The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world (140,000 ha), lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1997. The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species, the Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.
The Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF), located in the south-west of Bangladesh between the river Baleswar in the East and the Harinbanga in the West, adjoining to the Bay of Bengal, is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world. With a total area of 10,000 km2, 60% of the property lies in Bangladesh and the rest in India.
About The Sundarbans
1. The Sundarbans provides a significant example of on-going ecological processes as it represents the process of delta formation and the subsequent colonization of the newly formed deltaic islands and associated mangrove communities. These processes include monsoon rains, flooding, delta formation, tidal influence and plant colonization. As part of the world’s largest delta, formed from sediments deposited by three great rivers; the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna, and covering the Bengal Basin, the land has been moulded by tidal action, resulting in a distinctive physiology.
2. One of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world, the Sundarbans supports an exceptional level of biodiversity in both the terrestrial and marine environments, including significant populations of globally endangered cat species, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger. Population censuses of Royal Bengal Tigers estimate a population of between 400 to 450 individuals, a higher density than any other population of tigers in the world.
3. The four Sunderbans national parks have been lumped together as they all share common features of the estuarine mangrove ecosystem. The main attractions of the Sunderbans are the Tiger, of which the delta harbor large reptiles like the Monitor Lizard, Estuarine Crocodile and the Olive Ridley Turtle, for which there is a conservation programme in the Indian park. The Leopard, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer and Water Buffalo have all become locally extinct from the delta in recent decades.
4. The property is the only remaining habitat in the lower Bengal Basin for a wide variety of faunal species. Its exceptional biodiversity is expressed in a wide range of flora; 334 plant species.
5. The varied and colourful bird-life found along the waterways of the property is one of its greatest attractions, including 315 species of waterfowl, raptors and forest birds including nine species of kingfisher and the magnificent white-bellied sea eagle.
6. Boat safari being the only means to enjoy the wildlife in Sundarbans. Visitors have the opportunity to sail through the dense forest that is connected by many free flowing rivers like Matla and Bidyadhari. Feel the water rushing, as you travel in local boats or vessels operated by the West Bengal Tourism Department Corporation. There are two kinds of boats available in Sunderban, AC and Non-AC. Also, they come in two sizes, large and small, for longer and shorter sailing duration, respectively. The safaris range from a day, and if you can’t get enough of the wild beauty, you have the opportunity to book the boat for up to a week.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Bangladesh or Travel to India then the best time to visit Sundarbans is during winters between December and February, although the park is open for longer from September to March. This is the period when the maximum migratory birds are also present here.