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Sylhet Division

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Sylhet Division, Bangladesh (24.49329 91.70857)

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Name: Sylhet Division topographic map, elevation, relief.
Coordinates: 23.97438 90.91236 25.20778 92.49944
Minimum elevation: 0 m
Maximum elevation: 1,940 m
Average elevation: 290 m

Sylhet Division

The name Sylhet is an anglicisation of Shilhot (শিলহট). Its origins seem to come from the Sanskrit words শিলা śilā (meaning 'stone') and হট্ট haṭṭa (meaning 'marketplace'). These words match the landscape and topography of the hilly region. The shila stones were abundant across Sylhet and King Gour Govinda is known to have used stones to guard his capital. The word changed to Shilhot due to the elision of letter-final অ ô in the Bengali language. Another theory is that it was named after Princess Sheela, the eldest daughter of Raja Guhak of the Jaintia Kingdom. It is said that Sheela was once bathing in a pond and was kidnapped. After being rescued by her father Raja Guhak, Sheela started to become more religious and live a secluded life. Sheela's died at a young age, the port-area which developed around the lake, which was the largest centre in northeastern Bengal for trade, was named Sheela haat (or Sheela's marketplace) in her honour. Xuanzang of China mentions that he visited a place called Sheelachatal in the 630s in his book, the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions. The Hattanath Tales mention Sheelachatal was named after both daughters of Guhak; Sheela and Chatala. Chatala indulged herself in an unlawful relationship with one of the palace servants, leading to her being disowned and dumped in a distant island in the middle of 2000 square mile lake to the south of the kingdom.

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