Welcome to the World Heritage Site Sunderban Rainforest, the single largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The word ” Sundarban” means beautiful forest in the Bengali language, the name might have been derived from Sundari trees, the mangrove species largely found inside Sunderban rainforest. Sunderban is spread over the total area of 10000 square kilometers and almost three fourth of the forest comes under Bangladesh of around 6000 square kilometers only 4000 square kilometers comes under India. The east-west and southern part of Sunderban rainforest are the protected areas comes under Bangladesh only the Northern part of this forest comes under Indian state of West Bengal has Sunderban National Park, Biosphere, and a tiger reserve. If we look into the past of Sunderban Rainforest history reveals that Sunderban was a ruin city build by Chand Sadagar in the forest block of Baghmara was given on lease during the Mughal period to the local residents, many criminals took shelter as a refuge inside this place at that time. The area was first measured by the British East Indian Company after getting the rights of proprietorship from the Mughal emperor Alamgir-II in 1757. The actual systematic management procedure was started in 1860 after the establishment of a forest department in the state of Bengal. In the year 1869, the first forest Management Division to have its administration was established in Sunderban, a large portion of the mangrove forest was declared as reserved forest Act 1865( Act VIII of 1865).The Sunderban rainforest lies in the vast river delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super junction Brahmaputra, Meghna, Ganges and Padma rivers. The Sunderban Rainforest is crisscrossed by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt -tolerant mangrove forests. The forest is easily accessible by boats due to the interconnected waterways networks. The mangrove monopolized Ganges delta of Sunderbans is a complex ecosystem encompass one of the three largest single tracts of mangrove forest of the world. The Indian part of the forest is about 19 percent while 81 percent of the forest is covered in Bangladesh.
Geographical Location and Reachability
Sunderban Rainforest is identified in the geographical location of 21 degrees 432′ to 21 degrees 55 ‘ Northern latitude and between 88 degrees 42′ to 89 degree 04’ longitude. From sea level, the average altitude of the park is 7.5 meter The park is consists of 54 small islands and is intersected by several distributaries of the Ganges. The average maximum temperature of the park is 48-degree celsius and the minimum temperature is 20-degree celsius. As Sunderban Rainforest is very close to the Bay of Bengal the humidity is observed very high percentage up to 80% due to heavy rainfall, the monsoon starts here from mid of June to the mid of September. Sunderban Rainforest can be best visited during the Winter between December to February as the climate is pleasant at that time and one can see lots of migratory birds coming to Sunderban at this time. The park is open for visitors from September to March.
Sunderban Rainforest is well connected by air, road, rail and waterways. By air, the nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Aiport it is 114 kilometers and only 3 hours drive to reach this place. If you are considering to reach by rail local trains are plying within the one-hour interval of time from Sealdah station and you have to get down at Canning station which takes an hour of the journey. You can hire a taxi or local vans are running on share basis from Canning to Godkhali Jetty where the journey begins to Sunderban Rainforest by motor boats. One can consider reaching Sunderban by road of 110 kilometers from Kolkata. One can reach the destination by opting waterways which takes a little span of time to get there like Jambudeep, Namkhana etc.
Things to Do & Don’t Inside Sunderban Rainforest
Finally, we are going to enter the most awaited World Heritage Site Sunderban Rainforest which is infamous for most of its ferocious man-eating tigers, so before entering the site we should know some do and don’t about this place which could make our visit most pleasurable and fun filled.
1.It is highly advisable while visiting Sunderban Rainforest you should carry plenty of cash with you as accessing of ATM is a mere chance inside the park, only SBI ATM is available in Gosaba.
2. Carry sunglasses, hats and suntan lotion with you especially if you are visiting in September, October and February onwards.
3. The Government of West Bengal has declared Sunderban Rainforest as a polythene-free zone, so it is highly avoided.
4. While entering Sunderban National Park you need to obtain a valid permit which is available at Canning, Sajnekhali and Sonakhali entry gates.
