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West Bengal Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
|Location||South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India|
|Governing body||Government of India, Government of West Bengal|
|Summer Temperature||48 °C|
|Winter Temperature||20 °C|
Many national parks and broad ranging preserves have been constructed here with the passage of time. Among all these, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is a worth mentioning. This reserve is located in the Kolkata city belonging to West Bengal state. At the present, this reserve has been declared as one of the best world heritage sites. The history of its setting up is worth mentioning. This marshy area was demarcated in the year of 1947, which consists an area above 4,200 square km. It is known that more than 50% of the total forest forms an integral part of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. According to the latest survey, the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve boasts of an area about 2,585 square km. Apart from this, nearly 1,000 square km consists of water bodies and brooks.
The forest department has taken a keen interest in providing wonderful amenities to the tourists so that the tourists get chance to explore and analyze the weird beauty of whole Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. The best option of moving around is to board a motorboat from beautiful places such as Sonakhali, Gosaba, Basanti and Canning. Passing a whole night in the vicinity of tidal bay and flowing rivers is very enjoying and exhilarating experience. One can perceive visually dense mangrove trees with a wild cat roaming all around. As per the official evaluation, there are nearly 250 tigers but either one or two can be spotted by the tourists, who often frequent the place with great zeal and enthusiasm for having glimpse of these wonderful creatures. These tigers are mostly spotted nearby water-clogged forests. The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is worth visiting in this sense that it possesses water bodies full of salinity. One can also come across large numbers of amphibians, which often walk between the islands. They are also seen walking along the border of a bay with their coat gleaming with ooze before they disappear in the condensed forests.
The chief assortment in the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is that tigers often come with the hostile human population. Before entering the forests, fishermen, woodcutters and honey accumulators worship the tiger as God and seek his favorable wishes. Although mutual disagreement proves dangerous for facing the tasks full of preservation, the management of Project Tiger is adopting remedial measures for assuaging the situation.
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, the world’s biggest mangrove swamp and delta is formed by the combination of three major rivers, i.e. the Meghna, the Brahmaputra and the Ganga. This reserve boasts off 2,585 square km of wildlife sanctuary, which is spread over Bangladesh. This wildlife sanctuary, which is considered the world’s biggest estuarine sanctuary boasts off India’s most wonderful wildlife and enchants numerous visitors. It is a huge expanse spread over densely forested island and water channels full of salinity. This reserve is also responsible for providing shelter to various animals like Royal Bengal tigers, white bellied eagles, kingfishers, herons, monkeys, wild pigs and spotted deer.
The tigers belonging to Sunderbans are called to be man eaters just because of scarcity of suitable preys in this area. As a result this area remains a great threat to the human population. One has to be very attentive while visiting this place. Fishermen, honey-collectors and hunters from neighboring areas cruise inside this sanctuary throughout the year. There are an average 40 maulings in a year. This is a great change on past records, as the forest department has found out many solutions including electric dummies, masks to horrify man-eaters. As per the culture of local people, it is presumed that the goddess of jungle, Bonbibi safeguards the natives against dangerous missions. A posse well-armed cop comes to the rescue of the visitors, who frequent these beautiful forests.
The other creatures of Sunderbans are crustaceans, fish, different species of birds, water monitors, Ganges dolphins, estuarine crocodiles, olive ridley turtles and estuarine terrapins. There also exists a fraction of this sanctuary, which is called as Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary. Apart from a heronry, the visitors of this bird sanctuary get the glimpse of Mangrove interpretation centre, a turtle hatchery, a shark pond and crocodile enclosure.
Climate And The Most Suitable Time To Visit
The average least temperature is about 20 degree centigrade and the highest temperature is 48 degree centigrade. Because of neighboring areas of Bay of Bengal, the downpour is very heavy with great humidity of about 80%. The rainfall starts from 15th June and lasts up to 15th September. The wind often blows from northern and north eastern direction from the months of October to 15th March and the westerlies of south-west gain momentum in the month of March and lasts up to September. During May and October, the conversion of heavy storms into devastating cyclones is often seen.
The Most Suitable Time To Visit
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve remains open for visitors from the months of October to March. Winter season is such a time when the area does not remain humid and hot as with the rest of the year; therefore, the most suitable time for visiting this place is from the months of December to February.
