Sir Daniel Hamilton Trust at Gosaba.
Dear Friends this Christmas of 2004 we visited the famous Sunderbans- the home for the great Royal Bengal Tigers. This place is extending across the northern shore of the Bay of Bengal; the Sunderbans is the largest and most luxuriant estuarine forest in the world. This marshy mangrove jungle dominating the delta of the Ganga and Brahmaputra is the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. The area supports an unique ecosystem specially adapted to the high salinity in this region. Waterways are the easiest and only way to reach this area which shelters wide variety of fauna including wild boar, fishing cats, otters, civets, rhesus monkeys and spotted deer. The brackish water teem with nearly 120 varieties of fish, crab, Salvatore lizards, giant estuarine crocodiles and olive ridley turtles. This biosphere reserve is now a part of “ Project Tiger “, which was launched in 1972 to revive the country’s tiger population. Watch towers are located inside the Sunderban National Park at Sajnekhali, Sudhannyakhali, Haldi and Netidhopani. The other attractions here are the Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project, Kanak and Piyali.
As per Tiger Census Report of 2003, there are 133 Male Tigers, 83 Female Tigers and 33 cubs are living there. The total no is 249 as per Project Tiger officials. Since the terrain is very difficult to access, it also a Paradise for the Poachers from India and other international pirates. They come in high speed fishing Trawlers, park the Vessel in the Bay Of Bengal then poach the area in Speed Boats with sophisticated weapons and helped by the local poachers. But now these days Indian Navy and Coast Guard is keeping an eye over their movement in the mouth of the Ganges. According to one story more than 10 full-grown Tigers were killed by the Poachers to make the famous Over Coat of the actress Elizabeth Taylor in the 70,s.
Sunderbans is spread over 2585 sq.km, 1330 km is for the Project Tiger and 1255 sq.km has been kept as buffer Mangrove forest. It was declared World Heritage site in 1985.
That’s not all Sunderbans used to be a remote land all along with Tribals and Tigers till 1970s. Gosaba is the last town of Sunderbans. One great soul Sir Daniel Hamilton born on 6th December-1860, died 1932 in Scotland visited Sunderbans in the late 19th century. Seeing the plight of the people of Sunderbans, he donated all his property and made Sir Daniel Hamilton trust at Gosaba in 1905, to develop medical dispensary, school, college, road, market, and self-employment for the tribals who used to survive on fish and honey of Sunderbans. In other words their life and soul was under the grips of the landlords. Today, they are still poor but the economy is developing. They are still, surviving on fish but now in improved condition. They are now breeding Tiger Prawns, Honey and the current tourism has given them a new lease of life. Their battle for survival is still going on.
Famous writer Dominique Lapierre visited Sunderbans on last November-04 and donated a floating Dispensary (on Boat) to the people of Sunderbans. This is equipped with medicines, doctors and emergency treatment kit. There are presumptions that his next book may be on Sunderbans. Great souls indeed, long live such great souls.
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After watching sunset in the evening and watching the moon in the night why should you escape the Sunrise? Let me tell you watching Sunrise at Sunderbans is a different experience altogether. Getting up at the dawn with the sound of chirping birds is a heavenly feeling for those who live in the city, then watching the fisherman leaving the shores for deep waters to earn his livelihood, our weekend gateway is fully justified.
Just give it a try!
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
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We were able to see one Crocodile soaking at Sun as we approached near he took a very sharp turn and jumped into the water! The reptile was so fast that I could not just move my camera, though I managed to take two shots. You need to try hard to have a look or look at the second picture to see his eyes.
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Though we could not see much animals, we were able to see a lot of Langurs, Deers, Birds ets. And how are we supposed to see? We travelled thre on Christmas day with thousand of other tourists making noise of motor boats forcing the animals to remain out of sight?
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What do you do in Sunderban? Just watch mother nature! Many people go there with expectation to see The Great Royal Bengal Tiger! Yes Sir! The Gentleman is visible but at his sweet will and this gentleman does not consider us humans worth visiting or showing himself to us as his experience has always been bad in the last 200 years, he was shot umpteen times by cruel guns whenever he made himsef visible to humans! That's why he pefers to remain invisible in Sundarbans but he is watching every human movement.
Let's forget about seeing a Tiger but yes it is possible to see other animals but only from the boat. Getting down to land is not allowed as you may be pounced upon a Crocodile or a Shark or even a Tiger!
Close Encounter with Mother Nature!
Those of us live in Metro cities have at least one thing in common, POLLUTION! Pollutions of all sorts greet us every morning, Poisonous gas, Auto emission, noise pollution, sound pollution, sight pollution , the list is endless.....
Sunderbans offer a great escape from it all.... directly in the lap of mother nature! There is no need to explain the tip..... just give your eyes, ears, senses, mind, tension a complete rest for a few days. Enjoy the beauty of mother nature... it's free!
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Watching Rare birds: It is possible and you should have a good zoom. Unfortunately I dont' have one. But I managed to take the first one from the boat. Try your luck.