Area: 9,630 sq km
Major Attractions: Bengal Tigers, Ridley Sea Turtles
Best Season to Visit: May
About Sunderbans National Park
The Sunderban Tiger Reserve, created in 1973, was part of the then 24-Parganas Forest Division. Subsequently the area compromising the present Tiger reserves was constituted as a Reserve Forest in 1978, incorporating some 2,585 sq. km of the huge mangrove swamp, which extends for about 260 kms from the Bay Of Bengal to the Meghna River estuary in Bangladesh. Nestled between the two Great Indian rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Ganga, Sunderbans, extend over a vast area. The Tiger Reserve itself is divided into two sectors, core and non core, the former compromising 1,330 sq.kms and the later 1,225 sq kms. An area of 124.4 kms within the core area is preserved as a zone to act as a gene pool. The origin of the name Sunderban is debated, but in all probability it gets its name from the Sundari trees, typical of the region. There are 64 plant species in the Sunderban s suited to survive in estuarine conditions and saline inundation that occurs as a result of tidal effects. The Sunderban is one of the world's largest and most unique wetlands. A UNESCO world heritage site, Sunderbans is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world.
The WBTDC operates regular tours from October to mid March. There are lots of tourist launch and lodges that operate for for visitors. Besides you can opt for Safari Vacation in the cruises of the place.
Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated at the junction of the Peechkali and Gomti rivers, this gateway to the Tiger Reserves is the centerpiece of one's Sunderban experience. Protected all around by wire netting, the complex houses a museum and a watch tower. At least 84 species of flora have been identified here. To the South west of the sanctuary is the Canopy Walk, where you can take a walk in the midst of the mangroves.
Carry a good pair of binoculars and keep watch while you are on the boat. You may spot a elusive mangrove whistler or a swamp partridge. Other birds that can be spotted are pelican, cotton teal, herring gull, Caspian tern, grey heron, white ibis, common Kingfisher, Brahmani kite and paradise flycatcher.
Sunderban Tiger Reserves
It is difficult to spot the Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sunderban. The tigers have learnt to survive in this extremely hostile territory. The Buriridabri Eco-Tourism Complex has a watchtower, a mud walk and a 200 mts. long mangrove cage trail to the Raimongal Viewpoint . Look for the tiger Pugmarks along this protected walk through the mangroves through the forest.
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project
From Namkhana, you can head to the Bhagabatpur Crocodile project, a hatchery of largest estuarine crocodile in the world, located on the North Bank of Saptamukhi river.
Sunderban has the largest population of tigers but it also inhabits other enticing wildlife such as salt water crocodiles, olive Ridley turtles, Gangetic dolphins, chittals (spotted deer), fishing cats, wild boars, otters, rhesus macaques, monitor lizards, snakes, various species of fishes, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, worms and a host of birds including kingfishers, storks, herons, Brahmin ducks, arghilahs, ibises, water fowl and egrets, to name only a few.
Royal Bengal Tiger
The tiger reigns supreme in Sunderban as it is among the few places in the world where this super-predator, symbol of power, strength and magnificence, can be observed at close quarters. Project Tiger was implemented here in 1973 and was declared a national park and a world heritage site. The reserve has a tiger population of 287(1984 census).
- The nearest airport is Dum Dum Airport and the nearest railway station is at Port Canning on the Matla river. To approach the sanctuary head for Basanti or Sonakhali. One can drive to Sonakhali via the Basanti main road.
- Wildlife/Forest Dept Offices: Field Director, Sunderban TR, Canning PO 24, Parganas West Bengal.