In search of Swamp Royal Bengal Tigers

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama XIV

People say its sheer luck that one may actually encounter the Royal Bengal tigers irrespective of weather you opt for one day tour or 3-4 days tour in Sunderbans. When its not your day its not your day. Sometimes its not about the destination but about the journey you make.

IMG_3752 As the engines cranked to life and launch started to move, soon enough i ditched my mattress laden wooden sofa and settled for padmasan yoga pose on the upper deck. It felt like being the sole soul on that launch, leaving behind civilization and elite urban life. More deep into the river with northward winds kissing my skin, i was absorbing the nature in its purest form.

Sundari Trees
Sundari Trees

Spread over approximately 6000 sq ft across the Bangladesh border, a UNSCEO world heritage site Sunderbans are named after Sundari trees that are found in abundance in this delta region. The climate and soil of Sunderbans are conducive for plantation of Sundari trees. Hence, you will hardly find any Sundari trees in rest of West Bengal. Sunderbans being the largest mangroves forest and natural habitat, is abode to 104 tigers (official figures as per 2013 census) remaining in Indian occupied Sunderbans alone. West Bengal, India accounts for 35% of Sunderbans and Bangladesh accounts for remaining 65% of sunderbans.

Thank lord ! tigers do not need passports and visas to cross borders. Sometimes I wonder who is more lucky, tigers or humans ? 😮

Transcending more deeper into this natural habitat, one cannot help but notice the varied shades of green, blue and grey. Its amazes one to see, what one hell of a artist nature is.

Switching between wide and narrow canals, drifting through the alleyway at 40 km/ hr, our ever so jolly host was gleaming with joy, naming and explaining the rare birds that we were lucky enough to watch. Being of modest means and not even finishing his elementary schooling, I was moved to see how he proudly holding the book “Birds of India – by Bikram Grewal” was sharing his distinct knowledge with us. I warmly suggested him to get a degree on Zoology and he coyly smiled acknowledging my appreciating his knowledge.

IMG_3767It is a know fact that tigers are strong swimmers and often deliberately bathe in ponds, lakes and rivers as a means of keeping cool in the heat of the day. Hence lot of artificial sweet water ponds can be seen in and around the close vicinity of watch towers, where reindeer, pigs, tigers are frequent visitors.

One guest on board jokingly asked “What if a tiger jumps on the launch and attack us?

Thankfully not. Tigers weigh around 150-200 kgs and are pretty heavy for the obvious reason. So while tigers are good long jumpers they aren’t good high jumpers 😀 so perched on the upper deck of launch, we were less likely to became prey of The Royal Bengal Tigers.

9 hours of one day tour was anything but tiring. This one day tour guaranteed me round tour of Sajnekhali island. Frankly one day is not enough to see the enticing Sunderbans and its like tip-of-a-iceberg experience, even though the tip is as huge 😀 It’s wonderful to see how the lure of Sunderbans makes people defy all odds, just to be there in this surreal experience. Its a once in a life time experience that still exist in this dramatically changing eco-system.

I hope you enjoy my post. Do like it and let me know your comments down below, that would totally make my day 🙂

Attention Readers:

  1.  The book Birds of India is authored by Bikram Grewal in joint efforts with Sumit Sen, Nikhil Devasar & Garima Bhatia.
  2. For more information on one-day tour of Sunderbans visit www.tourdesundarbans.com
  3. To view my personal gallery of Sunderbans click Sunderban Diaries
  4. Photo courtesy for featured image © Dhawal Trivedi / www.allwonders.com
  5. Going to Sunderbans? don’t forget to carry your binoculars on this blissful sojourn.
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