AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, the world’s largest mangrove forest and diverse flora and fauna, Sundarbans is a rather unusual yet beautiful holiday destination. The Sundarbans, with most of their virgin forests and unscathed nature, will leave you feeling like a brand-new person.
Photograph by @writh_d
The world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans.
To reach Sundarbans, you can either take a bus or a car from Kolkata to Godkhali Ghat. An alternative is to take a train from Sialda station to Canning and then reach Godkhali Ghat by road. From Godkhali Ghat your journey to the untamed and untouched vision that is Sundarbans.
Photograph by @ghoomakar
A view from the boats.
Once at Godhkali Ghat a ferry is the best way to explore Sundarbans. The ferry rides can be a few hours long or a few days. But if you want to experience Sundarbans to its fullest a package of few days is the way to go. Most ferries have arrangements for an overnight stay on board.
Photograph by @suvojjitb
A sunset like none other, only at Sundarbans.
Once you are in the cool embrace of the world’s largest delta, the sweet silence, the cold breeze, the richness of the surroundings, will leave you rejuvenated. The excitement starts when you enter the waterways. Floating in the intricate river system that surrounds the islands, you will be captivated by the Sundarbans.
Photograph by @riddhimukherjee_wildlifetales
The regal and ferocious Royal Bengal Tiger.
Depending on what it is you’re looking for, the ideal time to visit the Sundarbans differs. The summer season from April to June is to be avoided due to the humid weather conditions. Monsoons, from July through August, are a great time to visit if you wish to see migratory birds. September to March is the ideal time in terms of weather conditions. If it is the Royal Bengal Tigers that you are on the lookout for, the mating season, more specifically in the months of October, November, and December you stand the best chances at spotting them. Other animals that might grace your presence include Wild boars, Spotted deer, Porcupines, and Rhesus macaque. If you are lucky you may also get to see one or many of the endangered animals that are found in the Sundarbans, they include Estuarine Crocodile, Fishing Cat, Common otter, Water Monitor lizard, Gangetic Dolphin, Snubfin dolphin, and River Terrapin. Other species indigenous to the Sundarbans are marine turtles like Olive Ridley, Green Sea Turtle, and Hawksbill Turtle.
Photograph by @ziausshams
The graceful Spotted Deer.
Besides the wildlife, the Sundarbans are also rich in vegetation, the endangered Sundari tree makes up for most of the forest, followed by Gewa trees. Since entering the forests is strictly prohibited due to the dangerous terrain, you can see the regal jungles from motorboats, adorning the sides of the rivers.
Photograph by @nomadicnaksh
The thick mangrove forest.
To make the most of your trip to the Sundarbans, it is imperative to visit the slew o of watchtowers that are strategically placed throughout the region, to maximize your chances of seeing the wildlife.
Photograph by @purpleheadsmurf
A beautiful Kingfisher in the Sundarbans.
Dobanki Camp is also a great place to visit. Of all the watchtowers, the Dobanki Camp offers a canopy walk that allows you to walk amidst certain parts of the forest on elevated platforms that are secured with barricades. With the existence of a freshwater artificial lake in the middle of the camp, the Dobanki watchtower allows for a better chance at the sighting of the wildlife, as the animals flock to the water source. d throughout the region, to maximize your chances of seeing the wildlife.
Photograph by @i_am_arindam.ghosh
The mysterious mangroves
To make memories and cherish them forever, you can also opt for photography trips to Sundarbans. On these trips, you can take photographs at strategic sighting points, unrushed and relaxed.
If you want to learn more about the rich flora and fauna, the Mangrove Interpretation Center has to be on your itinerary. The Mangrove Interpretation Center not only has educational guided tours on the compositions of the forest and the wildlife that claim Sundarbans as their home but also about the local practices of the people who inhabit Sundarbans.
In terms of the food in Sundarbans, the variety of freshwater fishes are not to be missed. The preparations of food are usually simple, but given the locally sourced, fresh ingredients, you will find the taste to be sensational.
Photograph by @expedition_n_experience
The vision, Sundarbans
For the ecological balance that mother nature has so beautifully weaved, between land and water, animals and humans, and between the blend of different terrains, the Sundarbans deserve a visit.