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West Bengal: Bakkhali, Henry's Island and Fraserganj
Bakkhali, lies 130 km from Kolkata, is the second beach town of West Bengal after Digha. The calm and quiet silver colored beach are attracting a lot of travelers here in Bakkhali. There is a 7 km long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj with gently rolling waves. Bakkhali and Frezerganj, the twin towns, together are forming one continuous locality. If you are looking for a destination where not many people are around to disturb you then Bakkhali is the place for you for a week end trip. The beach is crowded only in some rare occasions. It is a hard beach, suitable for cycling or even driving. One can also take a long walk along the seashore but the sea beach is not that conducive for having bath. Bathing is impossible due to the thick mud that shores the sea water. There are also no waves, and the water is as calm as in a lake. Temple of Devi Bishalakhi and temple of Banabibi are two of the temples amidst nature in Amarbati village, Bakkhali. Apart from the Amarabati village you can also visit nearby Deer Park, crocodile project and turtle project.
The walk over the beach from Bakkhali to Frasergunj is a pleasant experience. Freserganj has got its name from the name of Andrew Freser who thought of making Fresrganj a small beach town. Fresergunj is now a renowned fishing harbor of West Bengal. The rickshaw van and local buses to Namkhana are the only transport options available locally. Interested tourists can hire a rickshaw van and can travel through the local villages to see the Gangama temple. Benfish guest house, Hotel Indrakanan, Hotel Portland and Hotel Deepak are some of the notable hotels in Fresergunj.
Jambudwip, covering 8 sq km area, is an isolated island situated in the Bay of Bengal, about 8 km to the southwest side of Bakkhali. A vessel ride from Bakkhali will take you to Jambudeep. Jambudeep is encircled with villages of fishermen along with the mangrove forests of Geon, Garan, Keora and Hental. It remains uninhabited and deserted village except in the fishing season, i.e. during October to February. The serene natural beauties with the singing birds create a pleasing and lovely atmosphere in Jambudeep. The old lighthouse is in ruins now.
Make it a point to visit Henry's island, a 23.6 km away destination from Bakkhali. Henry’s island is covering a huge area of 200 hectors. There are 3 guest houses in Henry’s Island. If you wish then you can stay there too, especially during winter. The lodges are named as Mangrove, Sundari and Rani. You can enjoy an excellent view of the surrounding mangrove forests in Henry’s Island. The Henry’s island is becoming a very popular and sought after tourist spot due to the initiatives taken by the fisheries department. All the lodges here belong to the Fisheries Department of West Bengal. For reservations, contact:
State Fisheries Development Corporation, Bikash Bhavan, Kolkata +91 33 2337 6470. A walk through the beach in the middle of Mangrove forests will offer you an alluring and unforgettable experience.
How to reach: To go to Bakkhali, tourists have to go to Namkhana. Namkhana is well connected to Kolkata both by bus and by railways. Before taking a bus to Bakkhali, you need to cross the river called Hatania-Doania. It takes approximately 4 to 4:30 hours to reach Bakkhali from Kolkata.
Where to stay: Bakkhali tourist lodge by WBTDC, Balaka lodge, Bay view tourist lodge, Hotel Sea View, and new Hotel Sagarika are renowned hotels in Bakkhali.
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