“An Open Letter to all the nature lovers”
Dear Nature Lover,
With immense pleasure in my heart, today I am going to introduce you to a place that will bring upon peace in your life: The Sundarbans. This place is a boon to mankind. I know you need a reason to believe me and I’ll give you a few. So here are the reasons why I pressingly urge you to visit this place.
This place is a Pandora box. The Sundarbans is made up of 102 islands and only 54 of them are inhabited by people. It has a plethora of things to offer which makes it hard for me to choose where to begin from! So, let’s start from a reason that is very obvious, The Mangroves. This place whoppingly has the largest mangrove forests in the world. These trees are a miracle in themselves. The roots of Mangroves lie above the surface of the marsh hence are visible, giving them a distinct feature. Another reason that I would want to put forth is the rivers and tributaries. Sunderbans is a labyrinth of these little water bodies and landmasses that can make you enter a new world. The sight that’ll leave you jaw-dropping is the confluence point of five rivers known as “panchmukhi point” where rivers like Matla, Bidyadhari, Gajikhali, Gomodo and Herobhanga meet. The water at this place is serene and at some point, seems unending which gives one a wave of thrill.
Now let me elaborate the most obvious yet the most important point, The Tiger Reserve. It is the home to the majestic “Royal Bengal Tiger”. If you are fortunate you may spot one but remember a “Tiger is always watching you in the Sundarbans, even if you didn’t see it”, as the locals quote. Beware, as these tigers are natural man-eaters! In case you don’t spot a tiger, you’ll definitely spot rich flora and fauna including deer, king crabs, endangered olive ridley turtles, saltwater crocodiles, big cats, and the beautiful river dolphins.
Another enticing fact is the presence of phytoplankton in the waters of Sunderbans. This phytoplankton is a tiny organism that is known to reflect light on the new moon’s dark night, so you can witness glowing of these organisms at night and the brownie point here is the night‟s accommodation available in the boats (yippee). This place is also Mecca for bird watchers, as almost 286 species of bird species are present here including globally endangered lesser adjutants and masked finfoots. The islands too, are so scenic with mud huts, cattle and the funky rickshaws that you’ll not be able to put your hand-off from the camera. The islands are connected to each other through waterways. Canning is the nearest railway station from Calcutta. One can stay in lodges provided by West Bengal Tourism Department in Sajnekheli, other than this, accommodation is easily available on the various islands like Gosaba or Canning.
If you are still not convinced, let me tell you a secret. This land is truly magical! If you do not believe me, you’ll have to go there to listen to the stories beautifully narrated by the locals. The legend of Bonbibi, a local deity who is worshipped by Hindus and Muslims alike or the controversial will-o-the wasp phenomenon that is considered to be the effect of gases in the marsh but considered as sea ghosts by the inhabitants. Visit it before it is extinct because the present conditions of the environment do not guarantee the long life of this mesmerizing delta.
I hope my letter lures you to this land of beauty, mystery and magic. Do write me after you visit this land of tides.