Welcome to Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
Home to one of the largest concentrations of Royal Bengal tigers on the planet, the 2585-sq-km Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is a network of channels and semi-submerged mangroves that forms the world’s largest river delta. The ecosystem here is contiguous with the Sunderbans delta in Bangladesh, which lies eastward across the international border along the same shoreline. Tigers (officially estimated to number a few more than 100) lurk in the impenetrable depths of the mangrove forests, and also swim the delta’s innumerable channels. Although they do sometimes attack villagers and prey on livestock, tigers are typically shy and sightings are rare. Nevertheless, cruising the broad waterways through the world’s biggest mangrove sanctuary (now a Unesco World Heritage Site) and watching wildlife, whether it be gangetic dolphins, water monitors, 5m-long saltwater crocodiles or luminescent kingfishers, is a world away from Kolkata’s chaos. The best time to visit is between November and February – the warmer months of March and April are better for tiger-spotting.