The Sunderbans are a part of the world’s largest delta, formed by the mighty rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Situated on the lower end of Gangetic West Bengal, the Sunderbans is criss-crossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. It is one of the most attractive and alluring places remaining on earth, a truly undiscovered paradise.
Compiled by WH Desk
The Sunderbans is the largest single block of tidal, halophytic mangrove forests in the world. The Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spans a vast area covering 4.264 sq. km in India alone. It is the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India.
WILDLIFE OF SUNDERBANS
The Sunderbans forest is home to more than 250 tigers. The Royal Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua environs and are extremely good swimmers. As you enter the adventurous wild land of the Sunderbans, you will be thrilled to see the chital deer and rhesus monkey. The aqua fauna of Sunderbans include a variety of fish, red fiddler crabs, and hermit crabs. There are crocodiles, which can be often seen along the mud banks. Sunderbans National Park is also noted for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtle. An incredible variety of reptiles is also found in Sunderbans – these include king cobra, the rock python and the water monitor. The endangered river terrapin, Batagur baska, is found on the Mechua Beach, while barking deer are found only on Haliday Island in the Sunderbans.
Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge, run by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation and forest rest houses available at Sajnekhali are best places to stay. There are some private lodges also. WBTDC also has exciting Tour Packages to the Sunderbans starting from Kolkata. For details log on to www.westbengaltourism.gov.in
MANGROVE: Mangroves are woody plants and shrub that inhabit the upper intertidal zones of saltwater (30 to 90ppt) areas, primarily in tropical and subtropical coastal regions within 30° of the equator and form low diversity forests with complex food webs and unique ecosystem dynamics. Mangroves form a characteristic saline woodland or shrub land habitat, called mangrove swamp, mangrove forest, mangrove or mangal, in coastal depositional environments where fine sediments often with high organic content collect in areas protected from high energy wave action.
The Sunderbans is only accessible by waterways. The nearest railhead is Port Canning, from where organised group trips start. There are several other entry points, but Port Canning is most popular.
The other route is through Basanti that is connected by bus service to Kolkata. From here, one can take boats to Sajnekhali.
One can also come via Port Canning and Gosaba or from Sonakhali to Sajnekhali. From Kolkata, there are Sunderban trains to Canning and buses to Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali, and Najat, from where motor launch services are available for Sunderbans.