Sundarban - Into The Wilderness

#1 Feb 21st, 2017, 17:57
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The idea of exploring Sundarban, the other part of the nature was silently implanted in my mind long ago from updates in various travel forums that I follow. Finally the idea was nurtured by my friend-cum-philosopher-cum-(mis)guide Avik on a casual gathering at Dilip Da's place. Avik is soon about to move out with his new assignment, and thus he placed this idea of having a tour together before he moves out. Avik being the only forest lover in our group, has always been neglected out*while choosing destination, but not this time. Even we all were excited about exploring this other part of the nature. Sundarban is known for being world's largest block of mangrove forest which is shared by India and Bangladesh, most of it, around 60%, being in Bangladesh. The region is densely covered by mangrove forest and the largest reserve for Bengal Tiger. Sundarban has also been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The term Sundarban in Bengali means Beautiful (Sundar) Forest (Ban) or can be debated that the term might have got coined from Sundari (a species of mangrove) trees. Whatever it be, right now, our focus was to plan a trip to Sundarban as fast as possible. The only way to explore Sundarban is by waterways, as the same being formed by Ganges Delta. I called up few boat men of whom I had contacts from my friends who have been there previously, but the charges seems to be on the higher side. Generally a 2N/3D Trip To Sundarban can easily be done within Rs. 4000/- per head with a group of 7 pax.

Within next few days, we spoke to various agents and friends who have been to Sundarban. The idea was to fix the plan as soon as possible, as Sundarban is generally best visited in Winter. And we being almost in the end of January had very less time in hand and also Avik could move out with his assignment anytime soon. Suddenly the idea of getting in touch with our same-old reliable person, Dipankar Da proved to be fruiful. Having very close relation with Dipankar Da, and he being in tourism business helped us understand various types of tours and touts around Sundarban.

He also made us understand, that "To visit Sundarban, expecting to explore the nature and various animals other than the Royal Bengal Tiger". Sundarban being mangrove forest it's tough to spot a Tiger. As unlike other forest, one cannot go for the safaris inside the forest, instead explore the forest through waterways. He also made us realize that, Sundarban is best explored with a Naturalist instead of a general guide if we really want to know the details of the Sundarban ecosystem. He further informed us that the tour can indeed be done within Rs. 4000/- per head or less if we stay at general hotels at Pakhiralay and go for a general guide instead of Naturalist, which is what most tourist do. But unfortunately those category of tourist doesn't visit Sundarban to explore the nature but for a holiday. There's always a fine line of difference between having a trip and travelling.

Within next few days, he came up with an idea of staying at Bali Island which would be like staying further off from the chaos and letting us enjoy the wilderness. We asked him and his family to join us too, if possible. Fortunately he confirmed that, he's free on those days*and indeed he'd join us and would also bring one of his friend who's a Naturalist and have been associated with various projects of Sundarban.

Tip : The key aspect of visiting Sundarban on a budget is to visit in a group of atleast of around 10 pax. The boat cost being the key expense gets shared, which helps the overall per head cost to fall gradually. One may also choose to stay in boat to avoid the hotel cost, but that have it's own issues. Other than trading off the luxury of staying in a hotel room, there's a high risk of mosquitoes too. But young groups, with adventurous mind may choose to do the same with proper precautions.

Day 1 - 4th Feb 2017 :
Finally the day came and two different groups from different sectors began their journey. Me and my wife, Suparna along with Dipankar Da, our soon-to-be-friend-cum-Naturalist Anirban Da and Mejda (a cousin of Dipankar Da) began our journey from Shri Aurobinda Seva Kendra (nearby South City Mall) by Anirban Da's car whereas Avik, Sushmita, Dilip Da, Boudi (Dilip Da's Wife) along with a close friend of him, Bunty Da choose to take train to Canning from Sealdah and then Auto to Godkhali. Unfortunately, Dipankar Da's wife and daughter couldn't join us due to their personal reasons. The division of this group is mostly due to different peoples belonging from South Kolkata & North Kolkata.

