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The mystical mangroves of Sundarbans is arguably one of the most fascinating wilderness to witness the Tiger.

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Located approximately 120 km from Kolkata, the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches out over 1330 square km, standing as the largest halophytic mangrove forest globally.

Born from the convergence of the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers, the Sundarbans isn't just a vast mangrove swamp; it's a mesmerizing biosphere bursting with diverse wildlife, on land and in water. Here, the Royal Bengal Tiger isn't just a rare sight; it's a majestic symbol of strength and grace, captivating every adventurer on a Sundarbans tiger safari.

In these ancient, mystical forests, where tides sway and Sundari trees dominate the landscape, the Sundarbans stands as a precious National Park nurturing a delicate and invaluable ecosystem. It's a place where nature thrives in its purest form, inviting us to explore its wonders and cherish its beauty.

How is it?

The most coveted animal on a Sundarbans safari is undoubtedly the majestic big cat and the apex predator – the Royal Bengal Tiger. Spotting this enigmatic cat parading the shore of these coastal forests or swimming across its intricate network of channels is a wondrous, awe-inspiring experience!

But, the mystic mangroves are also home to some other iconic species such as the Gangetic river dolphin, the snubfin dolphin and the estuarine crocodile. While scanning the region for a tiger, you may also chance upon other elusive small cat species such as the fishing cat, the jungle cat and the leopard cat.

Some other prized sightings at the Sundarbans are green sea turtles, monitor lizards and king cobras. And last, but not the least, Sundarbans is a birder’s paradise too, hosting almost 250 bird species, including lesser adjutant storks, spoonbills, darters, seagulls, lesser whistling teals, partridges, wimbrails, curlews, ruddy shelducks, mangrove whistlers, buffy fish-owls, brown-fish owls, spotted owlets and more!

And to top this incredible gamut, the main avian highlights of the Sundarbans are the eight kingfishers varieties!

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The common kingfisher, also known as the Eurasian kingfisher or the river kingfisher is a sparrow-sized bird, characterised by its blue upper-parts, orange underparts and a long bill. The stork-billed kingfisher is larger than a common kingfisher and is a tree kingfisher. It has a long, bright-red bill, green back, blue wings and red legs. The ruddy kingfisher has a rust-coloured body and a red beak. It is a winter immigrant in the Sundarbans.

The pied kingfisher is a species of water kingfisher and is easily identified thanks to its black and white plumage and crest. The white-throated kingfisher, also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is arguably the most common kingfisher species, featuring a brown head, blue wings and white chest.

The collared kingfisher or mangrove kingfisher, like the name suggests, has a white collar, a black bill and blue plumage with a greenish tinge. In India, the brown-winged kingfisher has mainly been recorded in coastal regions such as the Sundarbans and the Bhitarkanika National Parks. It has a golden-brown head, dark brown body and a long, bright-red beak. The black-capped kingfisher has a black head contrasted with a white throat, purple-blue wings and is mainly found in coastal regions.

Perhaps, the most intriguing part about the Sundarbans is man’s dynamic relationship with these mangrove forests. The native fishermen community’s livelihood depends on these mangroves. They risk their lives everyday when they go out to fish, and while we wait for a tiger to emerge out of a creek, we sometimes see these fishermen fishing on the opposite side!

The other intriguing part about the Sundarbans is that tigers here perhaps perceive human beings as prey. Hence, our interaction with the tigers of Sundarbans is very different from that of the denizens of central Indian parks.

Sighting a tiger prowling Kanha’s open meadows or cooling off in Ranthambore’s Rajbagh lake, or tiger cubs gambolling in the tall grasses of Telia in Tadoba, is already an exhilarating affair. But a tryst with a Sundarbans tiger, the moments when it looks into your frame or locks eyes with you or just effortlessly paddles its way through the water, experiencing its flair is truly awesome because there is the sense of our lives at stake!

People who operate Sundarbans wildlife tours are extremely wary and vigilant about the tiger. No one is allowed to get down anywhere and the boat, when anchored, is not by the edge of the creek since there is always the imminent threat of a tiger lurking nearby.

Our Skippers and guides have years of experience in the Sundarbans. They have learned to trust their gut and know where to spend time looking for the tigers where there are a few males who wander around and a few females with cubs!

The chief focus on the Sundarbans phototour would be on the tiger, and while the majority of our time is spent searching for one, we will get to see other animals such as leopard cats, fishing cats, jungle cats, Irrawaddy dolphins and so on.

Please note: A large part of this Sundarbans wildlife tour goes in long hours of searching and waiting. For people expecting hourly action and spotting numerous tiger individuals, such as in the case of a central Indian forest expedition, we don’t recommend this tour.

This tour is for advanced nature lovers who are willing to be patient to witness something quite rare – a tiger in the Sundarbans. Most tourists consider themselves lucky even if they spot one tiger in the entire week! If you are one such person who is hungrier than the tides, then this Sundarbans photo tour is for you!

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