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Sandwip Island

Sandwip is one of the historical island of Bangladesh. It is situated in Chittagong district of Bangladesh. It consists of 15 union parishad like Sarikait, Magdhara, Musapur, Maitbhangha, Azimpur, Rahmatpur. Haramia, Harispur, Gachua, Bawria, Kalapania, Amanullah, Santospur, Dirgaphar and Urir char.

Geographical Distribution and Population Size of the Island

Sandwip is located at 22°22'-22°34'N and 91°26'- 91°34'E. It is bounded with Bamni river in the north, Meghna river and Hatia island in west, Sandwip channel and Sitakundo upazilla in east and Bay of Bengal in the South (Hasan, 1999). According to the government official statistics (Census Report, 2011), near about 400000 people live here. The current size of the island is 245.57sq. km. (1989), The size of island is changing for bank erosion in the sea. 762.42 sq. km. (1981), 761.1 sq. km. (1974), 483.39 sq. km. (1961), 431.695 sq. km. (1951, 1941), 325.71 sq. km. (1931), 336.05 sq. km.(1921), 327 sq. km. (1916), 666.93 sq. km. (1911, 1901, 1891), 1084.12 sq. km. (1868), 1079.65 sq. km. (1780) and 1628.55 sq. km. (1565) respectively.

Origin, History and Migration

Sandwip is an oldest island. It is supposed that Sandwip was connected with Chittagong original land and disconnected by natural disasters. According to Noakhali Gazette, Sandwip is originated at 3000 years ago. Tansi reported on lower Gangas in which he included Sandwip (150). Sandwip is mentioned at The Baros Map (1560). Cesar Fredarich visited in Sandwip in 1565 and noted it as old island. Parcuch described 300 years old mosque in this area (1620). Sanchan the Abevel mentioned Sandwip in his drawing map and he also mentioned Vulua, Bengla, Chattagram and Dhaka with it. Sri Rajkumar Chakrabarty mentioned in his "History of Sandwip" about 400 or 500 years old plants (1923). It is also found in The Anvel Curt’s drawing map (1752).

Sandwip Island

Dr. Shaikh Bokhtear Uddin and Noor Hassan Sajib with local informants in Sandwip Island.

Scholars gave different idea about its name "Sandwip". Some scholars supposed that Portuguese people remarked it as "Sandheep" (Hasan, 1999). Je the Baras remarked it as "Sundina" in his map (1550). Candel Broke mentioned it as ‘Sundiva’ in his map (1660). Major Ranel mentioned it as ‘Sundeep’ in his drawing map. The evolutionary trend of the name of this island are as follows:

Samandar Deep___ Sandar Deep ____ SanDeep ___ Asalanda Deep___ Sunna Deep ___ Suna Deep ___ Sarna Deep ___ Sum Deep ___ Summa Deep ___ Sandvip ___ Sandwip. (Hasan, 1999).

It has been ruled by many different people over the centuries, including Delwar Khan. It was a Portuguese and Arakanese pirate stronghold during the 17th century and even today some of the architecture on the island reflects this part of the island’s history. It was a lucrative place for the foreigners. This is why the people from Arab, Portugal, Burma, etc came to the island and tried to take over the power to exploit the islandes and its wealth. About three hundred ships of salt per year were loaded for export from then Sandwip port. It was also a renown port for ship building industry (Banglapedia).

Sandwip Island

Noor Hassan Sajib is documenting information of medicinal plants from a local herbalist.

Language and Religion

The island people speak in Bengali language. 87.91% are muslims, 11.51% are Hindus and others 0.58%.(Banglapedia).


Agricultural labour 22.98%, service 20.32%, agriculture 17.23%, business 10.36%, wage labour 5.48%, fishing 2.65%, renting house 2.45%, transport 2.11%, and others 16.42% (Banglapedia). Nowadays many people are professionals such as doctor, engineers, lawyer, teacher, Banker etc.


The dresses of the people in Sandwip is similar with the people from other parts of Bangladesh. The common dress of Sandwip men is the lungi, Shirt and pant. They also ware jacket, sweater and court during winter. In the cultural or religious festival they wear Panjabi and use cap and Turban (Pagri) on their head. The women wear Shari and blouses and also various types of ornaments on their bodies and flowers on their heads in marriage ceremony as well as other social-cultural program.


The Sandwip people have an age-old tradition of their own social and cultural life. The muslims observe Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-azha. Hindus observe Sarodio Durga Puja festival. Both of them observe ‘Pohela Baishak’ which is locally known as Harob or Ghatia. Boli khela is also occur in every year in different places of Sandwip.

They serve decorated pitthas (cakes) like Pakkan pitha, Chitol, Dui pitha, Palikkha pitha, Hankil pitha, Fua pitha, Luta pitha, Hocha pitha, Sanna pitha, Under luchi, Huli pitha, Jal bara pitha, Chai pitha etc.

Sandwip Island

Island people are singing their traditional song at night in a marriage ceremony.

'Chaitaly festival' is observed in specially farmer’s family during last of Bengali month Chaitro and beginning of Baishak. In this festivals people are singing several types of Folk-song.

Folk-song like Vunuti, Gazir ghan, Kabi ghan, Maizbandari ghan, Jatra ghan, Biyer ghan etc. In winter season, Folk-song festival locally known as ‘Shariot marpat’ observed in some villages of the island. Musical instruments like Bashi, Dul, Tabla, Harmonium etc are used during music.


Agriculture is the main occupation of many peoples. They cultivate Paddy, jute, potato, betel leaf, betel nut, sugarcane, Radish, potato, tomato, brinjal, cauliflower, sweet potato, coriandrum, carrot, Spanish etc. They cultivate fruit like water melon, mango, jackfruit, banana, papaya, guava, kul, date etc

Sandwip Island

Observation and examination of plant in the field: Noor Hassan Sajib.


The marital relationship, traditionally muslim follows muslim marriage law and Hindus follows their religious law.

Hunting and Fishing

Few people of Sandwip island are busy with Bird hunting during winter season. Many people of the island specially Hindus are taken fishing in the river as occupation. They go to the river by boat for catching fish.

Sandwip Island

A traditional fishing by net.

Educational institution

Sandwip island has one government Degree college, four non-government college, two government high school, government primary school, non-government madrasas, high and primary schools.

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