The Bay of Bengal is the largest bay in the world, occupying an area of 2,172,000 square kilometres and is roughly triangular in shape. Its waters flow straight from the Himalayas through Bangladesh to its north, with the Bay also bordered by Myanmar to the east, and Sri Lanka and India to the west.
There are also many islands situated in the Bay, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the Mergui groups of India, and the Cheduba group of islands, in the north-east of the Bay, off the Myanmar coast, which are a chain of mud volcanoes that are occasionally active.
There are several large rivers that flow into the Bay of Bengal, including the Ganges from India, the Padma, the Jamuna and the Meghna from Bangladesh, and the Irrawaddy River from Myanmar. There are also major Indian ports to be found on the bay including Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Pondicherry, Kakinada, Dhamra, and Gopalpur and the Bangladeshi ports of Chittagong, Mongla, and Payra.
The Bay of Bengal is replete with biological diversity and one of the largest marine ecosystems in the world, with mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries, and fish spawning and nursery areas. Various marine animals can be found in the waters of the various wildlife sanctuaries in the region, including the endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Marlin, Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin, Tuna, and Bryde's Whale.
There are also various heritage sites situated on the shores of the Bay, including the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tamil Nadu, and the Buddhist heritage sites of Pavurallakonda, Thotlakonda and Bavikonda at Visakhapatnam in India.
Over 30% of the world’s coastal fishermen live and work in the Bay of Bengal, with many fishing villages thriving along the coastline. There are thought to be over 40 species of marine fish available to the fishing boats here with an average catch of two million tonnes in one year alone.