We started at around 7:30 AM and took the route through Baruipur. The drive to Canning was mostly uneventful except that Anirban Da explained some basic geographical aspects of Sundarban on the way. With few Tea & Smoke breaks in between we reached Godkhali at around 10:40 AM. Avik and other members of our group was already waiting for us there. We were introduced with Sajal Da, who owns the property Patratal Farmstay at Bali Island where we would be staying in for next 2 nights and also the boat we hired belongs to him. Infact he informed us that, he was looking forward to get his own boat for a long time and it was just yesterday, he bought of this boat instead of hiring. We felt proud for inaugurating the same.

That's our boat!! M B Bhagabati

Sajal Da is a vet by profession, but around 8 years ago, he left his dull life and came to Sundarban and got settled here. He got completely mingled with the locals by taking part in their daily activities of life. He briefed us a lot about the livelihood of the local people of Sundarban. Soon we shredded off our misconceptions of they being poor as atleast one person from every household after the last Aila, have moved on to other states instead of relying only on Agriculture and Fishing. Sajal Da too can be categorized as Naturalist in a way that his love for nature and ecology of Sundarban.

Instead of taking the common shortcut route to Bali Island, we took the longer route via Amla Methi and Panchamukhani. Anirban Da*informed us that there are around 102 islands on the Indian side of which around 48 islands belongs to no mans land (i.e. no local people living there) and that the whole area is of around 4200 sq. km. and the Tiger Reserve is around 2000 sq. km. The journey through the Bidya River and then through Gomti River was mostly uneventful except spotting few birds along the bay. We reached Bali Island at around 2:00 PM.

Our shelter for next 2 nights, Patratal Farmstay (the name partially coined by us :P) was just 2 minutes walking distance from the Ghat. We were absolutely overwhelmed after exploring the property. It's so well maintained without disrupting the nature. The name Patratal, signifying Patal in Bengali which is a Sanskrit word was cautiously chosen by Sajal Da. Sundarban area used to be referred as Patal in the age of puranas while Himalaya being referred to as Swarga (Heaven). Sajal Da, informed us that he is yet to coin the name of this property and thus the term "Farmstay" was suggested by us, after exploring the place. Everything is so natural there, maintaining the ecology of nature. Soon we were served lunch and I must mention, the food is worth admiring. Each and every dish was simply finger licking. I must take a moment to mention that, every dish served here is organic from Sajal Da's own farm.

After having a sumptuous lunch, we explored the place around and then laid ourselves on a pile of hay under the firm ray of sunlight. Well this proved to be something very different experience for us city dwellers. We felt like experiencing the life of villagers. We being city dwellers, never knew how comfortable it's to sleep on a pile of hay. Sajal Da walked us through his farm where we mostly noticed Tomatoes, Chillies, Gondhoraj Lebu (Aroma King Lime), Brinjals, Peas, Cauliflowers, Cabbage, Mustard Spinach, Onion Spinach etc among other vegetables. The farmstay have water bodies too for pisciculture of various fish along with prawns.

P. C. Avik Manna

We were served Tea and Snacks in the evening and then Sajal Da arranged for a bonfire. He also called up a local talent Mr. Gautam to keep us engaged through his song. The main thing we loved about Sajal Da is that, he always try to promote the locals and his love for nature without disturbing it's ecology. And for the same reason, he developed this property a bit far from the Dam to protect the same. The evening was filled with joy. And the stories of tiger in between played a key role. Mr. Gautam started off with song written by himself but composed on a tune of popular Bengali songs. Most of his songs were meaningful and have a story behind on which he expressed his songs. Some of them were regarding the livelihood of people in Sundarban, destruction caused by Aila etc.

Here's a glimpse of the evening, if you are interested :
Later, as we had to start by 6:30 AM next morning, we decided to call off the day and hit the bed early within 11:30 PM after having a sumptuous dinner.

