Sundarban National Park – Call of the Wild
Gear up for
tracking the tigers in the wilderness. The upcoming season
is an exciting one for all the adventure lovers. No matters
what’s the age. What I believe is, one need not be young to
enjoy some of the things that seem so intimidating. There
are many options within range that can add zing to life. Even
a simple walk through the national park can be an exhilarating
A tiger trail is an experience in itself. Powerful and
stealthy, the tiger is the largest and heaviest of the cat
family and much feared by other animals and humans alike.
The Bengal tiger has the classic orange and black tiger’s
coat. It patrols its own territory and usually hunts alone,
stalking its prey or killing it by ambush. Immensely strong,
it can bring down animals much larger than itself. Once common
throughout Asia, the Bengal tiger is now restricted to small
areas India and the surrounding countries.
India has some of
the world’s top end national parks and wildlife sanctuaries whose
area extends several thousands of square kilometers and where wildlife
can be observed in its natural surroundings. One such national park
is the Sundarban National Park in West Bengal. Where the
land meets the sea at the southern tip of West Bengal lies the Indian
Sunderbans, with a series of densely forested islands and saline
water channels, Sundarbans is home to Royal
Bengal Tiger( Panthera tigris ) along with the spotted
deer’s, wild pigs, Wild boars, Porcupines, Rhesus macaque, herons,
kingfishers and white-bellied eagles.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the
Sunderbans is a vast area covering 4264 square km in India alone,
with a larger portion in Bangladesh. 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 forms the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India.
A paradise for
birdwatchers. There are about 248 bird species found in Sunderban
national park including a large number of migratory birds from higher
latitudes that visits the park in winter months. The list includes
such rarities as the Masked Finfoot, Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Whistler,
Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Storks, Green Pigeons, Sand Pipers,
Large and Small Spoonbills, Darters, Seagulls, Teal, Partridges,
great variety of Wild Geese and Ducks.
or Fact The Sundarban
National Park got its name from one of the mangrove plants
known as Sundari (Heritiera Minor). In the Sundarban
area of India some people believe that, as tigers attack from
behind, you can prevent this by wearing a mask showing a face
on the back of your head. 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'.
Sajnekhali Sanctuary : The wide variety of birds at Sajnekhali
sanctuary captivates your eyes for sure.
Netidhopani : At Netidhopani, the ruins of a 400-year-old
temple tell a tale of its own adding mystery to the surroundings.
Bhagabatpur : Bhagabatpur is renowned for having a
hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodiles in the world.
Kanak is the nesting place for the Olive Ridley Turtles.
Island: The last habitat of the Barking Deer in India
is the Holiday Island thronged by the tourists every year.
A perfect picnic destination - Piyali is the main gateway
of Sundarbans, near Kolkata and Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali,
Netidhopani through waterways. A small river Piyali criss
crosses the green paddy fields and joins river Matla.
to Visit The
best time to visit Sunderbans is during winters between December
and February. Although the park is open for longer from September
to March. The possibility of observing the mighty Royal Bengal
Tiger enhances in the winter season when one can watch the
King of Jungle sun-bathing on the banks of the river. This
is the period when the maximum migratory birds are also present
The entry point to Sunderban Tiger Reserve is either Sonakhali
via Canning, or Bagna via Dhamakhali. For visiting South 24
Parganas Forest Division, on the western part of river Matla,
the entry points are Namkhana, Raidighi or Jharkhali via Canning/Basanti..
Entry Permits are available at Canning, Sonakhali and Bagna
for STR and at Canning, Namkhana and Raidighi for Western
part of Sunderban Forest .
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.
By Air : Dum Dum Airport - Kolkata is the nearest airport
is at a distance of 112 kms from the Sundarbans National Park.
By Rail : The
nearest railhead is Canning, 48-kms away from the Sunderbans National
Park. From Kolkata there are suburban trains to Canning and road
transport to Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali and Najat from where
Motor launch services are available for Sundarbans.
By Road : The excellent road network connects Namkhana to Kolkata,
Sonakhali (100-kms), Raidighi (76-kms), Canning (64-kms), and Najat
(92-kms), all lying nearby the Sunderbans.
Cruises : The tourists
can hire a cruise in the riverine waterways from different places
covering different stretches.
1. From Namkhana -
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project (2.5 hours) Sagar Island (2.5 hours)
Jambudweep (3.5 hours)
2. From Sajnekhali - Sudhanyakhali (40 minutes) Buridabri (Tiger
Project Area) (5 hours) Netidhopari (3.5 hours) Holiday Island (3
3. From Sonakhali - Gosaba (1 hour)
4. From Raidighi - Kalas (5 hours)
Contributing Writer: Swapnil Gunjal, Travel Writer