Sundarban The Home of Royal Bengal Tiger

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The Sundarbans National Park is a tiger and biosphere reserve located in the Sundarbans delta in the state of West Bengal (India). The Sundarbans are named after the Sundari trees which are found in bulk in this area. The park was established as a national park on 4th May 1984 as earlier it was created as a wildlife sanctuary in 1977, designated as the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve. Its ecosystem is a unique natural wonder of south Asia and the globe. The delta is spread over India and Bangladesh with an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers and is enjoying the status of being the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world. It is a delta of the two great Indian Rivers the Ganga and The Brahmaputra which converges on the Bengal basin.The whole area is the kingdom of the famous Royal Bengal Tigers.It was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1987.

 

Flora

There are 64 plant species in Sundarban. Some of the common species of plants that are found include the Sundari tree, Golpati, Champa, Dhundul, Genwa, and Hatal. It is estimated that there are about 78 species of mangroves in these forests. They are extremely important because of the important role they play in the survival of marine organisms.  From a distance, these halophytes exude an aura of mystery, who knows what the darkness within has to offer?

 

Fauna

Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, other animals found in these areas are fishing cats, macaques, leopard cats, Indian grey mongooses, wild boars, flying foxes, pangolins, and Indian grey mongoose. The chital deer and rhesus monkey are common sightings.

Sundarban is also famous for its marine life and is quite rich in it. A crocodile seated leisurely on a mudflat, basking in the afternoon sun, draws an array of reactions from onlookers. Other than the saltwater crocodile, other kinds of aqua life include red fiddler crabs and hermit crabs. While many people may not be aware of it, Sundarban National Park is home to a large number of reptiles. Some of the more famous ones are water monitor, king cobra, and rock python. A species of river turtle called Batagur Baska (which is classified as endangered by the IUCN) are found on Mechau Beach. They are identified by their small head, a snout that always goes upwards, and an olive-brown colored carapace. The barking deer also deserves special mention, as it is found at a place called Holiday Island.

 

Popular Sightseeing of Sundarban Mangrove Forest-

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  • Sajnekhali Watch Tower: This tower is great for spotting wildlife and for bird lovers.
  • Kalash Island: If you are planning to visit Sundarbans in winter you will see a large number of Olive Ridley Turtles and also coastal birds like The Great Stone Curlew.
  • Henry Island: It has a fishery department where you will find more than 50 small ponds by crossing a small bamboo bridge.
  • Netidhopani: It has a 400-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Burirdabri: It has a watch tower, a mud walk, and a mangrove cage trail which leads to the viewpoint called Raimongal viewpoint.

 

The Forest Safari Timing of Sundarban:10892877064?profile=RESIZE_710x

Sunderbans National Park offers only boat safari to visitors. Jeep safaris are not conducted here. The safari timing is from 8:30 AM in the morning to 4:00 PM in the evening. The entry of boats after 6:30 PM is prohibited. Although the park remains open throughout the year, however winter season is the best time to visit Sundarban.

 

Top 10 Luxury Accommodation Options in Sundarban Tour:

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  1. Hotel Sonar Bangla Sundarban
  2. Sundarban Jungle Mahal Resort
  3. Sundarban Tiger Safari Resort
  4. Sundarban Tiger Roar Resort
  5. Sundarban Jungle Camp
  6. Sundarban Tiger Camp
  7. Suranjana Resort Sundarban
  8. Tora Eco Resort Sundarban
  9. Sundarban Mangrove Retreat
  10. Sundarban Riverside Holiday Resort

 

Things to Remember during Sundarban Tour Package -

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Sundarbans National Park is one of the top ecotourism destinations in India, and it is absolutely thrilling to visit it. Just like any other place, there are certain travel tips that will make your trip a smooth and pleasant one. You should remember -

  1. Do not drink tap water, as you may end up being severely ill or contracting various water-borne diseases. Always go for filtered water or coconut water.
  2. You should not carry any mineral water bottle while visiting the national park as Sunderbans is a “no plastic zone”.
  3. Always carry some light snacks along with fruits and dry fruits with you.
  4. It can be very hot in Sundarbans during the summer. Take adequate precautions if plan on visiting it during this time. Carry hats, sunglasses, and sun tan lotion to protect yourself from the heat.
  5. You will hardly come across any ATMs in this area, so it’s better to carry enough cash to get you around. The only ATM which you will find here is in the village of Gosaba in the Sundarbans.
  6. Don’t let an illness take away all the fun of your trip. Keep yourself equipped to deal with illness at any time by carrying medicines for cold, cough, and upset stomachs.
  7. A torch can always carry in handy. Carry one, along with spare batteries.
  8. Carry spare batteries for your cameras too, in case you don’t find the means to recharge them during the course of your trip.

