Sunderban Biosphere the World Heritage Place for Eco Tourism
A place where nature speaks her own language.
Sunderban Delta is the largest Mangrove forest in the world. Sundarbans, Formerly SUNDERBUNDS, miles of forest and saltwater swamp creating the lower part of the Ganges Delta, extending about 160 miles (260 km) along the Bay of Bengal from the Hooghly River Estuary <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />India to the Meghna River Estuary in Bangladesh.
The Sundarbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the Indian side rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Bangladesh side river Meghna . The whole terrain reaches inland for 60-80 miles (100-130 km).
A network of estuaries, most tidal rivers, and creeks intersected by many channels, it encloses flat, marshy islands covered with dense mangrove forests.
The name Sundarbans is perhaps derived from the term meaning "Jungle of Sundari tree, a reference to the large mangrove tree that provides valuable fuel. Along the coast the forest passes into a mangrove swamp; the southern region, with many wild animals including BIG CATS and Crocodile- infested estuaries, is all most no mans land.
It is one of the last preserves of the Bengal tiger and the site of a tiger preservation project. A pride for the nation but it is also like all other tiger reserve under strong poacher’s network.
Man & Animal are in constant fight for the co-existence. Many dies in the hand of Tiger , Crocodile and snake. Two popular local goddess and god for both Hindu and Muslims are Bonobiwi and Gazi Peer to save hem form tiger.
Main occupations of the people are fishing and honey collection with permit from government. But illegal fishing and honey collection is also very common for poor people to survive.
Just south of Calcutta, Sunderban is one of the most unique ecosystems in this part of the world. It is dominated by mangrove forests and gets its name from the Sundari i.e. Heritiera foams trees. Situated at the mouths of the Ganges, Sunderban spreads over 54 islands and two countries (Indian state West Bengal and Bangladesh) and is part of the world's largest delta region.
Sunderban covers an area of 4262 sq. km in India. The Sunderban Tiger Project was started in 1974 and has an area of 2585 sq. km. The core area is 1330 sq. km and is a national forest and UNESCO world heritage site. Sunderban is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world.
Though there are several entry points to the Sundarbans, the most popular is Port Canning which is connected by suburban railway to Calcutta. Organized boat tours leave Port Canning for the forests.
Area : 2608 sq. kms. Altitude : Sea Level. Temperature Summer:Max: 42C, Min. 37C;
Winter: Max: 29, Min. 9.2. Best season: September to March. July to September for Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.
Sajnekhali: Sajnekhali has a bird sanctuary and is the only place to have a hotel in this area - the Sundar Cheetal Tourist Lodge. There is a Mangrove Interpretation Centre here. There are watchtowers at Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Netidhopan, Haldi and a number of other places.
Gosaba: Sir David Hamilton’s settlement.
Tiger Reserve: Project Tiger was implemented in 1973 and later the Sundarban Tiger Reserve was demarcated over 2,585-sq. km. The core area of 1,330 sq.km has been declared a National park and has been chosen as a world heritage site. The reserve has a tiger population of 287(1984 census). The only mangrove species, the tiger here has adapted well to its habitat.
Bhagbatpur Crocodile Project: This is a crocodile breeding farm. Tours are organized by the WBTDC. This place is accessible through Namkhana. Both the West Bengal Tourism Department and the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation organize conducted tours to the Sundarbans by their launches. Bhagabatput is a hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodile in the world.
Netidhopani : The ruins of a 400-year-old temple and legends lend mystery to the atmosphere.
Haliday Island: Last retreat of the Barking Deer.Kanak : Nesting place of Olive Ridley Turtles.
Rangabellia: A social welfare project for poor women.
Piyali: It is 72 kms from Calcutta and is a gateway to the Sunderban. It is being developed as a tourist complex. A thrilling cruise through the largest estuarine delta in the world and the biggest colony of the `Royal Bengal Tigers' - the Sundarbans. These evergreen mangrove forests pulsate with a myriad forms of life. Above the Kingfisher and White-bellied Sea eagle add a brilliant burst of colour. The sea creeps in at high tide. The forests float. The ebbing waters reveal nature so alive on the glistening mud flats. The land is split by numerous rivers and water channels all emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Venture further to discover a rich tribal folklore. It is believed that Bonbibi, the goddess of the forest, protects the wood-cutters, honey-collectors and fishermen on their hazardous missions. For, as the saying goes, `Here the Tiger is always watching you'.
Delta-forest home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Ganges, which is rightly known as the Ganga, carries silt and fertility from its ice-melt sources in the high Himalayas, through the lush plains of India, past the riverine port of Calcutta. Here, however, it is no longer the Ganga because it has become one of the major distributors. For, in the flat Grey-clay lands of Bengal, the great river splits into numerous channels, dividing and sub-dividing like the roots of a tree, till it pours through many mouths into the Bay of Bengal.
Kalash Island: Heart Land of Tigers forest department got guest house and arrangement needs to be done with prior approval of Wild Life Office of West Bengal Government.Boni Camp: Tiger rehabilitation Center at Sunderban is a restricted place and can be seen with proper permission from forest department of West Bengal
Sunderban is only accessible by waterways. Nearest railhead is Port Canning from where organized group trips start. There are several other entry points but Port Canning is most popular.
The other route is through Basanti which is connected by bus service to Calcutta. From here one can take boats to Sajnekhali. One can also come via Port Canning and Gosaba or from Sonakhali to Sajnekhali.For Bhagabatpur, Namkhana is an access point.
By Air: Dum Dum (166kms), is the nearest airport at Calcutta.
By rail: The nearest railhead is at Canning, 48 kms away.The nearest town is Gosaba, 50 kms away.
Sundarbans is accessible only by waterways. From Calcutta there are suburban train to Canning and buses to Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali and Najat from where Motor launch services are available for Sundarbans.
Road: Above mentioned embarkation points from Calcutta are: Namkhana (105 km), Sonakhali (100 km), Raidighi (76 km), Canning (64 km), Najat (92 km).
Waterways: Approximate time taken between various points are :
1. From Namkhana - Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project (2.5 hours) Sagar Island (2.5 hours) Jambudwip (3.5 hours)
2. From Sajnekhali - Sudhanyakhali (40 minutes) Buridabri (Tiger Project Area) (5 hours) Netidhopari (3.5 hours) Holiday Island (3 hours)
3. From Sonakhali - Gosaba (1 hour)
4. From Raidighi - Kalas (5 hours)
For Private Launches Contact: West Bengal Launch Owners' Syndicate, Calcutta.
Contact: Field Director, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, P.O. Canning, District 24 Parganas (South), West Bengal, India
PERMITS & ACCESS:
Visitor access is restricted for conservation reasons. Best option is to join group tours organized by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporetion WBTDC & Sunderban Tiger Camp (Private) operator.
Permits are required for foreigners. Contact
The Joint Secretary (Forest), Govt. of West Bengal, 4th Floor, G-Block, Writers' Building, Calcutta- 700 001, Permission has to be acquired to visit the tiger reserve from the Field Director, Sunderban Tiger Reserve, Port Canning
LODGING: Forest lodge and forest rest-houses are available for accommodation at Sajnakhali., One of the best place to stay and have personalized tour of Sunderban is
SUNDERBAN TIGER CAMP
DAYAPUR, P.O. GOSABA, 24 PARGANAS (SOUTH)
9, Mitter House, 71, Ganesh Chandra Avenue,
Second Floor, Kolkata - 700 013, West Bengal, India.
Mobile: +91 32935749, +91 9331092632, +91 9831170453,
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