Sunderbans: The Ban of Tigers

Tripoto
7th May 2014

Sunderban Delta

Photo of Sunderbans: The Ban of Tigers by Mayank Raj

Sunderban Tiger Camp

Photo of Sunderbans: The Ban of Tigers by Mayank Raj

Sundarban, the largest delta in the world, has about nearly 10,200 sq km of Mangrove Forest under its region, which is found notonly in India but in Bangladesh also. The part of the forest which under the control of The Indian Government is called Sundarbans National Park and iand covers the Ganges Basin of West Bengal. The National Park occupies an area of 38,500 sq km, of which about one-third is covered by water/marsh. The abundantly found Sundari Trees are the basis of This National Park getting its name as Sunderban. Unfortunately, photoshoots while safari is not allowed.

Agriculture is the main source of occupation of people of Sundarbans who live in villages adjoining the forest. The hardships of daily existence have granted them the feelings fraternality and non-communal traditions. Hindus and Muslims live side by side and respect each others Gods as well as worship them. Royal Bengal Tiger which is the main attraction of The Sunderbans are found abundantly along with rich flora and fauna. These Royal tigers has adapted to the conditions of Sunderbans in such a way that they now they do not find difficultly in swimming in saline waters here. It is the natural habitat of many other wild animals like jungle fowl, giant lizards, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, etc. During the migration season, Siberian Ducks come and settle here .Besides the Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarbans is also home to endangered species like Batagur baska, King Crabs and Olive Ridley Turtles

HISTORY

Sundarbans has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1966. In the year 1073, The Sunderban National Park was announced as the core area of The Sunderban Tiger Reserve. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1987 and the Sundarbans region as a whole was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1989. Of around 300 Royal Bengal tigers and approx. 30000 Spotted Deers have made Sunderban there habitat.

 

WHERE TO STAY

Within and outside the Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary, one can find a number of hotels, wildlife resorts, forest lodges and jungle camps .
The wildlife resorts and hotels in Sunderbans cater to the tastes and budgets of all kinds of travelers. Rooms tend to fill up during peak tourist season hence, it is advisable to make advance reservations. All wildlife resorts in Sunderbans arrange park safaris.

 

TIPS

  • Foreign tourists wanting to visit the park and observe tigers have to obtain a special entry permit. The tourists will have to contact the Secretary, West Bengal Forest Department, Writer's Blidge, Kolkata.
  • To obtain entry permit for other areas of Sundarbans, tourists will have to meet the Field Director, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, PO Canning, District 24 Parganas, West Bengal. A boat cruise through Sunderbans outside the sanctuary, however, does not require any entry permit.
  • Visiting the sanctuary independently might be difficult, what with permits and tricky transport connections to organize. It’s not cheap either; you’ll have to bear the cost of boat rentals alone. Organized group tours are a better and comfortable option.
  • It will be wise to carry your own drinking water or some water purifying tablets/liquid drops.

 

FUN FACTS

  • The Sundarbans has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Six species of Shark are known to inhabit the Sundarbans.
You can drive from Kolkata to Gothkhali via jetty (approx. 115 kms/3 hrs). Our surface journey ends here and we board our exclusive boat to cruise through rivers Gomor, Durgadhwani. we reach the banks of the river Pitchkhali where lies the Sunderban Tiger Camp. On our arrival, you will be greeted by the tiger camp team and checked into your cottage followed by lunch. In the afternoon, we will experience the true Sunderbans, as we walk through the native village of Dayapur. We also encounter many wonderful sights as you learn about the lifestyle, local crafts, cuisines, and way of life of the local villagers. Observe their indigenous farming methods and how their houses are completely made of mud with small entrances. Our tour will pass through the village market and eventually end at the resort for refreshments followed by a dinner to end another day in the reserve forest. We also went to the watchtower at the resort after their return from the village to observe the birdlife within the resort. Sunderban tiger camp houses 64 species of birds to date. In the evening, watched a movie show on the tigers. Dinner cooked with farm fresh vegetables was served at the Fisherman’s Wharf dining hall which displayed different tools used by the locals to catch fish. Enjoyed a comfortable overnight stay at Tiger Camp. After breakfast the following day, proceeded for a thrilling cruise towards Dobanke Watch Tower as we moved into the Sunderban Tiger Reserve Forest through dense forest and numerous rivers. Snacks was served on board. The canopy walk at Dobanke Watch Tower inside the forest will guarantee goose bumps. Also, visit the spotted deer rehabilitation centre after which you cruise back through Matla Sea Face, (the point from where Bay of Bengal can be seen) to Sunderban Tiger Camp for lunch. After lunch, we went to visit Pakhiralay Island which is half an hour away from your resort by boat. Evening cultural show - Bonbibi Yatra will be performed by local villagers. It is the local rural theatre performed by the local villagers. Bonbibi means forest goddess; Yatra means an open theatre. The theatre tells the interesting story about the tiger lord, forest god & goddess, fisher man, honey collectors, with lots of songs & dances which has been created by the local villagers. After dinner, stayed overnight at the tiger camp. As we woke up to the chirping of birds in the morning, a hot cup of tea is served inyour balcony. Viewed the array of birds in the fruit trees near your cottage. After breakfast, headed for the morning cruise into the Sunderban Tiger Reserve once again through creeks and rivers heading to the Sudhayakhali watchtower. Walked through the caged walkways after disembarking towards the watchtower, searching for the elusive tiger. Keep a look at the sweet water pond where you may sight a deer drinking water or a water monitor lizard basking by the sun. Monkeys and wild boars may be sighted nearby. Cruise back to Sunderban Tiger Camp for an early lunch. Later, we transferred back to Gothkhali. On arrival at Gothkhali, we were picked up by your vehicle and transferred back to Kolkata.
Photo of Sundarbans National Park, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India by Mayank Raj
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