Barlekha Upazila (Maulvibazar district) with an area of 501.65 sq km, is surrounded by India on the east, Golapganj and Beanibazar upazilas on the north, Kulaura upazila on the south. Kulaura and Fenchuganj upazilas on the west.
The upazila is sharing a 20-km long international boundary with India. Rivers and streams are 13 of which Sunai, Dhamai and Jhuri are notable. Hakaluki Haor is the largest Haor of the country and partly lies under the jurisdiction of this upazila. Area of Hakaluki Haor is 181.15 sq km, of which 72.46 sq km (40.01%) is within the territory of Barlekha Upazila; Jalmahals 157.
Barlekha (Town) consists of 4 mouzas. It has an area of 2.62 sq km. The town has a population of 4069; male 50.9%, female 49.1%; density of population is 1553 per sq km. Literacy rate among the town people is 60.1%. The town has two dakbungalows.
Administration Baralekha thana, now an upazila, was established in 1904. It consists of 12 union parishads, 154 mouzas and 320 villages.
Archaeological heritage Khoaza Mosque at Laghati village of Dasergram union (16th century), Madhav Mandir at Madhabkunda Waterfall.
Historical events During the Sepoy Revolt in 1957, a terrible encounter was held near Shahbajpur in which twenty-six revolutionary soldiers died. During the British period, the historic Nankar Movement was held in the upazila. In the War of Liberation of 1971, the people of Barlekha resisted the Pak army and killed a number of their members. Barlekha was liberated on 6 December 1971.
Religious institutions Mosque 313, temple 65, church 9, most noted of which are Khoza Mosque (16th century) and Madhav Mandir.
Population 200674; male 49.86%, female 50.14%; Muslim 75.47%, Hindu 23.31%, Christian 0.80%, others 0.42%. Many Manipuri, Khasia and Santal ethnic people live in this upazila.
Literacy and educational institutions Average literacy 34.6%; male 41.1%, female 28.2%.
Educational institutions: college 3, secondary school 18, junior high school 4, primary school (government) 108, primary school (private) 40, madrasa 26. Dagadahar Government Primary School (1800), Vattali Government Primary School (1805), Barni Government Primary School (1805), Siddiq Ali High School (1927) are notable educational institutions. Cultural organisation Club 13, public library 2.
Main occupations Agriculture 32.9%, fishing 3.43%, agricultural labourer 14.82%, wage labourer 10.94%, industry 3.35%, commerce 8.18%, service 7.03% others 19.35%.
Land use Cultivable land 14980 hectares, fallow land 4773 hectares; single crop 43.39%, double crop 47.86% and triple crop 8.75%.
Cultivable land under irrigation 14%. Land control Among the peasants 24% are landless, 48% small, 23% intermediate and 5% rich; cultivable land per head 0.15 hectare.
Value of land Market value of first grade arable land is about Tk 7500 per 0.01 hectare.
Main crops Paddy, wheat, potato, sweet pumpkin, arum, sesame, bean. Main fruits Mango, black berry, jackfruit, litchi, guava, orange, coconut, pineapple, banana.
Fisheries, dairies, poultries Fishery 6, dairy 11, poultry 4.
Communication facilities Roads: pucca 77 km and mud road 323 km; railways 30.57 km; waterways 11 nautical miles.
Traditional transport Palanquin and horse carriage. These means of transport are either extinct or nearly extinct.
There are 18 tea gardens in Barlekha with a total area of 64.39 sq km. Each garden has its tea-processing factory. Sujanagar of this upazila is famous for producing incense and attar (essence of flowers).
Cottage industries Weaving, shitalpati, bamboo and cane work, iron work, potteries.
Mineral resources In 1951, at the time of drilling in BOC oil field at Kathaltali, petroleum oil was coming out because of excessive pressure. To check the situation and prevent any accident, the well had been sealed by cement-plug. Uranium is found in Haragachha Hill at Juri, and an expert team authenticated the reserve of uranium.
Hats, bazars and fairs Total number of hats and bazars are 23, most noted of which are Barlekha Hajiganj Bazar, Chandgram Bazar, Shahbajpur Bazar, Vabaniganj Bazar, Juri Hat.
Main exports Tea, fragrant attar (essence of flowers) and incense.
NGO activities Brac, Proshika, Grameen Bank,ASA.
Health centres Upazila health centre 1, satellite clinic 1, family planning centre 6.