Saturday, June 25, 2011

Finding Pakhiralaya in the Sunderbans of West Bengal.

We booked a trip to Sunderbans in the south most part of the state of West Bengal.  Sunderbans is a huge mangrove forest and home to the Bengal tiger.  We booked a "backpacker safari" with an Indian travel company. 

We stayed literally in the village of Pakhiralaya in Sunderbans, in modern cabins but side by side the huts and farm fields of the villagers.  It took 4 hours of driving out of Kolkata, then a 30 minute ride on a wooden boat, then another 45 minutes on the back of a bicycle-driven cart to get to where we were staying.  This place is literally the furthest we've ever been from 'civilization'.

We all fell in love with Pakhiralaya almost immediately.  Rupak introduced us to a bunch of the villagers and they talked about encounters with tigers and they all offered us chai (which we never refused), and they were all so hospitable.

Where is Pakhiralaya?

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The geocoordinates for Pakhiralaya (shown above) are  22.133908 / 88.82515 .

The village is located in the state of West Bengal, in India.

It's a near the India-Bangladesh frontier.

The village is situated on one of the hundreds of river channels that lace through the mangrove forests west of the Ganges River delta.

It's located across the river and just north of Sunderbans National Park and the Sajnekhali Tiger Preserve.

Pakhiralaya is 40 minutes by bike-ricksha from Gosaba.

Here are some Panoramio photos that helped us find Pakhiralaya in satellite imagery after our first trip to the village:

Apanjan hotel, Pakhiralay, Sundarbans, 12/2009

Women fishing shell on the river shore, Pakhiralay, 12/2009

Farmer's house near Pakhiralay, 12/2009

Countryside between Gosaba and Pakhiralay, 12/2009

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