It had been long since we went on a long drive and we got tired of routine life. Hence we made a sudden plan to go to any nearby destination full of greenery and a river, if possible. It had to be a same day return trip and more than 100 km could be hectic. After some research on the net we settled for Sundarbans. Our society’s caretaker happens to be from that area and he was supposed to visit his native on the same day. We requested him to tag along.
His native village is Koikhali, police station Kultali. With the pin no 743338 we could easily search it on GPS. Total distance was around 72km from our house.
We decided to start early on Sunday morning. Finally we could start only at 9:30am. We were three couples travelling in two cars.
On the way
The roads were full of greenery on both sides. Paddy fields and tall trees on the side made us feel relaxed. Road was very narrow for the last 10-12km. A few trucks were on the road and crossings were difficult.
We reached Koikhali at around 12 noon. Our caretaker Mangal arranged a roadside parking beside two tea stalls. We had tea and coconut water. Then he took us to the river bank. It was built with brick and mortar.
The river was quite wide and the river bank was full of mangove trees of various kind. There were a few abandoned and broken boats nearby.
A small water body near the lodge
There is a tourist lodge which seemed to be well maintained at least from outside. A large group of tourists came out of the lodge. They were probably checking out. Mangal showed us the Ramkrishna ashram campus just opposite the lodge. It was full of trees.
The ashram, lodge and a green field inside the ashram
Mangal informed us there was a lot of development work in the area done by the ashram including the tourist lodge.
We walked by the riverside for a few minutes and reached what seemed to be a jetty. There were a few fast food stalls where we bought some jhalmuri.
Mangal had arranged a boat for us. We boarded it and waited for a while for them to refuel it. Meanwhile a launch came by our side and a few people got onboard.
Theboat was supposed to take us to the village on the other side of the river. However, we did not have enough time for that as we would have to start our return journy early to be back to Kolkata on time.
Some nice views taken from the boat
The boat ride was for around 20 minutes. The sky was overcast and that had put the temperature on check plus there was a soothing breeze which made our ride extremely enjoyable.
Mangal was at the helm of the boat and told us there was a village amidst the jungle on the other side of the river and his in-laws live there.
At one point, Mangal pointed his finger at a tree and told us a tiger had once climbed the tree. My shutter-bug frience instantly captured it in his camera.
After returning back to the jetty, we started to walk further along the riverside road. Mangal took us to a small walled campus which he saaid is the ashram market.
We entered the ashram. There is a murty of Ramkrishnadeb.
Shortly after the ashram visit we came back to our car. We were carrying food with us and had our lunch standing beside thd cars.
Fishing boats on the river side
It was already 3:30 pm and we started our drive back to Kolkata. The way back was smoother given the fact that the village markets and small suburban areas were not as crowded. However, after 6:00pm driving was a little strenuous due to the both way traffic and most of the vehicles coming from opposite direction were running on high-beam.
We reached Kolkata in a little more than 3 hours. It was a really memorable outing although we came back same day.
Those who want to go on a short trip from Kolkata to enjoy greenery or looking for a spot for photography this place will be highly recommended.
Distance from Kolkata: 72 km
Road direction: Rajpur/Sonarpur->Baruipur->Dakshin Barasat->Jamtala-> Kaikhali Ramkrishna Ashram
Things to see: Riverside, mangrove, rural scenic views, Ramkrishna Ashram, boat ride on the river