Tiger Essay

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Thrilling Tiger Tales West Bengal Sunderbans West Bengal Sunderbans The Royal Bengal Tiger, which is at home in the Sunderbans, the delta formed by Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, is the largest tiger in the world. One of the best ways to observe and to get close to this magnificent, year fearsome, animal is by taking a boat ride in the delta. Anupam Chanda B y the time the initial rush of getting on a boat headed towards Sunderbans subsided, we were treading down the middle of the Matla river headed for the interiors of the self-sustaining ecosystem, a world heritage site, the largest delta on earth, a biosphere reserve, and the biggest mangrove tiger habitat comprising 104 islands covering an area of 3,500 sq kms. Cloudy skies, choppy waters, excited faces, a crowded deck, buoyant spirits, bright dresses, a fresh river breeze, fried prawns and loads of excitement. Barely two hours after having set sail, we were into wide spaces. With the low tide, the engine was on a smooth chug as the coastlines got thinner. Soon we were crossing the confluence territory where as many as five, seven and sometimes even eleven huge rivers met. No coastline, eye balled water world, frequent movement between bow & stern trying to figure coordinates, tourists crowding the deck. The only man at ease was the 42 year old boatman Tarok Mondal. Turned out quite a sport, engaged in multitasking from the beginning, a smiling captain of the ship, in complete control. Mondal turned out to be quite a guy as he revealed slowly, post a late lavish crab curry lunch, sailing into the dark blue horizon towards the Bay of Bengal. Mondal is boatman for three months, and dividing the rest of his year as a honey collector, a wood cutter and also an occasional farmer. Offering prayers to Bonbibi (forest Goddess) has Tourism become a daily ritual for him. His house in Himalganj is under construction

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