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Old 1st May 2015, 00:23   #1
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Smile A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

This travelogue is going to be regarding a short road trip to a place around 130 kms south of Kolkata. To our surprise we were not expecting this place to be as good as it turned out to be. So here goes ->

Members in the trip -
My Parents, My uncle and aunt, my cousin and myself.

The Cars -
My Ikon 1.6 and Uncle's Swift.

The Plan -
Ever since I bought my ikon I had a keen desire to drive it around. Thanks to that I made a trip with my friends to Mandarmoni in the month of February, went to Kolaghat and Diamond Harbour for lunch, just to get to drive the car as much as I could. Not to forget I drive it to work everyday (round trip 40 Kms)
It had been a long time since we, as a family made a road trip so I started browsing the net (especially T-BHP) to search for places that could be visited around Kolkata. Two threads that helped me a lot were http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ry-island.html (A Weekend trip to Bakkhali & Henry Island) and http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ourists-5.html (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists).
We finalised on Bakkhali mainly because it was not too far from Kolkata and because there was a new experience to it - the vessel that carries your car across a creek. We heard from friends and people at Diamond Harbour (when we went there for lunch a week before the planned trip) that the Government Tourist Lodge was the best place to stay there. Checking online we saw the rooms were filling pretty soon. We booked both the available cottages for the 18th and 19th of April.

The Trip -
Day one - 18th April
My Dad had some work till mid-day so we planned to leave by 1 PM. We (parents and me) started from home at 1 PM and planned to join my uncle and family somewhere at Joka (around 10 kms from our place). We were yet to have lunch so we decided to stop at the earliest eat joint. We made our stop for lunch at 1:35 at a road side dhaba about 2 kms after Amtala.

The Dhaba:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_133847.jpg

The halt was pretty long, completed the lunch with a cup of tea and left at 2:20 PM. We made a small halt at Usti to pick up some fruits. We did not take the Diamond Harbour route as taken by many while going to Bakkhali as the road via Usti seemed shorter (Google Map), and it was so.

Pictures on the way: Road quality - good
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_131302.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_151232.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_151329.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_151507.jpg

We reached Namkhana at 3:50 and to our surprise we did not have to wait much. Our cars were the third-forth in line which meant we would go in the very next vessel. There is a tax that needs to be paid by the gate - Rs. 30 each car. By the time I paid this the vessel arrived. The vehicles on it started unloading soon after that. In a few minutes we had docked ourselves on the vessel. The vessel's ride is about 5-10 minutes with a distance of 100-130 meters. Once on the other side - 25 kms remained for the destination and we were there by 4:35 PM.
Vessel charge - 160 per car

In the line:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155126.jpg
Cars unloading:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155221.jpg
We make our way in:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155731.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155740.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155805.jpg
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Old 1st May 2015, 00:34   #2
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Default re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Cars squeezed in:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155911.jpg

View in front of the vessel:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_155917.jpg

A truck getting loaded:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_160025.jpg

Cars parked:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_160100.jpg

The other side of the ride:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_160230.jpg

Anchoring to the other side:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_160951.jpg

On our way out:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_161119.jpg

Moving out:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_161206.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_161224.jpg

We drove into Bakkhali Tourist Lodge as we had our bookings made. The cottages were beautiful. One big room as you enter, a passage from both sides adjoining another room which had the bed, TV and two doors. One door opened into a balcony, the other to a changing room to which leads the Bathroom. There were two split ACs in the cottage. Very comfortable, charge per cottage Rs. 2500, Extra person - Rs. 25000+20% and if you opt for an extra bed - Rs. 2500+30%. I was worth it.

We changed out to beachwear and explored the Bakkhali beach. There was heavy breeze prevailing and the type of sand, being unlike the one you would see in Mandarmoni, was fine and blowing along with the wind and making the entry of the beach somewhat messy. The beach was much better than Mandarmoni IMO and was peaceful comparatively. The water level was not much and we had to walk quite some distance to play with the water. We were told that the water level rises as the sunsets and therefore should not go in too deep. We were there till sunset and returned to the cottage to relax thereafter.

Sunset:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150422-11.19.42.jpg

Beach view:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_173535.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_174226.jpg

On the opposite side of the beach, benches not visited:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_173707.jpg

Red Crabs:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_173746.jpg

Playing around:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_175534.jpg

We had ordered our dinner before we left for the beach as they prepare for customers in advance. The dinner was delicious - Chicken, Crabs, the usual rice, dal, mixed veg and rasgulla and misti dahi for dessert. We went for a walk at the beach after the heavy meal and found the water had come up almost till the shops at the entry point. Some more walking and we were done for the day.