Day 2 - 5th Feb 2017 :
Our day started very early (yes 6:30 AM is really early for us city dwellers) and we quickly got ready. Our plan for the day was to get necessary permits at Sajnekhali and explore Sajnekhali Nature Interpretation Center along with Sajnekhali Watch Tower and then later proceed towards Dobanki via Deul Bharani. Even though there's another shortcut route to Dobanki, but everyone in our group being being nature lover and adventurous, Sajal Da & Anirban Da suggested to take it via Deul Bharani as the chance of spotting a Tiger there is higher. The view of Ghat in the morning was worth admiring for.

We quickly scanned through Sajnekhali Nature Interpretation Center which to me personally was not much attractive. We noticed a lot of tourists was scanning through according to their own pace, but we were mostly being interested exploring various canals we rushed through it. We also noticed that, most boats were like rushing towards the destination, but Sajal Da set the speed of ours one to firm so that we can explore the nature at our own pace. Most people in our group*being bird watchers and bird photographers as well, Sajal Da*took it slowly so that we can enjoy. And in the end of the day this is what we came for, not for rushing through the rat race which we are used to. Sajal Da too being bird watcher, was keeping an eye and mostly he was pointing out the birds by his Binoculars and rest was busy capturing them!! I lost the count of how many times Sajal Da turned the boat around so that we can get a nice click.

I must say, this group of ours proved to be the best one with matching wavelength with each other. Im saying this because I noticed lots of other boats was just rushing towards the destination and I highly doubt that any boat man who is not a nature lover himself would turn the boat around himself so that the tourists can get a nice click of that bird. Each one of our group*respected the nature and did everything so smoothly and calmly without disturbing the wildlife. On two occasions we spotted boats where people were playing loud music and drinking on boat, both of which is not permitted. Both Anirban Da and Sajal Da took it up on them to teach a lesson as both of them being associated with various NGO's, Forest Officials and involved in various projects of Sundarban.

P.C. Avik Manna

P.C. Avik Manna

Well, I must take a moment here to mention that Smoking and Drinking in boat is not allowed and if caught can be booked with heavy fines leading to cancellation of boat permit to operate any more. Our Naturalist Anirban Da was very strict and clear about it from the very beginning. He also instructed us not to disturb the ecology of forest and the river at any situation. Even though we noticed few boats were exactly doing that by throwing plastics and other non-disposable items in the water but one must remember that such things are strictly prohibited. Naturalists are more aware and care about protecting the Nature. I know as a tourist, you are not bothered about this, but once we spotted a Crocodile lying on the side of forest and we hailed Sajal Da to take the boat nearby. As soon as our boat started going nearby crossing a permissable limit, it started getting into the water and Anirban Da firmly opposed it immidiately and asked us to make use of our so called 100 - 400 mm lens instead of disturbing the wildlife. He also explained the reason behind it. Crocodiles needs to get warm throughout the day making use of sunlight to survive at night in this cold water and if we disturb them, it causes a lot of pain to them throughout the night to survive. We really took a moment, to think, isn't this the reason we got these kind of lens to shoot wildlife? So this was the kind of knowledge I was talking about, if you can go there with a Naturalist. And exactly this is where a Guide and a Naturalist differs.

P.C. Dilip Kumar Mondal

P.C. Avik Manna

P.C. Avik Manna

Anirban Da after doing his graduation, choose to work as a herpetologist instead of getting into 9-5 job. Infact he was involved in breeding of crocodiles here in Sundarban amongst various other projects. Whereas on the other hand, Sajal Da too left his vet profession and came here and was involved in cleaning plastics and other objects that disturbed the ecology of the nature. Anirban Da helped us with various queries of ours and helped us understand things in detail which I doubt any general guide would ever have been able to do that. We were served Puri & Sabji in between at Breakfast.

The real thrill started when we entered Banabibir Bharani (a small canal). Anirban Da asked us to keep quite and keep an eye on the sides. Luckily we spotted Deers out there and got excited that we would spot Tiger's too. But unfortunately there was no Tiger around. As we already went through various turns around to capture some rare species of birds, it was already too late for us to explore*Deul Bharani via Nau Banki (9 Turns) and thus our team decided to skip it with utter disappointment and to reach Dobanki via Khonar Mukh & Panchamukhani. Just before getting down at Dobanki, the boat was anchored and we were served lunch. The food was so awesome that, it leaves me no scope to say anything.

