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The Sundarbans is a cluster of low-lying islands in the Bay of Bengal, spread across India and Bangladesh, famous for its unique mangrove forests. This active delta region is among the largest in the world, measuring about 40,000 sq km.
The Sundarbans forest is about 10,000 sq km across India and Bangladesh, of which 40% lies in India, and is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the estuarine crocodile (Crocodilus porosus), royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), Water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), Gangetic dolphin (Platinista gangetica), and olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). The forest in India is divided into the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve and 24 Parganas (South) Forest Division, and together with the forest in Bangladesh is the only mangrove forest in the world where tigers are found.
Interesting Facts :
The area was declared as Protected Forest in the year 1878
It was declared as Reserve Forest in the year 1928
One of the first nine Tiger Reserves declared under the Project Tiger Scheme in the year 1973
A part of the Tiger Reserve was notified as the Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary having an area of 362.33 sq km in the year 1976
The core area of the Tiger Reserve was declared as the Sunderban National Park in the year 1984. The area of the National Park is 1330.10 sq km
The National Park Areas was inscribed as a Natural World heritage Site in the year 1987
The Tiger Reserve along with adjoining forest areas and human habitations were declared as Sunderban Biosphere Reserve in 1989
The Sunderban Biosphere Reserve was recognized as a Global Biosphere Reserve in 2001
1699.62 sq km of the Tiger Reserve was declared as Critical Tiger Habitat in the year 2007
Sundarbans that lies in the coastal deltas of the area at the opening of the Bay of Bengal brings a complex geological and hydro-logical character along with some climatic hazards. The area of the mangrove forests, the Sundarbansboasts of a variety of flora and diversified faunal ranges to bring an unequaled ecosystem of this Biosphere Reserve.The natural environment and coastal ecosystem of this Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site is under the threat of physical disaster due to unscientific and excessive human interference. This could be the developmental plan under the conservation and environmental management for safeguarding this unique coastal ecology and ecosystem.
The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The Royal Bengal Tigers have developed a unique characteristic of swimming in the saline waters and are famous for their man-eating tendencies. Tigers can be seen on the river banks sunbathing between November and February.
Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger; Fishing Cats, Leopard Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Indian Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Pangolin, Chital, are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
Places to Visit:
Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower is the tower from where most of the tigers
can be spotted. In addition, tourists can also spot wildlife like axis deer and crocodiles from this tower.
the place is best known for the bird sanctuaryand is the most preferable place to experience accommodative facilities. Tourists can find a Mango Interpretation Center here and different watch towers at different zones like Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Netidhopan, Haldi and a number of other places to find the outstanding glimpses of the royal tigers.
Bhagbatpur Crocodile Project -
A crocodile breeding farm in the Bhagbatpur area, this place is easily accessible from Namkhanaand is a hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodile in the world.
Piyali Island -
the gateway to Sundarbans, Piyali is being developed as a tourist complex and is located 72 kms from Kolkata, lying very closer to Sajnekhali. The Piyali River flows through the island to join the Matla River. At Piyali Island, people can have a nature's walk, enjoy a boat ride, bird watching and savor the village life.
Netidhopani, a popular tourist destination, houses ruins of a 400-year-old temple. Number of tourists travel to Sunderbans to visit this temple for worshipping.
Apart from cruising around the tourism zone of National Park, take a village walk. Visit a local school.
Go on a cycle trip to the local village market. Know more about the unique Mangrove Eco System.
Join a fishing or crab catching expedition on a country boat around the village (you are not allowed to do that inside the Reserve Forest).
Take a birding walk around the village.
Join a cooking class,and learn how a local dish is prepared with simple local ingredients.
Experience a local cultural programme Bonobibi Yatra - a local rural theatre performed by the villagers.
Be sure that you have booked your lodging or trip package through a responsible tourism organisation that shares the tourism benefit with local communities, does not employ child labour, and practices environment-friendly tourism.
Organic Brown Rice.
Fresh Sea Fish. Crab. Prawn. Lobster. Dry Fish Curry. Cottage Cheese. Pan Cake. Rice Pudding (Bengali dessert). Local sweet curd.
Filtered or boiled water (do not insist on mineral water unless it is a part of your personal medication. Mineral water comes in plastic bottles. Sundarbans is a No-Plastic Zone.) Fresh coconut juice. Fresh watermelon juice. Mango juice.
How to Reach Sundarbans National Park
The nearest option to reach Sundarbans by Flight is to fly to Netaji Subhas Chandra Airport in Kolkata. Sundarbans National Park is almost at a distance of almost 166km from the airport. The domestic airport has frequent and regular services of flights from all over India. From the airport you can book a cab directly for the national park.
The nearest railway station to Sunderbans National Park is Canning. If you are travelling by train to Sunderbans, get down at Canning Station situated at a distance of almost 48km. Gosaba is the nearest town almost 50km away.
To get to Sunderbans one need not worry about connectivity by road. Well-laid routes and highways are connected to the national park from Kolkata as well as many cities in West Bengal and other surrounding states. While you can use public transport from Sonakhali (100km), Namkhana (105km), Canning (64km), Raidighi (76km) and Najat (92km), pre-booked vehicles give you hassle free and comfortable journey from anywhere.
Waterways are a great way of travelling to the Sunderbans National Park. As the national park is crisscrossed by waters, it is easy to navigate while riding a boat or be aboard a luxury cruise. Some of the places linked by waterways are Sunderbans delta, Jambudeep and Namkhana.