The Sundarbans are the world’s largest littoral mangrove belt – spread across India and Bangladesh. It gets its name from the Sundari Trees that grow in abundance in the forest area. Apart from this connotation, it is also believed that the name Sundarbans originates from the word Shomudrobon or Sea Forest. Taking a Sundarban Tour must be a part of your bucket list for a bevy of reasons. First of all, it is amongst the remaining jungles having its reign over the Gangetic Plain.
You might have many questions or queries about the mangrove and want to know a few things or two before planning a trip to the Sundarbans. So, to make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a stream of questions (that you might have), with their respective answers or responses.
How to reach Sundarban?
The best way to reach Sundarban is en route Kolkata or Calcutta, (if you’re do not reside in Kolkata). The plan is to arrive at the Godkhali Port to navigate deep into the forest. And visiting Sundarbans is possible by cruising along its rivers and waterways. You can either drive to the port from Kolkata or take a train ride from Canning, which is 45 kilometres from Kolkata and 29 kilometres away from the port. However, taking a road-trip from Kolkata to Sundarban sounds awesome right?
What’s so unique about the Royal Bengal Tigers of Sundarbans? What’s the fuss all about?
The unfortunate truth about tigers is that they are on the verge of getting extinct. And India is amongst the few countries in the world to have the largest population of tigers. Also known as the Royal Bengal Tigers or Panthera tigris – the Indian tigers different from their distinct subspecies found in China, Bhutan, Burma and Nepal. With the distinct yellow to orange coat, and stripes ranging from black to dark brown, this Regal animal is considered to be the national animal of our country not only because of its power, strength and elegance but also because of its grace, agility and beauty.
Can we take a Sundarban tour on our own?
You can definitely visit the mystical mangrove on your own. But to visit the tourist places of Sundarbans, you need to use boats. There are boat rental centres available, charging 1500 – 2000 INR per day. The ideal option would be to get a package tour deal that will cover your sightseeing, exploration, accommodation and even employment of a tour guide.
What are the fees and permits required to visit certain tour sights in Sundarbans?
You need to pay entry fees for visiting the Tiger Reserve. You can get your permits from Sonakhali, Canning or Bagna, as well as, from Raidighi and Namkhana of the Western parts of the forest.
Special permits are required when visiting certain ruins around the area such as in Netidhopani.
Is Sundarban tour a safe idea?
Planning a Sundarban tour is a completely safe idea, given that you take the necessary permits to enter the region and follow certain rules and guidelines, involving its dense and rich flora and fauna. It is best to book through a tour agency as they have easy access to permits and also have permission to visit certain areas which might not be allowed to other. Check with your travel agency or tour agency for further information.
How likely is it to get a glimpse of the Royal Bengal Tigers at Sundarban?
“Patience is a virtue!” and with it you can definitely get a chance to view tigers. It is a dense mangrove, where the wild does not simply sprawl around. You can find a tiger floating across a river or wading through the thick evergreen wilderness. If luck favours you then you might even be able to see a tiger languishing near the water with her cubs in tow.
Is a single day tour worth it?
Whether a single day Sundarban tour is worth it or not, completely depends on the type of traveler you are. Having said that, you can take a day’s trip to the forest, but the best option would be a 2 or 3 days tour to Sundarbans. The mangrove is located in a remote area in West Bengal. And there are a few rivers and waterways that one has to cross to access tourist sights and necessary facilities. A single day tour will not allow you to cover the entire forest spread. So, decide on how much you want to explore the wilderness and plan your tour to Sundarbans.
What to keep in mind when planning to trip to the Sundarbans?
Always seek advice or hear out your tour guide. Listen to the locals of Sundarbans, because they have the best knowledge and information source about the in-and-out of the forest. Carry your personal identification documents, and do not lurk around the mangrove alone. The dense ambiance and the muddy forest surface is not only dangerous to walk on but also harmful to tourists in case they encounter any wild animal.
Take the necessary permits from the government agencies housed in and around the area when visiting places of sightseeing, like the Tiger Reserve Sanctuary and similar places. Always carry mosquito repellents and required medications. The area is a remote one, not easily accessible to the basic amenities. Thus, it will be a good idea to pack up the necessities in abundance.