Situated at the mouth of the Ganges, south of Kolkata(Calcutta), Sunderbans spreads over 54 islands and two countries (State of Bengal in India and Bangladesh). Dominated by mangrove forests, Sunderbans is home to the largest number of Bengal tigers and spreads over an area of 2,585-sq km. Project Tiger was implemented in 1973. The core area of 1,330 sq km has been declared a national park and a world heritage site. The region has a tropical climate with hot summers and cold winters with temperatures varying from 42°C to 37°C in summer and 29°C to 9.2°C in winter.
Sunderbans is the biggest colony of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Besides Bengal Tigers, Fishing Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Common Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Pangolin and Chital are also found here in abundance. Gangetic Dolphins are also found in this area. Sundarbans support diverse biological resources of many species of fishes, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and mollusks. They include river terrapin, Olive Ridley, estuarine crocodile, monitor lizard, water monitor and Indian python with 90 species of fish which include Sawfish, Butter Fish, Electric rays, Silver carp, Star Fish, Common Carp, King Crabs, Prawn, Shrimps etc., 48 species of crabs and a large variety of mollusks, 270 species of birds of which Asian open bill stork, black-necked stork, greater adjutant stork, white ibis, swamp francolin, white-collared kingfisher, black-capped kingfisher and brown-winged kingfisher are only a few.
The best time to visit Sunderbans is between September and March. There are regular bus services from Calcutta. But the main areas of the sanctuary can only be accessed by waterways. The best and the safe way to visit Sunderbans are by conducted tours.
Kolkata is the nearest airport. Domestic and international airlines operate to and from Kolkata. The nearest railhead is at Port Canning, 48 km away. Regular trains operate from Calcutta to Canning. Means of road transport are available from Calcutta for Namkhana, Sonakhali, Raidighi and Canning which are access points to the waterways leading to Sunderbans. Though there are several entry points to the Sunderbans, the most popular is Port Canning. Organized boat tours leave Port Canning for the forests.
Foreign tourists have to get a permit for entry into the park from West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation in Kolkata.
For further information contact:
Sundarbans Tiger Reserve,
District 24 Parganas (South),
I N D I A