Sunderbans - the biggest mangrove forest and delta region for our share of viewing animals, the expectations were to view beings like crocodiles, water monitor, spotted deer, different kind of birds. If we are lucky, we might even be watching a Royal Bengal Tiger in the natural habitat. Our expectations were limited not to see a Tiger, as we understood it is indeed a very rare sight to see tiger on the banks in daylight. That too in summer, very very rare.
The guide echoed our thoughts as well. All through the cruise, we did see spotted dear, wild dog, bunch of wild board, few water birds like crane, kingfishers, water lizards, etc. First stop was at the Sajnaekhali watch tower. The guide joined us in this location. The whole of Sunderbans is viewed us animal-habited islands (48) and human-habited islands (54). Wherever there are human-habited islands facing animal-habited islands are presented, there is nylon net laid, which acts as a mental barrier for tigers to reach the other side to hunt humans or cattles. Tigers are very good swimmers and known for frequent attacks on human-habited islands in Sunderbans.
The Sajnaekhali sanctuary has some species of turtles and a watch tower. We could not see anything special from the watch tower apart from a view of the Sunderbans mangrove forest. We also spotted a wild monitor lizard moving around. Sajnaekhali hosts a information centre, which provides lots of useful information about Sunderbans and the fauna-flora of the great mangrove region.
We then boarded back and found travelling ourselves between animal habited islands and interest grew more to sight something interesting. We had our lunch in the boat around 1 PM - rice, dhall and potatoes. Quite tasty food! We continued spotting kingfishers and water birds and reached Sudhankhali by 4 PM. The trip was untiring and not so boring as we kept looking for something to see.
Sudhankhali is the last spot of the trip and we were instructed to spent much time in the watch tower by our guide as we can spot something. This place has a man-made lake. We sighted a rare species - white kingfisher, we saw it go into the water and come out flying with prey in its mouth!! After around 20 minutes, there were a bunch of wild boars that ran towards the water and it was a great moment for us, as we were about to leave. The guide told us that the boars are in a hurry to drink water and run away as there might be a tiger around. He also said, we might not be able to see the man-eater, however, it might see us and not prefer to come out of the hideout! We saw some yellow and red crabs as well.
We then started back at 4 PM and reached Godkhali at 5 PM - for the tiring road trip back to room! Overall, a must visit for each one to visit this place to see how wonderful the place is. Citing a tiger may be interesting, but, do not intent to trip to see a tiger. A nearby zoo would do it :). Sunderbans - enjoy a great ride in water around the islands and the mangroves. Tiger seeing is a boon or a bonus, how you prefer.
Day ended with yummy chapattis, sabji and palak dal!
Lazy start for the day. Checked-out at 10 AM and reached the Dakshineswar temple - Durga temple. The temple is expected to be crowded, however, the queues are maintained well and dharshan can be done quicker. Good news is : there are no disturbances of guides or pandas! A very pleasant dharshan and one also gets to do poojas oneself for the 12 Lingas around the temple. Cameras/photos are not allowed inside the temple premises. The temple is open until noon and opens again at 3 PM in the evening.