Sundarbans National Park is a biosphere reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site, tiger reserve and national park. It is situated in West Bengal’s Sundarbans delta – a region densely covered with mangrove forests. Aside from housing various species of reptiles, birds and invertebrates like the salt-water crocodile, it is also considered as one amongst the largest reserve for the Bengal tiger.
The city of Kolkata and its Dum Dum Airport is only 112 kilometers away from this park. Gozaba town, on the other hand, is merely 50 kilometers away. It is said to stretch over 165 miles from the mouth of Hugli towards the mouth of Meghna. Bordering it are 3 settled districts of Backergunie, Khulna and Twenty-four Parganas. Its total area is estimated at around 6,526 sq. miles.
At present, Sundarbans National Park acts as the core area for the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve since the year 1973 and it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. Then, on the 4th of May 1984, it became a National Park. In the year 1987, it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list while in 1989; it was instigated as a biosphere reserve.
This wildlife reserve portrays a coastal active delta with a complex hydrological and geomorphologic character as with its climatic hazards. It features a wide section of mangrove forests with diverse fauna and varieties of flora within an extraordinary ecosystem. However, due to excessive and unscientific human interferences, this World Heritage Site is noted to be under the threat of sheer physical disaster. This means, utmost environmental and conservation management plans to safeguard this coastal ecosystem and ecology should be instigated.
For the flora in this park, it has about sixty-four plant species. These are said to have the ability to withstand saline inundation and estuarine conditions during tidal effects. If you’ll visit here in the months of April to May, you’ll find yourself in the midst of beauty with all the Genwa’s flaming red leaves, the Kankra’s crab-like red flowers and the Khalsi’s yellow flowers that seem to bring more beauty to the surroundings. Other common trees and plants you’ll find here include the Garjan, Passur, Dhundal, Goran and the Sundari.
For the fauna, it features over 400 tigers. In fact, its Royal Bengal Tigers seem to have developed that unique characteristic of actually swimming along the saline waters. Hence, be wary because they’re also noted to have that man-eating tendency. Other animal species in this park are the macaques, fishing cats, common grey mongoose and the wild boar. There are also the jungle cat, fox, chital, pangolin and the flying fox.
Sundarbans National Park Activities and Lodging Facilities
To enjoy your time in Sundarbans National Park, it’s advisable that you hire a boat then float down through the different lanes which were formed from various flowing rivers. You can try the luxury launchers or go for the local boats like the MV Madhukar and MC Chittrarekha. The Tourism department operates these ships.
Aside from boat safaris, try visiting other places in Sundarbans like Jambudweep, Sagar Island, the Bhagatpur Crocodile Project (crocodile breeding farm accessible via Namkhana) the Buriidabri Tiger Project, Sudhanyakali watchtower and the Netidhopani Watchtower. There is also the Sajankhali Bird Sanctuary, Kanak (Olive Ri8dley Turtle’s nesting place) and Haliday Island (where you’ll find the barking deer).
The Help Tourism Group of Sundarbans can help you when it comes to lodging facilities in the area. You can try Bali Island’s Sundarbans Jungle Camp. This group works with local members and communities of the Bali Nature & Wildlife Conservation Society.
Author: Nayan Choure – for more information on Tadoba National Park and Tadoba Travel Guide please visit our website.