Breathtaking Beaches premise the perfect escape to tranquility !!! The coastal strip of West Bengal, extending from the Gangetic delta land to the border of Orissa, presents some beautiful options in sea resorts - Digha, Shankarpur, Junput, Bakkhali, Sagardwip. All of these offer wide, flat, hard beaches, a gently rolling sea, rows of casuarina forests and a pleasant, warm weather round the year.
Down south from Calcutta, the coastal areas of West Bengal present eye-catching beautiful options: - Digha - Shankarpur - Junput - Bakkhali - Frazergunj and Sagardwip.
The Southern West Bengal is endowed with the most famous beach on the eastern coast of India Digha. The beach town of Digha is famous all over for flat, hard beaches. The beauty of this place was discovered as early as the days of Warren Hastings. Digha was known as Beercool at that time. Digha beach is girdled with casuarina plantations along the coast. The sea is calm and shallow for about a mile from the beach making it quite safe for swimming.
Shankarpur, a virgin beach as yet, is a recent discovery. It is a twin beach of Digha, around 10 km. from it. It offers nearly all the pleasures of a private beach. This beach too is cupped with casuarina plantations. Shankarpur is only 14 km. east of Digha, along the Digha-Contai Road. It is also a regular fishing harbour. Shankarpur is now developed as a sea resort with hotels, tourist lodges and other facilities.
The white sand beach, is entirely different from the other beaches. It is pristine pure and holds the charms of a beach unspoilt. It can be accessed from Calcutta, and is a three hours drive on very good roads. The destination is also all too famous for the migratory birds that can be sighted over there Sagardwip A lovely destination combining pilgrimage and fun, situated on an island in the Sunderban, holds the charms of a completely unspoilt beach on the estuary of the mighty Ganga. Sagardwip presents a quiet, silvery expanse of beach and the calm sea provides the perfect setting for a quiet weekend.
side is Kachuberia. From Kachuberia, a journey by bus, minibus or trekker to Sagar Island. West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation runs direct buses between Esplanade and Lot No. 8 and ferry vessels across the river.
On Makar Sankranti day in winter (mid-January), pilgrims from all over India congregate at Sagardwip to take a holy dip at the confluence of the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal. After the holy dip, they offer Puja at the nearby ashram associated with the legendary sage Kapil Muni. This has been a famous pilgrim centre from the ancient times. Gangasagar Mela, held on the occasion of Makar Sankranti is the largest fair in West Bengal.
The lighthouse at Sagardwip provides a panoramic view of the surroundings.
It is so near Calcutta and yet so very different from the bustling metropolis that is Calcutta. Bakkhali is only 132 km from Calcutta. From Calcutta to Namkhana by bus (105 km.), then a short diversion by the ferry across the Hatania Doania river, and then another hour and a half bus journey to Bakkhali. En rout, there is Diamond Harbour (48 km from Calcutta) where there is a comfortable Tourist Lodge for accommodation.
At Bakkhali, the beach is long and sandy, the waves twinkling in the sunlight. Dense casuarina groves drape the beach. Red fiddler crabs march in line on the beach.
Falta : 43 km downriver, was the site of a Dutch factory. The British Retreated here in 1756 when Kolkata was captured by Siraj-ud-daula. It was also from here that Clive recaptured Kolkata. just below Falta the Damodar River joins the Hooghly. The Rupnarain River also joins the Hooghly nearby and a little up this river is Tamluk, which was an important Buddhist centre over 1000 years ago. The James & Mary Shoal, the most dangerous on the Hooghly, is just above the point where the Rupnarain River enters. It takes its name from a ship which was wrecked here in 1694.
Diamond Harbour : A resort 51km south of Kolkata by road, Diamond Harbour is at the point where the Hooghly turns south and flows into the open sea. It can be reached by bus or train from Kolkata. Launches run from here to Sagar island.
The Sagarika Tourist Lodge can be booked through West Bengal Tourism in Kolkata.
Haldia : The new port of Haldia is 96km south of Kolkata, on the west bank of the Hooghly. The port was constructed to try to regain the shipping lost from Kolkata's silting problems. There are regular buses between Kolkata and Haldia.
Sagar Island (Sagardwip) : At the mouth of the Hooghly, this island is considered to be the point where the Ganges joins the sea, and a great three day bathing festival takes place here in mid-January. A lighthouse marks the south-west tip of the island but navigation is still difficult for a further 65km south.