West Bengal in India houses UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sundarbans National Park, is also a tiger reserve. It is a part of the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world which is about 10,000 square kilometers between India and Bangladesh. The park is well-known for housing the Royal Bengal Tiger, as well as other exotic birds and plants. It is equally culturally and historically endowed with an abundance of ecotourism and adventure. Before you book a Sundarban tour, here are some things you should know.
to Reach Sundarbans National Park
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, about 110 km from Sundarbans National Park, is the nearest airport. After that you can either take a taxi or a bus to Godkhali, which is the entrance point to the park. You can also travel to Canning (it is a journey distance of approximately 48 km from Godkhali) by a train and thereafter board a bus or a taxi. It will take you about 2 to 3 hours from Godkhali to the park, if you prefer the boat. There will be a boat ride to enable you to see some of the landscape and wildlife of the Sundarbans.
to Visit Sunderbans National Park
The time to visit the Sundarbans National Park is during the period November to March as this time is favorable and the chances of spotting wildlife are high. The park is open daily from 7am to 5pm, except Wednesday. The park is closed between June and September, when there are heavy rains and flooding. The park is also closed during the cyclone season (April to May) characterized by high winds and storms.
to See and Do in Sundarbans National Park
The visitors to Sundarbans National Park will have so much to enjoy from wildlife viewing to cultural exploration. Here are some of the main attractions and activities that you can enjoy in the park:
- Wildlife Viewing: The park is one of the largest homes for the Royal Bengal Tiger, which is among the most endangered species in the entire world. The park is home to approximately one hundred mangrove-adapted tigers that swim in the saline water. It is possible to undertake a boat cruise or a watchtower foray to catch a glimpse of these colossal animals as well as other wildlife like saltwater crocodiles, Irrawaddy dolphins, fishing cats, and king cobras. Park has more than 400 species of wildlife comprising of 260 bird species like brahminy kite, whistling teal, white-bellied sea eagle and brown-winged kingfisher.
- Mangrove Forest: This park is the biggest mangrove forest globally, having more than 80 types of mangrove trees namely the sundari, the kankra, the dhundul and the passur. The trees are specialized to withstand the tidal and saline conditions, and their roots shoot upwards for respiration (especially during monsoons when they are waterlogged).
- Culture and History: The park is culturally and historically significant because people have lived there from ancient times. This park has different temples, shrines, monuments and ruined objects which reflect the religious and cultural heritage of the given region. For example, the Sajnekhali Temple, Netidhopani Temple, Kanak Temple and Dobanki Watchtower can be mentioned amongst the notable ones.
to Pack and Carry for Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park is a wild place; therefore, you need to come up with a plan of your visit. Here are some of the essential items that you should pack and carry for your trip:
- Clothes: You should put on light and comfortable clothes made of cotton or linen that cover your arms and legs so as to protect yourself from the sun, biting insects and plants which may be dangerous. You should also carry a jacket or a sweater since mornings and evenings can be a bit cold. The animals might be attracted by the bright colors like red, yellow or orange hence you should not use them. Ensure you wear a cap, hat, sunglasses and apply sunscreen on your body to protect you from being affected by the sun.
- Medicines: Carry a first aid kit which should contain painkillers, antiseptics, bandages, and anti allergy pills. Carry also the insect repellents like creams, sprays, and coils for the mosquitoes and other insects. You should also take along water purification tablets, since the park water may not be safe for drinking. Before your trip, you should also consult your doctor and take any vaccinations that may be required, for example, for malaria and typhoid.
- Documents: You must have your identity proof, for example passport, driving license or voter ID card as you will be needed to show it at the entry gate or the resort. You should also bring your booking confirmation like a ticket, voucher, or receipt you might use at the boat jetty or the resort. You should also carry some cash since there might be no ATM or card facility in the park or surrounding areas.
A visit to Sundarbans National Park gives a memorable feel of natural beauty, wildlife and culture. This is a place where one can see the glory and magic surrounding the Royal Bengal Tiger, the beauty of the mangrove forest, and the charms and warmness of the locals. This is a platform that educates people on the ecological significance and threats facing the Sundarban as well as ways in which they could help conserve and preserve it. You can experience this adrenalin rush through discovering the remote and wild places and relaxing at hospitable and comfortable hotels. Searching for an ideal location that will offer you all these and even more? There you go!