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24. November 2010 3 24 /11 /November /2010 02:23

    The Sundarbans are the largest
littoral mangrove belt in the world, stretching 80km (50mi) into the Bangladeshi
hinterland from the coast. The forests aren't just mangrove swamps though, they
include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once
covered the Gangetic plain. The Sundarbans cover an area of 38,500 sq km, of
which about one-third is covered in water. Since 1966 the Sundarbans have been a
wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal
tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. 

The park is also home
to sea gypsy fishing families who catch fish using trained otters. To see this
pristine environment, you need to get a permit from the Divisional Forest Office
in Khulna. With permit in hand, it's possible to hire a boat from Mongla or
Dhangmari to get you to Hiron Point. From Hiron Point you will have to hire a
guide to take you into the park.

Sundarbans is home to many different
species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes. Over 120 species of
fish and over 260 species of birds have been recorded in the Sundarbans. The
Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangeticus) is common in the rivers. No less
than 50 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are known to occur.
The Sundarbans now support the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water
Crocodile (Crocodylus parasus) in Bangladesh, and that population is estimated
at less than two hundred individuals.

Here land and water meet in many
novel fashions, Wildlife presents many a spectacle. No wonder, you may come
across a Royal Bengal Tiger swimming across the streams or the crocodiles
basking on the river banks. With the approach of the evening herds of deer make
for the darking glades where boisterous monkeys shower Keora leaves from above
for sumptuous meal for the former. For the botanist, the lover of nature, the
poet and the painter this land provides a variety of wonder for which they all
crave. 

It's beauty lies in its unique natural surrounding. Thousands of
meandering streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm.
Sundarbans meaning beautiful forest is the natural habitat of the world famous
Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards,
theses monkey and an innumerable variety of beautiful birds. Migratory flock of
Siberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, golpatta
(round-leaf), fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural
beauty of the Sundarbans. 

This is indeed a land for the sportsmen, the
anglers and the photographers with its abundance of game, big and small,
crocodile, wild boar, deer, pythons, wild-birds and above all the Royal Bengal
Tiger, cunning, ruthless and yet majestic and graceful, For the less
adventurously inclined, there are ducks and snipes, herons and coots,
yellow-lags and sandpipers. It is also the land for the ordinary holiday makers
who desire to rest or wander around at will to refresh their mind and feast
their eyes with the rich treasure that nature has so fondly
bestowed.

General Information

AREA: Nearly 2400 sq. miles or 6000 sq. km. 

FOREST LIMITS: North-Bagerhat, Khulna and Sathkira
districts : South-Bay of Bengal; East-Baleswar (or Haringhata) river, Perojpur,
Barisal district, and West-Raimangal and Hariabhanga rivers which partially form
Bangladesh boundary with West Bengal in India.

MAIN
ATTRACTIONS:
Wildlife photography including photography of the famous
Royal Bengal Tiger, wildlife viewing, boating inside the forest will call
recordings, nature study, meeting fishermen, wood-cutters and honey-collectors,
peace and tranquility in the wilderness, seeing the world's largest mangrove
forest and the riverine beauty.

FAMOUS SPOTS:
Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and
natural beauty. Katka for deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and
monkey, morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy
meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali (Tiger Point) provide opportunities for
wild tracking. 
Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer.

Dublar Char
(Island) for fishermen. It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are
often seen to graze.

Means of Communication:
Water transport is the only means of communication for visiting the
Sundarbans from Khulna or Mongla Port. Private motor launch, speed boats,
country boats as well as mechanised vessel of Mongla Port Authority might be
hired for the purpose. From Dhaka visitors may travel by air, road or rocket
steamer to Khulna - the gateway to the Sundarbans. Most pleasant journey from
Dhaka to Khulna is by Paddle Steamer, Rocket presenting a picturesque panorama
of rural Bangladesh. Day and night-long coach services by road are also
available. The quickest mode is by air from Dhaka to Jessore and then to Khulna
by road.

Journey time: It varies depending on
tides against or in favour in the river. Usually it takes 6 to 10 hours journey
by motor vessel from Mongla to Hiron Point or Katka.
Accommodation Inside the
forest

Hiron Point : Comfortable three-storied
Rest-House of the Mongla Port Authority. Prior booking is to be
made.

Katka : Forest Department Rest-House
located here. Prior booking essential. 
Journey by Rocket Steamer to Mongla
and Khulna

Minimum Journey time is 22 Hours for Mongla and 24 Hours for
Khulna from Dhaka.

Entry Permission: Prior
permission must be obtained through written application from the Divisional
Forest Office, Circuit House Road, Khulna (Phone 20665, 211731) to visit the
Sundarbans. Required entrance fees for visitors, vessel or boat payable at the
relevant forest station/range office.


Guided Tours: Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation & other
tour operators offers all-inclusive guided package fours from Dhaka to
Sundarbans and return during the tourist season (October to
March). 

Climate: Climate in the Sundarbans is
moderate. Air is humid. Full monsoon is from June to September. The annual
rainfall average between 65" and 70". During ebb-tide the forest becomes bare by
6-7 feet and at high tide (30 miles and hour) the entire territory of the forest
floats on water.

Life in Forest: Only means of
transportation inside the forest is boat. There is no road, no trail of a path
anywhere. The wood-cutters make temporary dwellings at the edge of the forest at
a height of 8-10 feet for fear of wild animals others live on boats. In the
chandpai region it is fascinating to see the nomadic fishermen (living with
families on boats) catching fish with the help of trained offers. Exciting
activities take place in Dublar Char in the forest where fishermen from
Chittagong gather for four months (mid Oct. to mid Feb.) to catch and dry fish.
But the most daring and exciting of all activities is presented by the
honey-collectors who work in groups for just two months (April-May) and it is
interesting to see how they locate a hive and then collect honey.

Flora and Fauna: The Sundarbans is endowed by nature with
rich flora and fauna. It is a wonderful place to see or to shoot a Royal Bengal
Tiger with Camera if one has the time to wait in the forest. There are a good
number of tigers in the Sundarbans. Lovely spotted deer are easy to find.
Besides there are a wide variety of wildlife for which the Sundarbans is so
famous
Visit to the Forest

Permission from the Division Forest
Officer, Khulna is required to visit to the forest. Cholera vaccine is to be
taken well in advance. Anti-malarial, anti-diarrhoeal, insectrepellent cream,
drinking water, green coconuts, medical kit, light tropical dress, thick rubber
soled boots etc. are to be carried with the tourist. It will be wise to take the
help of an experienced guide to make the journey fruitful.

Tourist season & Shooting: Best time to visit the
Sundarbans is from November to March. Exciting honey collection season is during
April-May. Hunting is prohibited by law in the country for the preservation of
wildlife. Certain species of birds, however, can be shot with prior permission
of the Divisional Forest Officer, Khulna, (Phone : 20665 &
21173).

Visit to the Forest: Permission from
the Division Forest Officer, Khulna is required to visit to the forest. Cholera
vaccine is to be taken well in advance. Anti-malarial, anti-diarrhoeal,
insectrepellent cream, drinking water, green coconuts, medical kit, light
tropical dress, thick rubber soled boots etc. are to be carried with the
tourist. It will be wise to take the help of an experienced guide to make the
journey fruitful.

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