 

Unknown Facts of Sundarban you should know before travel:

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Let’s take a look at some of the fascinating facts about Sundarbans and you should know before plan a Sundarban weekend tour.

  • You’ll be amazed to know that Sundarbans (India) is 10 times bigger than the city of Venice. Comprising 4000 sq. km, the Sundarbans Forest on Indian side has 102 islands, out of which 54 are inhabited and rest of the area is covered with the forest.
  • Sundarbans has got the world’s largest coastal mangrove forest (an area of about 10,000 km2, with enormous beauty shared between India (4,000 km2) and Bangladesh (6,000 km2 ).
  • The interconnected network of waterways in Sundarbans makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by ferries and boats.This gives the traveller a good opportunity for sightseeing and getting thrilled by the exotic wizardry of the jungle.
  • Being one of the distinctive and natural resource endowments, Sundarbans Biosphere Resorve is considered to be India’s Largest Fishery Board because of its brackish water fish production and marine fisheries.
  • Sundarban Jungle has been named after the large mangrove trees Sundari (Heritiera littoralis).
  • Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is estimated to have 400 majestic and fiery Royal Bengal Tigers. So, escape from the chaos of the city jungles to witness the only place on Earth with the largest concentration of this big cat
  • Gosaba (13 ft from the sea level) is the biggest and last inhabited island on Sundarbans (Indian part). You would find it right where the dense forest reserve starts. Even though the island is isolated from the mainland, it has its own panchayat, schools, hospitals, local self-governance and more.
  • Sundarban has unique Tidal Phenomenon twice a day – there are high tides when water level seems to rise around 6-10 feet and low tides when one can see the huge mud land area lying flat.
  • It is believed that most of the families have been attacked by the man-eater tigers in one of the villages (the Widow Village) of Sundarbans, which is a home to India’s resilient Tiger Widows . For this reason, fishermen need to take a special permission from the reserve forest office department for fishing into the core zone forests. This isn’t to scare you, you can freely go to Sundarbans without any worry.
  • You shouldn’t miss out on sighting Phytoplanktons – the small micro-organisms that reflect light in the dark new moon. You need to take night safari in Sundarbans
  • Cyclone Sidr damaged 40% of the Sundarbans in the year 2007. The high tide impacted the agricultural lands of Sundarbans with salty water which took almost 2-3 years for the villagers to practice agriculture again. Right after the incident, the local people had set up dikes to prevent the high tide waters from coming inside the village, a step for the conservation of the Sundarbans.
  • To stay in Sundarban one needs to take permission from the forest range officers.
  • The human population density of Sundarban Jungle (1,000-person sq. km) is equivalent to 1,029-person sq. km of West Bengal. As per the report “Building resilience for sustainable development of Sundarbans, the population tends to grow and exert at a greater pressure due to which high birth rates and migration inflows.”
  • Sundarbans was declared as a core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in the year 1973, a National Park on 4th May, 1989 and recently Sundarbans has been enlisted among the finalists in the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
  • Several novels have been written by authors in the setting of Sundarbans that are based on the rigors of the lives of villages and fishermen which include The Mystery of the Black Jungle by Emilio Salgari, Sundarbane Arjan Sardar by Shib Sankar Mitra and Padma Nadir Majhi, by Manik Bandopadhyay. Also, the Booker Prize winning novel, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie’s and The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh are set in the Sundarbans.

 

 

How to Reach Sundarban Forest-

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By Train: If you are traveling by train, get down at Sealdah Railway Station. Then, catch a local train to Canning (this should take you about 2 hours). After arriving at Canning, take a local shared van which will take you to Godhkhali Jetty. From here, you can take a boat ride to Sundarbans.

By Air: The nearest airport to Sundarbans National Park is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport at Kolkata. After landing at the airport, you can reach Canning by local train or car. The distance between the two is 54 km and the drive should take you about 2 hours. After reaching Canning, catch a local shared van towards Godkhali Jetty. There, you will find boats waiting to take you to Sundarban National Park.

By Road: Begin your drive to Godkhali from Kolkata, a drive which should take you about 3 hours and 30 minutes. After arriving there, take a ferry towards Gosaba. Once you reach, hire a cycle rickshaw to take you to Pakhiralay Village, situated on the other side of the island. From here, take another boat to Sajnekhali. You also have the option of hiring a boat and going straight to Godhkhali (this ride should take you about 2 hours.)