Weekend Trip to the Sundarbans – the Land of Tigers

sundarbans, mangrove forest

It’s been a long time I haven’t posted anything on my blog. Well, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t traveled anywhere. 🙂 I kept my resolution of visiting at least one new place every year. The year 2020 started with a refreshing trip to the Sundarbans, which is a 3-hour journey from Kolkata.

Last year, I went to Nepal and Kodaikanal. In 2018, it was Mayapur ISKON and then Chikmagalur. In 2017, I visited Ooty and Coonoor with my family. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time…rather enthusiasm to blog about those trips as I have become lazy these days.

Anyway, there is no point repenting on what I could do and did not do. Let’s start with our Sundarban trip.

Located on the delta of the confluence of Ganges, Meghna and Bramhaputra rivers, the Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest and the natural habitat of Royal Bengal Tigers. The core area of the Sundarban Tiger Reserve was named the Sundarban National Park in 1984 and it became a Natural World Heritage Site in 1987. Only 40% of this huge mangrove forest lies within India. The rest belongs to Bangladesh.

mangrove forest, sundarban

The main attraction of this trip is the boat safari. It is all about sailing along the rivers and creeks with dense mangrove forest on both sides and being watchful if you can catch a glimpse of the tiger or other wild animals. We spotted crocodiles, wild boars, spotted deer, monitor lizards, eagles, cranes and few other types of birds. It was 2 nights and 3 days conducted tour, which is, perhaps, not enough for exploring the rich flora and fauna of the place. But it’s not very safe either to go deeper into the wilderness.

Well, it’s sheer luck to catch a glimpse of the king of the jungle. And fortune did not favor us this time.

In those three days, we visited Sajnekhali watchtower and Mangrove Interpretation Centre, Sudhanyakhali and Dobanki watchtowers. The watchtowers offer a 360-degree view of wide-open forest land and swamps. There are a few sweet water ponds near watchtowers. If you are lucky, you can spot animals that come to drink water.

We took time out to explore the nearby village in the morning on the third and last day of our Sundarban tour and bought some fresh honey from a local village shop.

How to reach:

It’s about a 3-hour journey by car from Kolkata to Godkhali launch jetty. You can also take the train Canning Local from Sealdah and take a taxi or auto-rickshaw to Godkhali. Whether you go by car or by train, finally you have to take a ferry from Godkhali port and cross the river to reach Sundarban. Our tour company arranged an AC Volvo bus. Starting at 8:45 in the morning from Esplanade, Kolkata we reached Godkhali port at around 1 pm.  

Where to stay:

There are a few good resorts in Sundarban. Located on the riverfront, Tiger Roar Resort offers a pleasant stay and good food. We booked two luxury rooms for my family. You can read my detailed review of the accommodation on Tripadvisor.