This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination

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Jharkhali

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Wildlife in West Bengal cannot be completed without a visit to the mangroves of Sunderbans. A visit to the Sunderbans was well on the cards for long and so I did not let go of the opportunity when my friend suggested on visiting the place. We zeroed in to Jharkhali, an upcoming eco-tourism destination nestled in the laps of Sunderbans.

Even a couple of decades back, Jharkhali was a mangrove forest with strong winds blowing from the rivers. A few years back, the place was identified and then converted into an eco-tourism destination. Jharkhali is serene place, an isolated tourist spot located some 100 km from Kolkata. Sunderbans has a number of entry points, Jharkhali now being one of them. the place is situated in the south-east part of the mangrove forest and can be reached from Basanti and Canning.

Photo of Jharkhali, Lot No 126, West Bengal, India by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

The road to this beautiful place is equally charming. After passing through the lush green paddy fields and small villages, you would reach Jharkhali, lying almost at the edge of the brackish water. The two rivers Bidyadhari and Herobhanga very lovingly caress the banks of the Jharkhali. An ideal place to spend a relaxing weekend amidst the nature, the wildlife of Sunderbans is also an added bonus to this place.

Things to do at Jharkhali

1. Visit the Jharkhali Mangrove Ecological Gardens

The Jharkhali Mangrove Ecological Garden is a must visit place. There is a number of variety of flora in the gardens. There is also a watchtower in the Gardens from where you can make wildlife sightings.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

2. Take a country boat ride

This is perhaps the most exciting part of visiting the Sunderbans. Take a country boat along the rivers and creeks and believe me, it is going to be a thrilling experience. You may spot deer, crocodiles, wild cats in the mangrove forests. You will also see a number of kingfishers here.

Take the boat ride during the afternoon, it will be a memorable experience to watch the sunset while you are on the boat in the midst of the rivers and mangroves.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

3. Go for wildlife sighting in the bigger boats

From the Jharkhali Jetty, you can board your boat that would take you around to visit various attractions of Sunderbans. You can visit the the Sundarkathi Wild Life Watch Tower and the Kalash Beach. As per rules, no one is allowed to embark on the Kalash Beach. You have to enjoy the beauty of the beach from the boat itself.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

4. Visit the Bonnie Camp Watch Tower

The Bonnie Camp Watch Tower is one of the most beautiful watchtowers of Sunderbans. The watchtower is the highest in Sunderban area and is 50 feet high. It takes around 3 hours of boat journey to reach Bonnie Camp from Jharkhali. Like all the other watchtowers, there is a sweet water pond near the Bonnie Camp watchtower, where the wild animals of SUnderban frequent throughout the day. The aerial view of the forest from the top the watchtower at Bonnie Camp is simply wonderful and you can get the feeling of being marooned on a desolate island. The vastness of the forest from the watchtower crisscrossed with rivulets and creeks all around is a treat for the eyes.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)
Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)
Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

5. Visit the Dobanki Camp

Enjoy the boat ride as you visit the Dobanki Camp, another place where you can sight wildlife. This is also another famous tourisy spot in Sunderbans.

The main attraction of Dobanki Camp is the canopy walk through a 20 feet elevated path through the deep mangroves forests. From the watchtower, you can have spectacular view of Sunderban deep forest. From the watch tower, you have to take the elevated path covered with iron mesh. On the bottom below is the deep jungle. The experience in Dobanki camp to see the wild animals roaming around can be quite thrilling.

Apart from these watchtowers, you can also visit Sudhanyakhali and Pakhiralaya.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

How to Reach:

The nearest Airport is in Kolkata.

From Sealdah, daily suburban trains are available towards Canning. Also buses are available from Esplanade to Canning. To reach Jharkhali, you have to first reach Canning. From Canning, there are buses, autos and private vehicles to Jharkhali Market.

Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)
Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)
Photo of This gateway to Sunderbans is an ideal weekend destination by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Best time to visit:

The best time to visit Jharkhali is from September to March every year. In winter, there are greater chance of seeing tiger, crocodile and other animal on the river bank. In September, weather would be more humid, but you can enjoy heavy current of rivers. It is better to avoid rainy season and summer time. It is dangerous to venture into jungle through river path during this time.

Places to Stay:

There are a number of accommodation options at Jharkhali. There are a number of private hotels and resorts as well as fisheries department lodges that can be booked from Mayukh Bhavan, Kolkata.

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