Sundarbans National Park in India is one of the world's largest deltas and the mangrove forest formed by the confluence of three rivers- the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna- covering an area of 2,585 sq km wildlife sanctuary, which extends into Bangladesh too. The Sundarbans Wildlife Sanctuary, the world's largest estuarine sanctuary is really worth a visit. With a series of densely forested islands and saline water channels, Sundarbans is home to 270 Royal Bengal Tigers along with the spotted deers, wild pigs, monkeys, herons, kingfishers and white-bellied eagles.
The Sundarbans is formed by an alluvial archipelago of 54 islands, made by the waters of Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarban National Park got its name from the Sundari trees found here in abundance. Sundarbans' also shares its boundaries with the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.
The most unique feature of the Sundarbans is the tigers in the park apt at swimming and are strictly amphibious! The Park is also famous for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtles. The other wild animals found in the Sundarbans National Park are estuarine terrapins, Olive Ridley turtles, estuarine crocodiles, Ganges dolphins, water monitors and a wide variety of birds, fish and crustaceans. One of the major tourist attractions is the Sajnekhali Visitors' Centre, which has a crocodile enclosure, a shark pond, a turtle hatchery, and a Mangrove Interpretation Centre.
The best time to visit Sunderbans is during winters between September and March.
The Sunderbans are not easily accessible. To get to the Sunderbans national park in India the nearest airport is Calcutta, the nearest railway station is Canning, and the nearest town is Gosaba. From the park headquarters at Canning take the country motor launch (5 hours) to Sajnekhali.
Sunderbans National ParkThere are regular bus services from Kolkata (Calcutta) to this place. But the main areas of the sanctuary can only be accessed by riverine waterways. The best and the safest way to visit Sunderbans is on conducted tours. One can also avail the services of the private vessels from Canning, Gosaba or Basanti.
The foreign tourists willing to observe the tigers and implement the Tiger Projects and visit the Sajnekhali, have to obtain the special permits for entry into the Sundarbans National Park. The tourists should contact the Secretary, West Bengal Forest Department, Writer's Blidge, Kolkata - 700001, on request. To obtain the entry permit for other areas of the Sundarban; the tourists must visit the Field Director, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, PO Canning, District 24 Parganas, West Bengal. A boat cruise through Sunderbans outside the sanctuary requires no entry permit.
In April and May, the flaming red leaves of the Genwa bejewel the emerald islands. The other dominant floral species in the Sundarbans are crab like red flowers of the Kankara and the yellow blooms of Khalsi. As you go deeper into the Sundarbans forests, you discover the mystique beauty. The large floral population in Sundarbans consists of trees like Genwa, Dhundal, Passur, Garjan and Kankara. Apart from these trees, the tall and wide Goran trees cover almost the entire region.
The Sundarbans forest houses Royal Bengal Tigers in plenty. At the Sundarbans you are elated to watch Chital Deer and Rhesus Monkey. The aqua fauna in the park include variety of fishes, red Fiddler Crabs and Hermit Crabs.
There are crocodiles, which can be often seen along the mud banks. Sundarbans national park is also noted for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtle. There's is a incredible variety of reptiles also found in Sundarbans, which includes King Cobra, Rock Python and Water Monitor. The endangered river Terrapin, Batagur Baska is found on the Mechua Beach, while the Barkind Deer is found only in Holiday Island in Sundarbans.