P.C. Anirban Chaudhuri

Later along, we did the Canopy Walk at Dobanki. On many occurrence people have spotted Tiger's at Dobanki, but we were out of our luck. Finally we returned back to our farmstay at around 4:30 PM.

The evening was spent listening to various stories about Tiger followed by the story of Banabibi. The story goes like, Once upon a time there used to be a boy, named Dhukhe who lost his father in childhood while fishing, after he was attacked by Tiger, had grown up in very protected environment by his mother. Later around one day, one of his uncle Dhona came up, requesting his mother to allow him to the expedition with his fleet to collect honey. But his mother declined due to the risks involved. Dhona then assured her of keeping an eye on him and that he'd absolutely be safe. Before leaving, Dukhe's mother suggested him to offer his prayer to Banabibi in case of any serious trouble. Finally when they started the journey, one day, Dakkhin Rai, believed as God of Tiger and ruler of deep forest, appeared in his dream and asked to sacrifice Dukhe in return of information about honey. Even though Dhona didn't agreed at first, but later, Dakkhin Rai warned him of loosing all this troop along with him next morning if he didn't agree. In the end Dhona had to agree, considering the do-or-die situation. But unfortunately Dukhe heard their conversation, and lost all his hope counting his last moments. And then the goddess of forest, Banabibi appeared in his dream and assured him to protect if at any situation he offers his prayer to her. Next morning when Dhona, turned around the fleet to different direction, it raised the suspicious eyes of all of his troop members on this sudden change of plan. He then explained the whole situation to them. Even though no one could agree this from their heart, but they had no other way considering the do-or-die situation. They indeed got lots of honey from the place suggested by Dakkhin Rai, but even after collecting all the honey, they spill the same in the river as they change their decision to collect the wax due to it's high value in market than honeys. Later they trick Dukhe to go to the jungle and collect the woods, but Dukhe being already aware of his future, doesn't agrees. And then the whole troop forced him to leave the fleet and left them in forest. Dukhe having no other ways to get out of the situation, started chanting prayers invoking Banabibi. And as soon as Dakkhin Rai, in form of a Tiger makes his way forward to attack him, Shah Jangali, bother of Banabibi appeared and defeated Dakkhin Rai. After getting defeated,*Dakkhin Rai approached again with his refuge and Bara Khan Ghazi but got defeated again. Finally Bara Khan Ghazi convinced Dakkhin Rai and approached Banabibi to apologize realizing his mistake of lust for blood. Banabibi forgives them with a condition of not attacking anyone visiting forest if they offer prayers to Banabibi. Both Dakkhin Rai and Bara Khan Ghazi offered Dukhe lots of precious items along with lots of honey and wax. Finally Dukhe was dropped to his village by the pet crocodile of Banabibi. Well this is why you'd see idols of Banabibi at various places in the entrance of jungle. Locals who goes for fishing and collecting honey still follows this belief.

Sajal Da too kept us involved by various stories of Tiger attacks. From what we have understood, that the risk of attack is very high for those who goes for fishing or collecting honey. As unless the locals are safe due to the fencing around locality. Though fishing and collecting honey is seasonal way of income for them and no one is fully dependent on it as of today. The news of most of attacks are generally not made public as most of the locals who goes to fishing or collecting honey does so by illegal means. And thus the same is secretly managed by the villagers along with involvement of forest officals and police. Though this may sound disturbing in the beginning, but it's highly unlikely to manage the same with so low manpower. And the delta plays her part of role here.

They further informed us that, the villagers now first rush to forest immidiately to rescue the body after being informed of Tiger attacks, as in many cases they have experienced that this kind of hoax were mostly created by people themselves mostly due to dispute in properties among brothers. They always tie up a red piece of cloth where they have experienced instances of attacks to warn others. Thus while traversing through Sundarban, one can notice lots of such red piece of clothes tied at the branches. It's a way to inform others, not to try fishing, collecting honey or any other activities in that specific area. Although the presence of Tiger can be anywhere in Sundarban, but it's just their way of identifying the attack area.

