Henry’s or, Henry island is not for everyone. If you like people, crowds and marketplaces this is not for you. Period.
Henry Island is for you if you are one of those who would like to roll around in scintillating white sand with not a soul around. It is for you if you want to want to hear only the sounds of waves and sea birds. It is for you if you like a good Bengali meal, with your chingris and bhetkis fresh from the water. It is for you if you would like to be Robinson Crusoe for some time.
Around 130 km from Kolkata lays the virgin beach of Henry or Henry’s Island. Under the district of South 24 Parganas, it is very close to Bakkhali. The 600 hectares of Henry Island is rich with flora and fauna. This offbeat destination will make a photographer or a bird watcher very glad.
Henry’s Island was only a fishing place for the locals there until the Fisheries Department of West Bengal got active and decided to develop two lodges that would provide an eco-friendly destination to the tourists.
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The beach of Henry Island is flat and the sand is of a white variety and absolutely clean. The waves are calm and when you see the seashore, the first sight that welcomes you is of the red crabs crawling everywhere. As you walk towards the shoreline, these crabs would swiftly go under the sand leaving the beach to you. Chances are that you would hardly meet other tourists on the beach. It is just nature and you and for us who have felt the connection once, we quest for it again.
Watching the sunset lying on this ‘private’ beach is an amazing experience. Watch the storks and cranes fly home. You don’t have to shed thousands of rupees to go to Goa or an international destination for an experience like this.
Henry Island area gives you a raw untamed experience of nature and quite untouched from humans. If this appeals to you, don’t second think.
There is a view tower which gives a picturesque and panoramic view of the area full of mangroves and bheris. While the villagers catch chingri, bhetki, tangra, tilapia in the bheris and go crab hunting in the muddy mangroves, you get a chance to view a part of the world’s biggest mangrove forest. From the top of the fifty feet high tower you can also glimpse the Bakkhali beach.
You can also go to the Jambudwip Island or visit the mohona. When you visit the place of the sea-river union, you get the taste of Sunderbans as well. These points of confluences are rich in birds and sea creatures. Have an open eye and a quiet mind, and you may enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
The roads to Henry Island are green and verdant and lined with water bodies. Breathe in the pure air and feel yourself getting rejuvenated. A bonus of this place is the warm and innocent minded local people who will win your hearts by their simplicity and innocence.
How to go
- Nearest airport is Kolkata.
- Nearest railway station is Namkhana and you can take a train from Sealdah. Vans are available from Namkhana to take you to Henry Island. Buses can be availed from Esplanade to Namkhana.
- You can also go to Bakkhali and then take a motor van to Henry Island.
- You can also take a motor vehicle direct from Kolkata.
Where to stay
- There are only two places available to stay in Henry Island – Mangrove and Sundari – and both of them are run by the Fisheries Department of West Bengal. You would have to pre-book your rooms.
- The Sundari Tourist Lodge charges Non AC Double Bed at Rs.800 (subject to change). You will find the tariff details and contacts for the booking here – http://wbsfdc.com/booking-procedure/
- Food is excellent here and you have a variety of fishes to choose from. Rooms are decent and comfortable. The food is locally cultivated so you get all fresh and healthy.
- Luxury tents were being planned to be set up during the winter season.
- Note that recently some visitors have found that the path leading to the beach had gone very muddy.
Please leave the beach clean and pristine.
Image credits: hellotravel.com, tripadvisor.com, airtraveller.org, indianbirdsphotography.blogspot.com
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