The Ganges Delta

☼ Welcome!

☼ Flora and fauna

☼ What to do

☼ Safety tips

      ☼ Welcome to the world's largest delta!

Also known as the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, or just the Brahmaputra Delta, this natural wonder is located in the South Asia region of Bengal and it empties into the Bay of Bengal. This is also one of the most fertile regions in the world.

The Ganges Delta has a triangular shape and it occupies an area of 105 640 square kilometres. It is twice the size of the Mississippi Delta, and the river basins that empty in the Indian Ocean through the Ganges Delta include India, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, This delta is divided in two sections: the east one, which is more active, and the west one, which is a little quieter. The delta is made out of a labyrinth of canals, marshes, lakes and islands.

Despite the big risk of flood and cyclones, the Ganges Delta is home for about 150 million people.

      ☼ Flora and fauna

The flora and fauna of the Ganges Delta is incredibly diverse and fascinating. Moist deciduous forests, thick stands of tall grass, known as canebrakes, freshwater swamp forests, Sundarbans mangroves, forming the world's largest mangrove ecoregion (20,400 square kilometres) are what defines the flora of the delta. Sal, teak, mangrove, sundari, garjan, bamboo, mangrove palm and peepal are some the trees that can be found in these areas.

Many endangered species live here. Animals in the delta include the Indian python, clouded leopard, the Indian elephant, crocodiles, approximately 1,020 endangered Bengal tigers and 30,000 chital. Birds found in the delta include kingfishers, eagles, woodpeckers, the shalik, the swamp francolin and the doel. The Irrawaddy dolphin and the Ganges river dolphin (extremely rare, endagered) are the 2 species of dolphin that can be found in this delta.

      ☼ What to do

Visit all the amazing places that manage to enhance the natural beauty of the Ganges Delta. For example, Shantiniketan is a veritable epicentre of Bengal's art and culture. This is one of the most relaxed and slow-pace moving places in the region of the Delta. Great for admiring the natural beauty, for observing the culture and for a trip for relaxation.

The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is a network of channels and semi-submerged mangroves that forms the world's largest river delta. You can opt for a cruise along the broad waterways and observe the majestic wildlife. Gangetic dolphins, water monitors, saltwater crocodiles and kingfishers await for the passionate wildlife observer. Tigers (there are just a few more than 100 out there) are shy and sightings are rare, but it's worth a try, as long as you are careful and keep a safe distance.

Bishnupur is known for its beautiful terracotta temples. The architecture here is a mix of Bengali, Islamic and Oriya styles. Bishnupur is also worth visiting for the beautiful Baluchari silk saris, the pottery and the reproductions of detailed terracotta tiles from the temples that are sold everywhere.

Mandarmani is a very calm fishing village that has an amazing beach that stretches for about 15 kilometres. It is one of the most unpolluted beaches in the country the favourite place of millions of sand bubbler crabs.

      ☼ Safety tips

Although the locals believe that the water of the Ganges river has the ability to cleanse their sins, it is not recommended to take a dip or swim in most of the waters of the delta, as they are not very clean and you are better off on the shore. The Ganges river is extremely polluted in most of its course.

For the moment, the advice for non-essential travel to Bangladesh is to avoid it. The terrorism threat is present, as well as political demonstrations, nationwide hartals and violent clashes.

West Bengal is recommended if you want to see the Ganges Delta. It is a lot safer for foreigners, as there has hardly been any incident of crime against foreigners in recent years.

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination. Here is some advice that you should take into account, which is valid for travelling to India in general: you should be careful with the food you eat and the water you drink. The risk of contracting cholera comes from the consumption of contaminated water and food. Avoid poor, overcrowded regions. There is a certain risk of coming in contact with someone with diphteria. Avoid mosquitoes, especially is rural areas. Some of them carry the Japanese Encephalitis virus. Hepatitis A and B, Rabies, Tetanus and Typhoid are also a risk if you do not protect yourself properly.