Sundarbans National Park is situated in the Parganas district of West Bengal in India. The park is named after the Sundari trees present in the area. Sundarban is made up of 54 small islands crisscrossed by several distributaries of the Ganges. Spread over a vast area of 6526 sq miles (including water) the history of the area can be dated back to 200-300 AD.
Sundarbans was declared a reserve forest in the year 1875-76. The Sundarbans National Park was declared as a core area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in 1973, and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. In 1984 it was declared as a National Park. It was inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list in the year 1987. The biotic factors here play a significant role in physical coastal evolution and for wildlife.
There are about 64 species of flora in the sundarbans. Majority comprises of Sundari (Heritiera fomes), Goran (Ceriops decandra) , Garjan (Rhizophora spp.) etc. The fauna of Sundarbans is dominated by the royal bengal tiger followed by fishing cats, jungle cats, wild boar, pangolin, and chital.
A variety of bird species is also found in the sundarbans. These include open billed storks, white ibis, spotted doves, pelicans etc. Quite a few varieties of aqua fauna which include sawfish, electric rays, king crabs, dolphins, frogs and toads thrive in the area.
This World Heritage Site is under threat of physical disaster due to unscientific and excessive human interferences. Conservation and environmental management plan for safeguarding this unique coastal ecology is urgently required!
The only means of travel in the park is by boat. Boats are available according to the choice of the visitors. Hotels, rest houses and lodges are aplenty in the vicinity of the national park. Ideal time to visit the park is from November to February. Sundarbans is well connected by road, rail and airways.
Flora in Sundarbans National ParkFascinating life forms await you in this largest estuarine delta in the world, Sunderbans. In April and May the flaming red leaves of the Genwa, edge the emerald islands. The crab like red flowers of the Kankara and the yellow blooms of Khalsi add to the dazzling display. As you penetrate into the forests of Sundarbans, this fairyland unfolds its mysterious beauty.
Major Wildlife Attractions of SundarbansThe Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua environs and are extremely good swimmers. As you enter the adventurous wild land of the Sundarbans you'll be thrilled to see the Chital Dear and Rhesus Monkey. The aqua fauna of Sundarbans include variety of fishes, red Fiddler Crabs and Hermit Crabs.
There are crocodiles, which can be often seen along the mud banks. Sundarbans national park is also noted for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtle. There's is a incredible variety of reptiles also found in Sundarbans, which includes King Cobra, Rock Python and Water Monitor. The endangered river Terrapin, Batagur Baska is found on the Mechua Beach, while the Barkind Deer is found only in Holiday Island in Sunderbans.
Other Attractions In Sundarbans
The Sajnakhali Sanctuary :The Sajnakhali sanctuary, famous for its rich avian population, is regarded as a part of the Sunderbans National Park. The kingdom of birds at Sajnekhati enchants your eyes. The most sought after sights by a bird watcher are seven colourful species of Kingfisher, white bellied Sea Eagle, Plovers, Lap-Wings, Curfews, Whimbrels, Sandpipers and occasional Pelican.
Netidhopani : At Netidhopani, the ruins of a 400 year old temple and legends lend mystery to the atmosphere.
Bhagabatpur : Bhagabatpur is famous for having a hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodiles in the world.
Kanak : Kanak is the nesting place of the Olive Ridley Turtles.
Haliday Island : Haliday island is famous as last retrest of Barking Dear in India.
Piyali : Piyali is the gatway to Sundarbans, 72-kms from Kolkatta by road and close to Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Netidhopani through waterways. A small river Piyali flows through the green paddy fields and mingles with river Matla. Picturesque Piyali delta makes an ideal romantic holiday destination. A beautiful tourist complex with accommodation and recreation facilities is also situated over here.
On your way to Sundarbans you cannot afford to miss Kaikhali Island, where nature is so alive and so colourful. An ideal picnic spot.
Best time to visitDue to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal, Sunderban experiences very high humidity. Rainfall is quite heavy during monsoon, which last from mid-June to mid-September. After the monsoons, fair weather prevails until mid-March.The best season to visit the Sunderban is between December and February.
By air: West Bengal is very well connected with the national and international air network. The international (Netaji Subhash International Airport) and domestic airports of Calcutta are at Dumdum, located 15 km from the city center. The Bagdogra airport at Siliguri connects the state with places in and around the state. Three more airports, namely, Balurghat, Coochbehar and Malda also operate scheduled domestic flights.
By rail: West Bengal runs a major railway network that connects the rest of the country. Kharagpur railway station has the longest railway platform in India. Moreover, the Howrah railway station is one of the most accessed railway heads in India. New Jalpaiguri railhead connects the rest of the country to Darjeeling by toy trains.
By road: West Bengal is also well connected by means of national as well as state highways with major places of interest in and around the state. The state transport corporation runs regular buses connecting these places. There are also private tour operators that provide luxury coaches to access the nearby places of importance.