And frankly speaking, most of the tiger stories that you get to hear are cooked up. Anirban Da warned us about the same too. Locals here for unknown reasons tries to cook up such stories!!

We then went ahead for a night walk under moonlight to a nearby Ghat. As we reached the destination a feeling of wilderness ran through our veins.*Finally after spending around an hour there, experiencing the wilderness and noctiluca*we returned back for a stumptous dinner and hit the bed.

Day 3 - 6th Feb 2017 :
Today being the last day in Sundarban, we woke up with a dissapointment in our heart. The dissapointment was mostly because of leaving the nature and going back to same old boring life. We started a bit late today at around 9:00 AM. The plan for the day was to go to Sudanyakhali but via Sadakkhali 1 which is again a short canal filled with wilderness. Soon we hit Sadakkhali 1 and Sajal Da asked everyone to keep quite and keep an eye on both sides. Within no time, we spotted deers other than the various other birds. But there was still no sign of our so called "Bagh Mama" (Tiger) yet. We spotted Bengal monitor too just before hitting Sundarkhali. Anirban Da being involved with herpetology projects in*Sundarban, have been involved with breeding of Crocodiles here and thus he claimed to spot some of his known ones with a confidence in his voice. And voila!! We really spotted few crocodiles one of which he seemed to have named Kalukhan.

P.C. Avik Manna

Finally we were into Banabibir Bharani again and our eyes were continously looking out there for Bagh Mama!! Even though we couldn't spot any Tiger, but we spotted several instances of foot-print of the same which seemed to be of 2-3 days old. Finally just before reaching*Sudanyakhali, our boat was anchored and we were served lunch. It leaves me no room to mention anything about the food as always. And then we proceeded towards Sudanyakhali Watch Tower, and luckily again we spotted a Deer there, who seemed to came for fresh water. In the meanwhile we felt really bad, as a group of people was disturbing the monkeys out there by unncessarily trying to take selfies with them. After spending some time around there we started for Godkhali at around 3:00 PM.

P.C. Avik Manna

P.C. Avik Manna

It took us around 1.5 hours to reach Godkhali and even though our acquaintance was short, but we had developed a strong bond among ourselves mostly due to the same wavelength of our love for the nature and wildlife. Even though I personally prefer Himalaya, Hill Stations to be specific anyday over Forest, but this first trip to Wildlife gave me enough motivation to explore this other part of the Nature. Within next few minutes, we started towards our same old boring life, with promises to keep in touch and back again!!

