Sundarban is the largest deltaic region of the world and encompasses over hundreds of islands (105), with a maze of innumerable rivers, rivulets, and creeks. The name 'Sundarban' means "beautiful forest" and it is believed to be derived from a mangrove tree species 'Sundari' (Heritiera fomes). The Indian Sundarban is the southernmost part of the estuarine delta formed by the River Ganges and Brahmaputra, bordering the Bay of Bengal.It is located little south of the Tropic of Cancer between the latitudes 21'51' and 22'31'N, and longitudes 88'10' and 89'51'E,
mainly in the coastal districts of West Bengal, i.e. South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas (Arbesi Block only).The Dampier-Hodges line separates the Sundarbans from the rest of West Bengal. There are villages in the fringe area all along the northern boundary of the Tiger Reserve. On the eastern boundary lies Bangladesh separated by the rivers Kalindi, Raimangal, and Harinbhanga. On the western boundary lies the territorial division of 24-Parganas south and towards the south lays the Bay of Bengal.
Sundarban Tiger Reserve encompasses a total area of 2584.89 km2 (w.e.f. 23.12.1973). The legal status of the Reserve is as follows: