You read it right. Camping. Rather, beach camping. It went off my bucket list last weekend. It can be the same for you.
Transportation: All you need to do is take a 3.5 to 4 hours local train ride from Sealdah to Namkhana. Outside Namkhana station, only Totos are available which will take you to the Gaari Stand. You won’t have to take a Ferry ride just yet as the newly built Hataniya Doaniya River Bridge is up and functioning.
All the cabs at the stand are running on a shared basis. However, if you are travelling with a large group and would rather prefer a private cab, you can book an entire cab at a negotiated price. These cabs are usually Tata Magic modified to fit around 10 persons but I’ve also seen people hanging from wherever there was space to hold on.
This cab would drop you at the Bagdanga Ghaat and the ride takes about 1.5 hours. From the ghaat you’d have to take a Ferry ride to cross river Chenai. It hardly takes around 10 mins to cross the river and on the other side, take a Toto ride of around 25 minutes to the Izifiso Backpacker’s Camp.
Ride Scenes: Now let me take a moment to appreciate the scenic beauty that you get to witness all around you during these rides. Do you remember that green crayon in our colour box? The one that got used up the most? Yes, the one we used to colour the green field on our drawing books. That one.
I found that godly green colour in the fields of this place. I loved staring at it and took in all the visual satisfaction it was providing. It gives a healing vibe whenever I look at green. Have you ever felt it?
The most fascinating was the fields of sunflowers, all of them staring in the same direction. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed.
The natural abodes of mud houses and the way of simple living in this remote corner of West Bengal amazed me. It was sultry hot during the days but cool and windy during the nights.
Backpacker’s Camp: Once we reach Izifiso’s Mousuni Island Backpacker’s Camp, we get our tents plus coconut water as a refreshing welcome. The entire place is on sand area and nearer to the beach. There are 4 mud houses, 3 family tents (3 heads in each) and 12 adventure tents (2 heads in each). Pillows, mattress and a cooler fan is available inside the tents.
There are 4 shared bathrooms and also properly maintained. A shared dining area and a basin attached to a tree. A lot of people had arrived on bikes but I’m not sure of the route they might have taken.
There are four hammocks and if you get a chance to lie on one, you won’t want to get up soon. They are arranged under the shade of the trees so it feels relaxing, of course. The beach is the least crowded one I’ve ever seen.
Once the sun starts to set down, the magic begins to unfold in that area. The sunset orange will fill the horizon and the sea calmly bids the Sun goodbye. It starts getting dark and we wait for the caretakers to switch on the lights. But the area stays dim and only lit by hand lanterns.
The sea starts singing again as the full moon appears. The black sky becomes star studded and I refuse to look any other way. The cool wind starts blowing and we feel a little lost in that moment.
We had barbecue chicken which was cooked and roasted in the flames of the campfire. The experience under the stars, in the light of lanterns and the perfect company is one of those hangovers that you don’t want to get rid of.
After that we walked down to the beach. Full moon, crashing waves and the company of loved ones. Can you imagine how magical that might seem? No, I didn’t have the hand of a partner holding mine while I wandered there that night. But I can assure you it felt equally magical. I was surrounded by love. And that was enough to feel the love that went lacking last year in my life. We sat down in a circle and openly expressed our feelings and exchanged our stories. That moment is inexplicable in words.
Lunch and dinner food was pretty simple but tasty as well. You might not get what you want but you won’t have to stay empty stomach either. Their arrangement was commendable and their behaviour was too good.
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Happy travels, everyone!