Sundarbans is one of the most visited tourist places in West Bengal, known for being one of the largest natural habitats of the world famous Royal Bengal Tigers. However, this area of Bengal offers travelers more exploration options than just the well-known mangrove forests of Sundarbans. Tourists can also add places listed below to their travel itinerary, and the best thing is you can visit these places keeping Sunderbans as your base.
Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary: It is situated at the confluence of rivers Malta and Gumdi. Sajnekhali hosts a variety of bird species. You can get a scenic view of the lush green Sundarban mangroves from the watch tower and spot deers, tigers, etc. There is a Nature Interpretation Centre that can be visited for more personal insights into the lives of the people of Sundarbans. Do visit the turtle farm, the crocodile farm and the pond inhabited by sharks for the true feel of the forest. One can spend time at leisure watching the boats sail in the river. If you are lucky you can also spot some rare animals. It is also a perfect place for bird watching as you can spot many exotic birds (such as Spotted Billed Pelican, Caspian Tern, Fish Eagle, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey Herring Gull, Open Billed Stork), different varieties of herons (such as Green Backed Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Grey heron), and White Ibis, Kingfisher, Egret, Paradise Flycatcher, etc. just to name a few. The very unique Asian Dowitchers also migrate here during winters.
Kapil Muni Ashram: Situated on Gangasagar or Sagardwip, at the confluence of river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal. It is easily accessible from Kolkata through Namkhana. It is a place of Hindu pilgrimage and every year during Makar Sankranti uncountable pilgrims gather here to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy water, which is believed to wash away their sins.
Kanak: The island of Kanak in Sundarbans consists of the beautiful nesting beaches of Olive Ridley Turtles (one of the smallest types of turtles in the world and an endangered species), that travel upriver up to a 100 km from the mouth of the sea into the shallow waters of the Sundarbans to breed. Another attraction of Kanak Island is the tigers. Travellers can also spot huge dolphins, porpoise, fishing cats, Indian fox, jungle cats, Indian civets, grey mongoose, deer, wild pigs, flying fox, monkeys and pangolin in the jungles.
Jambu Dwip: A mangrove island that can be reached within 30-45 minutes in a boat from Bakkhali. It is about 130 km from the city of Kolkata, situated in the peninsular region of West Bengal. It is a small island whose ends can be met within the corners of your eyes. It is a mesmerizingly beautiful island with almost no footfall. Travellers can spot migratory birds, seabirds and red crabs here.
Henry Island: Located in Bakkhali, around 130 km from Kolkata, it is another isolated island with almost no visitors on a regular day. The path leading to this virgin beach is really one from perfect photography books. The lush green canopy of trees almost forms a concave entrance before you step into the beach. The sand is shiny and white, and the water blue-green. It is perfect for a quiet getaway.