Destination Bangladesh : Khulna Division
Khulna division is in the southwest part of Bangladesh has an area of 22274 sq. km and a population of 14.47 million. There are 10 districts and 28 municipalities under Khulna. It has the world's biggest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. In Khulna town you can visit Khulna Museum and Zoo.
Main tourist spots in Khulna division :
Ø Sundarban :
Sundarban is the world biggest mangrove forest. In Bangladesh tourism, Sundarban plays the most vital role. A large number of foreigners come to Bangladesh every year only to visit this unique mangrove forest. Besides, local tourists also go to visit Sundarban every year. The area of great Sundarban is approximately 6000 sq. km.
Ø General Information about Sudarban :
AREA : Nearly 2400 sq. miles or 6000 sq. km.
FOREST LIMITS : North-Bagerhat, Khulna and Sathkira districts : South-Bay of Bengal; East-Baleswar (or Haringhata) river, Perojpur, Barisal district, and West-Raimangal and Hariabhanga rivers which partially form Bangladesh boundary with West Bengal in India.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS : Wildlife photography including photography of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger, wildlife viewing, boating inside the forest will call recordings, nature study, meeting fishermen, wood-cutters and honey-collectors, peace and tranquility in the wilderness, seeing the world's largest mangrove forest and the revering beauty.
The Sundarbans are the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world, stretching 80km (50mi) into the Bangladeshi hinterland from the coast. The forests aren't just mangrove swamps though; they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles, which once covered the Gangetic plain.
The Sundarbans cover an area of 38,500 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water.
Since 1966 the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area.
Sundarbans is home to many different species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes. Over 120 species of fish and over 260 species of birds have been recorded in the Sundarbans. The Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangeticus) is common in the rivers. No less than 50 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are known to occur. The Sundarbans now support the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water Crocodile (Crocodiles paresis) in Bangladesh, and that population is estimated at less than two hundred individuals
Here land and water meet in many novel fashions, Wildlife presents many a spectacle. No wonder, you may come across a Royal Bengal Tiger swimming across the streams or the crocodiles basking on the riverbanks.
With the approach of the evening herds of deer make for the darking glades where boisterous monkeys shower Keora leaves from above for sumptuous meal for the former. For the botanist, the lover of nature, the poet and the painter this land provides a variety of wonder for which they all crave.
It's beauty lies in its unique natural surrounding. Thousands of meandering streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm. Sundarbans meaning beautiful forest is the natural habitat of the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards, theses monkey and an innumerable variety of beautiful birds. Migratory flock of Siberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, golpatta (round-leaf), fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural beauty of the Sundarbans.
This is indeed a land for the sportsmen, the anglers and the photographers with its abundance of game, big and small, crocodile, wild boar, deer, pythons, wild-birds and above all the Royal Bengal Tiger, cunning, ruthless and yet majestic and graceful, For the less adventurously inclined, there are ducks and snipes, herons and coots, yellow-lags and sandpipers. It is also the land for the ordinary holiday makers who desire to rest or wander around at will to refresh their mind and feast their eyes with the rich treasure that nature has so fondly bestowed.
Ø Means of Communication :
Water transport is the only means of communication for visiting the Sundarbans from Khulna or Mongla Port. Private motor launch, speedboats, country boats as well as mechanized vessel of Mongla Port Authority might be hired for the purpose. From Dhaka visitors may travel by air, road or rocket steamer to Khulna - the gateway to the Sundarbans. Most pleasant journey from Dhaka to Khulna is by Paddle Steamer, Rocket presenting a picturesque panorama of rural Bangladesh. Day and nightlong coach services by road are also available. The quickest mode is by air from Dhaka to Jessore and then to Khulna by road.
Ø Journey time :
It varies depending on tides against or in favor in the river. Usually it takes 8 to 10 hours journey by motor vessel from Mongla to Hiron Point or Katka.
Ø Famous Spots :
The main tourist spots in Sundarban are Karamjol, Katka, Kochikhali, Hiron point and Mandarbaria. Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and natural beauty. Katka for deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and monkey, morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali (Tiger Point) provides opportunities for wild tracking. Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer.
