Sunderban is the largest estuaries delta in the world and the biggest colony of the “Royal Bengal Tiger”. It is located in the Sunderbans delta of West Bengal State in Eastern region of India. It is locally pronounced as Sunderbunds which means vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp. The word Sunderban can be understood as “Sundari” , the local name of large mangrove tree (Heritiera foams) and “ban” which means forest so we can say that “Sundar-ban” means “Mangrove-forest”. It is also a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site covering an area of 4262 sq. km. with 54 islands. The combination of a huge water body and a deep forest forms the largest delta where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers meet the Bay of Bengal. Its forest area is covered with mangrove trees. It was declared as the Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 at the time of inception of Project Tiger Programme in India. Later in the year 1977, it was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary and in 1984, declared as a National Park. In the year 1987 its was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spread over two countries i.e. India and Bangladesh. It lies in south-east of Kolkata city at a distance of 86 kilometres through wetlands and agricultural fields to reach Sonakhali. About 02:30hrs boat ride from Sonakhali will take you to lodges.
Climate of Sundarban National Park is humid. Average maximum temperature is 35 Degree Celcius and minimum temperature is 22 Degree Celcius. Rainy season lasts from Mid-June to September month. As it is close to Bay of Bengal, creation of depression often results into cyclones in the region during the month of May to October. Here rainfall is heavy and rate of humidity is also high.
Flora & Fauna
About 64 mangrove vegetation consists in Sundarban forest. Some of the other commonly found plants of Sundarban are: Sundari, Passur, Dhundal, Garjan etc. In month of April & May, red leaves of Genwa and yellow flowers of Khalsi combination appears as if Sundarban is ablazing. In addition to tigers, other mammals encountered during safari hours are: Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Jungle Cat, Common Grey Mongoose, Rhesus Macaque, Pangolin, Flying Fox, Fishing Cats, Small clawed Otter etc. There is good population of Royal Bengal Tiger population in Sundarban delta having adopted to semi-aquatic life-style. If we trust on Hunter’s Statistical Account of Sundarban , written in 1878, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffaloes, Hog Deer, Swamp Deer, Barking Deer were present in this forest but now dis-appeared.They have developed their swimming skills. Mangrove forest gives shelter to many reptile families like King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Estuarine Crocodile, Water Monitor, Olive Ridley Turtle, Russel Vipers, Salvator Lizards, Hawks Bill Turtles etc. Sajnekhali in Sundarban is the region for bird watching. Here we can find about 200 species of birds aming which commonly seen birds in Sundarban are: Masked Finfoot, Mangrove Whistler, Mangrove Pitta, Collared Kingfisher, Black-capped kingfisher, Brown-winged Kingfisher, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Lesser Adjutants etc. Area of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is about 362sq.km.
How to reach
Nearest Airport for Sundarban is Kolkata City – Dum Dum Airport at a distance of 130 kms.
Best suitable railway stations are Howrah (150kms) in Kolkata city, Sealdah, Canning at a distance of 50 kms.
Nearest access point through road are: Sonakhali (100kms), Namkhana (105kms), Canning (65kms), Raidighi (76 kms).