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The Sunderbans National Park

A cluster of islands sprawled across 3,600 sq. km. of area, the Sundarbans National Park is the paragon of beauty and affluence of nature. Presenting visitors with the highly stimulating prospect of observing nature and wild life from close quarters, the picturesque sundarbans invariably leave you spellbound and contemplative. The famous national park is home to a vast variety of flora, fauna and aero fauna, including more than 400 royal Bengal tigers, due to which the park is consistently thronged by multitude of nature enthusiasts every year.

The Sundarbans national park is the largest block of coastal forests where you can catch the rare glimpse of the royal Bengal tiger in his natural ambience. The park is one of the largest tiger reserves of India. Besides the Bengal tiger, the Sundarbans are also home to spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards, rhesus monkey and an numerous varieties of beautiful birds. The aqua fauna in the park includes a whole variety of fishes, red Fiddler Crabs and Hermit Crabs.

The littoral forests are rendered panoramic with their exclusive natural setting. Sundarbans are situated at the merger of three dominant rivers of India, namely the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. As a result, the swampy delta witnesses thousands of streams, creeks, estuaries and rivulets meandering throughout the national park that immensely boosts the charm of the region. The perplexing network of water bodies also make the region an ideal breeding ground for an extensive variety of life forms that inspire the fans of natural beauty to come and visit the forests again and again.

The Sundarbans got their name after the Sundari trees that once were abundantly available in the region. Now densely covered by mangrove forests, the Sunderbans invite the tourists to the countless scenic opportunities that lay in store to be explored. If you are fortunate, you may actually see a Bengal tiger swimming alongside your motorboat in the marshy swamp or diving in to catch a fish. The sight of the mud bank estuarine crocodiles lying like wooden statues is a common scene. You may easily catch glimpses of herds of deer grazing in the forest or drinking water at the bank of the river. As you will penetrate deeper into the forests, you will find the true beauty of nature unfolding before your eyes - giving you an adventurous trip to cherish for a lifetime.

The Sundarbans National park is also a noted conservation reserve of the Ridley Sea Turtles. You can find an incredible variety of reptiles at the national park, including the King Cobra, Rock Python and Water Monitor. Also home to some endangered species, you can find the close to extinction river Terrapin, Batagur Baska at the Mechua Beach. The Barkind Deer can be seen at the Holiday Island in Sunderbans.

The captivating natural beauty of Sundarbans inspires the introspective mood among visitors, as they are left mesmerized by the simplicity and richness of life. To complement the mood, the Sundarbans has some places of spiritual essence, devoted to deities, like Ma Bonobibi - the goddess of the forest, Shiber Kumir – the Lord Shiva’s crocodile, Dakshinaroy – an ogre, the ancestor of all tigers and Kapil Muni – an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as per Hindu mythology. Visiting these places of religious importance strengthens the connection of soul with the supreme and facilitates meditation possibilities.

Places worth a visit at Sundarbans

A tour down the Sundarbans forests leaves the tourists invigorated and thrilled, as they exploit the numerous recreational possibilities in the blissful lap of Mother Nature. Rescued from the hectic life patterns of the modern lifestyle, tourists have an exciting time while photographing the Royal Bengal Tiger or watching wild life from close quarters.

As the swampy delta can only be explored via the river route, tourists get to cherish both leisurely rides in the country-made boats, as well as, fun-filled trips in the speedy motorboats. Tourists also enjoy recording countless wild sounds, studying nature and meeting the local life at their daily routine while boating down the mangrove forests.

The following places may be specifically noted down for a visit while on a tour to the Sundarbans National Park:

  • The Sajnakhali Sanctuary: Renowned for its rich avian population, Sanjnekhati Sanctuary captivates tourists with the colorful and distinguished inhabitants like seven colorful species of Kingfisher, White bellied Sea Eagle, Plovers, Lap-Wings, Curfews, Whimbrels, Sandpipers and occasional Pelican.

  • Netidhopani: The ruins of a 400-year-old temple at Netidhopani attract tourists for its historical value and the story it has in store to tell.

