Bakkhali is located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Most of the islands are part of the Sundarbans, 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. The south facing crescent shaped beach of Bakkhali is one of the rare ones in the world that offer great views of both sunrise and sunset.
There is a 8 km long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frazergunj with gently rolling waves. These are twin towns now forming one continuous locality. Except on an occasional holiday the beach is not crowded. A small stretch near Bakkhali has been lighted up. It is a hard beach suitable for cycling or even driving. One can take long walks with coconut water. Bakkhali is also the name of a river in the Chittagong division of Bangladesh.
The long, wide beach of Bakkhali stretches from Bakkhali to Frazergunj. The water and the beach appear grey, as the land slopes into the Bay of Bengal, but the land and the water are both clean. The beach is strong enough to bear cycles and cars, but some spots are soft and sinkable. The mangrove forest near the beaches has no tigers, but is nonetheless a tourist spot.
The Bakkhali Beach is perhaps the most breathtaking beach. The 7 km coastline is not just the most stunning view of the sea merging into the land, but is also very sparsely populated, which accentuates its beauty.
Just 2 km north of Bakkhali is the twin town Frazerganj, which is named after Andrew Fraser. Fraser, in early 1900s, tried to build the area into a resort, which he couldn’t as the waves frequently washed the constructions. His office ruins can still be seen here. A Wind Energy Farm that generates 1 MW and is soon going to be extended to produce 2 MW is located in Frazerganj.
How to reach
Tourists can avail the direct buses to Bakkhali that are available from Esplanade in Kolkata. From Bakkhali, can reach Frazergunj by hiring a cycle van. Some tourists also hire cars directly from Kolkata to reach Frazergunj. Train to Namkhana from Sealdah and cross the Hatania Doania River on a boat and a bus from the other side of the river to reach Bakkhali.
Henry Island is named after a European who surveyed land in the area in the late 19th century. Have a look at the view from the watch tower at Bakkhali and do walk to the beach. The walking trail goes through a stretch of mangrove jungle accessed by crossing a small bamboo bridge. The fisheries department has dug more than 50 ponds occupying over 25 bigha on 100-hectares of land. Trees such as gora, kankru, palm, naturally growing sundari and hetal have been planted.
How to reach
Turning left from Jelighat stop which is 4 km before Bakkhali. On driving some 1.5 km, the lodges can be seen one by one.
A large uninhabited island of 300 sq. km, Gangasagar or Sagar is located, where the River Hooghly meets the sea. To reach Sagar, guests have to drive 20 km back from Bakkhali to Namkhana and then avail the ferry service to cross Muriganga to arrive at Sagar Island’s Kachuberia jetty. The Gangasagar Mela that is organised in January on Makar Sankranti is known to attract millions of Hindu pilgrims to this island, to the temple of Kapil Muni and take a dip where Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal.
How to reach
Sagar Island lays only 135 kms away from Kolkata. Driving through the Diamond Harbor road can be reached the Harwood point, no.8 Lot Ghat. From there by crossing over a barge, can be reached Kochuberia on the other side. Then again drive for another 30 kms to reach Sagar Island.
Jambudwip is the name of an isolated island situated in the Bay of Bengal about 8 km to the southwest of Frazerganj/Bakkhali in the South 24 Parganas district. It remains uninhabited except in the fishing season, i.e. between the months of October and February. In the past, fishermen came from the Chittagong and Noakhali areas of Bangladesh for fishing. They developed special aptitude and traditional skills for marine fishing. The main reasons for using Jambudwip were the island's proximity to the fishing grounds, presence of a natural creek for safe harbouring of their boats, and supply of drinking water.
How to reach
First to reach Frazergunj then take a motor boat for Jambu Dwip.
HOW TO REACH
By Air: The nearest airport is at Netaji Subhash Chandra (NSC) Bose International Airport or Dum Dum.
By Train: The nearest rail station is at Namkhana. There are regular trains from Sealdah via Lakshmikantapur and Kakdwip to Namkhana. The first train starts at around 4AM from Sealdah.
By Road: It is 125 km by road from Joka tram terminus at the south-western edge of Kolkata. The road runs through Diamond Harbour and Kakdwip to Namkhana, where the car or bus has to be transported across the Hatania-Doania creek in a special ferry. The ferry service is available from 7AM-11PM