The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast.

Tripoto

We walked towards the white light, nervous and excited, not knowing what to expect!

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

In the south-eastern remote area of West Bengal’s South Pargana, lies a gem that remains untouched and unexplored, probably because of the lack of commute or interest.

Journey to the end of the South-Eastern Land

Having explored beaches like Digha and Mandarmani far too many times, we as a group decided to explore something else, somewhere none of our friends had been. An acquaintance suggested the name ‘Henry’s Island’ which definitely sounded exotic. So we took off on a sudden weekend getaway, not knowing what was in the store for us.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. 1/1 by Ariz Suban

Hugli's finest

Thinking we were heading probably to an exotic resort, we boarded on a bus from Esplanade to Bakkhali as it was the nearest you could get to the island. On the way, we passed the beautiful beach of Diamond Harbour, with tourists enjoying themselves on the white sand. We took a short halt at Sri Swami Narayan temple too, a few kilometres from the harbour, witnessing and appreciating the architectural beauty, one of the finest West Bengal has to offer.

We on a bus, bus on a ferry!!

After about an hour ride from Diamond Harbour and upon reaching Namkhana, we came across a small river with a port (sort of). Turns out, the only way to cross the river was through a ferry. And those ferries were huge! Huge enough to transport the buses across the river. So we boarded the bus, which in turn boarded the ferry and was dropped at the other side!!

The bridge for pedestrians, the ferry for the bus!!

Photo of Namkhana, West Bengal, India by Ariz Suban

Into the jungle

Out of the coverage area, with no access to high speed internet, we were getting pretty clueless when one of us spotted a small sign saying ‘Henry’s Island and Fisheries’. We got off the bus in the middle of nowhere with no one around to ask for directions. While we were inquiring about our destination, a motor trolley (or van, as they like to call it), drove in front of us and offered to take us there. We agreed.

Photo of Henry's Island, Bakkhali, West Bengal, India by Ariz Suban

After around a ten-minute ride in the ‘van’, the guy dropped us, saying this is as far as he could go. The rest of the journey was to be covered on foot. We thanked the driver nonetheless and started walking. None of us had any idea where to go to or about the things we could be facing. The lack of habitat was a bit daunting; I have to admit.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

With no sense of direction, we started walking towards a white light from inside a cluster of mangrove trees. As we drew nearer, we could see that the cluster was in fact a natural shade, shaped like a tunnel with the light at the end of it.

The beautiful contrast!

Having seen bits of the beautiful beach of Diamond Harbour, a bus on a ferry ride, and an enlightening temple visit, we could not expect where our journey was leading us to. We walked alongside the tunnel, with the red crabs shying away in their holes as they sensed us.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

What came next was the biggest surprise we could’ve hoped for. Ending the tunnel of mangroves, we came out to see one of the finest images of nature one could imagine. White light to as far as you could see. It was at that moment we knew we had discovered something that’ll stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

For as far as you could see, there was sand. And nothing but the sand.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

We came out of the forests into the whitest beach we had ever seen. Waves fighting their way off the shore and not a human in sight. With a view so majestic, we ran off to the beach like little children. Looking back at the hole we caved out of, we could see nothing but the forest. Nature can sometimes be so peacefully contrasting. On one side was the whitest of beach and on a parallel, was the dense, intimidating forest.

Photo of The daunting journey to a beautiful contrast. by Ariz Suban

After about an hour of bathing in the water, we traced ourselves back the path we had come. Fortunately, we came across another ‘van’, which led us to a nearby town where we spent the night, mingling with the locals.

Photo of Henry's Island, Bakkhali, West Bengal, India by Ariz Suban

The next day, we woke up early to explore the town, which, to our dismay, wasn’t very different from any other small town. Having spent the day in, we boarded a returning bus, with the peak point of our journey being able to explore the end of the island.

PS: We were college students short on cash and beaming with enthusiasm. The journey was intimidating, the destination worthy. This place is a must-visit should you choose to bond with your squad. At least till this is unexplored. Who knows what urbanization might bring.

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