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project
This project is a great source of tourist captivation. It accommodates biggest estuarine crocodiles. It is also a sanctuary and hatchery.
The scenic beauty of Netidhopani is depicted by its growing wildlife population and mangrove forests. Besides, the ruins of 400-year old temple are also a great source of attraction for the tourists.
This wildlife sanctuary lies to the southern direction of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. This place is a great paradise for bird watchers.
The beaches and surface waters at Kanak is one of the most peaceful places in Sunderbans. The turtles move from long distance to the surface of coastal waters. It is an established fact that the turtles often travel a distance of nearly 100 km from the mouth of sea to the Sunderbans.
This is a tiny city, which lies on the way to Sunderbans. It is a very calming place and also the threshold to the Sunderbans.
How to get there
Sunderbans National park lies at a distance of 140 km from airport of Kolkata. This airport is also called as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport and DUM Airport.
The nearest railway station of Sunderbans National park is a Canning railway station, which lies at a distance of 80 km from Sunderbans.
Sunderbans national park is joined with Kolkata.
Flora And Fauna
The delta of Sunderbans consists of a complicated hydrological and geomorphologic character along with climatic conditions, consisting of a big area of mangrove jungle along with diverse flora and fauna in a distinct ecosystem. The ecosystem of coastal area and the natural environment is in the danger of incarnate disaster because of excessive human and unscientific interferences. Environmental management and conservation planning for protecting this distinct coastal ecosystem and ecology is very much required.
The vegetation of mangrove, which consist of species of 64 plants have then tendency for opposing saline inundation and estuarine conditions during the tides, which occurs from time to time. During April and May, the red leaves of Excoecaria agallocha and the yellow-colored flowers of Aegiceras corniculatum can be perceived visually. Apart from them, the other plants and trees are Goran, Sundari, Garjan, Passur, Xylocarpus and Dhundal.
The forest of the Sunderbans provides shelter to more than 400 tigers. There is a distinct rudiment developed in saline water by the Royal Bengal Tiger of swimming and also famous for their responsibility of engulfing human beings. During the months of November and February, the tigers can be seen sunbathing on the embankment of the river.
Besides Royal Bengal Tiger, other animals like Chital, Pangolin, Flying fox, Jungle cat, Fox, Indian Grey Mongoose, Wild boar, Macaques, Leopard cats, Fishing cats etc are found in great numbers in the region of Sunderbans.
The forest of Sunderbans accommodates more than 250 tigers. The Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to aqua and saline environment of the Sunderbans and are perfect swimmers. As one goes deeper into wild land, one will be excited to have the glimpse of rhesus monkey and chital deer. The fauna comprises of numerous varieties of hemit crabs, red fiddler crabs and fishes. There are also crocodiles, which are often seen along the banks of the river. Sunderbans National Park is also famous for the preservation of Ridley Sea Turtle. There is also good variety of reptiles in Sunderbans, which comprises of water monitor, rock python and king cobra. The surging river Terrapin is seen on the beach of Mechua and barking deer is spotted only on Holiday Island.
The tourists of foreign countries are supposed to seep permission from tourism department of West Bengal before they enter the park. The entry fees for the Indians and foreigners are Rs. 15 and Rs. 150 respectively. These fees are to be paid at the forest station. The timing for visiting the park is from 7AM to 5 PM on all days. It is advisable to keep sufficient water and medication. A local guide can also be hired.
Rest houses and forest lodges of forest are available for accommodation at Piyali, Bakkhali and Sajnekhali. MV Sarbajaya and MV Chitralekha also provide facility for lodging. Apart from this, the facilities of apartments are also available at Tiger Camp lying on Dayapur Island.
Tripping of boat through Sudnerbans out of the sanctuary does not require any permission. The permits are mandatory for visiting areas estuarine delta and it can be sought from the office of Field director. For foreigners, the permits are available at the forest department, which is in Writer’s Building, Kolkata. Thus, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is a one of the best places for tourist attraction. The permits let you to visit the areas of Project Tiger reserve and Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, which are within Sudnerbans. For viewing other parts of Sunderbans, the permits can be obtained from Divisional forest officer.