Sundarban in Second Life

Sundarban; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrSundarban – click any image for full size

“Sundarbans is a vast mangrove forest located between India and Bangladesh, well-known for being the habitat of the Bengal tiger,” Gabrian Lascelles (gothicgaylord) writes in his introduction to his new Homestead region, Sundarban. “It’s my vision of India,” he informed me in passing an invitation to Caitlyn and I to visit. “And as I’m from Sweden, it’s been a lot of research for me, but if I’ve managed to catch just a breath of India, I’m happy!”

Gabrian is perhaps best know for designing and building Costa Blanco (see here for more), and as a landscaper at Amazon River. We both thoroughly enjoyed Costa Blanco, so with Gabrian’s invitation in hand, we hopped over to Sundarban to have a look around.

Sundarban; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrSundarban

The physical world Sundabarans lies in the vast delta formed by the by the super confluence of the Ganges, Hooghly, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers as they empty into the Bay of Bengal, straddling India to the west and Bangladesh to the east. It is a huge ecosystem encapsulating both freshwater swamps and the world’s largest area coastal mangroves, around 10,000 square kilometres (6,250 sq mi). As Gabrian notes, the area is the home of the endangered Bengal Tiger, but it is also home to other endangered species besides, such as the estuarine (or saltwater) crocodile, the northern river terrapin, the South Asian river dolphin (freshwater dolphin), barasingha swamp deer, as well as more widespread breeds of mammals, bird, fish and reptiles.

For his build, Gabrian presents a coastal area made up of low-lying muddy / sandy islands, some linked by bridges, others by zip lines, while little motor boats provide the means of puttering around the waters to reach all of them. The landing point sits on an island on the north side of the region, where sits a little shanty store. Elephants are bathing in the water close by – although they are of African, rather than Indian, origin (don’t blame Gabrian for this, African elephants in natural poses are a lot more popular with creators than their Indian cousins).

Sundarban; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrSundarban

East from here, over a low wooden bridge, is a second island. This is home to an old corrugated iron shack, a small shrine, and a path leading up to the wooden jetty on the north side of the island where the motor boats can be obtained. For the adventurous, a set of zip lines have been set up behind the old shack, providing a way for people to travel to / from the island to the south without the need for a boat or getting their feet wet.

This island is probably the largest by visible landmass in the group. It arcs to the south and east, a slender ribbon of grassy dunes sitting under the shade of trees reflecting the physical world’s Sundarbans freshwater forests, before ending in a finger of rock pointing up at the sky. An ancient ruin can be found here, converted into a rest spot complete with canopied massage table looks towards the eastern islands in the group, and another pair of zip lines link it with the nearest of them. Before riding one of them, however, it’s worth walking down to that finger of rock I mentioned – you’ll pass more of the local wildlife along the way and find a most unusual perch up in the rock itself.

Sundarban; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrSundarban

Those seeking the tigers will need a motor boat, as they are on a small island to the north-west, separated from the rest by water. Just heed the sign as you approach the island’s little bay, or you might find yourself on the menu – as seems to have been the case with the last couple of visitors, porcine and human!

Sundarban is Gabrian’s personal vision of an exotic part of India, and a place that’s easy to explore and easy on the eye. Throughout the islands are numerous places to sit and cuddle (although be aware some do have distinctly adult poses in them!), and plenty of opportunity to take pictures. Should you enjoy your visit, please consider a donation towards the region’s upkeep – just look for the beggar / trader near the path to the motor boat jetty.

Sundarban; Inara Pey, March 2018, on FlickrSundarban

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