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Sundarbans National Park

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This park extends into Bangladesh - for that section see Sundarbans

Sundarbans National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that in Southeast Bengal in India.

Understand

Sundarbans National Park is in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. The meaning of the Bengali word sundarban is "beautiful forest".

History

The Sundarbans are the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world, stretching 80 km (50mi) into the Bangladeshi and Indian hinterland from the coast. The Sundarbans has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The part of the forest within Indian territory is called Sundarbans National Park. The forests aren't just mangrove swamps though — they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain. The Sundarbans cover an area of 3,850 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water/marsh areas. Since 1966 the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. The forest is called 'Sunderban'due to the rich growth of Sundari trees.

Landscape

Flora and fauna

Royal Bengal Tiger, Saltwater Crocodile, Bull Sharks, Various Primates & Snakes.

Climate

Monsoon cruises are spectacular.

Get in

The Journey from Kolkata to Sunderban

The bus departs from Priya Cinema at Deshapriya Park, Kolkata at 8:30AM in the morning. The tourists board the bus and reaches Sonakhali. The luggages are off-loaded and tourists board the 45 seater boat and cruise through the river till Sunderban Tiger Camp. The river cruise is a real pleasure. There are two such boats and the local staff will constantly attend on you and look after your comforts. The river Hogol and numerous other Estuarine Rivers form 102 Delta islands in the Sunderbans, in which there are human dwellings in 52 islands only, the rest are dense forest, practically impregnable with their rich variety of flora and fauna. The boat cruises through the rivers Hogol, Korotal and Gosaba touching the places like PathorKhali, Chandipur, Mosjid Bari, Aadarsh Vidya Mandir in Durgaduani canal, joining the Gomdi River to the Sunderban Tiger Camp via Shojnekhali, Peechkhali.

Gosaba is the four-river junction area where Karatal, Bidya, Durgaduani and a branch of river Bidya meet. Gosaba is the last rural human habitat after which human habitat is rarity.

Fees/Permits

Foreigners wishing to visit Sundarbans have to obtain a special permit. This is mandatory as per Government rule. It can now,however be obtained at the Sajnekhali Forest Office(Ecotourism Range) .The originals have to be shown to the forest office on your arrival.

West Bengal, India, Tele-Fax;+91-33-24854584, E-mail:info@helptourism.com ; http://www.helptourism.com.

Or you can contact (Working Days M-F 10AM-4PM; Sunday & National Holidays closed)

A permit for maximum 05 days is usually granted which can be further extended subject to the permission of local forest officer.

Get around

See

Do

Be sure that you have booked your lodging or trip package through a responsible tourism organisation that shares the tourism benefit with local communities, does not employ child labour, and practices environment-friendly tourism.

Buy

Eat

Fresh Sea Fish. Prawn. Lobster. Dry Fish Curry. Cottage Cheese. Pan Cake. Rice Pudding(Bengali dessert).

Drink

Filtered or Boiled Water(do not insist on mineral water unless it is a part of your personal medication. Mineral water comes in plastic bottles. Sundarbans is a No-Plastic Zone.) Fresh coconut juice. Fresh watermelon juice. Mango juice.

Sleep

Lodging

The locally constructed accommodations provide all the best amenities one could need. Simple furnishings enhance the rustic appeal. Harmonious, are the natural interiors with large beds, much space, spacious verandah, 24 hour electricity and running water and the home service only a moment away. The cozy rooms will simply lullaby you to a peaceful slumber after a spine tingling ride through the river and the creeks. The rooms have attached clean bathrooms with running cold water and hot water on request, and very well sanitized. In short, the whole arrangement is an ideal retreat for rest and recreation.

A Community Tourism initiative of Help Tourism 1.Accommodation and your host: This is a Community Tourism Partnership project at Bali Island named Sundarbans Jungle Camp, initiated by Help Tourism. 06 ethnic cottages(04 Three-bedded+02 Four-bedded) that respect local rural architecture and constructed with local materials. Spotless rooms with modern bath. Large dining. A fishing deck. Surrounded by lush green village gardens, trees, pond-over looking the sanctuary on the bank of river Gumdi. Powered by pollution-free solar energy with powerful generator back up(battery can be charged).Safe drinking water and clean, local food. The people of Bali village are your host. They are the transformed conservationists and gainfully involved in the camp. They will take you around the forest or on a cruise through the creeks or help you have authentic encounters with the people of Sundarbans. They will tell you the story of tigers, birds, flora. They are the people who know the address of each and every turn of the river, and every creek.

2.Cruises: The Camp has 02 powerful 6 cylinder boats and One 2 cylinder boat for short and long cruise.The sarengs (Pilots) are experienced. Both the boats are as good and comfortable with Cabins and modern toilets. Life jackets that meet international norms of quality and coastal safety are provided during cruise and country boat ride.

3.The food: Local dishes which you donot get normally in the restaurants of a city,are served here- specially and tastefully cooked for you by the trained local chef. Much variety is not possible owing to the remoteness of the area, yet best possible food is provided under strict hygienic supervision. Vegetables come from the organic gardens of the village, fresh fish and crab from the rivers and ponds, chicken from the village farms and fresh honey from the honey collectors' houses.

4.The Activities: Help Tourism does not operate Tiger tours and discourages any form of Tiger shows. For those who consider Tiger sighting a must for their trip are discouraged to join their cruise safaris as Tiger sighting cannot be guaranteed in such a vast, remote and difficult terrain where visitors hardly have any opportunity to walk on the forested lands or mud flats.The camp welcomes all those who are keen on its Natural History tour for a great learning experience and a mutual education.The project and tour is extremely environmentally-sensitive and has strong conservation and benefit sharing pledge.

5.The Trip: 02 nights/03 days or longer trips are arranged.All inclusive trip on Jungle Plan. Logistics are very simple. The trip starts from Kolkata and ends at Kolkata. Pick up from and drop back at your doorsteps.Small,responsible,and private tours are encouraged. There is no compulsory fixed departure dates. Visitors can decide dates of their own choice. Sundarbans remains open 365 days a year.

One can avail regular package tours to Sunderbans on board Marine Vessels conducted by WEST BENGAL TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LTD ( 1 night 2 days / 2 nights 3 days ) covering various tiger projects of Sunderban. For details one can contact their office at Tourism Centre 3/2 B B D Bag (E)Kolkata - 1 Phone 22437260 / 22488271/ 22103199, email : visitwestbengal@yahoo.co.in, fax: 22485168.

Camping

Backcountry

Stay safe

The Sundarbans is the only place in the world where Tigers still actively hunt humans for food and usually between 50 and 80 locals are mauled per year. The Royal Bengal Tiger is extremely dangerous in the Sundarbans, but most visitors need not worry since wildlife tours and accommodation that is provided by state government will never put you in harms way; however if you are interested in private tour (by hiring a small machine boat or so), do it at your own risk! The Sundarbans is also home to a population of Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) and Bullsharks are found throughout the estuaries, so swimming is not advised anywhere.

Get out

WikiPedia:Sundarbans National Park

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