Select Country
Select Country

Opt for a Tour of Sunderban National Park for Some Exciting Time with Bengal Tigers

The Sunderbans are located in West Bengal and on the largest Delta in the world. This is one of the reasons why it is also a Biosphere Reserve. The Sunderban National Park stretches for over 10,200 square kilometers and there are vast stretches of Mangrove Forest Land throughout the jungle. Part of the national park also happens to fall in Bangladesh, and the forest has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Sunderban Tiger Reserve here happens to be one of the largest in the world and is the natural habitat for the famous Royal Bengal Tigers, the largest and most ferocious of its species.

The Sunderbans is among the top spots for jungle safaris in the country. Apart from tigers, crocodiles can be seen here as well and fresh water dolphins can also be seen from time to time. As it is situated on the largest delta in the world, the soil of the forest is very fertile and sustains a large variety of trees, apart from the mangroves, which can be distinguished from their roots over the soil as the area is prone to flooding and experiences high tides. The Sunderbans National Park timings are from 8 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Sundays are closed.

The thing about Sunderbans is that it still has a somewhat primitive feel to it and you will have a feeling that you are far from civilization. Those who are truly into forests and jungles have often explored Sunderbans on their own and tried getting to know the people of the place. They live at the edge of the forests and worship the Bengal Tiger, who is known as “Dakshin Ray”. The protector of the forest is “Ban-Bibi” and there are various folklores dedicated to her. The rural population of the forest stays deep within its premises and goes into the jungle everyday to collect honey from the trees with nothing but armed with a stick or a spear. They live with bears and tigers on land and when they go for fishing in the rivers, they have crocodiles and alligators for company. Crabs and prawns are found aplenty here. Life for them is tough and yet they do not want to change anything.

The mangrove forests are unique and because the area is so prone to flooding, the trees have adapted themselves and the roots grow above the soil and can be seen as spiked raised over the water even when the area is flooded. The ecology of the region is very different and is unlike any other delta in the world. You are sure to love the earthy feel of the jungle and visiting Sunderbans will be etched in your memory forever, especially if you had spotted the elusive Bengal Tiger. It is said that even if you cannot see the tigers, the tigers see you and so try to stick to the path prescribed by guides.

Best Time to Visit

Sunderban National Park

The best time to visit the Sunderbans is during the winters because the weather is pleasant and apart from the animals which are indigenous, you will also come across a number of migratory birds as well who make the waters here their home. Bird watchers come here regularly for photography at this time. Try not to visit during summers as it is very hot and humid here and the area is prone to cyclones at this time.

5 Reasons to Visit the Sunderbans

Sunderban boat safari
  1. You must try the boat safari in the sunderbans and it is unlike anything you have tried before as most jungle safaris are conducted on jeeps. But since the Sunderbans are criss- crossed by a number of tributaries of the Ganga before it drains itself into the Bay of Bengal, this is the best way to explore the forest. The boat rides begin at 8 am and goes on till 4 pm. During peak seasons, safari is extended till 6 pm. If you are lucky, you will catch a Bengal tiger by the water, out to get a drink.
  2. The fauna of the place is varied and you will get to see so many birds in their natural habitat. Other animals here like the monkeys and deer can also be seen. You can also spot bears and crocodiles resting in the sun. You might also catch a glimpse of electric rays or the Indo- Pacific bottlenose dolphins.
  3. Watching the Sunderbans from the Netidhopani Watchtower is a must. It is strategically located and you will find tourists offering a view of the entire Sunderbans from here. This is also your best chance of viewing Bengal tigers.
  4. You will have a great chance of seeing a number of migratory birds in action if you visit in January or February. Birds come from as far as Siberia to lay their eggs and they return home with their young ones. You will also be able to spot Caspian terns, wood sandpipers, and Eastern knots along with many other species.
  5. You will have to visit this forest for a much needed break and to get away from the chaos of the city. You will get to see islands here, and trees, and will be constantly accompanied by the chirping birds. If you are planning an extended stay, then you can stay over at government lodges, and there are also a few resorts nearby.

Things to Remember

Here are some things to keep in mind when you visit the Sunderbans.

  • Foreign tourists are going to need a permit to enter the park. This can be done via an application to Sajnekhali forest office or to West Bengal Tourism. A valid passport is needed.
  • Entry to the park is INR 60 for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners.
  • You must always book a guide and vast stretches of the park and the Sunderban core area are restricted because of Bengal Tigers. The guides will help you stay on track and take you the best and safe places to spot a Bengal Tiger.
  • For boat cruises, it is INR 400 for a boat which can be booked at Sajnekhali.
  • You must have ample cash with you as there are no ATMs in the park.
  • Sunderbans has also been declared a no- plastic zone so carrying polythene bags are not allowed.
  • You must also carry light snacks with you and there are no stalls inside the park. Try not to use disposable items and do not litter the park.
  • You must not stay past 6 pm at the park.

How to Reach

You have to access Sunderbans from Kolkata and it is about 98 km away from the city.

You can hire a private cab from Kolkata and they charge about INR 100 per kilometer, depending on the type of vehicle. Some drivers can also take you for a pre- decided negotiated fee.

If you are someone who loves wildlife, and the outdoors, then Sunderbans will enthrall you. It is best to opt for an organized tour and you can book one at the Kolkata Tourism Office. There are private operators as well. You will love the ambience of the forest and it will be a one of a kind experience.

P.s. You might like these related resources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please rotate your device

Please go back to portrait mode for the best experience