Sundarban is another world’s natural wonder which is situated at the coastal area of BAY OF BENGAL. This is a vast and wide forest. It is located in delta region of the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins, Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat districts of Bangladesh and two districts of West Bengal, India, spread across North 24 Parganas and South 24 Pargana.
It is considered as the largest integrated mangrove forest located in coastal area. It has grown up in a total area of 10,000 suare kilometers of which 6,017 sqm is within BANGLADESH and rest of the forest is in INDIA. IN 1997 it was announced as UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. This is a great achievement for BANGLADESH. There are nets of small marine streams, mud, flatters and small –scale archipelago around SUNDARBAN .
1,874 square kilometers is 31.1 percent of the whole forest area that includes riverine, inlet, bill and water area. The main attraction of this forest is ROYAL BENGAL TIGER. Every year numerous tourists come to visit this world heritage site. By visiting this forest our guests achieve great pleasure and knoweledge from nature .
NAMING OF SUNDARBAN :
In Bengali SUNDARBAN means beautiful forest. The name probably comes from the tree called SHUNDORI means beautiful. This plant grows in huge number in this forest land. The hardwoods found from this are used to make various items including boats, furniture. The Sundarban is divided into rivers, canals, and inlet all over, some of which are used for the movement of both steamers and local boats, for communication between Calcutta and Brahmaputra Basin.
During MUGHAL period (1203-1538)a local king took the lease of SUNDARBAN. EAST INDIA COMPANY created the map of this forest in 1757 after gaining rights from ALAMGIR , THE Mughal Emperor. In 1860,when Bangla Prodesh forest section was founded, the forest area came under organizational management. In 1828 the British government acquired the title of Sundarbans. L. T. Hughes conducted the first survey of the Sundarbans in 1829. In 1830, Dampier and Hughes, the two surveys officers set the northern boundary of the Delta region of the Sundarbans. The name of this line is Dampier-Hajes Line.
In 1878 the entire Sundarbans area was declared as reserve forest and in 1879, the responsibilities of the entire Sundarbans were entrusted to forest department. The name of the first divisional forest officer of the Sundarbans is M. U. Green In 1884, he served as the Divisional Forest Officer of the Sundarbans.
The legal rights of the first forest management department were established on Sundarbans in 1869. A large part of the Sundarbans was declared as reserved forest in 1875-76. Within the next year, the remaining part is also recognized for the reserve forest. This resulted in the control of forest department under the control of the remote civil administration.
Later, in 1879, forest department was established as the administrative unit for forest management, with its headquarters in Khulna. For the Sundarbans, during the 1893-98 period, the first forest management plan was made. The breath-taking fairs in the watershed of the Sundarbans In the year 1911, the Sundarbans were termed as waste land, which was never surveyed and no longer came under the census.
Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger (also known locally as 'Big Shell' or 'Big Miya') there are so many interesting animals and birds remain in this forest. Swans like big swords, vintage, bamboo, chil, kulai, shankar, shamkhole, manik, gaal, karamkuli, bonhans, balhhans, pankauri, Tia, Harla, Whitekak, Doyle, Kastichora, Fang, Milk Raj, Blood Raj, Bhimaraj, Bilabchu, Ramshalik, Hattimatim etc. are many kinds of birds who give this forest an extraordinary texture.
Chitra deer, swan, cougar, forest cats are the interesting animals. This large forest is known as the habitat of numerous species of animals including red bandar, native forest pigs, octopus, giuseppe, lonely crocodile, olive marine sea turtle, keto turtles, sharks, shrimp, fish and snakes.
Besides, there are bees and they make their home in the trees of the forest. In the month of Chaitra- Baishakh, the honey-collectors ('mouals') of the Sundarbans, enter the deep forest to collect honey to lead their livelihood.
Plants of Sundarbans are so beautiful and they are named beautifully ; such as gerua, guna, sundari, goalpatha, keora, Dhondal, bine, Kadra, Vrha, Amur, Hado, Bellasundari, Ghele, Baakjaka etc. Besides, weeds and various types of banyans are found in horn like vadal, onion, calyx, hinge, gooseberry, hogala etc. They have formed mangrove forests together. Their breathing has been created due to inefficiency of the saline soil.
The venomous snakes of the forest are Hirinbora, Kalnaagini, Rudraalkala, Mahakal, Sankhraj, Bakal etc. poisonous snakes are found in the jungle. Besides, the main reptiles like Guuisap, Lona water crocodile, Jalpaigiranga Sea turtle, Keeto turtle, Freshwater crocodiles live here.
ROYAL BENGAL TIGER:
Royal Bengal Tiger or Panthera tigris or Panthera tigris bengalensis, is a special tributary of tigers. Royal Bengal Tiger is generally seen in India and Bangladesh. These species of tigers are also found in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and South Tibetan areas. Among the tiger subspecies, the number of Bengal Tigers is the highest. According to the National Tiger Reserve Authority of India, the current number of Bengal Tiger in India is 1,411.
This species is preserved in accordance with Schedule-1 of Bangladesh's Wildlife (Conservation and Safety) Act of 2012. Traditionally it is believed that Bengal Tiger is the second largest subspecies after the Siberian Tiger. Bengal Tiger sub-species P. tigris tigris National animal of Bangladesh. On the other hand species of the species Panthera tigris National animal of India.
TOURIST SPOTS of SUNDARBAN :
There are many tourist spots and picnic spots in sundarban excluding the mangrove forest. These places can give the same pleasure and enjoyment as the forest. Some important tourist spots are given below.
Sundarban National Park
Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge
Kaikhali Picnic Spot
Dublar Char Island
HOW TO GO :
From Dhaka you may take air, bus, or steamer to reach Khulna. Air would be more comfortable. From MONGLA or KHULNA water vehichles are the only medium to reach Sundarban. You need the permission of Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) to visit the forest.