A pic during the night walk:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150418_213502.jpg

The next day - 19th April

Got up at 5 AM to see the sunrise but were too lazy and too comfortable in bed to go out. Finally got up at 6 to walk around the tourist lodge sipped tea and were ready to have our complimentary breakfast. Again, simple yet good food quality - Puri, alu and bread omelette with tea/coffee.

Took some time-out before breakfast to do some clicking -

A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084128_001.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084354.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084407.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084419.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084433.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084605.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_103414.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_114725.jpg

The pathway to the cottage entrance:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_084536.jpg

After the meal we decided to make another round to the beach before we would move to have a look at Henry Island. The beach looked much better this time. With the water line moved up and waves in full swing it was fun playing around in the water. Not to forget the sad part of it - Two spectacles lost in the waters of Bakkhali. :(

The Beach:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_091958.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_092449.jpg

Last edited by navsjab : 1st May 2015 at 00:58.
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Old 1st May 2015, 01:14   #3
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Default re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

We then visited Henry Island in the hope of having lunch there and making a move to Kolkata. To our misfortune we did not get lunch at Henry Island. The Bengal Fishery Resort at Henry Island prepares food against advance booking only. Had a look around from the Watch Tower, the beach and started our way back to Kolkata at 1:30 PM.

Pics from the Watch Tower -
Reference:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-maps.jpg

Parking side:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130256.jpg

Lothain Island Wildlife Sanctuary side:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130434.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130249.jpg

Forest Area:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130305.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130333.jpg

Beach Side:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_130239.jpg

Way to Henry Island beach (walking):
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_131922.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132132.jpg

At the beach - hardly any people:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132209.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132212.jpg

and back:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132135.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132311.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_132537.jpg

Our way back took a longer time as this was the day after elections and therefore all shops and markets were open. We started from Henry Island at 1:40 PM. We waited for around 1.5 hours at Namkhana for the vessel as there was a long line since most of the people move off Bakkhali on sunday.

Waiting at Namkhana:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_152040.jpg

Filled fuel at Kakdwip and found this parrot cage:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_155616.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_155649.jpg

Way back:
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_161626.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_162531.jpg
A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata-20150419_162537.jpg

Stopped at Dominos near Behala on our way back so have our missed lunch and back home at 7 PM.

Thanks for reading

--END--

Note to Mods: Apologies for back to back posts, got familiar with the extra attachments after the first post.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 16:22   #4
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Great pics and lovely trip ! I also did Bakkhali recently, details can be found here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ourists-5.html (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists)

You should join us in Kolkata meets and Whatsapp group. PMd you no of Admin. Do join if you are not in yet.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 16:56   #5
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samfromindia View Post
Great pics and lovely trip ! I also did Bakkhali recently, details can be found here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ourists-5.html (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists)

You should join us in Kolkata meets and Whatsapp group. PMd you no of Admin. Do join if you are not in yet.
This was exactly the thread I mentioned in my first post and it was your post of the Bakkhali trip that I was actually referring to

Thanks for the details Sam. I am waiting for the next Kolkata meet. Pinging Samba for the whatsapp group addition.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 22:17   #6
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Superb travelogue! Enjoyed reading it. Nice set of pics too. West Bengal is filled with these underrated places which are left to be unexplored by explorers like us . Common people here only know/ have visited two places in West Bengal: Puri & Digha. If you think of it that way, these places have a niche of their own. Out of the crowd, silent, pleasing and peaceful nature--oh so great!

Day by day, WB BHPians are becoming more active, planning short trips every now and then. Hope to join the clan soon.

Loved your signature. Thanks for the same!
Lovely Ikon there. The alloys look great on her.

Cheers,
Neel

Last edited by petrolhead_neel : 3rd May 2015 at 22:26. Reason: Spacing :p
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Old 3rd May 2015, 23:12   #7
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

That's a beautiful travelogue navsjab. Great pictures to boot as well. Looks like a beautiful location to explore, and your Ikon's a looker as well!
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Old 3rd May 2015, 23:54   #8
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Quote:
Originally Posted by navsjab View Post
This was exactly the thread I mentioned in my first post and it was your post of the Bakkhali trip that I was actually referring to

Thanks for the details Sam. I am waiting for the next Kolkata meet. Pinging Samba for the whatsapp group addition.
Awesome travelogue there- Navtej!

Just goes on to say; that the smaller, (Relatively) unplanned T/L's are a lot more enjoyable.

