired by the Mughal. Hamid Qureshi Khan, mostly known as Shamsher Khan was the descendant of Shaj Kamal Quhafah and was also the last Sultan of Muzzamabad. In 1740, Jalalabad (Sylhet) fell off on a Battle known as Battle of Giria. After that, Shamsher Khan became the Nawab-cum-Fauzadar and endured so until his death along with the Nawab of Bengla Sarfaraz Khan.


During the British rule, Sunamganj also contributed in different movements and Rebellion. The most remarkable one is Nankar Rebellion of Sukhair in 1922-23. Sunamganj was the home of many political leaders and activists who were involved in the anti-British movement. In 1947, after the partition of India, The leftist movement expended but good over the district. In 1971, during the war of liberation, Pakistani Army directed a mass killing, rape and violence of women, destruction of the properties in the whole district. Many direct and indirect battles, encounterts were occured between the Pakistani Army and Bangladeshi freedom fighters. On 28 April’ 1971  the Pakistani Army killed 13 freedom fighters and wounded 11 in Chhatak upazila. One member of Muktibahini was killed in 29 July, in an encounter at Sachna Bazar of Jamalganj upazila. At the village Telia 8 civilians were killed by the Pakistani Army on 12 August. A direct encounter was held on 25 August between Muktibahini and Pakistani Army in Derai upazila which killed three freedom fighters and wounded two. Razakars, a group of people who supported Pakistan inspite of being Bangalees and helped Pakistani Army to kill, to rape and to create massacre in Bangladesh. The local razakars of Jagannathpur upazila set up a so-called peace meeting on 31 August at the Sreerampur High School compound and ordered the teachers, officials, union parishad members, local elite and a cross section of people to gater. In this meeting, the Pakistani army brutally killed more than 126 people and set fire on the village with the help of razakars. After few days of this incident, on 8 September the Pak Army killed 30 innocent people and plundered about 150 shops at Raniganj. Sunamganj town, Krishnanagar and Ahsanmara ferry ghat faced regular violation of the army. Three freedom fighters were killed in consequence of peoples’ resistance movement held at Sunamganj Circuit House and Ahsanmara areas. 48 freedom fighters lost their lives in an battle at Krishnanagar of Mongalkot and were buried at Dalura by the Pakistani Army. On December 6, 1971 Sunamganj district was freed from the Hanadar Bahini. 4 Mass grave, 3 mass killing site, 3 memorial plate, 5 memorial monument still elevate the sacrifices of the people of the district.


Sunamganj is known for it’s contribution in economy of the country since 1960. Stone and sand business has been its biggest export area. River sand, Natural sand, Gravel, Shingle and Crushed stone are the main supplying products of the district. Atleast a thousand businessman are directly connected with this business while about fifty thousand daily workers are involved. Sunamganj is also home of freshwater fish. Tanguar Haor, located in Tahirpur Upazila of the district is the largest inland billabong for aquaculture and a major source of fishes. Sunamganj upholds more haors than any other district in Bangladesh. Being a district with most of the haors, makes it famous and well-disposed for fishery business.


Sunamganj upholds very different folk traditions from rest of the Bangladesh. Haljatra, Gormar dance, Dhamail and Suryabrata songs are very famous folk culture of the area. In addition to, Bijbas Brata, Banalaksmi Brata, Khirabas Brata, Firal are some traditions that are followed by the people of Sunamganj.


Sunamganj is not only popular for its natural beauty but also for its historical monuments. Many archeological sites such as Selbarash Jami Mosque, Bagbari Tila at Chhatak upazila, Sukhair Kalibari Temple, Maheshkhala Kalibari at Dharmapasha upazila, Kahala Kalibari, Palace of Raja Bijoy Singh (16th century) at Tahirpur upazila still bear the history of different ages. Beside this archaeological sites, Tanguar Haor (unique wetland ecosystem of national importance), Shimul Bagan, Laorer Haor, Bareker Tila, Teker Ghat attract thousands of tourists every year.

At a glance of  Sunamganj
01 Area 3,669.58 km2 (1,416.83 sq mi)


02 Population Total: 2,467,968

Male: 1036678

Female: 977060

03 Founding Year 1984
03 Density 670/km2

(1,700/sq mi)

04 Literacy Rate 34.4%
05 Seats in the Parliament  5
06 Postcode 3000
07 Sector in Liberation War


  • Bishwamvarpur
  • Chhatak
  • Dakshin Sunamganj
  • Derai
  • Dharamapasha
  • Dowarabazar
  • Jagannathpur
  • Jamalganj
  • Sullah
  • Sunamganj Sadar
  • Tahirpur

Main rivers:

Surma, kushiyara, Dhamalia, Jadukata.

Notable places

  • Tanguar Haor
  • Shimul Bagan
  • Home of Famous Hason Raja
  • Cemetery of Martyrs in Dolura
  • Laorer Gor
  • Jagannath Zeur Akhra, Jamalganj, Sachnabazar
  • Gourarang Zamidar Bari
  • Pagla Mosque, South Sunamganj
  • Pailgao Zamidar Bari
  • Cemetery of Radha Romon
  • Shrine of Achim Shah
  • Home of Baul King Shah Abdul Karim
  • Vatipara Zamidar Bari
  • Bareker Tila
  • Tekerghat
  • Baruni Fair
  • Jagannathpur Shrine of 12 Saints

Highlighted Personalities

  • Shahed Ali (author and novelist)
  • Dewan Mohammad Azraf (National Professor of Bangladesh)
  • Kakon Bibi Bir Protik
  • Anwar Chowdhury (British diplomat)
  • Ramkanai Das (classical and folk musician)
  • Shushama Das (folk musician)
  • Suhasini Das (social worker and activist)
  • Radharaman Dutta (musician and mystic poet)
  • Shah Abdul Karim (musician and songwriter)
  • Hason Raja (musician and mystic poet)
  • Alaur Rahman (vocalist and music composer)
  • Manik Lal Ray (freedom fighter)
  • Barun Roy (anti-British nationalist, Organiser of the Bangladesh Liberation War)
  • Hassan Shahriar (journalist and political analyst)

Written & Edited by Shaima Akter Sethu.

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