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Sundarbans National Park

© Niladri Sarkar - Sanctuary Photo Library

Fishermen in rural Bengal (Sundarbans) casting a net © Aditya Singh - Sanctuary Photo Library

Sundarbans National Park

West Bengal

The Sundarbans is one of the most unique wildlife destinations you will ever visit. Its ecosystem is a nursery, protector, restorer and engine of many of land, sea and air’s most crucial natural processes. For anyone who loves nature, this treasure trove is a ‘must see’. Home to 78 species of mangroves - the highest diversity in the world - these aquatic and often tidal based forests are the only ones where tigers are found. The estuarine crocodile, water monitor lizard, the Gangetic and Irrawaddy dolphins, Olive Ridley turtle and king cobra make their home here too, close to the floating villages that inhabit the vast cluster of low lying estuaries and islands. The only way to see this place is by boat, either on short outings or longer cruises with an excellent guide. Keep your eyes peeled to see the creatures that inhabit this wet and wondrous world including smooth-coated otters, Irrawaddy dolphins, porpoises and sharks in the waters and crabs, reptiles and mu...dskippers on the shorelines! However, to spy a tiger is like winning the tombola, even though there are believed to be 90 here - somewhere! In an age of climate change, this forest is destined to be one of West Bengal’s most vital defences against rising sea levels that has the capability to stop the displacement of millions of humans. Measuring about 10,000 square kilometres and straddling both India and Bangladesh, it is the largest active delta in the world formed by the rivers Meghna, Ganga and Brahmaputra. Known for its unique mangrove forests, parts of the forest are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in recognition of their high biodiversity.
Boats trips are arranged by your lodge. The Sudhanyakhali forest camp is where visitors have often spotted tigers and a host of others animals. Visit the Mangrove Interpretation Centre at Sajnekhali to learn about the biodiversity found here. It also shows the cultural heritage of the village folk in the region. A watchtower helps you view the scenery - at Dobanki where you can do a canopy walk, at Neti Dhopani in the core area and at Burir Dabri watchtower where you can do a caged mangrove walk near the Bangladesh border.
Sharks and dolphins hunt in these waterways benefitting from the protection afforded to the tiger habitat, as do nearly 50 species of mammals and over 350 species of birds. Mudskippers, crabs and snakes are plentiful. A host of waders such as whimbrels, sandpipers and plovers can be found in the shallows searching for invertebrates and other morsels. These forests are home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as saltwater crocodiles, Bengal tigers, Olive Ridley turtles, river terrapin and king cobra.
Visit a fishing village to understand the harsh realities of life here. Near Sajnekhali is a turtle farm where you see Olive Ridley turtles, their hatchlings and eggs. The Bhagabatpur crocodile breeding farm houses estuarine crocodiles and you can learn more about them there. The endangered batagur baska species is also bred at Sajnekhali.
The Sundarbans are vulnerable to floods, cyclones, rising sea levels and coastline erosion due to its geographical location of lying in the low coastal zone. The forests and their wildlife face increased salinity, higher tidal surges and permanent submergence due to rising sea levels as a result of climate change. Resident tigers here have a notorious reputation of being maneaters because of the increasing cases of tiger attacks on humans due to the constant contact that the two species come into as they share the same finite space. Your visit is crucial to support the local economy, but please also report abuse or poor practice at admin@toftindia.org

Destination Information

How To Book

Safaris can be booked through your lodge or tour operators.

Park Timings

The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, its adjoining Wildlife Sanctuaries and reserve forests are open all year round. However, the best time to visit is between November to February

Getting Around the Park

The only way to navigate is by boat. The road journey starts from Kolkata up to Gadkhali from where the tourists are picked up by mechanised boats for moving within the park. These boats are available on a half and full day basis, but a boat permit and a guide is a must.

Entry Fees

R 100 for Indian Nationals R 200 for Foreign Nationals Entry for Motor Boats: R 500 per day for non-AC boats and R 1,200 for AC launch Guide charges: R 500 per day for Indians and Rs 800 per day for others. An additional fee of Rs 100 is charged for the guide's overnight pass, as well as Rs 100 for way fare.
By Air: Kolkata (100 km). Transportation can be hired to Gadkhali from where ferries are available to the park. By Road: From Kolkata, one can travel to Gadkhali from where boats ferry visitors up and down to the entrance of the Reserve. An alternative route is also via Canning, 80 km from Kolkata and then via boat to the entrance of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary.
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Wildlife Travel Guide

Eco-friendly properties in the area

Tora Eco Resort & Life Experience Centre

Tora Eco Resort sits on Bali Island surrounded by paddy fields on the banks of the river Gumdi. The lodge is a unique and authentic community project designed to give travellers

Other Destinations To Combine

Nagzira Tiger Reserve

West India

This small wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 152 sq km in the north east corner of Maharashtra

Travel Here with the Best Travel Companies & Agents

Plan you Indian holiday, Nepal adventure, or Bhutan visit using one of a large number of the world’s best known travel companies, or Indian based agents to put your very own itinerary together. Every travel company here has committed to drive their own sustainable travel practices, seek PUG certified accommodation providers wherever possible and support our conservation efforts.

Now you can enjoy a flawless and carefree travel itinerary to many of Indian subcontinent’s greatest wilderness destinations and combine this with its rich cultural and historic heritage.

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