Suddenly we were told that we would be going for a night safari. This was going to be the icing on the cake. We hurriedly got out of our bed and got ready to head into the mangrove forests at night. We had been told that the night-time brought with it many magnificent sights. We were all put into 3-4 small boats and were on our way to explore the mystery of Sunderbans.
The boats were slow and that added to the whole romance of the river. The water flowed silently and we were making our way through it. The mangroves were a different sight now than in the morning. The tide starts to get up in the evening and the high tide occurs normally close to midnight. Water level rises and all the animals go deep inside the forest as night falls. The sunken forest has a very eerie feel to it and the moon makes it even more mysterious. The trees that were once securely held to the ground by the roots were now seemingly floating in water. The paddling of the oar was the only sound in the otherwise silent land. The mangrove forests of Sunderbans breathe in and out and the show is there for all to see who visit.
Formed by the silt washed down from the Himalayas by the rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra, the vast tract of the Sunderbans stretches along two hundred and sixty kilometers of the coast of the Bay of Bengal, spanning India and Bangladesh in an area covering nine and a half thousand square kilometers. Big portions of the Sunderbans are protected by the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site and various other acts and reservations like Tiger Reserve, National Park, Biosphere Reserve, and Reserve Forest. The larger portion of this mangrove forest is in Bangladesh, nearly 2/3rd. The tiger is an endangered cat, and if serious efforts are not made it might also become the latest victim of our race’s mad quest for land and resources. Emily Dickenson puts this forward in the form of a poem that truly touches hearts and makes one sit up and take notice. If you have to hit it, hit it hard.
A Dying Tiger, moaned for Drink,
I hunted all the Sand,
I caught the Dripping of a Rock,
And bore it in my Hand.
His Mighty Balls, in death were thick,
But searching, I could see,
A Vision on the Retina,
Of Water, and of me.
‘Twas not my blame, who sped too slow,
‘Twas not his blame, who died,
While I was reaching him,
But ’twas, the fact that He was dead.
This very rightly portrays the sad story of many animals today. The end result of all our comforts is that we are slowly and slowly erasing our friends from the planet. Visiting the Sunderbans and the other nature reserves makes one realize what needs to be done to protect the environment and preserve it. As travelers it is our duty to make more and more people aware of the dangers to such rampant misuse of resources. The night safari gave me enough time to sit and think about my reasons to travel. Seeing new places and experiencing the world is an obvious reason but it is also my love for nature and all things living that makes me travel. One of the reasons why me and my partner Shreya also gel so well is because of her love of nature. This bond thickens the already thick travel bond. The tour to Sunderbans came to an end the next afternoon and we went our ways. This trip will always remain close to my heart and I wish that more and more people can see the place and experience what I experienced.