Located at a distance of around 130 km from the city of joy (Kolkata) and kissed by Bay of Bengal, Henry's Island is an offbeat tourist destination. Vast stretch of empty beach, placid sea, clear blue sky and excellent sea food are some of the attractions of this weekend destination. This beach destination is ideal for travellers looking for tranquility.
Here is our guide to get out of the tourist trap and enjoy this picturesque place off the beaten path.
1) Stay in nature's lap at Sundari ComplexDo you want to spend time in nature's lap sacrificing little bit of comfort (air conditioner)? Sundari Complex, managed by Fisheries Department of West Bengal, is the answer to your quest for chilling out in the midst of dense mangrove forest. Bani watch tower inside this facility is the ideal vantage point to watch myriad colourful birds especially during winter. What is more, Henry's Island beach is stone's throw away from the complex. Last but not the least, it is also a fish lover's paradise where you can select your own fish harvested in front of you for your immediate order for food in an interactive kitchen.
- There are two accommodation options in Henry's Island - Sundari and Mangrove (both run by WBSFDC). You should book cottages at Sundari complex as it is nearer to the beach.
- Dec-Feb is the best time to stay
- You should not miss mouth-watring crab curry dish
Henry's Island beach is very raw, beautiful and natural. The quaint, desolate beach will definitly make you utter the word ‘wow’. The vegetation line, which consists of mangrove and casuarina trees, forms a green wall along the beach and the greenery has a soothing effect on stressed nerves. All these add up to spectacular location to watch amazing sunrise. So, do wake up early morning or stay up all night long. But do not miss watching the sun rise from vast expanse of Bay of Bengal. Mother nature will roll out live red carpet to welcome you for this mega event in the form of hundreds of Red Crabs.
Do NOT walk a long distance from the beach entry point; keep in mind the tide timings. Please note that high tide takes only 15/20 min to inundate a vast area and creeks which remain dry otherwise.
3) Witness a romantic sunset at Bakkhali beachYour weekend trip will remain incomplete if you miss the magical sunset at Bakkhali beach. Though Bakkahli beach is not ideal for swimming due to shallow water, it is the best place to watch twilight dropping her curtain down and pinning it with a star. Just sit on the embankment and witness the beautiful sunset while sipping hot tea from a traditional earthen pot.
- You should take a short visit to the shrine of Bonbibi - the guardian deity of Sundarban. Walk till the last lamp post on the beach and take a left turn into the Causarina forest leading up to the small shrine of Bonbibi.
- Do NOT walk a long distance from the beach entry point. The silent and sudden high tide movement may catch you unaware.
'Watching mangrove forest in full moon night from a watch tower' - does it sound awkward to you? Even if so, experience it once from Bani tower at Sundari complex and you will cherish that moment for the rest of your life. The surroundings dawn a beautiful yet mysterious look altogether. All you can hear is the sound of the waves as they crash against the shore. The wind seems to whisper in ears telling its deepest, darkest secrets. Slowly, you will loose your mind and find your soul.
Bedouin would like to end this guide with a small piece of advice. If you choose to travel in your own car or by bus (direct to Bakkhali), plan your trip in a way that you do not reach Hatania Doania river crossing during high tide. Vessel service for vehicles remain closed during that period.