The only way a tourist can avail the proper
feel of the Sundarbans mangrove forest area is from boat rides
through the innumerable meandering waterways. Once you have
been on the water the only time you may have the feel of the
earth under your feet is when you disembark on a forest office
to collect necessary papers, or to check in a specially prepared
tourist centre or when you go to the reclaimed villages to
collect your rations or for having the feel of village life
in this parts of the world. These days nature trails and watchtowers
are prepared especially in some restricted places to entertain
and to educate the tourists about the mangrove forests and
its ecosystem. All these restrictions are there because the
mangrove islands are very fragile and extremely prone to extraneous
damages. Major infrastructure for tourism such as roads, accommodation,
and other services may degrade the very resource being promoted.
Access by boat is the most environmentally friendly mode of
transport. You cannot walk in side the mangrove forest (unless
you are a marine biologist researching on that subject or
a forest employee paid to guard the forest or a village woodcutter,
fisherman/woman, honey gatherers for whom it is struggle for
survival) because it is muddy and the breathing roots are
scattered all over the floor of the forest interrupted by
smaller and lesser crab holes positioned like land mines and
here and there flow of water channels of varied length and
depth are present through which the muddy brackish water of
the estuaries gushes in and out of the forest. Thus tourists
are not allowed to enter with in the mangrove forests by walk
and in the Project Tiger Areas extreme restrictions are maintained
for other users like fisher men, honey gatherers and wood
cutting is tried to be prevented by strengthening the hands
of law, by awareness campaign and eco development measures.
However, tourists who have no problem in
passing considerable amount of time in boats (mechanised launches
or vessels with sleeping, cooking, bathroom and toilet facilities)
may gain some truly unforgettable experiences and will be
entertained to the maximum limit by the breath taking grandeur
and vastness of these estuarine forests and its majestic flora
and fauna. The burning bright of the Bengal tiger licking
brackish water from the river or making a hefty retreat by
swimming skill fully through the turbulent waters of river
towards forest after an adventurous raid to the near by village
for a easy prey, will always be the priority to the tourists.
If you miss that opportunity then the calm and still presence
of the basking estuarine crocodile and the delightful flight
of the white-bellied sea eagle may still pamper you. You may
easily see the lesser adjutant stork sitting quietly in a
forest clearing or a black-capped king fisher waiting patiently
at the Avicennia branch stooping over the flowing river at
high tide to catch a suitable fish. You may never miss the
versatile water monitor lurking in the water edges of the
forest like a proverbial dragon seeking a fat crab for a grand
feast. The floor of the forest and the intertidal areas at
low tide are teeming with life, Telescope shaped snails (Telescopium),
fiddler crabs and the mudskipper fishes will be there to surprise
you. Big and small oyster shell cling from the pillars of
the jetties will surely be exposed at low tide to welcome
you to the magic world of nature. Sailing through the calm
waters of river confluence in a cool morning or a evening
do not forget to keep your binos and camera near to you because
you may never know when a scattered school of gangetic or
irrawady dolphin will make a sudden appearance near the boat
and then vanishes as quickly in to the dark waters in a joyful
dive. And then if you get bored of seeing the mangroves, its
muddy terrains and murky waters, there are numerous pristine
and desolate sandy beaches present in the sea ward side of
many islands where the red crabs, and the plovers or a curlew
will be your only companion in seclusion. Such pristine beaches
can be found in the Sagar island, the largest island of Sundarbans,
along with the mangroves and salt-water marshes and if you
are a religious type then you can get the opportunity to visit
the sacred Hindu temple of Kapil Muni at South Sagar.
How to Go:
Nearest Airport: Dum Dum (Netaji Subhas Chandra International
Airport) at Kolkata (166km)
Nearest Railway Station: Canning (105km)
Issue of permit (STR):
1.) Field Director
Canning P. O. Dt- 24 Parganas (S)
Tel: 03218 255280/256159.
2.) Beat Officer
3.) Range Officer
4.) Range Officer
Basirhat Range, Bagna.
Issue of permit (Sundarban Reserve Forest
under South 24 parganas FD):
5.) DFO, 24 parganas (S)
35, Gopalnagar Road, Kolkata-700027
Tel: 2479 9032.
6.) Range Officer
Matla Range, Canning.
7.) Range Officer
Namkhana Range, Namkhana.
8.) Range Officer
9.) Range Officer
Ramganga Range, Patharpratima.
10.) Range Officer
Bakkhali Range, Bakkhali.
11.) Range Officer
Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project.
To visit Project Tiger (Route 1):
Board Canning local from Sealdah Station. From canning hire
a boat to Gosaba. Take a rickshaw in the island of Gosaba
and go to Pakhirala. Cross the river by ferry and reach Sajnekhali
Forest office and Tourist lodge where you will stay. From
Sajnekhali hire boat to roam around (Sajnekhali Interpretation
Centre, Pakhiralaya, Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower, Pirkhali,
Netidhopani watch tower, Dobanki watch tower, Burir dabri
Watch tower, Jhingakhali, Marichjhapi etc.) and back to Sajnekhali
and back home via same rout. This journey is very tedious
and time consuming. So we recommend you to take the route
To visit Project Tiger (Route 2):
Board Kolkata-Sonakhali Bus from Babughat state transport
depot or go to Sonakhali by road. Hire a boat from Sonakhali
and go to Sajnekhali. Visit the places as mentioned above.
You may also avail the service of West Bengal Tourism Development
Corporations boat from Sonakhali or avail the service of other
private tour operators, but for that you have to make prior
arrangements from Kolkata.
To visit 24 Parganas (S) Forest Division
Go to Lot No. 8 by direct bus or via Natun Rasta from Esplanade
State transport Depot of Kolkata. Cross the Muriganga river
by vessel and reach Sagar Island. Go to south Sagar by road
(car hire/bus). Stay in youth hostel, Larica lodge, dharmoshalas
and roam around south Sagar. From south Sagar come to Chimaguri
ferry ghat by road (bus/trecker/car/rickshaw). Hire a boat
and go to Lothian, Prentice, Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project,
Fresergunje, Bakkhali and even Jambu island.
To visit 24 Parganas (S) Forest Division
Namkhana by road (8 km from Natun rasta crossing of Lot 8).
From Namkhana visit Lothian, Prentice, Bhagatpur, Dhanchi,Thakuran
Char, Bonie camp, Kalash beach by boat. Make break at Namkhana
and go to Bakkhali- fresergunje by road and stay a day.
When to go:
October to March
Where to Stay:
West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Lodge at Sajnekhali.
Booking from 3/2 BBD Bag Place (East), Kolkata -700001, Tel:
(033) 2248 5168/5917, 2210 3199.
At Sagar one can stay at State Youth Hostel,
larica Lodge or many Dharmoshalas.
Bakkhali has one WBTDC lodge and booking can be availed from
the same address above. There are numerous hotels at Bakkhali.
Limited booking also available at Bonie camp
and Dhulibhasani camp. For more details contact: Director,
Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, Bikash Bhawan, North Block, 3rd
Floor, Salt Lake, kolkata-700091, Telefax: (033)-2321 1529/1750.
1.) Do not forget to take short pants.
2.) Best shoe is a pair of waterproof slippers. Those you
feel extremely uncomfortable to walk on wet surface may use
3.) In winter light woollen, windcheater and blanket will
4.) Carry torchlight, Candles, strings, insect repellent,
sun cream, sunglasses, first aid, medicines (diarrhoea, pain,
5.) Carry cash because there are no ATM facilities with in