In India, the mangrove forests are distributed in 9 states and 3 union territories. These mangrove forests in India cover over about 4,97m square kilometers of land. The top 2 states with the highest cover are West Bengal with 2,112 square kilometers and Gujarat with 1,177 square kilometers. The special types of trees and shrubs that thrive in saline and low oxygen conditions are known as mangroves. A variety of wildlife and aquatic creatures make these forests their critical habitats.
Thinking about where you can find the most amazing mangrove forests in India? Let’s find out in this blog!
Widely acclaimed for its excellent biodiversity, Sundarbans mangrove forest is tucked in the Bay of Bengal on the delta of the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna. It goes through the Khulna division of Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal state. Sundarbans is spread across 10,000 square kilometers of land, and almost 40% of it lies in India. This mangrove forest covers 2,112 square kilometers on the West Bengal side and the rest of the area is covered by canals and creeks. Sundarbans is the largest by area amongst all the mangrove forests in India.
Located in the Godavari river delta in the East-Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Godavari Krishna mangrove forests are a part of the mangrove ecoregion that stretches along the eastern coast. Situated in the Krishna river delta, the Krishna mangrove spans across two districts of Andhra Pradesh – Krishna and Guntur. One of the most enchanting mangrove forests in India, the Godavari-Krishna Mangroves cover 404 square kilometers of area in Andhra Pradesh.
Odisha’s Bhitarkanika Mangroves lie in the delta region of Brahmani-Baitarani rivers. Comprising Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhitarkanika National Park, these mangrove forests are a part of the larger coastal ecosystem. Spread over an area of 251 square kilometers, it belonged to zamindars (landowners) before the Odisha Government abrogated the zamindari system. Later, the forest was handed over to the forest department. With a total area of 672 square kilometers, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1975. This sanctuary has mangrove forests, muddy creeks, and mudflats. Declared Bhitarkanika National Park in 1998, the core area of the sanctuary extends over 145 square kilometers. Home to the largest population of estuarine crocodiles in the Indian sub-continent, Bhitarkanika is one of the pristine mangrove forests in India.
The second-largest mangrove forest in India, the mangrove forest in Gujarat covers approximately 1,177 square kilometers of land. The Kutch region is at the top followed by the Gulf of Kutch (16%) with more than 70% mangrove cover of Gujarat state. Commonly known as grey mangrove, Avicennia Marina is the most dominant mangrove species in Gujarat. Visit Marine National Park if you want to explore the mangroves of Gujarat. An archipelago of 42 islands, the forest is situated in the Gulf of Kutch along the Jamnagar Coast.
Tucked between the Vellar estuary and Coleroon estuary, Pichavaram Mangrove forest is situated in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. With numerous islands of varying sizes, this forest is spread over 11 square kilometers of area. Separated from the sea by a vast stretch of the sandbar, this forest attracts many adventure-seeking travelers because of its backwaters of the Vellar and Coleroon rivers. Visitors can indulge in various water activities like canoeing, boating, and kayaking. You can observe spectacular sights of nature as the boat sails through thick canopies of mangroves. It draws umpteen native and migratory birds because of the abundance of mangrove vegetation.