Durga Puja and it’s our time to visit a seclusion in nature. I decided for the near by Bakkhali beach as the sea attracts me always since my childhood.
Day1 To Bakkhali & Henry Island
Kolkata to Bakkhali
As we decided to visit Bakkhali and was out early morning with our car and driver. We took the James long Sarani, Diamond Harbour Road and the Amtala Bypass. I deliberately avoided the traffic snarl at Diamond Harbour. Thus we were rushing towards Kakdwip. Upon reaching there we had a breakfast from a roadside eatery and used the bus terminus toilet. Starting again towards Namkhana we eventually reached the ferry ghat.
Crossing the Hatania Doyania River at Namkhana
We were to cross the Hatania Doyania a tributary of Hooghly River in the Gangetic delta.
Upon booking the ticket for crossing over our car by vessel we had an 40 mins wait for enough cars to pool up. I had similarly crossed vessels at Canning Jharkhali few years back before the bridge was built. The Bakkhali bridge is in long waiting now probably jeopardized by the resistance by local, boats men.
Eventually we crossed the river. Through not well known places like Shibnagar Abad, Dakshin Chandrabunia, Shibrampur and Patibunia we drove to our hotel in Frazergunj at Bakkhali. We had pre booked the hotel was nice but not exactly on sea beach. After mid morning snacks and getting refreshed in our hotel room we drove to the sea beach.
Beaches at Bakkhali
We parked our car beside a lone Puja pandal in the sea beach. I was overwhelmed to find me onto memento shops with hordes of bob wood & dead corals. The aqua culturist in me was happy to collect 2 large vertebrae probably from whale or dolphin.
There were announcements in the beach warning tourists not to venture too far in the sea because of a drowning death the day before. We walked into the water keeping a mark of our trail with our shoes. There is quicksand at places as per locals saying as the beach is still in the early stages of formation. To my horror while returning back to shore i felt moving grip under my feet. As my wife a no swimmer I kept mum and just guided her to land.
Leaving the beach we returned to the hotel for a proper bath. Thereafter we had a sumptuous lunch in a roadside restaurant near the beach.
Crocodile Project, Fredric Island, Bakkhali
Soon we visited the local crocodile breeding farm to see few crocodiles and lots of labelled mangrove species. We however used the toilet facilities.
We drove to a point in the beach called Frazergunj Beach. Frazergunj is indeed named after Andrew Fraser erstwhile Lieutenant Governor of Bengal in British era who made Bakkhali known to men.
Laxmipur Sea Beach
We moved Eastward to a fine beach housing windmills. It was a picturesque location. To our great amazement we found a coast guard hovercraft over the sands. We posed for picture with it and collected some creeper weeds with beautiful violet flowers for my home garden. This particular plant is resident to the vast Indian ocean and almost entire Pacific coastline. We saw small bungalows being constructed at this side of the beach. By 3:30 pm we left the beach to drive to another one.
Bakkhali Watch Tower at Henry Island
We soon reached the Henry Island after asking the locals. There after we had to get a ticket from the fishery men for entering the West Bengal Fisheries development Mangrove Complex by car. I ultimately saw a watchtower which we climbed expecting a view of the sea.
View was splendid but lacked an aerial watch of the roaring sea. As delayed and due to lack of motorable road we had to return without visiting the beach.
We drove then to Frazergunj Harbour and Fish Auction Center at Amrabati to reach just before dusk at around 5pm. As it was late and the boats men were unwilling we couldn’t go on to a ride to the sea to Jambu Dweep.I met one of my acquaintances by chance at the fish auction center.
Back to our Hotel
By 6:40 pm we were back to our hotel. We spent some time in the hotel ground enjoying evening coffee and some snacks.
Snapping the hotel lights pleased me too. I once ventured out to gather some food for the next days travel.
Day2 In Bakkhali, Frazergunj & Henry Island Again
Hotel Ground and Susni & West Side Beach
I had an early morning stroll in the hotel campus watch ducks at play.
We walked to the Frazergunj beach and along the beach we reached Susni Beach. The beach has guard walls here and we were worried of the tide timings and whether to venture further west along the Beach.
I came across a well intended local who showed us the way to the West side Beach. We almost even visited his home in the local village. This watch was much desolate with sea of moving red crabs.
Returning back to Frazergunj beach we had our morning breakfast at a road side shop. We were in hotel soon for getting refreshed.
Frazergunj Harbour to Jambu Dweep through Hatania Doyania estuary
I was to the Frazergunj fish auction area by noon and managed to struck a deal with the boatmen. We were soon riding a boat heading towards the confluence of the Hatania Doyania river through a small unnamed tributary.
Thus we approached Jambu Dweep but were denied alighting due to government restrictions. On road I had photographed the local helipad for visiting VVIPs.
Henry Island Beach
Our car reached Henry island by our previous days route. I dared today to drive our car further near the beach.
Saw snake in the swamps. I exclaimed tons of bob wood from the aging mangroves lying uncared for in the beach. We enjoyed the solitude along with the setting sun.
I returned to the hotel tired and had our dinner served in our room.
Day3 Bakkhali & Return
We were pressed to start early way back home as we were unsure how long we have to wait at Namkhana for the ferry service to cross over our car. Yet we visited the Frazergunj beach for the last time with the subdued sadness of ending the tour.
I indeed waited at the Namkhana ferry service. I utilized the time for recording vessel movements.
What we missed
We had missed a Banobibi temple and the historical house of Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal in ruins because of our ignorance. We also missed Baluchari Beach on Mausun Island as also alighting on Jambu Dweep.
With Best Regards