The Sundarbans are the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world, stretching 80 km (50mi) into the Bangladeshi and Indian hinterland from the coast. The Sundarbans has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The part of the forest within Indian territory is called Sundarbans National Park. The forests aren't just mangrove swamps though — they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain. The Sundarbans cover an area of 3,850 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water/marsh areas. Since 1966 the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area.
The forest is called 'Sunderban'due to the rich growth of Sundari trees.
Flora and fauna
Royal Bengal Tiger, Saltwater Crocodile, Bull Sharks, Various Primates & Snakes.
October to February — winter, cold and temperate
March to May — summer, hot and humid
June to September — the monsoon season, wet and windy
The bus departs from Priya Cinema at Deshapriya Park and science city, Kolkata between 8AM-9AM. The tourists board the bus and reaches Sonakhali. The luggages are off-loaded and tourists board the 45 seater boat and cruise through the river till Sunderban Tiger Camp. The river cruise is a real pleasure. There are two such boats and the local staff will constantly attend on you and look after your comforts. The river Hogol and numerous other Estuarine Rivers form 102 Delta islands in the Sunderbans, in which there are human dwellings in 52 islands only, the rest are dense forest, practically impregnable with their rich variety of flora and fauna. The boat cruises through the rivers Hogol, Korotal and Gosaba touching the places like PathorKhali, Chandipur, Mosjid Bari, Aadarsh Vidya Mandir in Durgaduani canal, joining the Gomdi River to the Sunderban Tiger Camp via Shojnekhali, Peechkhali.
Gosaba is the four-river junction area where Karatal, Bidya, Durgaduani and a branch of river Bidya meet. Gosaba is the last rural human habitat after which human habitat is rarity.
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Foreigners wishing to visit Sundarbans have to obtain a special permit. This is mandatory as per Government rule. It can now,however be obtained at the Sajnekhali Forest Office(Ecotourism Range) .The originals have to be shown to the forest office on your arrival.
Tourism Centre, West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Limited, 3/2-BBD Bag (Near Great Eastern Hotel), Kolkata. ☎+91 33 2210 3199, +91 33 2248 8271.
A permit for maximum 5 days is usually granted which can be further extended subject to the permission of local forest officer.
Sundarbans is replete with biodiversity. Geographical, Geological, Botanical as well as Zoological tours which require special knowledge of the area and guide are are often undertaken in the Sundarbans National Park to understand the flora and fauna of the area. These tours are arranged by :
Apart from cruising around the tourism zone of National Park, take a village walk. Visit a local school.
Go on a cycle trip to the local village market. Know more about the unique Mangrove Eco System. *Join a fishing or crab catching expedition on a country boat around the village(you are not allowed to do that inside the Reserve Forest).
Take a birding walk around the village.
Join a cooking class,and learn how a local dish is prepared with simple local ingredients.
Experience a local cultural programme Bonobibi Yatra - a local rural theatre performed by the villagers.
Be sure that you have booked your lodging or trip package through a responsible tourism organisation that shares the tourism benefit with local communities, does not employ child labour, and practices environment-friendly tourism.
Organic Brown Rice.
Fresh Sea Fish. Prawn. Lobster. Dry Fish Curry. Cottage Cheese. Pan Cake. Rice Pudding (Bengali dessert).
Filtered or boiled water (do not insist on mineral water unless it is a part of your personal medication. Mineral water comes in plastic bottles. Sundarbans is a No-Plastic Zone.) Fresh coconut juice. Fresh watermelon juice. Mango juice.
Sunder Chital Tourist Lodge, Sajnekhali , belonging to West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. 30 double bedrooms, Rs 700/- including breakfast+1 meal. Dormitory, Rs.250/- per bed including breakfast+1 meal. No A/C. It is the only lodge close to Sajnekhali Forest Beat Office and one can get the perfect jungle feeling.
Sunderban Tiger Camp, Dayapur Island, National Park East Range. City Office: 9, Mitter House, 71, Ganesh Chandra Avenue, Second Floor, Kolkata. ☎ +91 32 935749, +91 93 3109 2632, +91 98 3117 0453, Fax: +91 33 22252 6078, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The only Star Classified Government Approved Luxury Forest Resort in West Bengal. In the heart of Sunderbans and amidst a sprawling 9 acres of forestland opposite Sajnekhali Tiger Reserve Forest. A boutique resort providing conference facilities and accommodations include tents, huts, and cottages, with A/C units available, all with attached baths. Meals served buffet-style with vegetarian options. Sightseeing tours by boat. The rooms have attached clean bathrooms with running cold water and hot water on request, and very well sanitised.
The Sundarbans is the only place in the world where Tigers still actively hunt humans for food and usually between 50 and 80 locals are mauled per year. The Royal Bengal Tiger is extremely dangerous in the Sundarbans, but most visitors need not worry since wildlife tours and accommodation that is provided by state government will never put you in harms way; however if you are interested in private tour (by hiring a small machine boat or so), do it at your own risk! The Sundarbans is also home to a population of Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) and Bullsharks are found throughout the estuaries, so swimming is not advised anywhere.