Information & Tips For Planning A Trip To Sundarban :
  • Sundarban being situated in Ganges Delta can only be accessed by waterways and this proves to be a main barrier of spotting Tiger in Sundarban when compared to other Tiger Reserves.
  • Sundarban has much more to offer other than the Tiger. As suggested to us by Dipankar Da, please do not visit Sundarban with a hope of spotting Tiger. You can easily spot Tiger at other Tiger Reserves other than Sundarban. Instead try to feel and enjoy the other part of the beauty and wildlife that Sundarban has to offer. And then you won't return with a dissapointment.
  • Please spend the extra bucks to hire a proper Naturalist instead of saving up on a general Guide and I can guarantee that you'd return with a different perspective about Wildlife. As Sundarban do not offer any Safari, a good Naturalist can keep you engaged and develop the love for Wildlife in you, while traversing through Waterways for hours which can seem to be quite boring otherwise.
  • I know I can't make much a difference here, but please try to maintain the ecology of nature. So Smoking, Drinking and Playing loud music inside STR is a strict no. Please refrain from throwing anything in water and instead use the provided wastebins in the boat. I know you'd come across many such instances where you'd notice other tourists drinking and partying on boat but that's what the line of difference you need to draw.
  • One must be aware that Smoking, Drinking and Playing loud music in boats are strictly prohibited inside STR. But due to lack of vigilence, some tourists do that. Even though it doesn't directly affects you, but once caught, the boat owners license is suspended immidiately without much scope for argument. And you as a tourist can be booked with heavy fine.
  • Forest Officials are highly strict about such issues, and thus if you notice such things hapenning, you can report to Forest Officials at Sajnekhali with the Name and Number of the boat.
  • Thus if you think for a while, the boats which allows these even with such a risk, differs a lot in quality of service. I too have seen such people approaching tour operators to plan a trip to Sundarban with such faicilities where they can drink and doesn't much bother about exploring the same. And in those cases, tour operators will definately fix you up with such quality of services which you'd never like to get in your wilder dreams.
  • Try staying away from crowded nuisance areas like Pakhiraloy if you can afford. This would definately be a different experience altogether.
  • Best is to opt for hotels / homestays / framstays unless you are a young group with adventure in your heart. If you do opt to stay in boat do not forget to carry proper accessories as facilites are very limited out there. And don't forget mosquito repellent at any cost if you are planning to stay in boat.
  • Sundarban being connected to waterways, one can theoritically reach Sundarban by any means. But if you are interested in exploring the STR, try approaching it via Canning. One may approach via Jharkhali too, but that significantly increases the boat cost as STR is a bit far from Jharkhali.
  • I too was previously was confused with so many "Khali's" which simply means Khal in Bengali, but a glance at Google Maps can help you in this regard.
  • The most common points to start for STR in Eastern Sundarban is via Sonakhali, Jharkhali & Godkhali among the lots of other points, which can be approached via Canning, Baruipur, Basanti Highway and various other means. Try sticking to Canning - Godkhali route which is considered as best way to approach STR.
  • If you are planning for Western Sundarban you can approach it from Namkhana, Ramganga, Kakdwip, Bakkhali etc.

Pro Tip : Luckily but unknowingly, we visited at the best time, during Neap Tide (Mora Kotal) which is calculated from 7th or 8th day after Spring Tide. During Neap Tide there's almost least difference between between high tide and low tide which helps you to explore the beauty of Sundarban. As one mostly needs to traverse through the forest by waterdays these theories plays a big role out there. The livelihood out there are clocked based on the tides as the boats needs to follow along with the Upstream (Ujan) and Downstream (Kujan). And as the STR closing time is around 4:30 PM, timing your moves along with the same helps a lot.

Cost Saving Tips:
  • The main cost of Sundarban is hiring the boat which is a lumpsum amount other than the negligible cost of fooding and lodging.
  • The boats can generally be categorized into in two variants - Small and Large. The small boat can easily accomodate 10-12 pax. So visiting in a group of atleast 10 pax always helps to keep the per head cost on lower side.
  • Generally the smaller variants charges anywhere between 10k - 16k for 2N/3D per day depending on the season. Ofcourse the price goes up on weekends due to obvious reasons.
  • If you are choosing to not to stay in boat, the lodging cost depends on the category of establishment. Lots of choices are available at various islands for various budgets. Basic stays around Pakhiraloy starts from 800/- per day
  • Pro Tip : Never ever try to book things on spot. As there are limited numbers of boats available with proper permissions to traverse through STR, the idle boats around Jharkhali / Godkhali simply charges hefty amount. So best is to book a package with boat and fooding along with optional lodging as per your preferences.

Review :
Patratal Farmstay : Frankly speaking, even though the name Patratal have been coined by Sajal Da himself with reference to Patal in the age of Puranas but the word "Farmstay" has been coined by us after he asking for suggestions. Yes we could have suggested him terms like "Eco Resort", "Homestay" but believe me unless you make it here it's difficult to explain the significance of the word Farmstay in this case. Everything out there is so natural and organic. Sajal Da, being an ardent nature lover, carefully developed and maintained everything without disturbing the natural ecology there. All the meals are served right from his organic farm. Even though the rooms and size of washrooms was a bit small, but the ambience of the place is something which makes up to everything. We noticed two more properties nearby his place, one being Tora Resort by Vivada and another from Help Tourism. Although those properties are far off from this one, but so does the cost. If you are someone who is not barred by cost, then you may surely approach*either of them without any hesitation. We noticed few more properties were coming up but not completed yet. It makes me feel like, the day is not so far, when Bali Island will turn into another Pakhiraloy.

