Sylhet was an expanded commercial center from the ancient period, which explains its original namesake. During this time, Sylhet was inhabited by Indo-Aryan Brahmins, though ethnically the population would also have traces of AssameseArabsPersians and Turks.[4] It has also been suggested that the Ancient Kingdom of Harikela was situated in modern Sylhet.[5][6]

In the ancient and early medieval period, Sylhet was ruled primarily by local chieftains as viceroy of the kings of Pragjyotishpur.[7] There is evidence to suggest that the Maharaja Sri Chandra, of northern Bengal, conquered Bengal in the 10th century, although this is a much disputed topic amongst Bangladeshi historians and archaeologists. This was a period of relative prosperity and there is little evidence to suggest this was marred by wars or feuds. Sylhet was certainly known by the rest of India, and is even referred to in the ancient Hindu sacred Tantric text, the Shakti Sangama Tantra, as ‘Silhatta’.[citation needed] The last chieftain to reign in Sylhet was Govinda of Gaur.[8] Sylhet was previously a Brahminkingdom, controlled by the rajas. Brahmin kingdoms of ancient Sylhet declined and tribal people of mongoloid origin established their chiefdoms in most parts of Sylhet. One of such chieftains was Gobindo of Gaur, commonly known as Gor Gobindo, who was defeated in 1303 by Hazrat Shah Jala Yamani and his 360 Sufi disciples.[9]