Yeah- Cool car there. Honestly; miss the original 'Josh Machine'.

And that 1.6 litre mill- Miss it. Seriously. Always found the Ikon to be a lot more engaging car than many others.

Believe it or not - The Ikon was originally a Made-For-India car, based on the then Ford Fiesta. It was later (2001-03 onwards?) marketed in different countries as the Fiesta sedan.

Fact is; the car was originally Made-For-India; and launched first in India as well. New Delhi to be precise.

The first Made-For-India car, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolhead_neel View Post
Superb travelogue! Enjoyed reading it. Nice set of pics too. West Bengal is filled with these underrated places which are left to be unexplored by explorers like us . Common people here only know/ have visited two places in West Bengal: Puri & Digha. If you think of it that way, these places have a niche of their own. Out of the crowd, silent, pleasing and peaceful nature--oh so great!
Neel
Must correct you a bit here-

Puri is in Orissa (Or Odisha, if you will)

__________________

To say that whenever I plan a roadtrip; it has to be planned perfectly, in advance, is an understatement.

Yeah- As and when I land in the shores of the 'States again; A trans-American Roadtrip shall duly be undertaken.

Travel Partners- Yeah. Identified. Years in advance. My physicist cousins, from Stanford, and the University of Illinois. God knows where I'll be studying (or researching) then. Harvard....Stanford....Ah! The American Dream!

One must make it a point to live life well. Be successful wherever possible.

The car
: Has been bought. Already. 'Tis either a -

Mercedes Benz W124/126/210. Or yeah- Our ever reliable Accord V6!

The route has been finalized as well.

Ah- so much for being carried away in ones inward reflections, no?

Last edited by FINTAIL : 3rd May 2015 at 23:57.
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Old 4th May 2015, 16:54   #9
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Nice travelogue navsjab. The pictures are fantastic too. Bengal truly has some astonishing places which very few people from outside know about.

Coming to the cars, the Ikon 1.6 is an awesome car. It is great fun to punt around! Wish Ford shows some guts and brings back the 1.6-litre petrol engine in it the Fiesta.
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Old 4th May 2015, 17:54   #10
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Great Travelogue Navsjab . This one is another addition to the running series of travel destination in Bengal by Samba.

The Namkhana ferry service is a bottleneck and because of the same many people discard Henrys Island and Bakkhali from there weekend touring destination. I had a very bad experience long back , which has stopped me from planning it again.

A word of advice to all who wants to enjoy the beautiful beach, start very early in the morning from Kolkata to be ahead of the traffic and hazard of Namkhana.
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Old 5th May 2015, 19:44   #11
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

That a short and sweet story there. Please keep many more such flowing in. I too have Bakkhali/Henry's Island on my radar for long. This travelogue is definitely going to be of great help when I eventually start on this journey.

Hope to see you soon in one of our Kolkata TBHP meets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouraC View Post
A word of advice to all who wants to enjoy the beautiful beach, start very early in the morning from Kolkata to be ahead of the traffic and hazard of Namkhana.
Souradeep, that's a very helpful piece of advice there. Can you please let us know the start time and end time of the Namkhana Ferry Service if you have the info? That will be very helpful in planning a trip through the neck of the bottle
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Old 6th May 2015, 17:30   #12
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Thanks you guys for appreciating my first travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhii176 View Post
That's a beautiful travelogue navsjab. Great pictures to boot as well. Looks like a beautiful location to explore, and your Ikon's a looker as well!
Thank you abhii176. This is indeed one of those spots that are less visited but well worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FINTAIL View Post
Awesome travelogue there- Navtej!

Yeah- Cool car there. Honestly; miss the original 'Josh Machine'.

And that 1.6 litre mill- Miss it. Seriously. Always found the Ikon to be a lot more engaging car than many others.

Believe it or not - The Ikon was originally a Made-For-India car, based on the then Ford Fiesta. It was later (2001-03 onwards?) marketed in different countries as the Fiesta sedan.

Fact is; the car was originally Made-For-India; and launched first in India as well. New Delhi to be precise.

The first Made-For-India car, I guess.

Yup, very true, I am a very proud and happy owner of the Josh Machine This was one of those early attempts to make a vehicle made for India and WOW! is this still worth the thrills even today.

Quote:
To say that whenever I plan a roadtrip; it has to be planned perfectly, in advance, is an understatement.

Yeah- As and when I land in the shores of the 'States again; A trans-American Roadtrip shall duly be undertaken.