Ø Dublar Char :
(Island) for fishermen. It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are often seen to graze.
Ø Katka :
Katka is one of Heritage sites in Sunderban. In Katka there is a wooden watching tower of 40 ft. high from where you can enjoy the scenic beauty of Sunderban. A beautiful sea beach is there is Katka; you will enjoy while you are walking to go the beach from the watching tower. Verities birds are visible in Katka.
Ø Hiran point :
This is another tourist spot in Sunderban. It is called the world heritage state. You can enjoy the beauty of wild nature and dotted dears walking and running in Hiron point.
There are also two other Heritage side in Sunderban; one is Kochikhali and the other is Mandarbaria where you will find dears and birds. If you are lucky you can see the Great Royal Bengal Tiger, but for sure you can at least see the stepping of Great Royal Bengal Tiger here and there in these spots.
Ø Karamjol :
Karamjol is a forest station for the Rangers. Here you can see a dear breeding center. To visit Sunderban you need to go there with a guide and it is even better if you go there with a group. You can stay two/three days in Sunderban depending on your desire and requirements. One-day tour is not enough for Sundarban as you will not be able to see the nature in haste. For one-day tour you can go up to Karamjol and at a glance visit the outer portion of Sunderban forest areas.
In your Sunderban tour you will be able to see a lots of verities birds (a heaven for the bird watchers), can watch the fishing in the river by the fishermen, if you wish you can ask your tour operator to give a stopover in the fishermen villages to watch their lifestyle, see lots of animals like monkeys, various types Dears, foxes, Crocodiles, Snakes and if you are lucky person you will be able to see the greatest mystery of Sunderban -The Royal Bengal Tiger. Sunderban is one of main sources to collect pure honey. You should not forget to buy some pure honey. Another inexpressible and unforgettable beauty you can enjoy if you can match your timing of tour in full moon. In the full moon the nights in Sunderban could be one of the most memorable nights for your whole life.
Other necessary Information about Sundarban Tour :
Ø Guided Tours :
To feel the beauty of Sunderban you will have to go inside Sunderban & visit at least the most common tourist spots of Sunderban, specially the four-heritage side of Katka, Hiron point, Mandarbaria & Kachikhali. It will require minimum two nights stay in Sunderban to visit these spots and if you are in a group you can ask your tour operator to make it three, four or five night tour package as per your desire ness to invent the real beauty of Sunderban in your Package tour program. In Sunderban visit, all the way you will have to go by tourist launch and spend your night also in the launch as no hotel or motel facilities are available there inside of Sunderban. In this tour your foods and water will be supplied from the tourist launch only. So to visit the great Sundarban you will have to decide in advance how many days you want to spent in Sunderban - accordingly your tour operator will arrange and preserve year foods and water. Tour operators offers all-inclusive guided package fours from Dhaka to Sundarbans and return during the tourist season (October to March).
Ø Climate :
Climate in the Sundarbans is moderate. Air is humid. Full monsoon is from June to September. The annual rainfall average between 65" and 70". During ebb tide the forest becomes bare by 6-7 feet and at high tide (30 miles and hour) the entire territory of the forest floats on water.
Ø Life in Forest :
Only means of transportation inside the forest is boat. There is no road, no trail of a path anywhere. The woodcutters make temporary dwellings at the edge of the forest at a height of 8-10 feet for fear of wild animals others live on boats. In the chandpai region it is fascinating to see the nomadic fishermen (living with families on boats) catching fish with the help of trained offers. Exciting activities take place in Dublar Char in the forest where fishermen from Chittagong gather for four months (mid Oct. to mid Feb.) to catch and dry fish. But the most daring and exciting of all activities is presented by the honey-collectors who work in groups for just two months (April-May) and it is interesting to see how they locate a hive and then collect honey.
Ø Flora and Fauna :
The Sundarbans is endowed by nature with rich flora and fauna. It is a wonderful place to see or to shoot a Royal Bengal Tiger with Camera if one has the time to wait in the forest. There are a good number of tigers in the Sundarbans. Lovely spotted deer are easy to find. Besides there are a wide variety of wildlife for which the Sundarbans is so famous.
