Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 12 - Diamond Harbor to Bakkali to Kolkata

March20 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

210 kms Trip Meter 3073KMs.

Plan was to get up early i and ride out to Bakkali. It was 6.45 when i was ready and also got hungry. With uncertainty of getting compatible food ahead got from the hotel itself and that cost me an hour but it was worth it.

Finally i ride out and was welcomed with mist on the road. So wanted to stop and take a pic but was uncomfortable pulling out the cam with quite some people on the road staring at an alien. Then on it was to be 80 km ride to bakkali. The Population increased and so did the traffic. The ever present Tricycle carts of people living a tough life. The narrow roads, bad patches and the crazy threatening cabs and buses. Once i was following a Volvo bus and i was shocked to find him ripping at 90-100! in that narrow road. I did good to follow him as he was royally clearing my way :D. Then when the roads got a bit wide felt safe to overtake him and go head. Heading down to the remote areas i expected population to reduce but it was the exact opposite happening. I had to cross a town called Kwakdwip and man o man i was in for a shocker with all the crowd traffic and was really tough negotiating with my butt heavy bike. I too felt like one of the tricycle cart wide at the rear. But still people were helpful enough to point me to the right direction. Breathed a sigh relief once got out of the town. Now there is no turning back have to go through it again.

Still there is not enough free road for me to stop and take a leak! Was even nervous to stop and have water. Get into another bustling town of Namakhana and asked for direction for Bakkali and i was point to go ahead and the road just ended! WTH what is this? then i was told that there is no bridge to Cross the canal and have to go through a boat. And two people came to lift my bike into the boat. I politely refused them afraid they might break something. After coming to terms i saw a ferry launch carrying cars and all to the other side and i was told it would be 75-100 where as 30 bux on the boat. No way i am letting them man handle my bike and enquire my way through even narrower busier lanes to get to the Ferry launch ghat. Oops there was wider road from other side. And now that the ferry has come to this side, he wont move unless there are atleast 5 four wheelers and it might take an hour or more!. And i thought i would be in bakkali in 20 mins. now i was wondering how much time will it be and it would be the same wait in the sun on the way back. Din really want to turn back after coming so far. Just stood there thinking weather to give the boat a try or wait long for the ferry to move. Was thinking y dont they build a bridge considering the amount of ppl crossing the canal. Then the truth is no body will allow a bridge building as lot of people's livelihood depends on sailing people across and many people may loose their home. The friendly ferry manager told me to hang and the ferry will move as the vehicles were accumulating on the other side and i should be back by 12 else there would be long break for lunch. Sure enough in half hour's time i got onto the ferry and get to the other side. Well now there is no turning back. Still searching for the isolated country side roads. Get stopped by a mob of young lads and who politely and aggressively demanded for donation for durga pooja. By the time i had pulled out a 10 rs note, they had made a receipt for 101 Rupees!. Think of us as ur little brother and give is what they said!. Well i knew i had no escape and i also had to return the same way so paid up and was allowed on my way. Civilization was all through till the end. But thankfully most of the roads were good and smooth. Got a glimpse into the rural westbengal, where they resourcefully build good sized huts with nothing but bamboo and clay which is available in plenty. The huts looked pretty as well. Now pinching myself for not taking couple of pix.

