Piyali (72 km from Kolkata by road), West
Bengal, in the eastern part of India.
Major Attractions :
Royal Bengal Tiger, Ridley Sea Turtle.
Area Covered :
Ideal Time to Visit the Park :
During the months of September and
May. Winter is the time to see the Royal Bengal Tiger sun-bathing on the
Nearest Attractions :
The Sajnakhali Sanctuary (famous for its rich
avian population), Netidhopani (ruins of a 400 year old temple),
Bhagabatpur, Kanak, Haliday Island, Piyali, Kaikhali Island.
Some Major Accesses :
Gosaba (50-kms), Kolkata.
Things to Know
Where is the Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park lies in the south-east of Kolkata in the
24-Paraganas District of West Bengal and forms part of the Gangetic Delta,
which borders on the Bay of Bengal. The vast swampy delta of the two great
Indian rivers, Brahamaputra and the Ganges stretches over areas consisting
of mangrove forests, swamps and forest island all knotted in a network of
small rivers and streams. The Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal is
home of the Royal Bengal Tiger and is also the largest mangrove forest in
the world, forming the core of this region. The Sundarban region has derived
its name from the Sundari trees, once found in large number here.
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra form this alluvial archipelago of 54 islands
watered by the Bay of Bengal. The islands Goasaba, Sandeshkali and Basanti
form the northern boundary of the Sundarbans; on the south is the sea; to
the west side of the Sunderbans park is the Matla and Bidya Rivers and to
the east is the international boundary of Bangladesh.
Climate in the Sundarbans National Park
Rainfall is heavy and humidity high (80% on average) due to the proximity
of the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon usually lasts from mid-June until
mid-September, after which fair weather prevails until mid-March. Mean
annual maximum and minimum temperatures recorded are 34°C and 20°C,
respectively. Prevailing wind is from the north and north-east from October
to mid-March, although January and February are quieter months. Violent
south-westerlies prevail from mid-March to September. Storms are common in
May and October-November, sometimes developing into cyclones which are
usually accompanied by tidal waves and cause much loss of life and damage to
property and the forests
Important Dates in Sundarbans' History
The Sundarbans National Park was established as a national park on 4 May
1984. Before this it was been declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year
1977. It was been designated as the core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in
December 1973. Sunderbans National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage
List in year 1985.
Ecological System in the Sundarbans National Park
The Landscape in the Sundarbans National Park
The area that makes up the Sunderban National Park is the largest estuarine
mangrove forest in the world. With the altitude averaging at 7.5 m above sea
level, there is hardly any highland variation throughout the park at the
Sundarbans. The park is dotted with 54 small islands that are networked by
many tributaries of the mighty rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra, which finally
flow out at the southern tip into the Bay of Bengal.
The Flora in Sundarbans National Park
The main forest cover in the Sunderbans comprises of estuarine mangrove
forests intermixed by swamp and littoral forests. There is mangrove scrub
forest, salt water mixed forest, brackish water mixed forest and alluvial
grasslands. Due to the dense and huge forest reserve, Sundarbans has also
been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve. Some of the more commonly
found plants and trees in the park are Genwa, Dhundal, Passur, Garjan,
Kankra and Goran.
The Fauna in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The
Royal Bengal Tigers
have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua surroundings and
are extremely good swimmers.
The animal number of the Sundarbans is quite varied keeping it's climatic
conditions in mind. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarbans houses -
Fishing Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Common Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat,
Flying Fox, Indian Pangolin
The Avifauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Due to climatic conditions popular at the park, it creates an ideal habitat
for the native as well as migratory birds of a numerous variety. Some of the
more popular birds found in this region are - Open Billed Storks, White
Ibis, Water Hens, Coots, Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Pariah Kites, Brahminy
Kites, Marsh Harriers, Swamp Partridges, Red Jungle Fowls, Spotted Doves,
Common Mynahs, Jungle Crows, Jungle Babblers, Cotton Teals, Herring Gulls,
Caspian Terns, Gray Herons, Brahminy Ducks, Spotted Billed Pelicans, Large
Egrets, Night Herons, Common Snipes, Wood Sandpipers, Green Pigeons, Rose
Ringed Parakeets, Paradise Flycatchers, Cormorants, Fishing Eagles, White
Bellied Sea Eagles, Seaguls, Common Kingfishers, Peregrine falcons,
Woodpeckers, Whimprels, Black-Tailed Godwits, Little Stints, Eastern Knots,
Curlews, Golden Plovers, Pintails, White Eyed Pochards and Whistling Teals.
The Aquafauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Some of the fish and amphibians found in the parks are Saw Fish, Butter
Fish, Electric Rays, Silver Carp, Star Fish, Common Carp, Crabs, Prawn,
Shrimps, gangetic Dolphins, Skipping Frogs, Common Toads and Tree Frogs.
The Reptiles in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans National Park has an excellent number of reptiles that are
seen within its area. Some of the most seen are - Olive Ridley Turtles, Sea
Snakes, Dog Faced Water Snakes, Green Turtles, Estuarine Crocodiles,
Chameleons, King Cobras, Salvator Lizards, Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins,
Russels Vipers, Mouse Ghekos, Monitor Lizards, Curviers, Hawks Bill Turtles,
Pythons, Common Kraits, Chequered Killbacks and rat Snakes
Rides in the Sundarbans National Park
The Boat Cruise
The best and only means of travelling the park is to hire a boat and float
down the various lanes formed by the many flowing rivers. Either hire one,
which is operated by the locals in the area or one of the two luxury
launches - M.V. Chitrarekha and M.V. Madhukar, operated by the tourism
department. The M.V. Chitrarekha offers all the basic facilities required by
the tourists, including overnight accommodation. The local boats are
available at Canning, Gosaba and Basanti whereas the luxury launches starts
their journey only from Canning.
SunderbansTiger Reserve Wildlife
Delhi - Guwahati - Kaziranga National Park - Guwahati - Bagdogra -
Kalimpong - Siliguri - Kolkata - Sunderbans National Park
How to Reach the Sundarbans National Park
The nearest airport is Kolkata, at 112 km.
Canning is nearest railhead, at a distance of 48
Road transportation is available from Kolkata for
Namkhana (105-kms), Sonakhali (100-kms), Raidighi (76-kms), Canning
(64-kms), and Najat (92-kms), which are all near the Sunderbans and have
access to the riverine waterways.
Sundarbans are approachable only by riverrine
waterways. Motor launch facilitiy are available from Namkhana - Bhagabatpur
Crocodile Project- Sagar Island -Jambudwip; from Sajnekhali -
Sudhanyakhali-Buridabri- Netidhopan-Holiday Island; from Sonakhali - Gosaba;
from Raidighi - Kalas.