Ø Tourist season & Shooting :
Best time to visit the Sundarbans is from October to March. Exciting honey collection season is during April-May. Hunting is prohibited by law in the country for the preservation of wildlife. Certain species of birds, however, can be shot with prior permission of the Divisional Forest Officer, Khulna.
N.B : Special notes to the tourist to remember again - do not go in side of the forest without your guide and proper securities while your are in Sunderban.
It is the second largest seaport of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh Economy Mongla Port plays a vital role. There are a good number of prawn hatcheries in Mongla.
Ø Shat Gambuj Mosque :
In mid-15th century, a Muslim colony was founded in the inhospitable mangrove forest of the Sundarbans near the seacoast in the Bagerhat district by an obscure saint-General, named Ulugh Khan Jahan. He was the earliest torch bearer of Islam in the South who laid the nucleus of an affluent city during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1442-59), then known as 'Khalifalabad' (present Bagerhat). Khan Jahan aborned his city with numerous mosques, tanks, roads and other public buildings, the spectacular ruins of which are focused around the most imposing and largest multidomed mosques in Bangladesh, known as the Shait-Gumbad Masjid (160'X108'). The stately fabric of the monument, serene and imposing, stands on the eastern bank of an unusually vast sweet-water tank, clustered around by the heavy foliage of a low-laying countryside, characteristic of a sea-coast landscape. So in the year 1459 the great Azam Ulugh Khan Jahan established this mosque, which called Shat Gambuj Mosjid. In Bengali Shat means the number 60. Though it is called Shat Gambuj Mosjid, actually the numbers of Gamboj in the mosque are 81. The mosque roofed over with 77 squat domes, including 7 chauchala or four-sided pitched Bengali domes in the middle row. The vast prayer hall, although provided with 11 arched doorways on east and 7 each on north and south for ventilation and light, presents a dark and somber appearance inside. It is divided into 7 longitudinal aisles and 11 deep bays by a forest of slender stone columns, from which springs rows of endless arches, supporting the domes. Six feet thick, slightly tapering walls and hollow and round, almost detached corner towers, resembling the bastions of fortress, each capped by small rounded cupolas, recall the Tughlaq architecture of Delhi.
The general appearance of this noble monument with its stark simplicity but massive character reflects the strength and simplicity of the builder. This mosque is 160 ft long and 108 ft. in its width. This is one of the most beautiful archeological and historical Mosque in Bangladesh made by red burn mud.
The archeological beauty of this Mosque enchants the tourist till now. Besides this Mosque an archeological museum is there where you can find that times archeological and historical materials.
Ø Shrine of Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali :
Besides the Shat Gambuj Mosque, shrine of Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali is only 3 km ahead. You can go there by rickshaw (a three wheeled peddler). A great number of tourist goes the shrine to pray for this great man Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali. From this shrine a steamer goes to the Thakur Dighi where you will find the ancient crocodiles in this Dighi. (Dighi is a local name of larger pond) Besides this Dighi a Nine Gambuj Mosque is an attraction also for the tourists.
Ø Shagordari (Jessore) :
This is another tourist spot, which is in Jessore district, under Khulna Division. Sagordari is famous for the residence of Great poet Michael Modhusudon Datta, famous for his wonderful composition of sonnets. He was born in the year 1824 and died in 1873. This two-storied residence, which is known as Michel Modhusudon museum, is now under the custody of Bangladesh Archeological Department, where you can see the daily usage materials of the great poet. Every year from 25-30 January a great mela (exhibition) is organized here, which is called Modhumela need after our beloved poet. A huge crowd comes to Shagordari every year for the occasion of this mela.
Ø Shilaidaha Thakur Bari (Kustia) :
Shilaidaha Thakur Bari was made by the forth father-in-law Prince Darkanath Tagore of great poet Robindranath Tagore. Now it is a museum where you can see the daily usage materials of Tagore family. In Kustia you also can visit the Shrine of Lalan Shah, the great folk singer of Bangladesh. His folk songs are popularly known as Lalan Giti. You can also visit to the Mujib Nagar. Mujib Nagar Smriti Shoudh is built by 23 Stambha at 20 acrs areas of land. At the time of liberation war in 1971 Mujib Nagar was the temporary capital of Bangladesh.