Enchanting Paradise- Henry's Island & Bakkhali

On my wishlist since many days, a visit to Henry’s Island and the nearby Bakkhali beach was fulfilled in the third Sunday of 2016. Located on the southernmost edge of West Bengal, Henry’s Island is a virgin, pristine white sand beach. Though less popular, the beauty of Henry’s Island beach is un-matchable in front of other sea beaches like Mandarmani, Digha, Tajpur, Puri & Bakkhali.  

The pristine beach at Henry's Island
The pristine beach at Henry's Island


Named after a British surveyor, who surveyed the area about a century ago, Henry’s Island is one of the numerous islands that form the Ganga - Brahmaputra delta, the largest in the world. Crisscrossed by numerous rivers and rivulets, Henry’s island offers an interesting mix of beach and mangrove forest. In the mid-Eighties, the Government Fisheries Department took over and turned Henry’s Island into a successful eco-tourism project. Henry’s island has an area of 600 hectares habitating wide varieties of plant and animal life.  

Road to Henry's Island

Entrance to the enchanting Beach

Where white sands wait you

The road to Henry’s island meanders through agricultural fields and the island is reached after crossing a creek, where a beautifully laid garden welcomes you to the Mangrove beach. The pucca road gives away to a brick laid road and it meanders through dense forest to reach the Sundari Resort, from where a further 10 minute walk takes one to the pristine beach. The wide and flat beach, adorned with silvery sands is of prime attraction here. A beautiful panorama of the island can be seen from the ‘view tower’ of Sundari Tourist Complex. Standing at an elevation of fifty feet, the viewing pavilion provides an opportunity to feast on nature.


Some of my snapshots at the Henry's Island Beach

Some of my snapshots at the Henry's Island Beach

Posing away

Where i feel at home !
View from the watch tower
The solitude of this remote place has such a unique quality that it cajoles one to remain alone with nature. The experience of remaining alone with nature is an experience of a lifetime which will be cherished by anyone visiting the place. The beautiful sight of red crabs rolling out a red carpet on the beach is an added attraction here.

Red Crabs on the beach
From the Henry's Island, one can visit the Frazergunj Beach and the Bakkhali Beach. Bakkhali is located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Most of the islands are part of the Sunderbans, barring a few at the fringes. Some of these are joined together with bridges over narrow creeks. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.

Day Trip to Henry's Island, Frazergunj and Bakkhali on a tight budget

For a day trip to these following places one has to take an early morning local train from Sealdah station to Namkhana which takes exactly 3 hours (Namkhana Local -Platform 11). 

Train Timings from Sealdah & Namkhana Railway Stations

From Namkhana station, one can take a Toto (electric rickshaw) to Hatania-Doania Creek Launch Ghat. From the ghat one has to board a motor boat which takes you to the other shore of the creek. 

Hatania Doania Creek

From there one has to take a Tuk-Tuki (hand pulled van) to the Bus stand where buses depart for Bakkhali every 10 minutes.From there the bus takes 40 minutes to reach the Bakkhali Bus stand. 

Visit the Crocodile and Deer Park beside the Bakkhali bus stand where one can find the crocs and deer lazing around in their enclosures.After visiting the park, hire a motor Tuk Tuki which will take you to Henry's Island, Frazergunj and Bakkhali.

Crocodiles at Crocodile & Deer Park

Crocodiles at Crocodile & Deer Park

Visit the Henry's Island watchtower and head on towards the beautiful beach. Spend time alone with nature watching the rippling waves of the sea on white sands of the pristine beach. Enjoy the winds and murmur of the ocean. Don't miss to watch the occasional seagull fly past and the red crabs loitering on the beach.

From the Henry's Island beach, visit the Benfish Harbour which is basically a parking lot for all the fishing ships in the area.

Benfish Harbor

From there head on to the Frazergunj beach and witness the free flow of the windmills near the shore post which visit the Bakkhali beach. There's not much at Bakkhali and Frazergunj to match the beauty of Henry's Island.
Frazergunj Beach

Windmills at Frazergunj


The Bakkhali Beach

Following is the detail of my expenses incurred on the trip:


Raring to go again !!!
This is what my friend Kritika had to say about her experience of Henry's Island:


SMELL THE SEA & FEEL THE SKY, LET YOUR SOUL AND SPIRITS FLY 
Who wouldn’t like to escape from the customary and tiresome routine of entire week and humdrum of the city into woods, mangroves, under the clear blue sky and relax beside the sea beach?
Who wouldn’t like to experience the homogeneity and simplicity of the village life and innocence and modesty of the localities while passing through the kacha roads enveloped and fenced by trees, huts and fishing harbours, watching children play with no electronic gadgets yet full of joy?
The most beautiful part of your journey rests when you are just walking through the woods, passing some fishing harbors and bare lands with small bushes, different types of cactus and beautiful flowers and then there you see an amazing canopy of trees which leads you to some place,which will leave each one of us (those who are unaware of this place) awestruck that we, especially Calcuttans, the localities, could feel so peaceful and feel the solitariness of nature whenever we wish, by investing only approx. 4 hours from the main city.

One of the most beautiful and serene part of Bengal, I in my now, 13 years of stay in Calcutta saw was this place called “HENRY’S ISLAND” near Bakkhali.

This, my friends, is a real treat for your eyes, especially for the travel freaks, a group of friends, or couples who wish to spend a great weekend in the arms of nature.

A beach with fine white sand (generally we do not find white sand on every beach),red crabs which disappear in magic when you inch towards them, surrounded by mangrove forest on the edges making it scenic and giving it an island view, clear blue sky, pleasant breeze and of course calm waves, because there’s nothing more beautiful than the sight  the way sea refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times its sent away J

Away from the hustle bustle of the main city, this is a perfect weekend destination when you are in search of tranquil, peace and want to feel light and explore and experience the wonders of nature in its arms, see all its different shades from breeze to calm waves to clear sky to mangrove forests to woods to flowers and it continues….

As far as I have experienced, this is a virgin and an unexplored part of the state which is what makes it so refreshing,pleasing and alluring. It is not crowded which is the best part. You can just lay down on the white sand,under the blue sky,breathe,feel the pleasant breeze and feel so light shedding all yopur worries,all your thoughts for those particular happy hours and just talk to nature.

So quiet and so peaceful J J

One of the most beautiful and serene places I have come across.

Comments

  1. I wish I could be like you. live like a water who just wanted to flow only.

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  2. Very well described and economical too! Surely a next place to visit in my chart! :)

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  3. Arpit.....all thanx to u 4 detailing ur short economical trips so beautifully, dat 2 wid illustrations.....ausum writing skill.......one feels physically present while reading thru' ur descriptive lines........(Y) a place to be definitely visited & on my list...thanx for blogging & hope to ready more more n more on ur travels !!!

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  4. Wonderful..thnks for providng a detaild info....wil surely visit asap....
    Vandana

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful..thnks for providng a detaild info....wil surely visit asap....
    Vandana

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful place..detailed blog.. Thanks, planning next trip to this place :D

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