ICT Engineering – Gediminas

Practical placement in Kolkata, India

Sundarbans National Park

Globe at Sajnekhali Sundarban Tiger Reserve

Surdarbans National Park

By reading this post you will get an overview of what the Sundarbans National Park tour is like.  The guided tour which I had with my flatmates took only 2 days and this is the longest post ever.

Day 1

Since this is a tour I didn’t expect much from the bus, but it was surprisingly comfortable. We got sandwiches for breakfast and a bottle of drinking water each. During the trip we had small stop to go to the “toilet” and to drink Chai.

During the first part of the trip I saw more cows than in Kolkata until now. More specifically I saw more than 250 cows just on the way, while the Cow Count that I had going in Kolkata was only at 27 in two months.

The trip to the place where were supposed to sleep in consists of a bus ride, a ferry boat, a cycle rickshaw:

Cycle rickshaw

“Like the wind.”

And a motor boat:

Ferry near Sundarbans National Park

“Land Ho!”

When we reached land, the thing that amazed us was how fast the water level changes. When we first arrived it looked something like this:

High tide near the Eco-village

High tide near the Eco-village

And in the evening it looked something like this:

Low tide near Eco-village

Low tide near Eco-village

When we reached the place where were supposed to sleep we were very happy that each bed had a mosquito net. Also the rooms had fancy names like:

Bob Marley Cottage at a Eco-village

Bob Marley Cottage

Clint Eastwood Cottage at a Eco-village

Clint Eastwood Cottage

Jack Sparrow's Cabin at a Eco-village

Jack Sparrow’s Cabin

When we have put our stuff in the rooms we got served lunch, which was a delicious rice and vegetable meal:

Rice meal at a Eco-village

How did they know that carbohydrates go well with non-starchy vegetables?

Then we had a short break during which I volunteered to help a local laborer carry his bricks, because I always wanted to know what it feels like to carry heavy things on your head like this:

Laborer at a Eco-village

“The hustle never ends.”

It is actually easier than carrying the bricks in your hands. The part that got me worried was how was I supposed to put them down carefully, but it turns out you only need to throw them down.

After the break we went for a walk around the village. The village was very peaceful and the guide told us some interesting things about the living conditions that these people live in:

Cow pies near the Eco-village

“When these will be ripe, they will be used as coal.”

Since the villagers live without electricity or running water and the situation in the Eco-village was almost the same, the guides told us a poem that they have conjured up:

“Twenty four hours
No electricity, no shower,
Only jungle power –
Still smelling like a flower.”

After the walk we went on a boat ride in the nearby river:

Boat ride near the Eco-village

“This would be a good time to tell you that I can’t swim.”

We stopped at the beach on the other side of the river. It was covered in mud and we were told that this mud is brought to Europe and America to be sold for a high price for use in spa’s and here we had it for free. India is the richest country in the world…

Mud fight near the Eco-village

As was well until somebody started a mud fight…

After the boat ride we had another break and waited for dinner. Before dinner we got a local Yoga teacher to show us some of his moves. Although they claimed it was Yoga, to me it reminded of the B-Boying lessons back in Lithuania:

Yoga at the Eco-village

♫ “Uprockin’, floor-droppin’, spinnin’ and glidin’…” ♫

One move in particular I was able to make into a Turtle, but the things that he did with his legs behind his head, I was too old for:

Yoga at the Eco-village

“There I was, surrounded by tigers, so I got into a combat position.”

After the Yoga class we got dinner and entertainment from local musicians. I don’t even know the names of their instruments, but the music was still better than the one people play during Durga Puja:

Musicians at the Eco-village

Some musicians felt the music better than the others.

Before going to bed we were able to see stars, which is a rare sight in the city. My flatmates had suggested that we get up early to see the sunrise and I agreed.

Day 2

We got up at 4AM and it was dark until 5:30AM. Also, according to Sod’s first law, the sky had to be cloudy. Anyway, the view was pretty nice and now I’m using the picture of it as my wallpaper (compliments to the Sunrise setting on the Galaxy S2):

Sunrise at an Eco-village

“Let’s go see the sunrise” they said.

When everyone got up, we went to get on-board a big boat which was supposed to take us to the first tourist location. All the meals that day were served on-board. The breakfast was very similar to the one I had eaten that week in Kolkata, but I didn’t know so much about it back then.

The boat which takes you around Sundarbans

♫ “I never thought I’d be on a boat.” ♫

On the boat there was one thing that reminded me of Lithuania, but I’m not sure why:

Support frame in the boat in Sundarbans National Park

Maybe it had something to do with these colors…

At the first location, the locals weren’t very happy seeing us:

Except for the guide who was supposed to show us around the reserve.  After a tour of the reserve we went into a small museum where he told us about all the different species that can be found in the park and which route we were going to take:

Guide at Sanjekhali Sundarban Tiger Reserve

He is not as strict as he looks.

In the morning the tide was low so we could see the different colors that the trees had had, because of the water:

Low tide in Sundarbans National Park

Nature doesn’t need Photoshop.

In the first location there were no tigers, but saw plants the grow even with a salty water supply:

The path in Dobanki Camp

The path in Dobanki Camp

Non-salty water pond in Dobanki Camp

Non-salty water pond in Dobanki Camp

Mangrove plantation in Dobanki Camp

Mangrove plantation in Dobanki Camp

The good thing about the boat trip in between the islands is that, whenever we would see a wild animal, the boat would turn around and get closer so that we could take pictures:

Crocodile at Sundarbans National Park

Crocodile pretending to be still.

And we didn’t need to worry about food at this point also, because Chai, biscuits, sweets, fruit, drinking water were still served on the boat constantly.

Then there came the time where we would go to the main reserves where we could see all kinds of rare animals, but one monkey in particular, was very entertaining:

Monkey at Sundarbans National Park

“All the visitors, please follow me.”

Monkey at Sundarbans National Park

“Just a little bit further…”

Monkey at Sundarbans National Park

“And now you know where the Exit is. Bye.”

Also, we were even lucky enough to see the main attraction of this park – a Tiger:

Tiger at Sundarbans National Park

“Crickey Mate… What a Beauty!”

After the day spent on the boat we saw the tide go up and the nature change again:

High tide at Sundarbans National Park

High tide at Sundarbans National Park

In the evening we reached the Eco-village and it was time to start our journey back with the sunset behind us:

Sunset at Sundarbans National Park

Galaxy S2 Sunset settings

After the first motor boat we took rickshaws and, because the tide was low again, we had to take another boat instead of the ferry boat. After the second motor boat we were back on the bus home.

I would recommend going there for more days than 2, because price increases very slightly, the food is delicious and there is more to see in the park than in just two days.

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