The Sundarbans is a natural region comprising southern Bangladesh and a small part in Eastern India. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) most of which is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve located in the Sundarbans delta in the Indian state of West Bengal.
The Sundarban forest lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super confluence of the Ganges, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh. The seasonally flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which about 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi) are in Bangladesh. It became inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997. The Indian part of Sundarbans is estimated to be about 4,110 square kilometres (1,590 sq mi), of which about 1,700 square kilometres (660 sq mi) is occupied by waterbodies in the forms of river, canals and creeks of width varying from a few metres to several kilometres.
The Sundarbans has also been enlisted among the finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature.
Choto Kolagachia (82 km. from kolkata)
Choto Kolagachia is a small town situated at the border of Sunderbans, West Bengal, where Rampur River and Chota Kolagachia River meets. It houses a small Ferry Ghat for passenger and goods to travel form this town to different parts of Sunderban.
Choto Kolagachia, Sunderbans, West Bengal Choto Kolagachia is extremely busy and various boats keep on passing through it every moment. The guesthouse windows and balconies offer a beautiful and serene view of the sailing boats across the tides and a resplendent sunset in the evening. Another delightful experience is a walk around the nearby villages and exploring their lifestyle, their daily activities and the returning fishermen along with their catch. The changing landscape across the villages is also a treat to watch.
The major tourist spot of Choto Kolagachia is the confluence of two rivers and consequently leading to the formation of Boro Kolagachia River. Flowing downstream, this river eventually meets with Raimongal River. Some abandoned mosques and temples also stand in the town. Smoking chimneys of brick kilns near the river banks, villages, Ferry Ghats and numerous rivulets sketch the picturesque Choto Kolagachia. It is an ideal weekend destination and immensely alluring for nature lovers.
Nearby attractions: Tourists in Choto Kolagachia can take a voyage around it along with the nearby places on a boat from Ferry Ghat. Local guides also accompany the travellers to the places of tourist attraction as well as through the villages. Certain parts of Sunderbans like Marichjhapi village and Jhingeykhali Watch Tower, Hemnagar, Buridabri etc. can also be accessed by boat.The rivers are the lifeline here and you can spend the whole day watching the tides and passing boats from the lawn of your guesthouse. If you inform the guesthouse authorities in advance, they can also arrange local cultural programs like Tusu Dance, Monosha Bhasan and Bonobibi Jatra.
Best visit time: The dark clouds spread over the horizon and the river during monsoons. In winters, birds chirp all around the villages and the cool river wind soothes the soul during the summer. Choto Kolagachia can be visited anytime of the year.
Frazerganj (127 km. from kolkata)
Frazerganj is the one of the most beautiful beaches of eastern India. Situated on the western edge of Sundarban, Frazerganj is a white sand beach having an enchanting natural beauty. The beach lies on one of the Ganges deltaic island beholding the pristine beauty of Southern Bengal. It is a fishing village possessing an undulating muddy beach. In fact it is also considered as one of the prime centres of Pisiculture of the country. The place is also famous for a huge variety of exotic and colourful migratory birds including Gulls, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Black-capped, Terns, Sea Eagles, Collared Kingfishers and many more.
Frazergunj is an ideal site for the avid bird watchers. You can see an array of colorful migratory birds, which include, gulls, terns, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Sea Eagles, Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers and Hobby. Take a stroll along the beach to the embankment, where you can pass quality time by sitting for hours, savoring the view of the fishing boats passing by.
Nearby attractions:Frazerganj, Sunderban, West Bengal Whitish silver sand is the most alluring feature of the beach on which truant red crabs are found in abundance. Along the border of the beach, a number of windmills stand. Near the beach Bakkhali, Henry's Island, Jambudeep and temple of Banabibi are also situated which are other attractive tourist sites. Bakkhali is renowned for its crocodile-breeding centre that shelters six crocodiles and numerous deer. A number of stray monkeys are also common in the beach. Casuarina groves border the beach of Bakkhali and the temple of Banabibi houses the idol of the local deity.
A boat ride to Jambudeep, a serine island, is another tourist attraction in Frazerganj where the local fishermen dwell. However, during the monsoon, the trip becomes adventurous. The spectacular view of sunrise behind the windmills is worth experiencing. Henry island, situated nearby, is bordered by mangroves is another spellbinding place. It is also well known for its bird watching potentiality.
Best visit time: The ideal time of visiting the destination is the period between July and March.
Jambu Dwip (132 km. from kolkata)
Jambudwip is the name of an isolated island situated in the Bay of Bengal about 8 km to the southwest of Fraserganj/Bakkhali in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. It remains uninhabited except in the fishing season, i.e. between the months of October and February. This island houses a great range of bird species, reptiles and fish life. Besides, it is also the home of a huge casuarinas grove.
In the past, fishermen came from the Chittagong and Noakhali areas of Bangladesh for fishing. They developed special aptitude and traditional skills for marine fishing. The main reasons for using Jambudwip were the island's proximity to the fishing grounds, presence of a natural creek for safe harbouring of their boats, and supply of drinking water.
The main attraction of Jambu Dwip is the island itself which is the home for a wide range of species of bird and reptile. Besides, you will be amazed to find such a great range of marine life, mainly fishes.
Nearby attractions:You can take a trip to witness the beach life of Bakkhali or visit Frasergunj which is often considered to be the twin town of Bakkhali. You may also find the Lothian Island located nearby.Take a stroll around this small island and enjoy the exquisite beauty of nature and wildlife, particularly birds and plant life.
Best visit time: You can visit Jambu Dwip throughout the year.
