If you are planning to have an incredible holiday, Sundarbans is a good place to visit.
The larger part of it is situated in Bangladesh and a small portion of it lies in India besides the Bay of Bengal. The Indian part of the forest is estimated to be about 19%, while the rest 81% is in Bangladesh. It being the largest single Mangrove forest in the world is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The name Sundarbans is derived from the Bengali word Shundor meaning beautiful & bon meaning forest. It is also known as Sundarban National Park as it is one of the largest reserves for the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. Besides there are about 120 different species of fish, 30,000 spotted deer, 270 varieties of birds & species of reptiles & various species of amphibians which contribute to the unique ecosystem. It wraps an area of 38,500 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water.
The Sundarban rain forest. mangroves, are so thick here that it is absolutely dark under the tree cover a few metres inside. This little cove shows how dense things really are. The tide is now at mid-level, and the “breathing roots” are clearly visible here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How to reach there:
The Sundarban National Park is located in District 24 Parganas South, West Bengal. You have to reach Kolkata from where trips are arranged for site seeing. The best option I found was an advance booking with Sundarban Tiger Camp. The bookings can be done online through their website http://www.sunderbantigercamp.com/index.html. They will pick you up from a spot in Kolkata and will take you to their resort in the forest first via bus and then by a river cruise. The best option is to stay there for at least 2 nights to enjoy the feel of the forest.
What to do there:
The Sundarban Tiger Camp take up trips to the forest by boat in the mornings and evenings. This is the best and the most pleasurable part. The boat moves through the narrow creeks of the forest allowing us to enjoy the thrill of wildlife. The main purpose is to spot a tiger in its natural habitat. Along with that you may get to see various species of birds. Wildlife photography is best thing to do when you are so close to nature. Other than this, there are various watch towers from where you can see the glory of nature.
You may also go for a short walk to the nearby villages, buy some handicrafts or enjoy eating fish or glimpse the cultural programme Bonobibi Yatra – a local rural theatre performed by the villagers.
The sad part:
Sundarban is one of the places in world where tigers hunt for human as their food and on an average 60-70 humans are attacked every year. But you need not lose sleep as this happens generally in the villages and the trip organizing staff has full safekeeping of the tourists until you follow them properly.
It is worth taking a trip to Sundarban if you love adventure and crave to get close to wildlife.