Purbasthali is one of the few places in Bengal which has been a success story in the Community Based Natural Resource Management Conservation approach. Situated in Bardhaman, West Bengal, the region is actually an ox-bow lake with narrow connecting links to the main river. Gliding through the waters on a boat, we conversed with our boatman who told us how the region had once been entirely isolated from the water-body for a plethora of reasons like garbage dumping, weed growth and all of it plagued the ecosystem. The migratory birds were hunted, till their numbers dwindled and all of it was set for a tragic demise of the magical bio-diversity until the local community and activists decided to step up. 
With awareness campaigns and devising of proper methods to ensure a source of income for the fishing community over the winter months of aggregation of the feathered visitors, the place made a dramatic comeback. Ajijul was all smiles as he recollected how the local community had come together to clear the weeds and reconnect the isolated water-body with the main river, while guiding the boat through the narrow channels thus created.
With visitors flocking to see the birds, the boatmen have upped their knowledge and expertly guide enthusiasts, fluently identifying species and  positioning their boats for the perfect photo opportunity. 
Fishing activities are voluntarily reduced over the winter months ( the income loss being compensated by the growing tourist interest ), and as a prize to all of those efforts, the birds have returned. 
Purbasthali has finally begun blooming, perhaps because the majority stakeholders are now  combinedly the majority shareholders of the rising eco-tourism industry with boating facilities, home-stays and restaurants all run by the locals, with active aid of the Government and NGOs. 
Scroll through the gallery and embark, with us, on a journey into the pristine habitat of Purbasthali. 

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