WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS: SHUVARTHI GUHA & RIDDHI MUKHERJEE
On the eastern coast of India, near the point where the holy Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal, lies a magical world rich in biodiversity and with a very unique ecosystem – the Sunderbans. Here, the secret meets the mystical, religions converge as the Hindu and Muslim pray to the same guardian spirit, Banobibi, and three of India’s most important rivers – the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna – embrace each other.
This is the world’s largest estuarine forest, crisscrossed by hundreds of creeks and tributaries. Seemingly monotonous in its forest cover, the Sunderbans is deceptive, offering up its secrets only to those who take the time to get to know it.
The animals in this ecosystem are extremely elusive and display very different behavioural characteristics from their counterparts in other forests. And among these animals is the tiger. Each encounter with the striped cat is special; your knees tremble, your throat dries up – you know you are in the presence of something wondrous.