The season for vacations and outings are almost here and ideas of getaways are surely in your mind? If taking a break from the maddening crowd and the clichéd grey city skies lurks in your thoughts, then here is an idea of a quick escape that does not need a lot of planning.
Visiting a world heritage site that is the largest mangrove forest in the world- a misty, swampy land of narrow tidal waterways, crocodiles and man-eating tigers; a place that is close in vicinity and is also easy on the pockets… Rings a bell? Sundarbans would be the answer that fits the bill.
Before we start off with places to venture and things to expect, some commonly known points about the land of the Royal Bengal Tiger:
• Largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest
• UNESCO World Heritage Site
A two-and-a half hours’ road journey will drop you off at Gosaba. From here, a launch ride will take you onwards to what is the last inhabited island in this part called ‘Jatirampur’. The broad expanse of the river is very calming for the mind, and this is also where you can catch a glimpse of the majestic Crocodylinae (Crocodiles). Both sides of the river are covered with lush green foliage and white herons are an addition to the serene canvas.
What to expect:
Brace yourself for an unforgettable adventure as you charter through the narrow tidal canals in a boat, amidst the dense forest. You are sure to catch glimpses of crocodiles sunning themselves in the muddy banks, spotted deers, olive ridley turtles, Gangetic dolphins, various species of birds and if you’re a lucky one, you might even have an encounter with the mighty and majestic Royal Bengal tiger!
While venturing, do stop by for a performance if you come across the ‘Baul’s- a group of wandering singing minstrels who are sure to enthral you with their singing performance that has a unique, rustic charm.
The major tourist attractions of the Sundarbans have lyrical names – ‘Shudhanyakhali’, ‘Sajnekhali’ (the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve) and ‘Do Banki’ (meaning from where the road curved into two directions ). The ‘Bon Bibir mandir’s are a must visit, this local deity is believed to protect the people from the man eaters.
Best time to visit:
September to March is a great time to visit the Sundarbans when the weather is sunny and temperatures are moderate. The summer months are quite hot and humid, and although monsoon has it’s own charm and appeal, the heavy rains might cause water levels to rise, which can make the boat rides a risky affair.
Image courtesy: the Internet