For the uninitiated, the name Sagardwip is synonymous with a teeming mass of humanity. Yet, the same place can be a perfect weekend getaway for those looking for seclusion. Surprised' Well, unbelievable as it may sound, Sagar Island, or Ganga Sagar as it is better known, is one of the best places to visit for a whiff of peace and quiet (provided it’s not during Makar Sankranti, of course).
At Ganga Sagar, the languid calm is only broken by the rush of the waves and roar of the wind, engaged in a fierce play of sand and surf. Myriad red crabs crawl in and out of their holes, on their way to and from the sea. The snipes and sandpipers are on a perennial search for food on the shore.
At dawn and at dusk, fishermen take their boats out to the sea and cast their nets wide in search of their daily catch, sometimes venturing way into the deep. After sunset, windmills spin electricity into homes, the only source of light on the island.
Though Ganga Sagar is just a few hours away from the din and bustle of the city and life on the island is tough, there is a sense of calm that permeates the air and makes you take a deep breath and helps you unwind.
• Camera, preferably video
• Insect repellent
• Sturdy walking shoes
The easiest way to the island is by bus from Esplanade. Buses leave at frequent intervals, and take about three hours to reach Harwood Point (Lot No. 8), from where a ferry takes you across the river Buriganga to Kachuberia in around half-an-hour. One can also take an early morning train from Sealdah station to Kakdwip. Another 30 km bus ride through small villages brings you to your destination. On the island, there are a handful of government guesthouses and a lone hotel, which is clean, comfortable and has good food.
One word of caution is necessary for travellers looking for the cool comforts of city life — electricity supply on the island is almost non-existent, restricted as it is to the windmills churning out just enough power for lights (no fans), and that too, only after sunset. But then the sea breeze is strong enough for you not to miss the whirring fans. Apart from gazing at a glorious sunrise or sunset, there’s plenty to do for the romantic and the recluse at Ganga Sagar. Walk idly along the seashore to the forest of casuarina trees or pay a visit to Kapil Muni’s temple. Stroll down to the fishermen’s village or simply sit on the balcony and stare into the vastness of the waters, maybe with a good book for company.
How to get there
Take a WBSTC bus from Esplanade to Kakdwip (a distance of 85 km) From Harwood Point (Lot No. 8), take a ferry to cross over to Kachuberia From there, take a bus, minibus or trekker to Sagar Island
Where to stay
Larica Sagar Bihar: 03210240226
Pictures by Ayon Mandal