Discovering Shatla Beel - Bangladesh's Sea of Floating Lilies

Lasting for around five months, from June to November, this sea of lilies draws visitors from all over the world.

By: THURSD. | 27-03-2024 | 4 min read
Lilies at Shatla Beel

Shatla Beel, also known as the Sea of Floating Lilies, is a wetland in the Khulna Division of Bangladesh that manages to catch the attention of everyone who sees it and you're about to find out why. Covering approximately 1,500 hectares, this lake is popular and very well-known for its stunning display of water lilies that adorn its surface. But what makes Shatla Beel the ideal habitat for these beautiful flowers?

A Water Lily Wonderland at Shatla Beel

Shatla Beel boasts an ecosystem that provides optimal conditions for the growth and proliferation of water lilies. Firstly, the optimal environmental conditions of this place provide a nurturing habitat for water lilies to thrive. The lake's shallow and tranquil waters, along with ample sunlight, create an ideal setting for the growth and proliferation of these delicate flowers. Additionally, the nutrient-rich sediment at the bottom of the lake provides essential nourishment for the lilies, enabling them to develop robust roots and produce colorful flowers.


Bright pink water lilies at Shatla Beel
Photo: @joyasha.official


Not to mention the minimal human disturbance in the area contributes to the appropriate flourishing of the water lilies. Unlike many other water bodies, Shatla Beel remains relatively untouched by pollution and development. This lack of disturbance allows the lilies to grow undisturbed, resulting in a spectacular display of blooms across the lake's surface.


Waters in Shatla Beel Bangladesh full of lilies
Photo: @asadsnapper from Unsplash


The seasonal variation in water levels also plays a role in the beauty of the lilies at Shatla Beel. During the dry season, as the water recedes, the lilies resurface and carpet the lake with their colorful blooms, creating a visual 'first love' sight for visitors and locals alike. Inspired by the lake's serene spaces, artists, poets, and writers have immortalized its splendor in their works, further enhancing its reputation as a place of natural wonder and inspiration.


Sea of water lilies in Bangladesh
Photo: @alvi.rahman965


Abundance of Nutrients in Shatla Beel's Water

Another one of the key factors contributing to the abundance of water lilies in Shatla Beel is the nutrient load present in the water. The lake receives runoff from surrounding agricultural lands, which carries essential nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients act as natural fertilizers, promoting vigorous growth and blooming of the lilies throughout the year.

An Aesthetically Pleasing Place Embodying Biodiversity and Habitat Protection

The presence of water lilies in Shatla Beel is not only aesthetically pleasing but also indicative of a healthy and diverse ecosystem. These floating flowers provide essential habitat and refuge for various aquatic organisms, including fish, frogs, and insects. The dense vegetation also helps stabilize the shoreline, preventing erosion and maintaining water quality.


Enjoying water lilies at Shatla Beel
Photo: @totck


While these waters are renowned for their abundance of water lilies, the spectacle varies depending on the season. During the monsoon season, when the lake swells with rainwater, the lilies may be submerged beneath the surface. However, as the water recedes during the dry season, the lilies resurface, carpeting the lake with their beyond-pretty flowers.

Cultural Significance of Lilies for the People of Bangladesh

Beyond its ecological importance, Shatla Beel holds cultural significance for the people of Bangladesh. The cultural significance of lilies in Bangladesh is deeply rooted in the country's rich heritage and traditions. Lilies hold symbolic importance in various aspects of Bangladeshi culture, from religious ceremonies to artistic expressions.


Water lilies taking over Shatla Beel
Photo: @foodphotoaward


In Bangladeshi Hindu culture, lilies are associated with purity, spirituality, and divine blessings. They are often used as offerings in religious rituals and ceremonies, symbolizing devotion and reverence to the deities. During festivals such as Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja, lilies adorn temples and altars, enhancing the spiritual ambiance and invoking blessings for worshippers.

Lilies feature prominently in Bangladeshi literature, poetry, and folk songs, where they serve as metaphors for beauty, grace, and resilience. Poets and writers often draw inspiration from the exquisite elegance of lilies to convey themes of love, longing, and the nature of life. In traditional Bangladesh weddings, lilies hold special significance as symbols of purity, fertility, and marital bliss. They are commonly used in bridal bouquets, floral decorations, and wedding ceremonies, signifying the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the newlyweds.


Closeup of water lilies
Photo: @ideaz_sabbir from Unsplash


It's incredibly important to promote responsible tourism and foster local stewardship to ensure the long-term survival of Shatla Beel and its iconic water lilies as well as every part of the world that offers its nature to us.



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