It is hard to believe that just an hour Separates the teeming and relentlessly Frenetic confines of Kolkata from the Idyllic rural Bengal of every harassed city resident’s dreams, and yet, in this setting where Kolkata is out of sight and out of mind, creature comforts and also available. But the operative word here is slow. Do the same trip on one of those rickety, old express buses that hurtle down the road at a million miles an hour and you will miss everything that history and nature intended you to see. So, in summer, take off in the comfort and freedom of your own set of wheels. Set off from the city at six in the morning when it is cool, and the traffic along Diamond Harbour Road is uncongested, to submit yourself to one of life’s little treats. After leaving Amtala, you can feel the cool breeze from the Hoogly, combined with the acacia-canopied road. As you move southward along this great arterial road, the milestones indicate the quaint names of little towns and villages ahead. Possibly the best getaway is the area bounded by Sarisha, Falta, Raichak, and Noorpur, where the Damodar and the Roopnarayan meet the Hoogly. The roads to all these centers are excellent, and the scenery and places of interest are both diverse and well-worth taking time off.
like feeling this image arouses, try it – it’s only 90 minutes away.
Before reaching Fatehpur, branch off right for Falta is well – a bitumenised road, passing through earthen hamlets, paddy fields, banana groves, acacia windbreaks, coconut, oil, and date clusters, hens marching their little wards casually across the road, cowherds taking their charges to pasture and friendly country folk outside their homes smiling as you pass by.
After about four km, turn left at the main Falta T junction and follow the signs to Hotel Sea-Bird International. Here on the bank of the Hoogly, and an assortment of industrial complexes and well planned residential areas, is the unlikely location of one of the district’s best-kept secrets for the weary traveler, with very reasonable tariffs, the hotel with all AC rooms, modern attached bathrooms, TV and STD phones in every room, Internet, swimming pool, outplaying and relaxation area, restaurant, conference facilities, car parking, discotheque, Kerala Ayurved, health club, zakuzi, children park, and extremely professional and courteous staff. The hotel offers unsurpassed, panoramic views of life on the river. As you look across to the brick Unlined Midnapore bank of the Hoogly, your attention is drawn to huge cargo vessels heading upriver to kidderpore, goods-laden barges bound for Haldia, or little river trucks paying timber and bamboo for the construction sites. However, driving through to the end, one comes to a beautifully shaded area with a huge jetty from where ferries set off for Haldia. Dozens of fishing boats can be seen with their nets cast at this awesome confluence of the Roopnarayan and Hoogly. This is a great spot to open the thermos and have a cup of tea and snacks.
Whatever you do, make it a point to be at the Hotel Sea-Bird International by sunset and sit on the river bank to crown your trip with a truly magical experience. The nature’s show on this amazing river of life has one last act for the visitor. Where the tangerine sun’s rays kiss the shimmering water, a boat slowly passes through the glittering path just long enough to arouse the senses to appreciate nature’s awesome beauty in such serene surroundings. If you