Don’t worry about beating the Monday morning blues, Friday is on its way to rescue you. This is the case with all of us as we are desperately seeking solace for at least two days. The good news is, you can spend your weekend exactly the way you want and the place is quite popular as a weekend getaway destination among the Bengali. If you head 125 KMs south of Kolkata you will finally meet this small island known as Bakkhali, overlooking the Bay of Bengal.

A lotus pond inside the Bakkhali Reserve forest.
A lotus pond inside the Bakkhali Reserve forest.

Bakkhali is a part of several Deltas and falls partly under the extended mangrove region of the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem , the Sunderbans. ‘ Sunderban’ literally means ‘beautiful forest’. The vegetation of the area consists mostly of ‘Sundari Trees’ which might be another reason behind the name. The area is known mostly for the famous Bengal Tiger. It has been declared as a  protected national forest but customs dating back to several centuries prompts the locals to worship this forest and use it for earning livelihood, despite dangers of wild tiger attacks.

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A very common view around this place where you get to see the submerged sundari trees. These trees provide strong hardwood which is used by the natives for building houses. These are found here only and they have a very high tolerance for salinity.

The best thing about Bakkhali is that it shares the beauty and features of sunderbans without having any exposure to the wild dangers associated with sunder bans.   The place has several wide beaches which are perfect for a weekend holiday. Over the years, these destinations have seen several leaps of development in order to cater to thousands of tourists flocking each year. Bakkhali among them has also seen a surge in its economy after a rise in the number of tourists. There are many hotels and resorts all along the beach, belonging to different budgets.

The view of the sea taken from the Kiran Beach.
The view of the sea taken from the Kiran Beach.

Kiran Beach in the Frazerganj region is one of the major attractions . If you want to spend a quiet afternoon with your loved ones and stroll down the  beach without any disturbance then you should definitely go for it. And unlike the main Bakkhali Beach it is much quieter. You may simply, take off your shoes and take a walk around the beach while the sand below your feet keeps sliding away. While coming back from the beach, do not miss the watch tower from where you can a breathtaking view of the surrounding forest and the beach at a distance.

The view from the watch tower showing the forest and the Kiran Beach at a distance.
The view from the watch tower showing the forest and the Kiran Beach at a distance.

IMG_9291While returning back we came across a local who was busy catching crabs with his bare hands. The man was skillfully dipping his hand in the muddy water and in no time the crabs were his. Only God knows if these were the crabs which we were relishing earlier that day!

And...his catch till we were there!!
And…his catch till we were there!!

The place is a photography enthusiast’s paradise and an ideal destination for a lover of adventure. It is an ideal mangrove ecosystem and an admixture of raw forest and marine topography. This UNESCO World Heritage site consists of  thousands of species of plants, trees, birds, animals and aquatic life forms which has been flourishing here for ages. The fishing industry is a very crucial part of the local economy and during the fishing season, one will find this place gets overflowed with varieties of fishes and crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, prawns, pomfret and the very popular hilsa, which is a type of herring.

Various fishing boats, all docked.
Various fishing boats, all docked.
The police patrol boats on duty.
The police patrol boats on duty.
The road map indicating the route from Kolkata.
The road map indicating the route from Kolkata.

It is ideal to visit Bakkhali during the end of summer or specifically by the end of August. A 2 Nights/3 Days will be perfect to explore the beach and enjoy the most of Bakkhali. Hotel rooms are generally available all throughout the year, however, you may give them a call before reaching and get a temporary booking, or as they say, a pencil booking done. No need to pay upfront. Carry I.D your proof along with yourself or else there will be problem getting a room.

Our staple breakfast of half slit bread with fried eggs and a cup of cha at the roadside joints.
Our staple breakfast of half slit bread with fried eggs and a cup of cha at the roadside joints.

In most cases, big restaurants may not be available with the lodging facilities. So, do not worry, there are many local eateries near the beach and you can also get your food delivered to your hotel room. You have to carry your liquor as there are no such shops in Bakkhali beach area. But these local eateries can arrange anything for you and get them delivered to your room at a slightly extra charge

Overall, Bakkhali is a very peaceful place and perfect for a refreshing weekend trip. Enjoy the beach, savor authentic sea-food and buy trinkets made out of shells. Plan a trip with friends or with your family, this place will certainly relax your body and rejuvenate you.

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