My Sunderbans trip happened twice: once with a lover and once with my family. As you can imagine, for the first time, I was very young, giddy in love, and observed absolutely nothing. It was wrong in all senses. I dressed inappropriately, behaved culturally inappropriately, and did not do justice to one of the most intriguing places in the world.
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Sunderbans trip during monsoon
On my second Sunderbans trip – something that happened after nearly 18 years – I was a quieter, wiser, and more observant person. I took in the sights and sounds, the smells, and the feelings. The colours of a place that vanished and appeared twice a day were extraordinary and the heat was so intense that I felt as if I was melting. There was rain too since it was monsoon – different kinds of rains: some slanting vicious ones with drops that were as sharp as needles, some brief deluges that seemed like a waterfall from the sky; and occasionally some showers that were soft, silvery, and floating. These were accompanied by winds of different strengths, thunder, and lightning and once again I was struck by the magical colours of the place.
The colours of the delta
These colours were volatile, brilliant, and multi-hued. There were the emerald and neon green of the forests; the most gorgeous sea-green of the water, and a sort of grayish gold of the mud banks. Then were browns of the mangrove shoots, of the sturdy bodies of the locals of the ´matir desh´ (as Sunderbans is locally known), and their simple houses. The skies were always dramatic, irrespective of whether they were powder blue or a brooding steel grey and we even had an amazing sunset as well as a rainbow.
Sights of our Sunderbans trip
During our Sunderbans trip, we saw boats of all kinds. Large beached boats – their wooden hulks lying on the banks like whales, boats ferrying people, animals, and goods; islands inhabited by people and others that were homes to animals; and strange, vast river confluences called mohonas. Nature ran wild there (pun intended). We saw multi-coloured crabs scurrying into holes in the mud, strange-looking flowers of brilliant hues, golden arrow-like deers, and as luck would have it, even a tiger. It padded out from one of the hundreds of small islands that dot the delta, looked left and right, and swam across the narrow creek to the other island – just like that and we watched in awe, holding our breaths. All this happened in just 3 days and 2 nights.
The pleasure of a guided group cruise
For the first time, I left my prejudice against mass tourism aside and was on a guided group Sunderbans trip. It was nice to have someone else be in charge of the travel arrangements and it was a pleasant (and inexpensive) experience. Our company was a mixed bag, the facilities were excellent and the food was amazing. I ate my favourite Bengali dishes, relaxed, read, spent quiet time with my mother, and took in my surroundings. Overall, I enjoyed myself very much. Here is a photo essay of the Sunderbans trip. These are guaranteed to make you want to pack your bags and leave.
Follow the rest of the West Bengal series
- KOLKATA FUN FACTS
- JHARGRAM: RED EARTH COUNTRY
- WORKERS OF KOLKATA AND THEIR JOBS
- CALCUTTA LOVES TO READ: A PHOTO ESSAY
- KOLKATA PHOTO ESSAY
- POSTCARDS FROM FROM OUR DARJEELING TRIP
- THIS IS MY CALCUTTA
- PURULIA CHHAU MASK DANCE
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE