Sagar or Gangasagar
Sagar Island (also known as Sagar or Gangasagar ) is in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal . Sagar Island is the southernmost part of West Bengal and is a religious spot for hindu pilgrims.
How to reach :-
Sagar Island can be crossed and Sagar & Ganga meeting point can be reached via private taxis also which are generally charging between INR 450 to INR 700 and it takes about 40 minutes to reach point.
- Sagar Island can be approached from either Harwood point or Namkhana . Both the points are linked by Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) or West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation buses. Distance of Harwood Point is around 80 Km. from Kolkata and Namkhana is 13 Kilometers more. Bus fare from Kolkata (Esplanade) to Namkhana is around Rs.40 (as on June 2005; Rs. 60 during Mela 2008). During the Mela busses will end at the ferry crossing in Harwood point (or also called 'Lot 8'), and they will start in Kolkata also from Babughat, Howrah RS and Taratola in South Kolkata.
- Both the points Namkhana and Harwood Point can be reached by train from Sealdah Station. There are direct trains to Kakdwip from Sealdah Station with link trains to Namkhana. Train fare up to Kakdwip is Rs. 18 only. From Kakdwip, Harwood Point is only 5 Km. and Namkhana is 12 Km. by bus or jeep.
During the Mela cycle-rickshaws operate between RS and ferry jetty, price was fixed at 15 Rs per person on a 4 pax rickshaw. Trains tend to be overcrowded and are definitely a challenge during Mela time.
- To reach Sagar Island one must cross the Muriganga river/creek by ferry service. Ferry service is available in both Harwood point and Namkhana and controlled by West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation. Frequency of crossings are more in Harwood point and it is once in every half an hour. The fare for a single crossing for a person is Rs. 6/- as on December 2005. The fare increases at the time of Ganagasagar Mela (The Fair; Rs. 40,- during 2008 Mela).
- After reaching Sagar Island one have to cross the whole stretch of Sagar Island (32 Km.) by local bus or shared taxi. Fare should be around Rs.10. A private jeep charges around 800-900 Rs. for one way, so if shared by 9 pax a fare of 100 Rs. is a fair price. There is no accommodation available on the point of crossing (Kachuberia), so everybody has to travel the whole stretch of the Island and reach the southernmost part, where accommodations are abundant.
- Except from Namkhana and Harwood Point, there is also a direct ferry service available to Kachuberia (Sagar Island) from Haldia .
- It is possible to go the entire length by private car or hired car from Kolkata. At Harwood Point there is provision to transport vehicle with the help of a barge locally known as LCT. There are no fixed time for the crossings, because it is totally dependent on the water-level and thus, on the tides. The charge for a light or medium vehicle is Rs. 250/- as on December 2005. The fare increases at the time of Ganagasagar Mela (The Fair).
What to see :-
- Kapil Muni temple at South Sagar.
- Fairgrounds at South Sagar.
- Sea beach at South Sagar.
- Sagar Marine Park at South Sagar.
- Sagar Lighthouse and Port at Beguakhali
- Ramkrisna Mission Ashram .
- Sushama Devichowdhurani Marine Biological Research Institute. (SDMBRI) at Bamankhali.
- Chimaguri Mudflat - It is the entry point to the Mangrove Forest
- Wind Mills - The island gets its electricity from the wind energy
What to Eat :-
There are many cheap rice hotels all over the Sagar Island, serving good quality Bengali food to the visitors.
Around Sagar or Gangasagar :-
For accommodations, are too many places to choose from in South Sagar. Some are named below. In the time of Sagar Mela or the Fair, the number of accommodation increases drastically with temporary camps/hutments from many commercial and non commercial organizations. It is advisable to book your accommodation prior to go to Sagar Island in the time of Sagar Mela. If you bring your own mattress and sleeping bag you'll will find a shelter in any way, though.
The following organizations provide shelter for tourist and pilgrims round the year:
- State Youth Hostel - Charge for a Double bed room with attached bath is Rs. 100 per day. Check in time is at 12 noon. (Booking can be done in Directorate of Youth Services, 32/1, B.B.D. Bag (South), Calcutta - 700001. Ph: +91-33 2248 0626.)
- Bharat Sevashram Sangha and a couple of other ashrams: they usually offer accommodation and meals for free (they are oriented to pilgrims), but would expect a donation.
- Larica Sagar (Tourist Lodge), Telephone +91 3210 240226-227.
- Carry mosquito and snake repellents.
- Carry Electric Torches and other means of Emergency Lights, because Sagar Island does not get power from the main electric supply grid. The Island only gets few hours of power supply in the evening, form a central diesel operated power generating station, situated at Rudranagar. Ideally power supply is available from 6pm to 9pm only. There is complete blackout for the rest of the day/night. But you will never feel uncomfortable due to the sweet wind blows from sea to land, round the clock. But in the time of Sagar Mela (The fair) Sagar gets sufficient supply of electricity for the whole day.
- Snake bite mortality is considerably high in Sagar Island. There is sufficient measures for treatment of snake bite in Sagar Gramin Hospital . But it is advisable to avoid traveling at night with insufficient light. Travelers should apply some snake repellents in their room before going to bed. It is better to use a mosquito net to protect oneself not only from mosquitoes, but also from snakes.