Sunderban – In search of the Shamanic Spirit

Still searching

If colors had a smell how would green smell like? Rather how would a forest smell like?

Close your eyes and maybe a tinge of sharp cold sweetness mingled with the wetness lingering delicately at its periphery will reach your nostrils. Inhale deeply.

If you are really to discover the smell of a unique forest you must visit Sunderban, the only mangrove wetland for tigers in West Bengal. Declared as the National World Heritage site in 1981, nature in her fancy created this one of its kind natural wonder of the world. With 102 islands of which 54 are inhabited the rest are left for Mother Nature to reign.

Watch tower of Forest Department

On reaching the delta of the River Ganga, you can board a big boat to take you along the waterways. The putting sound of your launch will be comforting, drowning the chatter of the crowd. An underlining smell of the diesel engine will follow you before dissipating quickly as you hit the open water. Starting with rather sparse and stunted vegetation soon an impenetrable forest will start following you.  

There they are!

In all its mossy green tranquility the wind will whistle past you compelling you to connect at a more profound level with yourself. The voice of Sunderban is heard only in its silence. The scene rarely changes but you need to keep your eyes pinned along the unbroken border of the wetland for you never know when you will catch a glimpse of a wild boar, monkey, deer, crocodile or if lucky even a tiger (not that they are easy to spot!)

Wetland of mangrove forest

The best way to discover Sunderban is by taking a small boat and getting inside the deeper and darker maze of the mangroves. As the boat creeks and moans under your weight complaining slightly before getting its balance back setting out on a journey that will behold your wonderment for life. The hazy water will lick and lap up the sides of the boat with its green tongue coaxing you to touch the liquid emerald, only to be lost in ripples.

Forests have an imprint of the memories of a shamanic spirit in their entire wilderness. The souls here are ancient. Here silence and sound mesh together only to awaken those lost spirits. Stare unblinkingly into the bright green of the trees or water and the pathos of the past will reach your ears for sure.

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