A day in Sundarban-World largest mangrove forest(My travel experience)
I always love long boat ride. So when my friend Avijit told me he has a work in Sundarban and it’s a long boat journey, if I wish I can join with him. I did not even take a second to reply yes. Yes Sundarban I am coming. Next morning I boarded a Train from my nearest railway station and Avijit joined me after some stations. Within one hour we reached Canning, the nearest rail head of Godkhali,the gateway of Sundarban. Godkhali is only one hour further journey from Canning. Bus,Auto, Hired vehicle are available in Canning for Godkhali. We booked an Auto ad reached Godkhali. As our boat was prebooked So we also didn’t even waste a single time and started our journey through river network.
Within not more than 15 minute I felt the essence of Sundarban and understood why this called world largest Delta and mangrove forest. Our boat was running through a river, both side of the river was densely covered by mangrove trees. Some villages were also there in the forest. On our journey we passed many villages. Interestingly where the population is high forest was becoming thin. Here people are living with nature. River is only way of transportation. Interestingly on our journey some time our water-way became narrow sometime became wide. It’s a common fact of Sundarban water channel.
Now we are in a narrow river in the interior part of Sundarban. Our boat was running simultaneously with continuous ‘dug-dug’ sound. Time was passing fast like both sides view. Sun was on the top. In this winter noon here we were facing chilled breeze. Our boatman told us “Sundarban is famous for its Royal Bengal Tiger but it’s not a place to just move on and expect meeting ‘His highness’ any time”. Yes this is a genuine fact. Very few lucky among the lots of Sundarban visitors get a chance to see Royal Bengal tiger to its own land. We were still going, on our way we passed many small boats. Fishing is a part of life here. We found many in the interior part. After 3hours long journey we finally reached our destination. After living our boat we entered in a village called Sodhakhali.
Life here is governed by the rise and fall in tide. I started conversation with villagers. I came to know most of school in Sundarban have boarding facility. Still due to lack of connectivity most of the school has very less students. I spend one hour with villagers. In between my friend also completed his work.
So it was time to return. Again it’s a long boat journey back. Sun was already started to setting in the West. Sky was becoming reddish. We saw many different types of birds on our return. Most of them are Grey Heron, Kingfisher, Sand Pipit,flame back, King fisher. Temperature was also getting down. From our boat we saw a glimpse sunset.
I found water network became much busier than noon. Like me everybody was returning home. Again after three hours journey we finally reached from where we started. It was a nice journey.
At the end of day I realized Sundarban blessed us with its greenery,birds,people,rivers. Every where in Sundarban people will talk about Tiger. You will always feel here something is watchin you from the jungle, sometime as a killer, sometime as an almighty. Tiger in Sundarban is treat like the God, the almighty, the survivor.
Sundarban can be reached only by waterways. From Kolkata, suburban trains can take you to Canning (64 kms) from where launch services are available for Sundarban. Otherwise, you can avail of buses to reach Raidighi (76 kms), Najat (92 kms), Sonakhali (100 kms) and Namkhana (105 kms) from where motorboats will take you to Sunderban.
Best time to visit:
Winter Season (from December to February),
Where to Stay:
Benfish Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge
Tourist Lodge & Tourist Forest Rest-House are run by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
Ph: (03218) 214960
Where to get Permits:
For visiting the tiger reserve (West Bengal, India), permission is given by:
Field Director, Sunderban Tiger Reserve, Port Canning.
Entry Permits can be obtained from Bagna, Canning and Sonakhali for STR (Sundarban Tiger Reserve) and at Namkhana, Canning and Raidighi for Western region of Sunderban Forest.
For permits, foreigners can contact: The Joint Secretary (Forest), Govt. of West Bengal, 4th Floor, G-Block, Writers’ Building, Kolkata- 700 001. Tel: 225-5601 Ext: 411/754.
Place of Interests:
The Sajnekhali Tiger Reserve, Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary, Sudhanyakhali, Dobanki, Netidhopani (a temple that’s 400 yeas old), Bhagabatpur (crocodiles), Kanak (Olive Ridley Turtles), Holiday Island (Barking Deer).
As Sundarban is a delta dont throw plastic in water.
What to eat:
Crab and prawn is very popular here. You may try local Honey which is collected form deep Jungle.