My college mates and their families were planning for a trip somewhere near or around Kolkata and one of them suggested for a night halt somewhere. Definitely in this busy schedule, it is always tough to manage a couple of days but when there is a will there is a way. After considering a number of locations, we finally agreed upon a trip of Bakkhali – Frasergunj – Henry Island.
Although it is a quite pleasant journey by road but a majority in the ‘battalion’ voted for a train trip this time. We boarded from our respective stations on a Namkhana bound local train which departed from Sealdah at 7:15 a.m. We reached Namkhana Railway Station at around 10:30 in the morning.
From the railway station we took a van who charged us Rs.10 per head to reach the Narayanpur Ferry Ghat. From this ferry Ghat we took a boat. It charges you Re.1 per person to cross the river but if you need to book your own they will take another Rs.50 for the boat reservation.
We took a van for a couple of minutes journey to the bus stand. From there local buses were available but we went for a Maruti van which charges Rs.350 for 6 heads. 30 minutes more and we reached our destination – the Fraserganj Sagarkanya Resort maintained by Benfish.
Sir Andrew Fraser, Lt. Governor of Bengal (1903-1908) is credited with discovery of this place. There is a fishing harbour in Fraserganj and fishing is the primary occupation of the localites. A 7-km long beach stretches from Bakkhali to Frasergunj.
In the the Fraserganj Sagarkanya Resort they have non AC rooms at incredible tariffs. The double bedroom deluxe room costs you only Rs.600. For double bedded cottages and the 4 bedded rooms they charge Rs.500.
In advance we had ordered for the lunch. They offered the chicken meal @ Rs.135, bhetki meal @ Rs.165 and pomfret meal @ Rs.185 only. We checked in, freshened up, had the lunch and were ready for our day trip because the time in hand was too short.
The Hotel Manager himself arranged for a vanwala for us and our first destination was Henry Island. This Island is named after a British explorer who in the 19th Century surveyed this area which was mainly covered in mangrove forest. It is one of the islands that constitute the Ganga – Brahmaputra Delta, the largest in the world.
The island is intersected by the Rivers and small rivulets create a very charming picturesque setting with mangrove forests and virgin beaches. It is approximately 10mins van ride from Frasergunj.
After spending some time there, we started for Bakkhali. Bakkhali is a seaside village in Namkhana situated in the Kakdwip subdivision of South 24 Parganas. There are many deltaic islands spread across Southern Bengal and Bakkhali is situated on one of these locations. These deltaic islands fall in the area of the Sundarban Forest. Some of these islands are connected with bridges over narrow creek. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
Beside the sunset, the beaches of Bengal have one more attraction for foodies like me. Yes, I am talking about the fried fish stalls. And these pomfrets, crabs and prawns were ‘seeing me after such a long time so they were not really eager to leave me so early. But alas, tonight we have to go to bed early because there is one more attraction awaiting us the next morning. So we returned to the hotel, had our dinner and had a good night.
After a couple of bed teas we went for the breakfast – Garma Garam Puris and Aloo fulkopi ka sabji followed by Joynagarer moya. At the breakfast table itself we pre-ordered for the lunch.
The hotel manager himself accompanied us to the harbour and we hired a boat who will take us to the Jammu Dwip. It’s a one and a half journey to and fro – and trust me that would be an experience of a lifetime. The cranes, the kingfishers, the seagulls and the Hush pakhis are there to welcome you!
Again all good things end up early and it was like a blink of an eye and we were back to Frasergunj. We returned to the Hotel, had our baths and were ready for the lunch. Today the meal was with bhetki.
The returning train was at 3:30 P.M from Namkhana so we called the car to report at the hotel at 1:30 P.M. The lunch was complete and the car was to come after an hour or so and so obviously the last few moments call for selfies and groupfies to take our memories back home.