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Sundarban City Guide

TigerA thrilling cruise through the largest estuarine delta in the world and the biggest colony of the `Royal Bengal Tigers' - the Sundarbans. These evergreen mangrove forests pulsate with a myriad forms of life. Above the Kingfisher and White-bellied Sea eagle add a brilliant burst of colour. The sea creeps in at high tide. The forests float. The ebbing waters reveal nature so alive on the glistening mud flats. The land is split by numerous rivers and water channels all emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Venture further to discover a rich tribal folklore. It is believed that Bonbibi, the goddess of the forest, protects the wood-cutters, honey-collectors and fishermen on their hazardous missions. For, as the saying goes, `Here the Tiger is always watching you'.

Delta-forest home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Ganges, which is rightly known as the Ganga, carries silt and fertility from its ice-melt sources in the high Himalayas, through the lush plains of India, past the riverine port of Kolkata. Here, however, it is no longer the Ganga because it has become one of the major distributaries. For, in the flat grey-clay lands of Bengal, the great river splits into numerous channels, dividing and sub-dividing like the roots of a tree, till it pours through many mouths into the Bay of Bengal.

Between Kolkata and the final outpouring of the river are the lands knows as The Sunderbans: literally, the Beautiful Forests. Some people, believe that they could," however, have got their name from the profusion of Sundari trees. These forests are extremely dense, often impenetrable, fringed by mangrove jungles and are one of the most intriguing wilderness on earth. Most journeys through these humid forests are done by boat, and it is a fascinating trip. Fishermen’s boats, like black scimitars, drift past, spreading nets for the fish that teem in these rich waters. Near the delta villages the clay is relieved by green vegetation. When the tourist ferry stops, occasionally, visitors walk ashore on palm- and-bamboo jetties to enter forest areas fenced in by bamboo corrals.

SunderbanFiddler crabs extend their cherry-red claws out of their mud burrows; curious, air- breathing, mud skipper fish climb the stilt roots of the mangroves on their flipper-like fins, viewing intruders with pop-eyed amazement. Tribes of honey gatherers live in these dark forests. They believe that the giant, saline water drinking Royal Bengal Tigers always attack from the rear and so they wear masks on the backs of their heads. This is why a posse of armed policemen accompanies all visitors who venture into these beautiful forests. Other wild creatures which lucky visitors might see are spotted deer, boar, monkey, crocodile, python, Salvator lizards, and a wide range of water birds.

General Info. :

Area : 2608 sq. kms.
Altitude : Sea Level.
Temperature (deg C): Summer- Max. 42, Min. 37; Winter- Max. 29, Min. 9.2.
Clothings : Summer- Tropical / Cotton, Winter- Woollens.
Languages spoken : Bengali, Hindi, English.
Best season : September to March. July to September for Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary.
STD Code : 03219.


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