Royal Bengal Tiger - Sunderbans National Park
The Terittory of Royal Bengal Tigers
Situated on the largest delta in the world, is the largest national park in India, the name of which means 'The Beautiful Jungle'. And the world knows it by the name 'Sunderbans'. This magnificent destination in West Bengal has many such distinctions in its possessions. The delta on which the park is situated is formed by River Ganges, River Brahmaputra and River Meghna. Covering an area of 4264 sq. Km. in India itself, Sunderbans National Park is the largest protected area and tiger reserve in India. A large part of the forest today is a part of Bangladesh which is considered as a different park. Sunderbans National Park has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1997. The park is not only famous for its wildlife inhabitants, but equally for its lush green forest cover, especially Mangrove trees. Sunderbans also claims to be the largest Mangrove forest in the world. The entire park is cut through by the many tributaries that serve as the path to the interiors of the park.
Flora And Fauna Attractions
Sunderbans National Park is famous as the home for the magnificent Royal Bengal Tigers. There are more than 250 tigers found in Sunderbans. Though a larger part of the tiger reserve is in the Bangladesh occupied park. The recent census show that the number of Royal Bengal tigers in Sunderbans is among the highest in India. The best chances of watching the majestic beast is when he comes out of the jungle to drink water on the banks of tributaries. Chital deer and rhesus monkey are the animals that are most commonly seen in the park. Other attraction of the park include reptiles like lizards, pythons, king cobras and chequered killback. Sunderbans park has been specially appreciated for preserving the rare Ridley Sea Turtle whose number has been dwindling quite quickly. The wildlife park is a hot spot for bird watching as well. Inside the park, there is a bird sanctuary named Sajnekhali. One can sight plovers, lap wings, seven different varieties of Kingfisher, sea eagle, whimbrels, and pelicans. Always keep your cameras ready, as you never know when you will come across a mud bay on the banks covered with lethargic crocodiles. The aqua fauna includes different fishes like saw fish, butterfish, starfish, red fiddler crabs and hermit crabs. If lucky, you might just spot a dolphin as well.
Sunderbans is as diverse in flora attractions as is in fauna. Around 245 genera and 334 species of plants are found in the park. Though Sunderbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, the main tree is the Sundari tree. In fact, the park earns its name from this tree.
Riding Into The Jungle
Safaris in the wild lands is an experience that cannot be forgotten very quickly. You can take a jeep safari as well as an elephant safari into the deep jungles of Bandhavgarh. If possible, don't miss even a single safari tour as sighting a tiger is not at all guaranteed. Most of the safaris are organized in early mornings or in the afternoons. The best thing about roaming inside the park is that you can take your own four wheeler but only in company of an authorized guide. You can also take up a tiger show tour on an elephant, that is a stage managed encounter with the tiger. The position of the tiger is kept track of, and you are taken to the place where the tiger might be resting.
The only way of exploring the large Sunderbans National Park is by taking a a boat ride through the many tributaries that criss cross through the park. Sajnekhali is the main base from where these safaris start. The steamers that are used for the safaris are quite big and comfortable. If you wish you can also opt to stay overnight in the boat and look out for animals at night. In fact, it is during night that the probability of sighting a tiger is the most when they come to the banks to drink water. Almost all boats have a kitchen and all basic facilities for a one day stay.
Tourist Information on Sunderbans National Park.
The Best time to visit Sunderbans is between September and March . It is during winters that one gets to see the most number of migratory birds. Though no permit is required for a ride in the outer region of the park, one needs to acquire permission for visiting project tiger areas and Sajnekhali Bird sanctuary. The permit can be acquired from the office of the field director. Sunderbans National Park is situated nearly 131 Km from the capital city Kolkata. There are regular bus services between the two destinations.
For Accommodation inside the park, Sajnekhali is the only place where you will get resorts for overnight stay. The tourist lodge is not very luxurious, however, the thrill and excitement of staying amidst the tigers easily compensates for the lack. There are numerous tourist resorts outside the park at Piyali and Bakkhali.