Sundarbans is the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989 after it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. It is also the largest delta and estuarine national park in the world. Adding another feather to the cap, it is the home to the Royal Bengal tiger and crocodiles.
Not many people are aware that there is a luxury Cruise liner that dwells in the back waters there. The M.V. Paramhansa is a 4 decked vessel, equipped with ultra modern rooms and luxurious onboard facilities. They provide a 3 nights – 4 days tour of the region, which starts from Kolkata. It is a chance to see exotic marine life in their natural habitats, including Estuarine crocodiles, Gangetic dolphins, Olive Ridley turtles, otters and various types of mollusc, fishes and snakes.
The Cruise offers a glimpse into the rich bio-diversity of the region along with a peek into the lifestyle of the locals in that area.
Day one begins from the Millenuim Park jetty in Kolkata in the morning. The Cruise liner passes many old ghats of the city before dropping anchor at it’s first stop at Namkhana. This is the entry point into the Sundarbans and a fisherman’s cove.
The next day begins with a spectacular sunrise. The guests get to explore a busy fishing harbour and a chance to know it’s nuances in detail. The second day also takes the guests into denser mangroves, when the liner navigates the narrow creek of Hatania – Doania. The guests have a choice of visiting Lothian island, a forest trail or the Bhagabatpur Crocodile reserve. After the vessel drops anchor, the guests can visit smaller islands taking lesser known creeks.
Day three starts with visiting a beautiful village called Bali. Here, the locals still follow traditional methods of farming. Sudhonyakhali is the island most frequented by Royal Bengal Tigers.
On day four, the return journey starts back to Kolkata. This time around, one gets to see the old port of Diamond Harbour and the industrial town of Haldia on the other side of the river.