5. You should carry common medicines for a cough, cold and stomach disorder.
6. Use coconut water or filtered water, do not use any tape water inside the park.
7.Carry some snacks and fruits as you will not find anything to buy inside the park.
8. It is highly advisable to take a torch with an extra battery if you are going to stay inside the park for 1-2 days.
9. You should carry a camera with an extra battery as you might not get a chance to get your camera recharge inside the park.
10. You can stay inside this park only after sunrise to sunset.
11. Playing music inside the national park or talking loudly is strictly prohibited as animal loves silences and we are entering to their habitat, so they should not be disturbed.
12. It is strictly prohibited to through any garbage from your water boat to the water as it will get polluted, by doing this it will be a serious offense and you will be charged accordingly.
13. Hunting, fishing, doing any damage and moving inside the nonpermitted core areas of Sunderbans is strictly prohibited and will be treated as a serious offense.
14. The last but not the least Suburban Rainforest is full of natural live stocks especially while moving through water boat it is strictly advised not to expose your body parts into the water body as it is full of estuarine crocodiles and poisonous snakes and you don’t know you might be their preys.
Things to See Inside Sunderban Rainforest
If you want to enjoy the beauty of Sunderban Rainforest it requires at least 2 night 3 days planning to visit this place, else day trips are also arranged by the local trip organizers from Kolkata for one day tour. Though Sunderban Rainforest has 17 places to visit but there are 12 places you must visit while in Sunderban. Let’s discuss one by one.
Sudhanyakhali Watch Point
Sudhanyakhali watchpoint is placed in Sunderban Rainforest specially made to sight the wildlife activities from the tower. This tower has a viewpoint towards the sweet water pond area where the animals like wild boar, axis deer comes to drink water, this tower has the capacity of 25 people at a tine to enjoy the beauty of wildlife. The chances of sighting Royal Bengal Tiger is quite higher in this place. Adjacent to this pond there is a stretch vast grassland where herbivores can be seen wandering.
Sajnekhali Watch Point
Sajnekhali Watch Point is the place where the Head Office of the forest department is located to get the entry permission as well as the West Bengal tourist lodge is located.The tower has built for 20 persons at a time to get an access to wildlife from a close proximity to nature. There are a Bono Bibi temple, a crocodile park and a Mangrove Interpretation center inside the premises of Sajnekhali watchpoint. This place is also good for bird watchers to sight the seven colorful species of kingfisher, White Billed Sea Eagle, Plovers, Lap-Wings, Curfews, Whimbrel, SunderbanSandpipers and occasional Pelican.
Sunderban Tiger Reserve
Finally, we reached the most awaited destination point of Sunderban Rainforest for its existence of World famous Royal Bengal Tiger for which a large number of tourists come here.You should keep vigil while entering this core area, as most of the tigers of Sunderbans are competent swimmer against saline water, ferocious and man-eater. This is the core area of Sunderban that can be explored with the help of a motor boat. The journey towards this water ways through motor boat in between the narrow patches of the river with mangrove forest both side gives a fantastic look assuming you are wandering inside the bay of Amazon. While moving in beneath the river channels you can see the wildlife activities like deer, crocodiles, wild pigs and you can also spot a Royal Bengal Tiger if you were lucky enough, it gives an awesome look especially in summer while watching the sunbath of a Royal Bengal Tiger in the river banks.
This is the core area of Sunderban that can be explored with the help of a motor boat. The journey towards this water ways through motor boat in between the narrow patches of the river with mangrove forest both side gives a fantastic look assuming you are wandering inside the bay of Amazon. While moving in beneath the river channels you can see the wildlife activities like deer, crocodiles, wild pigs and you can also spot a Royal Bengal Tiger if you were lucky enough, it gives an awesome look especially in summer while watching the sunbath of a Royal Bengal Tiger in the river banks.
Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary
Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary is the place situated in between Gomti and Peechkali rivers adjacent to Sunderban Tiger Reserve is a beautiful place to have a walk around and watching numerous varieties of birds here. This place is the home of egrets, herons and many other species of birds. Tourists can spot here other birds like Kingfisher, Sandpipers, Whimbrels, White Billed Sea Eagle, Plovers, Lap-Wings and Curfews also. In addition to this place, there is a Visitors Center where tourists can see a crocodile enclosure and a shark pond along with a turtle hatchery. Spending here one and half hour is enough to enjoy the beauty of this place.