Kalash Island (100+ km. from kolkata)
Kalash Island, in South 24 Parganas, is a part of Sundarbans National Park that lies at the estuary of the River Matla. Being outside the Core area of Sundarbans, visitors with armed guards are permitted to get down on the beach.
During winters, it is the breeding ground of the Olive Ridley Turtles that arrive in great numbers on this beach for nesting.
The forest conservation department has created the Kalash camp over an area of 4 acres. Although, it is well protected with a fence of 10 feet high and 20 feet trench, it is still believed to be not enough to prevent Royal Bengal Tigers from coming to the beach in search of the sweet water pond located there.
Kalash Island is also the home to many varieties of coastal birds and is specially a good place to spot uncommon waders. The Great Stone-curlew or Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris) is sighted on the beach.
Access by boat to this beautiful beach is usually from the Forest Department's Kalash Camp. A visit to Kalash Island combines the Sundarbans experience with bird-watching. There is no staying option at this camp, however, an excursion can be done in a 3Night or 4 Night Trip. .
Nearby attractions:You can visit Namkhana or the Lothian Island or the crocodile project of Bhagbatpur on your way back home from Kalash Islands.
Best visit time: Throughout the year. But if you want to see Olive Ridley turtles nesting on the beach, then come during the winter.
Piyali Island (75 km. from kolkata)
If you want to experience the tranquility of nature along with a touch of the Sunderban, then you can make a trip to the Piyali Island. You can drive to the Piyali Island after crossing a small bridge over River Piyali. The two rivers Matla and Piyali surround this island. The Piyali River actually flows through the Island and mixes with Matla River at a later stage. There is only one tourist lodge in this island but it has well-supported infrastructure for tourists.
Piyali River is a tidal estuarine river in and around the Sundarbans in South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal.
The Piyali leaves the Bidyadhari River 14 kilometres (9 mi) below Bamanghata (Tiljala) and flows south and south-west till it joins the Matla River about 32 kilometres (20 mi) below Canning. The Piyali links to the Matla through the Kultala gang which also links to the Thakuran.
The Sundarbans area is intersected by an intricate network of interconnecting waterways, of which the larger channels are often 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) or more in width and run in a north-south direction. These waterways now carry little fresh water as they are mostly cut off from the Ganges, the outflow of which has shifted from the Hooghly–Bhagirathi channels progressively eastwards since the 17th century. This is due to subsidence of the Bengal Basin and a gradual eastward tilting of the overlying crust.The Piyali is heavily silted and most of it has been converted to low cultivated land, leaving only a narrow channel.
Nearby attractions:Those who want to explore nearby destinations can easily organize an enjoyable trip to Jhorkhali and Kaikhali from Piyali Island.
Best visit time:You can arrange for a tour to Piyali Island any time of the year but the winters would be a nice time to watch the birds.
Raidighi (110 km. from kolkata)
Raidighi is a town with a police station in Mathurapur II CD Block of Diamond Harbour subdivision of South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal.
Raidighi is a popularly gateway of Sunderban, the place offers a real visual treat to the nature lovers. You can savor a breathtaking view of emerald green vegetation and forest covering major portion of Raidighi. The site also boasts of some exotic wildlife and birds. The River flowing through Raidighi is blessed with loads of fishes and crabs. Apart from these, the place also has religious importance, as it houses a number of temples and shrines.
Raidighi is a small town on the fringes of the Sunderbans. You can take a ride in a launch and roam around the rivers of Sunderban and watch the wonder of nature and wildlife unfolding. Sunset over the Sunderban is a spectacular site.
Raidighi has been named after a large water body. Many decades ago, Raidighi was known as Rainagar. During 1489 AD, Rainagar was established by Shubuddhi Ray, who was the ruler of Gour.
Nearby attractions: You need to drive along the meandering roads of the villages of Raidighi, to reach Jatar Deul, located seven kilometer from the town. The journey is quite pleasurable. Moreover, the breathtaking view of this Jatar Deul, a grand temple devoted to Lord Shiva is truly adorable. This 60 feet structure of the temple is a treasured piece of architecture, constructed in the 11th century by a king belonging to the Pala dynasty. A fair is held during the Baisakhi, centering the temple.
Best visit time:You can visit Raidighi any time of the year.
Sajnekhali (130 km. from kolkata)
If your soul lusts for greenery and adventure, then you will truly treasure your stay at Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary nestled amidst lush Sunderban Forests at the confluence of River Matla and Gumdi. Sajnekhali being the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger is also a heaven for varied species of birds. From Sajnekhali watch tower you can get a panoramic view of Sunderbans and watch out for deer, tiger and other animals. A Nature Interpretation Centre has been built at Sajnekhali, which is protected by a wired fence. Adjacent to this centre is a crocodile farm, a turtle farm and a pond inhabited by sharks. A number of watchtowers are built throughout Sajnekhali for wildlife viewing. Apart from tigers, the forest also offers shelter to animals like Fishing Cats, Wild Boar, Macaques, Flying Fox, Chital, Pangolin and others.
Apart from touring the sightseeing destinations at Sajnekhali, take out some time to visit the nearby villages. You can interact with the local people of the place and watch their life style to have an insight into their lives.
Nearby attractions: From Sajnekhali jetty, you can catch a ferry to Bhagabatpur Crocodile breeding farm, Halliday Island (famous for Barking Deer) and other parts of Sunderbans. You can also enjoy a ferry ride to the small village settlement of Gosaba, located in the Canning subdivision. You can also visit Netidhopani, which has the remnants of a mysterious 400-year-old temple.
Best visit time: The best time to visit Sajnekhali is from September to March.