Travel Partners- Yeah. Identified. Years in advance. My physicist cousins, from Stanford, and the University of Illinois. God knows where I'll be studying (or researching) then. Harvard....Stanford....Ah! The American Dream!

One must make it a point to live life well. Be successful wherever possible.

The car
: Has been bought. Already. 'Tis either a -

Mercedes Benz W124/126/210. Or yeah- Our ever reliable Accord V6!

The route has been finalized as well.

Ah- so much for being carried away in ones inward reflections, no?
Great introspection there. have a look at this http://www.shareably.net/perfect-road-trip-map/#

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouraC View Post
Great Travelogue Navsjab . This one is another addition to the running series of travel destination in Bengal by Samba.

The Namkhana ferry service is a bottleneck and because of the same many people discard Henrys Island and Bakkhali from there weekend touring destination. I had a very bad experience long back , which has stopped me from planning it again.

A word of advice to all who wants to enjoy the beautiful beach, start very early in the morning from Kolkata to be ahead of the traffic and hazard of Namkhana.
Thanks SouraC. I Agree but in this case I think one must not take the distance ino account and start calculating time. One should just keep a buffer of around 1 - 1.5 hours for the halt and then start the drive. One can spend time chit chating with the team, have some tea/daab etc during the wait. One can also go ahead in the line and overhear the debates caused due to the line break or participate in them. I did it during my return wait time of 1.5 hours. What I mean is that make the most of this wait and treat it as a part of the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psurelia View Post
That a short and sweet story there. Please keep many more such flowing in. I too have Bakkhali/Henry's Island on my radar for long. This travelogue is definitely going to be of great help when I eventually start on this journey.

Hope to see you soon in one of our Kolkata TBHP meets.
Thanks psurelia. Make sure you book the WB tourist lodge well in advance as it is located closest to the beach and well kept. I would recommend the cottage if it is a big group that likes staying tied up together.

I am waiting for the BHPians from Kolkata to meet as well.

Quote:
Souradeep, that's a very helpful piece of advice there. Can you please let us know the start time and end time of the Namkhana Ferry Service if you have the info? That will be very helpful in planning a trip through the neck of the bottle
The timings are from 9 or 10 AM to 6 PM with a one hour lunch break from 1 - 2. IMO it is this lunch break also that causes the line of vehicles to increase. Timings can be corrected by Souradeep if I am wrong.

I suggest you plan your trip in such a way that it does not coincide with the general weekend travel time if possible.

Last edited by navsjab : 6th May 2015 at 17:31. Reason: Reduced smileys
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Old 7th May 2015, 13:48   #13
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Hello Navtej ...... welcome to Team-BHP !

A very well compiled Travelogue there from you with some good clicks. This destination has definitely been on my 'To Do List' for sometime now. It's encouraging to see fellow BHPians from Kolkata like yourself & SamFromIndia doing this short trip in the recent times and exploring this zone.

Your Ikon looks stunning with the snazzy footwear that it wears !! The Ikon has been a car very close to my heart as well.

Hope to catch up with you at the next Team-BHP Meet.
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Old 8th May 2015, 00:52   #14
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

Now its a sweet travelogue Navsjab. Some lovely pictures and good narration makes it an enjoyable read. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Bakkhali is one place i always wanted to visit but i always backed off thinking about the hazards i have to take on ferrying my car across the river. But reading your travelogue and Samfromindia's post it seems that its not that hazardous any more. Now i want to do a similar trip too! To be safe i will keep 1-2 hours extra time in hand.

Last edited by Samba : 8th May 2015 at 01:07.
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Old 8th May 2015, 01:06   #15
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Default Re: A soothing weekend getaway @ Bakkhali, south of Kolkata

This is a wonderful narration as were the photos.

I had gone to Bokkhali as a kid with my father in 1990. We took a local EMU train from Sealdah to D. Harbour (at that time I believe rail link to Namkhana was not present), then a bus to Namkhana, crossed in a tiny boat that had just the two of us (and boatman), then another bus to Bokkhali (there was no ferry for vehicles in those days). Overall a very tiring and hot journey. As I remember the WB Tourism cottages were very new and we were the only guests (due to which we had to pre-order meals 4-6 hours in advance just so the staff could buy the vegetables, meat, etc.). The beach was totally devoid of people and it felt great to be the only ones.

Now, of course, it is possible to train it all the way to Namkhana. There are also direct buses from Kolkata but somehow I have not had the enthusiasm to visit again. After seeing your photos I just might ask my father if he will join me in a bees-saal baad trip.
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