SUNDARBANS NATIONAL PARK
SUNDARBANS NATIONAL PARK
Sundarbans National Park is a magnificent reserve and national park located in the largest delta of the world, namely the Sunderbans. The Sunderbans derived its name from the famous Sundari tree located here. It is a safe haven to the Royal Bengal Tigers. The park here is made up of 54 small islands and is crisscrossed by several distributaries of the Ganges. The average altitude of the park is about 7.5 m above sea level. The existing Sundarbans National Park was declared as the core area (under lawful protection and without being affected by human civilization) of the Sunderban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 it was recognized as a National Park.
The National Park is a dream destination for every person who is passionate for observing wildlife. This national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Sunderbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The Royal Bengal Tigers here have developed a distinctive trait of swimming in the saline waters, and are famous for their man-hunting tendencies. Tigers can be seen on the river banks sunbathing between November and February.
Apart from tigers, Sunderbans is also famous for the sightings of crocodiles which can be seen basking along the muddy banks. There is a wide range of reptiles which can be spotted here including King Cobra and giants like Rock Python. The aqua fauna of the Sunderbans is also rich with hermit crabs and mudskippers.
Sunderbans is the largest prograding delta in the world, formed by the continuous deposition of sediments carried by the distributaries of Ganga, Brahmaputra and the Matla River. This unique topography has given birth to a completely new type of forest with diverse ecology. In April, the forest dazzles up with various kinds of flowers blooming like the red crab Kankara flowers and the yellow colored Khalsi flower. Hence, the Sunderbans National Park gives the most unique and magical experience to the tourist, which cannot be given in any other part of the globe.
|Location||South 24 Parganas Sunderban Delta (West Bengal)|
|Nearest Airport||Kolkata Airport. Distance 115 km (3 hrs. drive)|
|Nearest Railway Station||Canning Station: 40 km (1 hr. 20 min. drive)|
|Key Wildlife Attractions||Royal Bengal Tiger, Fishing Cats, Leopard Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Indian Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Pangolin, Chital, are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans|
|Total Area Covered||2585 sq. km.|
|Established in Year||1984|
|Vegetation||Mangrove forests, brackish water forest and wet alluvial grass forest.|
|Best Time to Visit||The best time of the year to visit the Sunderbans National Park is October to March. Entry is usually restricted during late summer and monsoon season|
|Climate||Summer: Temperatures vary between a maximum of 47°C and minimum of 37°C|
|Winter: Temperature during this period touches a maximum of 30°C and could touch the lowest of 9°C. Sunderbans is a very humid area, due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal.|
The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is accessible only by boat, using its winding rivers that flow through the impenetrable mangrove forests. One can use the local boats or vessels operated by private operators or those managed by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.
Apart from seeing the wildlife in the forest, tourists can also visit the Bhagatpur Crocodile Project, a crocodile breeding farm, Sagar Island, Various watchtowers such as Sudhanyakali or the Netidhopani watchtower, Fisherman’s Cove at Namkhana, Buriidabri Tiger Project, and the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary. Various cruise packages are available starting from 1-5 Days.
REACHING SUNDERBAN FROM KOLKATA
To reach the Sunderban Tiger Reserve from Kolkata, one has to break journeys.
- Reach Godkhali Port: Godkhali is the gateway to Sunderbans and the journey from Kolkata to Godkhali will take approx. 3 hrs by road. It is the last approachable point by road in to the Sunderbans. From here one has to use boats to travel across islands
- Godkhali to Gosaba Island: At Godkhali, take a boat from the boat jetty to the Gosaba Island. This island is the biggest and the last inhabited piece of land that you would come across as you move towards Sundarbans.
- Gosaba Island to Jotirampur: To reach Sunderbans one has to cross the entire length of the Gosaba Island. Local transport options are available such as motorcycle or rickshaw which will take almost half an hour to get to the other side (Jotirampur).
- Jotirampur to Satjelia: From Jotirampur once can board the cruise vessels to reach the base from where the Sunderban tour starts – Satjelia Village