Kanak is the place in Sunderban Rainforest best known for the marine wildlife sanctuary for its World famous Olive Ridley Tortoise. The best time to visit Kanak is November onwards where one can see a large numbers of Olive Ridley turtles come here for the annual nesting. They come here for the nesting by covering 100 kilometers distance upriver from the sea mouth into Sunderbans. This is a beautiful place for resting in the lap of nature and observe the Olive Ridley activities.
Katka Sea beach
Kataka beach is an ideal place in Sunderban Rainforest for both wildlife lovers and bird watchers for both either to spot a Royal Bengal Tiger or sighing different kinds of birds here.Do not miss this place if you are a wildlife lover, bird watcher or adventure traveler as here you will not get a chance to spot out a tiger but also you can see other animals like Spotted deer, Chital, wild boars, and monkeys, but again I would like to say there is no guarantee that you will spot a tiger here but the chances are higher as there is a tiger spotting point called “Kachhekhali” This is the place where one can hear the natures music mixed with the wild fowls in the morning and evening.
Lothian Island Bird Sanctuary
Lothian Island Bird Sanctuary is the beautiful place in Sunderban Rainforest for the bird lovers located in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. The sanctuary is famous for several species of birds which includes Black -Capped Kingfisher, Curlew, White-Bellied Sea-Eagle, Whimberlet, and Tern.
Bhagbatpur Crocodile Project
Bahgbatpur Crocodile Project is located adjacent to Saptamukhi River in the Sunderban Rainforest is the only Crocodile Hatchery in West Bengal. The hatchery is the largest estuarine crocodile hatchery in the World and lots of travelers come here to see this place with a lot of interest, this place can be reached a few hours distance from Namkhana.
Hiran Point is another ideal beautiful watch point of Sunderban Rainforest located in the Southern part of the Khulna district that gives you another chance to have a glimpse of Royal Bengal Tiger. Hiran Point is also popularly known as Nilkamal. Hiran Point has surrounded three sides by rivers, the Orpan Grachia river in the west, the Poshur river in the east and the Khulna range on the north side. Hiran point gives you another chance to spot a tiger here in additional to other wildlife animals like deer, monkey, crocodiles and some bird species. you can plan a night halt here with the prior arrangement from the Mangla Port Authority as there is a three story guest house is there to enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty.
Tin Kona Island
Tin Kona Island is another beautiful place in Sunderban Rainforest to watch the wildlife activities lively, where one can spot spotted deer, Royal Bengal Tiger and other wildlife animals like Jackals, deer, and monkeys. Tin Kona Island is named might be the presence of water bodies on three sides of the spot and perfectly blended with natural green dense forest and estuaries.
Dublar Char Island
Dublar Char Island is another perfect beautiful destination for nature lovers in the Sunderban Rainforest, the place is also well known for the fishing activities. The place makes it self-explanatory as it is covered by water bodies in the three sides, River Passur flows in the eastern part, River Shibsha in the western side whereas the southern side is approaching to the Bay of Bengal. Fishing activities are very famous here from mid-October to mid-February, every year fisherman from all over India comes here to take part in this activity, on the other way the honey collection is also done in this island from April to May. Visitors can also spot herds of deer grazing and other wild animals here.
So we have discussed so many destination points of Sunderban you must visit while planning to go there, in one word Sunderban Rainforest is the beautiful creation of nature that must be visited especially for nature lovers and wildlife conservationist if you have love towards nature and wildlife. Sunderban Rainforest is a place which gives you chances again and again to spot a Royal Bengal Tiger, which is rare in another national park in terms of sighting a wild big cat in several watchpoints. If you want to feel the nature with its natural inmates then it is recommended to spend at least two nights three days package while opting for Sunderban Rainforest. Let’s watch an amazing video on Sunderban Rainforest.