The Sundarbans contain the world’s largest mangrove forests and one of the most biologically productive of all natural ecosystems. Located at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh. The Sundarbans covers 10,000 km2 of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the Ganges delta. It contains the world’s largest area of mangrove forests. A number of rare or endangered species live in the park, including tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles.
Islands are also of great economic importance as a storm barrier, shore stabilizer, nutrient and sediment trap, source of timber and natural resources, and home to a wide variety of aquatic, benthic and terrestrial organisms. . They are an excellent example of the ecological processes of flooding caused by monsoon rains, the formation of deltas, the influence of tides and the colonization of plants. Covering 133,010 ha, the area is estimated to include about 55% forest land and 45% wetland in the form of tidal rivers, streams, canals and large estuarine mouths of the river. It is estimated that about 66% of the entire mangrove forest area is in Bangladesh, the remaining 34% in India.
Best Time To Go
September to March
What To See
- Marichjhanpi: It is one of the islands within India’s most famous mangroves – the Sundarbans. Being the location for Amitav Ghosh’s novel The Hungry Tide and a Bengali movie that is due to be released in 2020, Marichjhanpi is known as an island of atrocities.
- Ghoramara Island: is one of the tiny islands of the Sundarban delta, 92km south of Kolkata. The island is a victim of global warming, soil erosion and the ever-rising water-levels of the Bay of Bengal – and is shrinking at exorbitant rates.
- New Moore or India’s Purbasha: It is an offshore sandbar island off the coast of the Sundarbans. Two kilometres away from the mouth of the Haribhanga River, the 25,000sq.m. island was completely submerged under the Bay of Bengal waters for years.
- Boat Safari: The government operated boat safaris are available in large and small sizes, large ones for longer durations and small ones for smaller durations. They are available in AC as well as Non-AC. The boat safari can be booked for one day and even for longer time periods 0f one week.
- Timings: It starts at 08:30 AM and ends at 04:00 PM. Boats are not allowed inside after 06:30 PM. Both AC and Non-AC boats a
- Cruice: The 2 Night cruise operated by the West Bengal government takes you to Sudhanyakhali, Sajnekhali, Jhingakhali, and Dobanki watchtower. There is also a less expensive 1 Night tour which excludes a visit to the Jhingakhali tower. The tour is conducted in two boats, Chitralekha and Sarbajaya. The latter one is said to be the better option out of the two. The tours are conducted with a group of up to 50 people.
- Timings: A 2N/3D tour will start from Kolkata at 08:00 in the morning from Kolkata and end on Day 3 at 05:30 PM, also in Kolkata.
- Cost: An all-inclusive package starts from INR 4,840 for lower deck, INR 6,050 for Non-AC birth, INR 7,700 for AC birth, INR 6,600 for Cabin and INR 14,850 (2 PAX) for a couple.
- Private Boats: Privately run boat rentals are also an option if you want to explore the river waters for only a day.
- Timings: Starts at 8:00 in the morning and end around 5:00-5:30 in the evening.
- Cost: All inclusive food charges start from INR 950 per person, and overnight stay is charged extra at INR 600 per person. Expenses for the motorboat, forest entry fee, and video camera fee are over and above the food and overnight stay charges and have to be paid by the tourist to the forest department directly.
Flora and Fauna
Multiple species of Mangroves are found here. Sundari tree, which in all probability gave the forest its name characterizes the thick Mangrove growth. Other species of Mangrove found here are Gewa, Keora, Dhundul, Kankra. Sunderban is particularly known for being the only Mangrove ecosystem in the world which harbours an entire population of Tigers. The tigers here have adapted themselves to the salty water and also become great swimmers. Apart from tigers, other animal species found in Sundarban are Cheetal, Wild Boar, Small Indian Civet, Rhesus Macaque, Fishing Cats, Leopard Cats, Common Otter, and Black Finless Porpoise. A huge number of migratory birds visit the forest every winter. Flocks of Wader birds can be seen foraging near the mudflats and sandbanks. Some majorly sighted bird species are Oriental Honey Buzzard, Herons, Short Toed Eagle, Sandpipers, Whimbrels, Spoonbills, Stilts, Thick Knees, Green Shanks, Curlew, Osprey, Shikara, Brahminy Kite, Osprey, and Crested Serpent Eagle. Other species of birds include Green Pigeon, Cormorants, Seagulls, Egrets, Cuckoos, Sunbirds, Ducks, Geese, and Storks.
Local Food in Sundarbans