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Known for hosting the biggest mangrove forests in the world, Sundarbans National Park is located in West Bengal, India. It is also a Tiger Reserve and a Biosphere reserve that provides a complete nature's circle to the tourist right from 'Royal Bengal tigers' to roaring rivers and beautiful estuaries. Sundarbans National Park is a part of Sundarban delta that is covered with Mangrove Forest and the largest population of the Bengal Tigers. It is a UNESCO world heritage site with a large variety of birds and reptiles including salt-water crocodile.
Shared between India and Bangladesh, the Sundarbans meaning beautiful forest, have been declared a UNESCO heritage site. This area has a silent charm that manages to amaze one with the simplicity and naturalness of its ecological balance in spite of offering habitat to some of the most dynamic and awe-inspiring flora and fauna. They are in fact the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain and the sustainability of this natural structure is pretty majestic. Since 1966, the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are over 400 Royal Bengal Tigers and about 30, 000 spotted deer in the area.
This forest has the largest number of Sundari trees. Sundarbans epitomize wilderness with its meandering rivers, springs, creeks and estuaries. It is a declared Tiger Reserve, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger- an almost extinct species who swim in the saline water and are often man-eating varieties.
Other endangered species in the Bioreserve are Batagur baska, King Crabs, Olive Ridley and Turtle. You can also find the jungle fowl, giant lizards, spotted deer, wild boar and crocodiles in these forests. The Siberian ducks are another famous attraction here. Besides this, there are over 64 varieties of Mangroves such as Goran, Genwa, Dhundal, Garjan, Kankra, Sundari and Passur. Make sure to hit the Nilkamalor Hiron Point and Katka viewpoints that offer fantastic views of animals in the wilderness. Also, enjoy the mud-flats called Chargheri Char where you can enjoy coastal trekking.
I visited Sundarbans a few years back. We stayed at a hotel in Pakhiralay, although some people stay in launch boats as well. From there, we went to various watchtowers like Sajnekhali, Buri Dabri, Neti Dhopani, Dobanki etc. via boats. We were not lucky enough to spot a Royal Bengal Tiger, but we did spot a few deers roaming on the river banks and many cranes. Watching sunsets from the launch boats is a beautiful experience. The watchtowers offer a splendid bird’s eye view of the vast variety of flora and fauna. I would recommend carrying a pair of binoculars if possible to get a clearer view of the forest from the watchtowers, and this might increase one’s chances of spotting a tiger.
One of my most recent trips included a three-day stay at Sunderbans. It is the largest Delta in India and has various exotic species of birds and animals. We took a bus ride to Sunderbans from Kolkata which is easily available. There are many beautiful resorts catering to the needs of the tourists. I was in complete awe of the Royal Bengal Tiger which is an endemic species, that is, species found only in a specific area. I enjoyed boating along the forests which are home to many species of monkeys, deer and tiger. However, the area is reserved and therefore one should act according to the rules mentioned by the tour guides.
- Avoid venturing out on your own. Always carry flashlights and spare batteries.
Hot and humid climate. Threatened wildlife.
The Indian portion of Sunderbans is located in West Bengal. So, the region is perfect for tourists from West Bengal itself. However, the region should be visited by conservationists and shutterbugs from all over the world.
Safaris are available both from Kolkata and Dhaka into the Sunderbans. Boat Safaris are enjoyable and an interesting experience. From Kolkata, suburban trains can take you to Canning (64 km) from w... (Read More)
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