The Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. Roughly triangular in shape, it is bordered mostly by India and Sri Lanka to the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Burma (Myanmar) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east.
The Bay of Bengal occupies an area of 2,172,000 km². A number of large rivers – the Ganges and its distributaries such as Padma and Hooghly, Brahmaputra and its distributaries such as Jamuna, Meghna, Irrawaddy River, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Kaveri – flow into the Bay of Bengal. Among the important ports are Cuddalore, Ennore, Chennai, Karaikal, Pondicherry, Tuticorin, Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Vishakhapatnam, Gangavaram, Krishnapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, Mongla, Chittagong and Yangon.
Many major rivers of the Indian subcontinent flow west to east before draining into Bay of Bengal. The Ganges is the northernmost of them. Its main channel enters and flows through Bangladesh, where it is called Padma River, before joining Meghna River. However, Brahmaputra River flows from east to west in Assam before turning south and entering Bangladesh where it is called Jamuna River. Jamuna joins Padma and then Padma joins Meghna River that finally drains into Bay of Bengal.
The Sundarbans mangrove forest is formed at the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers and lies partly in West Bengal and partly in Bangladesh. Brahmaputra at 2,948 km (1,832 mi) is the 28th longest River in the world. It originates in Tibet. Hooghly River, another channel of the Ganga that flows through Calcutta drains into Bay of Bengal in India itself.
Further south of Bengal, Mahanadi River, Godavari River, Krishna River and Kaveri River (earlier spelt as Cauvery) are the major rivers that flow from west to east in Indian subcontinent and drain into Bay of Bengal. Many small rivers also drain directly into Bay of Bengal; the shortest of them is Cooum River at 64 km (40 mi).
Sea ports :
Some of the biggest ports in the world — Chittagong in Bangladesh and Chennai in India— are in the bay. Mongla, Kolkata and Yangon, the largest city and former capital of Burma, are also important ports on the bay. Other Indian ports on the bay include: Kakinada, Pondicherry and Vishakhapatnam.
The islands in the bay are very numerous, including the Andaman Islands, Nicobar and Mergui groups of India. The group of islands, Cheduba and others, in the north-east, off the Burmese coast, are remarkable for a chain of mud volcanoes, which are occasionally active. Great Andaman is the main archipelago or island group of the Andaman Islands, whereas Ritchie's Archipelago consists of smaller islands. Only 37 of the 572 islands and islets of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are inhabited, or 6.5%.
Marine biology, flora and fauna :
The Bay of Bengal is full of biological diversity, diverging amongst coral reefs, estuaries, fish spawning and nursery areas, and mangroves. The Bay of Bengal is one of the World's 64 largest marine ecosystems.
Kerilia jerdonii is a sea snake of the Bay of Bengal. Glory of Bengal Cone (Conus bengalensis) is just one of the seashells which can be photographed along beaches of the Bay of Bengal. An endangered species, the Olive Ridley sea turtle can survive because of the nesting grounds made available at the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, Gahirmatha Beach, Orissa, India. Marlin, barracuda, skipjack tuna, (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin tuna, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin (Sousa chinensis), and Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) are a few of the marine animals. Bay of Bengal Hogfish (Bodianus neilli) is a type of Wrass which live in turbid lagoon reefs or shallow coastal reefs.
Schools of dolphins can be seen, whether they are the bottle nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) or the spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) . Tuna and dolphins are usually residing in the same waters. In shallower and warmer coastal waters the Irrawaddy Dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) can be found.
Historic sites :
- The remains of Sri Vaisakheswara Swamy temple lies under the Bay of Bengal. Spokespersons from Andhra University Centre for Marine Archaeology say the temple may be located opposite the Coastal Battery.
- Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram is the name for Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram's Shore Temple was constructed in the 8th century AD and myth has it that six other temples were also built here.
- Another historic site which has been preserved is Vivekanandar Illam. It was constructed in 1842 by the Ice King Frederic Tudor to store and market ice year round. In 1897, Swami Vivekananda famous lectures were recorded here at Castle Kernan. The site is an exhibition devoted to Swami Vivekananda and his legacy.
- Konark is the home of the Sun Temple or Black Pagoda. This Brahman sanctuary was built of black granite mid 1200 AD and has been declared a World Heritage Site.