Friday, May 9, 2008


Sundarbans, formerly SUNDERBUNDS, vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp forming the lower part of the Ganges Delta, extending about 160 miles (260 km) along the Bay of Bengal from the Hooghly River Estuary (India) to the Meghna River Estuary in Bangladesh.
The name Sundarbans is perhaps derived from the term meaning "forest of sundari, a reference to the large mangrove tree that provides valuable fuel. Along the coast the forest passes into a mangrove swamp; the southern region, with numerous wild animals and Crocodile- infested estuaries, is virtually uninhabited. It is one of the last preserves of the Bengal tiger and the site of a tiger preservation project.

Sunderban covers an area of 4262 sq. kms in India. The Sunderban Tiger Project was started in 1974 and has an area of 2585 sq. kms. The core area is 1330 sq. kms and is a national forest and UNESCO world heritage site. Sunderban is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world.

Sunderban is only accessible by waterways. Nearest railhead is Port Canning from where organized group trips start. there are several other entry points but Port Canning is most popular.
The other route is through Basanti which is connected by bus service to Calcutta. From here one can take boats to Sajnekhali. One can also come via Port Canning and Gosaba or from Sonakhali to Sajnekhali.
For Bhagabatpur, Namkhana is an access point.
By Air: Dum Dum (166kms), is the nearest airport at Calcutta.
By rail: The nearest railhead is at Canning, 48 kms away.The nearest town is Gosaba, 50 kms away.
Sundarbans is accessible only by riverine waterways. From Calcutta there are suburban train to Canning and buses to Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali and Najat from where Motor launch services are available for Sundarbans.
Road: Above mentioned embarkation points from Calcutta are: Namkhana (105 km), Sonakhali (100 km), Raidighi (76 km), Canning (64 km), Najat (92 km).
Waterways: Approximate time taken between various points are : 1. From Namkhana - Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project (2.5 hours) Sagar Island (2.5 hours) Jambudwip (3.5 hours)2. From Sajnekhali - Sudhanyakhali (40 minutes) Buridabri (Tiger Project Area) (5 hours) Netidhopari (3.5 hours) Holiday Island (3 hours)3. From Sonakhali - Gosaba (1 hour)4. From Raidighi - Kalas (5 hours)

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