Sajal Da & His Wife

Cost :
We traded off at a package cost of Rs. 5000/- per head for 2N/3D including everything from Godkhali - Godkhali. This would have been around Rs. 3700/- if we choosed to stay at Pakhiraloy and opt-out of Naturalist. Well, frankly speaking, both the packages that Dipankar Da offered around our budget was far better than the peoples we have been speaking for a while. And I must mention that, we absolutely took the right decission as the tour would have not been such memorable without naturalists like Anirban Da & Sajal Da among us. Staying at Patratal Farmstay at Bali Island proved to be a key experience for us "Into The Wilderness". Now that I have been there I can vouch for it and in the meanwhile I'm damn sure about the ruined experience if we choosed to stay at Pakhiraloy. I'm proud to say that we choose to be different by respecting our Mother Nature. Thanks to Dipankar Da for taking us into confidence.

Permits :
Though in 99% of the cases you don't need to manage this on your own, if you are booking a package tour, which is recommended way to visit Sundarban due to various issues. But I'm posting this information here for the remaining 1% of people who might want to make it on their own. To visit STR, one needs to make permits at Sajnekhali which costs Rs. 30/- per head. Boat Entry Fee is charged at 400/- and if you plan to visit the WB Tourism Watch Tower at Sajnekhali, it's charged at Rs. 20/- per head extra. Hiring a Guide is mandatory and the same is charged at Rs. 400/- per day with night charges extra if you are hiring him for multiple days.

Please note that the above charges are for Weekdays and for Indian Nationals. On weekends and govt. holidays, all the charges just turn double. For foreigners, charges are bit extra.

Generally there are limited number guides available in Sundarban. Forest Officials promotes locals to make a livelihood by making them participate in tourism industry. So it's quite possible that there's no Guide on a particular day for you to hire and in that you must ask Forest Officials to mention the same as "No Guide" in permit. And in that case, if you are staying and visiting STR for multiple days, you need to follow the same each day. But if you happen to find and hire a Guide, then you can go ahead with permit for multiple days at once.

And if you are only visiting Sajnekhali Nature Interpretation Center, which is highly unlikely, in that case you can just go ahead with Land Permit for the same.

Left : Anirban Da, Right : Dipankar Da

Contacts :

Patratal Farmstay - Sajal Da : +91-98311-08161

Anirban Chaudhuri, Naturalist : +91-96746-65602

Dipankar Roy, North East Tour & Travels : +91-89722-47306 / +91-94745-94446. You may contact him for arrangement of a package as a whole.
#2 Feb 21st, 2017, 18:56
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  • iamsomnath is offline
Fine , crisp TR
#3 Feb 21st, 2017, 19:01
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London (UK) (Current) & Pali Hill, Bombay (IN)
  • ViShVa is offline
Marvellous, comprehensive and beautifully illustrated trip report!
#4 Feb 22nd, 2017, 15:42
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Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post Fine , crisp TR
Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post Marvellous, comprehensive and beautifully illustrated trip report!
Thank You
#5 Nov 22nd, 2017, 13:31
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  • Popeye_1984 is offline

It seems that you and your group went there by private vehicles. I'm also planning a trip there with my car (sedan). Kindly elaborate on the condition of roads upto Gadkhali and where to park my car for 2 nights at Gadkhali.

#6 Nov 22nd, 2017, 21:43
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  • Suparna Acharya is offline
Originally Posted by Popeye_1984 View Post Hi,

It seems that you and your group went there by private vehicles. I'm also planning a trip there with my car (sedan). Kindly elaborate on the condition of roads upto Gadkhali and where to park my car for 2 nights at Gadkhali.

Frankly speaking, I have no idea about routes and all :P I travelled with some of my known contacts and they had a vehicle. As far as I remember we took the route through Baruipur and the road condition was very good (except few stretches)

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