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Sunderbans, West Bengal, India


This is where the Ganga River meets the Indian Ocean, a huge expanse of mangrove covered islands and estuaries that change salinity with the tides. The Sunderbans is the largest river delta in the world and also the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world. It's home to the largest population of Royal Bengal tigers in India and also some of the world's largest crocodiles, which can get to be over 20 ft. long and big around enough to hold two grown men. Every year villagers are killed by the local wildlife. We went about in a large boat through the uninhabited regions of the wildlife sanctuary. Since the islands are heavily forested and we were confined either to the boat or to very limited, fenced-in walkways on a couple of the islands, we did not see much of the unique wildlife (except baby crocs at a breeding station). No doubt, the water, too, teems with life, including elusive pods of rare freshwater dolphins, but it's too full of silt to see anything at all. For this reason, this area felt wild to me, and mysterious, a place where a thousand eyes peer at us, unsentimentally, but we are blithely unaware. 

[-Usha Alexander, Oct 05]

Crossing the river

Mangroves

Fishing boat

Baby crocodile


Lily pond


Villagers


Curly waterway


Sunderban sunset


Mollusk


Low tide


Fishing boat


Sonakhali transportation


MV Madhukar


Little egret


Flora


Brackish delta water


Boat graveyard


Pneumatophores


Sunderban island


Ground water


Mangroves


Mangroves


Mangroves


Mangroves


Sunset


Packed boat


Fishermen


Baby crocodile


Chital deer


Flooded island at high tide


Boat stranded at low tide


Gosaba


Mangroves


Mangroves


Mangroves


Mangroves


Local dwelling


Boat convoy


Local ferry service


River transport


Fisherman


Crab and mollusk


Fish farms near Sonakhali


Fish farms near Sonakhali

       

 

 

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