The Sundarban National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjacent to the Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Bangladesh.
The Sundarbans covers 10,000 km2 of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the vast swampy delta of the two great Indian rivers, Brahamaputra and the Ganges delta. It contains the world’s largest area of mangrove forests. A number of rare or endangered species live in the park, including tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles.
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra form this alluvial archipelago of 54 islands watered by the Bay of Bengal. The islands Goasaba, Sandeshkali and Basanti form the northern boundary of the Sundarbans; on the south is the sea; to the west side of the Sunderbans park is the Matla and Bidya Rivers and to the east is the international boundary of Bangladesh.
Flora in Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans National Park has a wide variety of plant life too. Inside the Sundarbans there are mangrove scrub, salt water mixed forest, littoral forest, brackish water forest and swamp forest. The large floral population in Sundarbans includes trees like Dhundal, Genwa, Garjan, Passur and Kankara. Besides the above-mentioned trees, the tall and wide Goran trees cover a large part of the Sundarbans. It is interesting to note that twenty-six of the fifty broad mangrove types found in the world thrive in the Sunderbans National Park.
Wildlife in Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans National Park is home to a large number of Royal Bengal tigers and also abounds in olive Ridley turtles, salt water crocodiles, Gangetic dolphins, spotted deer, fishing cats, wild boars, monitor lizards, otters, rhesus macaques, snakes, lobsters, numerous varieties of fishes, shrimps, crabs, worms and a host of avian life such as kingfishers, herons, woodpeckers, storks, Brahmin ducks, ibises, arghilahs, water fowl, egrets etc.
Foreigners need a permit to visit the national park. This can be obtained free from the West Bengal Tourism office, 2/3 BBD Bagh East (near the post office) in Kolkata.
How to Reach the Sundarbans National Park
The nearest airport from Sundarbans is Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. Kolkata is about 112 km from Sundarbans.
Canning is nearest railhead, which is about 48 km from Sundarbans.
You can reach Sundarbans by road also. You can get buses from Kolkata for Namkhana (105-kms), Raidighi (76-kms), Sonakhali (100-kms), Najat (92-kms) and Canning (64-kms). All the above mentioned places are near the Sunderbans and have easy access to waterways.
You can easily get to Sundarbans on cruises from places/areas such as Namkhana, Bhagabatpur, Sagar Island -Jambudwip; Sajnekhali – Sudhanyakhali-Buridabri- Netidhopan-Holiday Island; Sonakhali – Gosaba and Raidighi – Kalas.
Best time to visit Sundarbans National Park
From December to February, while the weather is cooler.