The UNESCO certified World Natural Heritage Site, Sunderbans is the world’s largest estuarine delta formed by the confluence of three rivers - the Ganges
, the Brahmaputra
and the Meghna. Sprawling over 10,000 sq km of mangrove forest and water, it is home to the largest number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the world.
Sunderbans is a group of 54 islands and waterways, 40% of which falls in South 24 Parganas District of West Bengal and the rest in Bangladesh. In Bengali, ‘sunder’ means beautiful and ‘bans’ stands for forests. It derives its name from the ‘Sundari’ trees.
Sunderbans was declared as a National Park in 1984. The
Sajnakhali Bird Sanctuary, famous for its rich avian population, is a part of the Sunderbans National Park. Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary and Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary are also part of the Sunderbans.
Sunderbans is home to spotted deer, wild pigs, monkeys, herons, kingfishers, white bellied eagles, estuarine terrapins, Olive Ridley turtles, estuarine crocodiles, Ganges dolphins, water monitors and a wide variety of birds, fish and crustaceans.
Sunderbans is about 130 km from Kolkata.
Gosaba is the nearest town, 50 km away. The nearest airport is at Kolkata (130 km). The nearest railhead is at
Canning, 48 km away.
It is open to visitors from October to March. The WBTDC organizes guided tours, which is the best way to explore the sanctuary.
A boat trip through the outskirts of the sanctuary no prior permission. Permits are necessary to visit the estuarine delta area. It can be obtained from:
The Field Director
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
South 24 Parganas
This permits allows visit to Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary and the Project Tiger reserve areas within Sunderbans.
Permits to visit other parts of Sunderbans can be obtained from:
The Divisional Forest Officer
South 24 Parganas
35 Gopalnagar Road