Finally reached the beach and had to stop my bike as it was full of sand. white sand. Leave the bike with things carrying just the tankbag and walk to the beach under the unforgiving sun. Once on the beach, it was out of the world. White sand hardly any people around flat on either side very shallow and wide beach. Very tame waves hardly few inches high. Absolutely nothing around but the water and the sand. Only a few people from near by hotels were playing around, who had chairs and umbrellas arranged by the hotels. It would have been awesome to spend an evening there. But i had to be in cal the same day. Reluctantly walk back. Now i was not that hungry, but in these places bettor keep the tummy full. So ordered omelete toast from a near by hut. Then a west bengal govt offical whome i met on the ferry was here as well and got to chatting. He was pretty impressed with my journey and wished me luck. Now it was 11.30 and i have half hour to get to the ferry launch else i would stranded on the island for couple of hours. I start the run speeding as much as possible but always keeping a weary eye for people, children, animals on the narrow road. Reach the ferry point and was shocked to see the ferry starting from the other side but there are no vehicles my side. Now i thought i would be stranded here on the sweaty side under the sun. But luckily a car and truck joined me and ferry took us. Yeppie i am on the other side. Its going to be traffic negotiating ride of 130kms all the way to cal now. So much effort for 15 mins at bakkali, but i still felt it was worth it. This time luck was on my side as most of the activities was closed for lunch and road was relatively free. Just crossed on jam hurdle in Kwakdwip and was on move now in empty roads! It actually felt nice riding on the good road and was also scenic on either side. Fuel up and uneventful ride till i reach cal by 3.30 pm. Get into cal from south side take a pic of the welcome board and it felt good reach cal after 3k kms. I had to book rooms in Rashbehari Avenue as my father was coming to visit me the next day. As i pass the tollygunj metro, i take a right to get inside towards NSC bose road just to checkout the place where i stayed like 8 years back. Then on get to the hotel book rooms and wait for my good old friend Indroneel. We then team up and get to salt lake for relive our old days with a drink. Then i stay at his place for the night. It was tough riding in the aggressive traffic with slightly handicapped bike in terms of maneuverability and a bit butt. Bike is going good but for a sound at the cam chain tensioner. Hope the service will fix it.

Now there will be a small break in my journey. Will be with my father for couple of days and when he leaves for bangalore will have to get bike serviced and do small shopping. Planning for sunderbans but still no clue and have to collect information.

Morning view of Hoogli from room. Misty.

Bike was parked inside for the night, but was charged a car park of 25 bux!

Some breather space on the way to Namkhana

waiting for the ferry...

Fishing is the main business around...

Bike on the ferry launch. 50 bux. Was asked what do i have in the boxes and i told my cloths. And one more guy asks i was a cloths sales man :D

The desolate sights of Bakkali beach...

Neat looking dressing for omelete toast. Tasted good as well...

Back on the ferry while returning...

People going across the canal..

Some empty roads which was very rare.

The ever present tricycle carts.

Last break before entering cal..

Was really joyful to enter the city... Made it to cal in 12 days and a lil over 3k kms.


Santosh said...

Assam PKM , nice pixu and blog . Riding safe and keep updating . Get the cam fixed soon .

Arun said...

In one way, west bengal looks horrible..and seems like you wasting time! other way round, its an experince going through different people and places!

Prabul said...

I heard cal has an overpowering odor of fried fish....true?
Yummy :D

Praveen said...

Thanks nfs. The Cam is fine says the HH guys. But still some sound is there.

Arun: Its lil difficult riding around but once u get to a place it is very nice. And its quite an experiance as well :)

Prabul: Naa man fish aint in the air :P But fish is fav food around here for sure.

DJ said...

Awesome stuff Man !!!!

Keep riding Keep writing..

All the very best for the Journey Ahead :)


Krishna said...

Vey nice pics..
Keep updating.
Safe riding.

Srinidhi said...

good going man......looking at the pic of entering cal...yaaiks....neways...hope you had a good time with your father its time to update the it

Arun said...

for once, i read that board like 'Welcome to Kanakpura'! :D

Praveen said...

Thanks DJ and krishna:)

Srinidhi: Yeah i entered kolkata from south. Trying to update. Tata indicom is pothetic. Will upload as much as possible.

Arun: LOL that was funny. Some day we should take pic of kanakpura too :D

Nishant Chawla said...

I am planning to go to Diamond Harbour, Bakkali beach. I plan to drive down in my car. How do i reach Bakkali, I can take my car across the river/canal in the ferry.

What are the other places to see in Diamond Harbour, Bakkali. And what about the hotels.

Please advise, will really help me in planning my trip better.

Thanks in advance !

Praveen said...

Hi Nishant,
You can take your car all the way to the bakali beach. The huge ferry at namkhana will take your across the canal. Lonely planet book suggests 'Bakali tourist lodge'. But there are a few more. There is nothing to see at diamond harbor except he stay at hotel sagarika, you will get room facing the hoogly river .

Bhaswati Dutta said...

But dear friends, beware of hotel Sagarika of Diamondharbor. It is a dangerous place. I faced very bitter experience. Prices of foods are almost five times escalated than other similar types hotels of that place, and also their behaviour is rough and attitude is bad.