Last Updated: July 3, 2018 Abhishek Gurung
India may have a bundle of exciting wildlife destinations located throughout its length and breadth but one place that offers pristine and riveting environ, not just for the animals but also for the visitors is the Sundarban. This most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ideal place to see wildlife at its best and is widely popular for the beautiful orange black striped Royal Bengal Tigers. Besides, this national park that consists up to 102 islands on the Indian side also houses various small enclosures such as crocodile and turtle farm, and there are wildlife museums as well as watchtowers. You can also find a few wildlife sanctuaries located in the Sundarban Islands of Lothian and Halliday which add so much to your Sunderban tour.
Here’s a complete travel guide to this one of its kind national park in West Bengal:
Where is it Located and How Can We Get There?
Sundarban National Park is around 101 kilometres from the Durga Puja Capital, Kolkata and if you travel by car, the roads will lead you to Godkhali (almost three hours drive). Traversing rural villages into this popular destination where the mangrove forest are found in abundance, which by the way is famed for being the largest mangroves in the world can be witnessed only in the Sundarbans. However, the question of how to reach Sundarban paradise can be resolved by saying it is only accessible via boat to Sajnekhali island, which is considered to the be the entrance to the national park. As a matter of fact, this island is where you can get the entry tickets for the park which are Rs 60 for Indians and 200 for foreigners.
Best time to visit Sundarban: To make your visit memorable, the best time to visit the national park of Sundarbans is during the dry seasonal months from November to February.
Where to Stay in Sunderban?
Being an eco-friendly place in India, you can find simple accommodation options rather than luxury ones with a complete village and wildlife feel. And in order to find standard budget hotels, the largest island of Sundarban, Gosaba is the place to go. There are also a number of jungle camps and tourist lodges in Sundarban National Park that offer comfortable stay amid nature and wild.
Activities to Try around Sundarban National Park
This go-to-destination certainly has a unique approach, with land and water along with multiple islands. Here, you can witness various species found in Sundarban such as saltwater crocodiles, hawksbill turtle, river dolphins, Bengal tigers and many more. In fact, for a rather interesting and exciting trip, you can read the following list of the things you can do in Sundarban National Park during your wildlife holiday here.
Full Day Tour of the Fabulous City Called Kolkata
Visiting the famed UNESCO wildlife destination in West Bengal, Sundarban and not touring around Kolkata city is so not done unless you are a native. Now, it is not necessary to go for a sightseeing tour but why not seize the opportunity and run for it. Here, this vibrant city offers old treasures like the Trams, which you have to ride to experience true Kolkata and traverse the famous attraction, Howrah Bridge.
To make this the best trip, make sure to visit Kolkata one day prior to visiting Sundarban and take up a full day tour. During which the tourist places you can quickly pay a visit to Park Street for their amazing restaurants and pubs; Victoria Memorial to see its elegant architecture, Birla temple that is fully endowed in white marble, Marble Palace Mansion to see antique collections and the oldest museum in India, The Indian Museum.
Try Your Luck to See the Royal Bengal Tigers and Ganges River Dolphins in Sundarban
Since no jeep safaris are available, tiger spotting can become rather a difficult task and if your goal is to solely spot the ferocious Bengal Tigers, you have to try your luck. You can only take a boat safari in Sundarban National Park since the tiger reserve mainly consists of islands, waterways, creeks, and canals.
To sight river dolphins, a boat cruise is an ideal and only option, as you traverse tall and tangling mangrove forest you may even spot a few beautiful species dwelling on the bank of the river. For dolphin sighting, the cruise will take you further out in the open river where the aquatic species dance and offer you an entertaining show.
Visit the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary and Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project
One of the best places for birdwatching, Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary is a haven for exotic feathered species and of course, the watchers. You can come here and be lost amidst the lush greenery and the beauty of the confluence of Matla and Gumdi Rivers. You can also visit the Sajnekhali watchtower for better chances to spot wild species. In Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, you may get to have a close encounter with bird species such as Caspian Tern, Osprey Herring Gull, Spotted Billed Pelican, Open Billed Stork, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Paradise Flycatcher and also the rare winter bird, Asian Dowitchers.
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project, on the other hand, is a hatchery ground for saltwater crocodiles, located adjacent to the island of Lothian it is widely visited tourist spot in Sundarbans. Surrounded by littoral mangrove, peaceful ambience and natural beauty, this crocodile project area is worth your time. A day spent here can help you explore and even make you learn a lot, Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project is the sole crocodile project in the whole of West Bengal and it can be easily accessed via Sajnekhali jetty.
Be a Part of the Gangasagar Mela in Sagar Island of Sundarban
A devotional affair that is held annually on the island of Sagar in Sundarban is Gangasagar Mela. Perhaps, if you visit Sundarban National Park during the winter months of January (14 -15) you may get a chance to be a part of this spiritual fair. This auspicious gathering invites a melange of devotees from across the globe who come West Bengal state to drown their sins in the holy River Ganga. So to say, this religious festival of Gangasagar is the second largest fair in India after Kumbh Mela.
Note: A sight not to miss is an auspicious day of Makar Sankranti (the last day of the fair). During this day you get to witness a ritual where a large crowd of pilgrims takes bath/dip their body in holy water, Ganga.
Guide the New Hatchlings of Olive Ridley Turtles into the Sea in Kanak Island
A beautiful sight you get to see during your trip to Sundarban is perhaps located a few islands further in Kanak Island. A visit here can make you appreciate wildlife even more as you help the new hatchlings of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles into the sea. These turtle species are believed to come 100 kilometres off the seashore just to lay their eggs in the moist sandy beach and the nesting period lasts from the months of December to March. You can plan a whole day trip to Kanak Island and enjoy the beach and the charming island of Sundarban National Park.
Observe the Flora and Fauna from Various Watch Towers of Sundarban
Not many species are visible from the boat tours the national park houses, so, in order to make your visit worthwhile, there are many watchtowers built in different islands of Sundarban. With Dobanki, Sajnekhali, and Sudhanyakhali located at a convenient distance, you will definitely find a crowd here, unfortunately making it hard to get a chance to spot animals through your binoculars without bumping with others.
However, there are other watchtowers that are less visited, on a positive note, you may get to spot rare species since there won’t be less interference from the howling visitors. Despite located at a distance, a full day outing might just be worth-it, visiting some watchtower tourist hotspots like Burir Dabri located on the border of Bangladesh and Netidhopani, from where you get to see a 400-year-old temple.
A rendezvous with the wild in Sundarbans will certainly spellbind you. Take this scenario, for instance, even if you have planned a one day tour, you may consider staying back at least a few days. Trust me, this popular wildlife place has so much to offer, you may have to redo your entire itinerary. And perhaps planning a rejuvenating weekend trip or a family vacation with kids to Sundarbans would only do justice to your holiday. So, what have you thought about your next wildlife adventure tour? If you consider Sundarbans and need help in assisting your trip, call us at +91-9212777223 or send us your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Published: 01 Dec, 2017