The most fascinating things in life are often those that are off-limits. Some locations across India have never resisted to surprise everyone with numerous unseen wonders and mysterious places. The forest of “Sundarban” is one of them. It is an exceptionally terrific place that we all are blessed with but untouched so far in many terms. The Sundarbans is all about the rustling sounds of animals and the constant outcry of breeze, birds twittering and flying through the mangroves and frightened with roar of tigers, This mysterious beauty lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal.

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It covers around 10,000 km, of which about 4,110 Km are in India. The Indian Sundarban is bound at the west by the river Muriganga, and at the east by rivers Harinbhanga and Raimangal river. Saptamukhi is located in the extreme western part of the Sundarbans flows towards the Bay of Bengal through the mangrove transition zone and Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary on the other side. The mean annual rainfall in the region with 80% probably varies from about 2000mm in the east and 1600mm in the west. The other part, which is about 6,000 km are in Bangladesh & as most of the part of Sundarbans is in the state of Bangal in India.

The name Sundarbans may have been derived from the word Sundari, which is the local Bengali name of the mangrove species. The word Sundarbans can be literally translated as "Beautiful Forest" in the Bengali language because the Bangla word ‘ban’ means forest. ‘Sundari’ trees (the mangrove species Heritiera fomes) means of elegance that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers and consequently this forest is recognized as “Sundarbans”.

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The Sundarbans delta has been a priority region for our country due to its unique biodiversity. While it supports a whole population of wild tigers and other wildlife, it is also an ecologically fresh and climatically vulnerable region that is home to over 4.5 million people. These communities are mostly Hindu & Muslim fisherfolk and honey collectors who call this place a home. They share respect for the forest and Godess Bon-bibi (a Forest Lady), who they believe reigns over the forest and its natives. They rejoice the wildlife through numerous Bengali folk songs and dances, often centred around the folk heroes, gods and goddesses specific to the Sunderban like Bonbibi and Dakshin Rai, which shows their devotion towards the mother nature.

The Sundarbans is also a World Heritage Site which consists of three wildlife sanctuaries (Sundarbans West, East and South). The vegetation is largely of mangrove type and encompasses a variety of plants including trees, shrubs, grasses and lianas. Being mostly evergreen, they possess more or less similar physiological and structural adaptations. The prominent species in Sundarbans is Sundari and Gewa.

It is environmentally interacted in the process of ecosystem. At least as of now, 42 species of mammals and tigers are known to occur in the Sundarbans and its neighbouring area. The diversified and multi-coloured bird-life of Kingfisher, including brown-winged and stork-billed kingfishers, also rare grey-headed fish eagle to be seen along its trenches is one of the Sundarbans' greatest attractions. The largest member in the Sundarbans is the crocodile, some of which may attain a length of about seven meters. Species of lizards, including the Monitor Lizards, Varanus, turtles, and snakes are well-represented. Among the snakes, the King Cobra, Russell's viper, Rock python and various species of sea snakes are prominent.

The Sundarbans also supports nearly 400 species of fishes in its aquatic habitats. No aquaculture or fish farming is allowed in the Sundarbans. The Forest Department controls the fish catch from the area. But for centuries on, one ferocious and beautiful animal has been a source of great mystery and have increased human curiosity about the relationship between science, mythology and nature in Sundarbans and that animal is ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger’. The dense and heavy green mangrove forests are inhabited by these tigers. The Bengal tigers are considered solitary animals. Their home is the low-land parts of the Sundarbans, near the wetlands and sanctuaries. They are carnivores and are on constant hunt for spotted deer, wild boar, gaur and water buffalo.

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Traveling to this adorable place to watch all these beasts is easiest with different transports like trains or flights. Many trains and flights are available from Kolkata to Sundarbans Canning. The distance from Kolkata to Canning is 45km and 29km away from Godkhali Port. It takes 1hr 20mins to reach Canning station from Sealdah station in Kolkata by road. Public transport is available between Canning and Godkhali port in Sundarban.

The dense forest of Sundarbans is the main reason behind all of the wildlife and tourist attraction, but it also has some immense protective and productive functions. Constituting 51% of the total reserved forest, it contributes about 41% of total forest revenue and accounts for about 45% of all timber and fuel wood output of the country. A number of industries like newsprint mill, match factory, hardboard, boat building, furniture making are based on raw materials obtained from the Sundarbans ecosystem.

Non-timber forest products and plantations help generate considerable employment and income opportunities for at least half a million poor coastal people. It provides natural protection to life and properties of the coastal population in cyclone-prone areas.

The Sundarbans can play an important role in the economy of our country. It is the single largest source of extraordinary forest produce in our region. The forest provides raw materials for wood-based industries. In addition to traditional forest produce like timber, fuelwood, pulpwood etc., large-scale harvest of non-wood forest products such as thatching materials, honey, beeswax, fish, crustacean resources of the forest take place regularly. The vegetated tidal lands of the Sundarbans function as an essential habitat, produces nutrients and purifies water. The forest also traps nutrient and sediment, acts as a storm barrier, shore stabiliser and energy storage unit. It also provides an aesthetic attraction for local and foreign tourists and if we conserve this area and acknowledge its beauty nationwide, we all can make it evolve into a more glorious place.