Had always planned of visiting the Sunderbans and finally it happened. Last August, I could make out the shape of the islands from my flight to KL and was waiting for the weather to cool down to make it a pleasant experience.
So, I signed up for a tour by Tour de Sunderbans and the next thing I knew was that I was on my way to the delta. Spotting the Royal Bengal Tiger was not in my mind as that requires quite a bit of luck and one needs to follow the calendar- probability is higher on the 8th to the 11th day from a new moon day, when the low tide sets in and remains till the noon. I was there on the 1st day of a new moon, hence no luck.
The Eco-village was an awesome experience with cool hammocks on the top floor that's open to a 360 degree view. Carry a book along and enjoy the evenings. The best-part of the trip was the cruising on a local boat we did after dinner. Star gazing, lying down on the boat in an open water, with darkness surrounding you- an experience that has made it to my list. Observed a shooting star and then had the experience of bioluminescent phytoplanktons that were drifting around the mangroves.
Sunday morning we set off for the real tour of the forest and the whole day was spent on the boat with spotting of a flock of deer, few egrets, a crocodile, few kingfishers, a monitor lizard and fresh paw-prints of the tiger!
Day 1: Road journey (approx 3 Hours) from Park Street. Catch a ferry to Gosba Island. Take the Jugaad (Tuk-Tuk) via the width of the island. Take another ferry to Sajjenakal/ Hamilton Island. Reach Eco-Village. Evening trip in a ferry to watch the sunset as you sail via one of the creeks. Then as mentioned above-the night ferry and then call it a day.
Day2: Starts early morning- ferry ride through the forest area that lasts till evening (around 5 Pm). Route takes you back to where you started. Get into your van and back to Concrete jungle from the Country jungle:)
Additional Info: If you happened to read the book "The Hungry Tide" you would like to discuss the Lusibari Killings that's mentioned in the book. Its worth a discussion with the people who have seen the whole event take place some 33 years' back. Even the Garjontola dolphins are visible as per the locals.
66% of the Sunderbans Islands belongs to Bangladesh and the huge area that we have explored is just a small chunk. Luckily, our neighbour has more fertile islands on their side unlike the highly saline Sunderbans that we see here.