  • Bhagabatpur: Bhagabatpur is renowned for having a hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodiles in the world.

  • Kanak: Kanak is the nesting place for the Olive Ridley Turtles.

  • Holiday Island: Near extinction Barking deer can be found at the safe and calm environs of the Holiday Island - the only habitat of the Barking Deer in India.

  • Piyali: Piyali is a small river that rambles through the emerald paddy fields to merge into river Malta and presents tourists with an ideal holiday and picnic destination. Connected to Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Netidhopani through waterways, Piyali is the main gateway of Sundarbans.

  • Kaikhali: Kaikhali is an ideal picnic spot that mesmerizes tourists with the vivid glimpses of panoramic beauty.

Life at Sundarbans

With no roads or trails to enter into the forests, boat is the exclusive means of transport. Temporary dwellings of Woodcutters may be spotted at an altitude of 8-10 feet to protect themselves from wild animals, at the edge of the forest. The wandering fishermen at Chandpai region live on boats and their trained otters catch fish for them. Dublar Char is particularly exciting from mid-October to mid-February, when fishermen from Chittagong assemble there to catch and dry fish. It is most thrilling to watch the well-coordinated honey collector groups at work during April and May, as they locate beehives and collect honey quite daringly.


Situated blissfully at the southeast of Kolkata in the 24-Paraganas District of West Bengal, The Sundarbans National Park forms part of the Gangetic Delta, close to the Bay of Bengal. A Tiger Reserve since December 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary since 1977, the forests were designated the status of a National Park on 4 May 1984. Subsequently, the national park was included on the World Heritage List in year 1985.

Tips and advises

Before getting inside Sundarbans, it is always advisable to go through the basic guidelines issued by Sundarbans authorities that explicate:

  • Keep a safe distance from the wildlife

  • Do not carry gun or smoke or light campfire in the forest.

  • Wearing dull-colored cloth and keeping quiet enhances your chances of seeing wildlife.

  • Do not get off the boat at any point in the park except where it is allowed.

  • Keep the park pollution-free by putting your entire non-biodegradable litter (tin cans, plastic, glass bottles, metal foils etc.) into the bag provided and dispose it off on your way out.

  • Carry drinking water, as the available water is saline.

  • Cholera vaccine is to be taken well in advance.

  • Anti-malarial anti-diarrhea, insect repellent cream, drinking water, green coconuts, medical kit, light tropical dress, thick rubber soled boots etc. to be carried with the tourist.

  • It will be wise to take the help of an experienced guide to make the journey fruitful.

Foreigners need certain permits to visit the Tiger projects and Sajnekhali, for which the Secretary, West Bengal Forest Department, Kolkata, must be contacted. The permit for visit to other areas needs to be collected from the Field Director, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve.


The nearest airport is the N.J.C.B. International airport in Kolkata. The nearest railway station is Howrah. Khulna or Mongla Port is the gateway to Sundarbans. Though, visitors from Dhaka may travel by air, road or rocket steamer to Khulna, the most pleasant of them all is the paddle steamer rocket that offers the unique opportunity to watch the beauty of the shore side rural Bangladesh. The quickest is of course by air from Dhaka to Jessore and then a drive to Khulna by road.

From Khulna port, you may hire any one of the private motor launches, speedboats, country boats and mechanized vessels of Mongla Port Authority, on your way to Sundarbans. Depending upon the weather conditions and tide waves, the journey from Mongla to Hiron point or Katka takes from 6 to 10 hours.


The forests of Sundarbans are particularly humid (80% on an average) due to heavy rainfall and proximity to the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon season lasts from mid-June to mid-September. The weather remains fair until mid-March post-monsoon. Temperature maintains between 34°C and 20°C throughout the year. While January and February are quieter months, storms that sometimes develop into cyclones are commonly recorded during May and October-November, along with tidal waves.

Best time to visit

Though the national park is open to visitors from October to March, the best time to visit Sundarbans is between November and March.

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