There are more than 100 islands in the Bay of Bengal, including the Sundarbans. Mousuni is one of them. Mousuni Island. There is a strange sweetness in the name. A lonely island, a few houses, simple people, one wave after another crashing on the green-dominated beach, the setting sun would go to the land of sleep just talking to me alone… such a picture existed in my mind about Mousuni. I got a chance to make this picture a reality on a Saturday in mid-February. Three other members of our Ghuranchandi group accompanied me – Snehanshu, Lina and Bidisha. We arranged our accommodation via email at Shintu Babu’s two tents called “Nature Study Camp”.
Namkhana local time from Sealdah took us to Namkhana within 3 hours. From Namkhana station we took a cycle van to reach the ferry ghat. We crossed Hatania-Doania by the ferry and from the other side took a toto to reach the bus stand. From this bus stand buses, Tata Magic and trekkers plies to Durgapur ghat, which is our next destination.Tata Magic leaves from the bus stand at intervals matching the boat times from Durgapur ghat. It took us half an hour to reach Durgapur Ghat. From here we have to take another ferry service across Chinai river and reach Baghdanga on the other side.
Coming to the wharf we got the news that there is still 15 minutes left for the next boat to leave for Baghdanga. Normal frequency of Baghdanga ferry service is 1 hour but after 12pm there is a long gap & starts again at 2.45pm.Without this waterway, Mousuni Island is completely isolated from the light of civilization. Many daily necessities for people and life are crossed at the same time in this boat. We chose the place of our choice and sat settled down in the boat. Within a while the boat left, we crossed the river Chinai and reached Baghdanga Ghat.
This is the entry point of Mousuni Island. Whatever the shops or market exists, concentrates near this ghat. As soon as we got up from the dock, we saw a few Toto and motor cycle vans standing. After having breakfast and tea at a nearby shop, we rented a Toto and set off for Baliari village.
Five minutes after leaving Bagdanga we found no signs of concrete houses anymore. Rather only mud and thatched houses in the middle of the greenery on both sides of the paved concrete road occupied our vision. The village of Baliari is at the southern tip of the island. The further we go, the weaker the population becomes. Leaving the paved road we are now on the mud road. We found some pine trees peeping out amongst other trees showing the signs of sand dunes. In the middle of the dense green bushes we found a piece of land surrounded by a bamboo fence and in the middle of it are two large military colored tents. Two plastic tables and some chairs under the umbrella in front. There are two hammocks tied to the trees next to the tent. We understood that we have reached our destination…Nature Study Camp.
We were greeted by a fourteen year old teenager. Both the tents face the sea and are surrounded by greenery. Just within 10 steps ahead the sandy terrain starts and crossing a small bamboo gate of the fence you are on the sea beach. I have rarely seen such a combination of the sea and the greenery at the same place and so close close to each other. A slice of road behind the tent is lost into a small village. We put the bags in the tent and settled on the hanging hammocks.
I chose the farthest one that hung between the two trees on the sand across that small gate of the fence. It is difficult to express in words how beautiful the whole world became in one moment. Lying on the hammock I enjoyed the deep blue sky peeping through the kaleidoscope of the leaves of the tree.
The sweet breeze of the sea is blowing and caressing the eyes. The sea is calm here with the faint sound of small waves crashing on the shore.The dense weave of the leaves of the tree has created a soft cool shade over the hammock… just like a mother caressing on the face with care. Honestly, all tensions automatically get relieved in such an environment and one looses oneself. An intense sleepiness comes down to the eyes.
Meanwhile we have been accompanied by a team of 4-5 youngsters. We came out of the newly discovered dream world by listening to their chirping. It was about 1.30pm in the afternoon. I saw the children busy in arranging our food. With them stood an adult boy with a smile on his face and a file in his hand. His name is Biplab.His job is to do the paper works related to booking and this is a good practice because is mostly done on email. We learnt that it will take another 10 minutes for our lunch to get ready. The white sand glistening in the sun and the endless waves crashing on it is calling us.
We do not have the power to reject that call. I took the camera from inside the tent and rushed to the beach. We were greeted by a few cone shells with their faces raised over the sand, a flock of small red crabs running away, a fishing boat anchored on the sand, and a few other little children playing on the sands .Great joy for all of them today, getting guests in the house. It is a great pleasure for us too to get the touch of this primitive nature. At this moment in the wilderness of the universe, there are four of us, that group of children and the chirping of birds from those distant trees.
None of us had any desire to enter the tent after lunch. I took some rest on the hammock and went to the beach at 4.30 am. There is a back packers camp near our tent and this time I saw some guests on the shore.
The sea water has come forward quite a bit now, surely its the high tide now. I forgot to mention that apart from that group of youngsters, we have been overshadowed by a dog family. The youngest of them is following us on every steps.
I was busy in capturing frames one after another on my screen. Over the horizon the sun is getting ready to set and one by one small fishing boats are emerging out. Soaked in the golden light they seem to have won the world today. With that joy of win they are now returning to their loved ones… in the lap of their beloved Mousuni.
Snehangshu and I got down on one ankle of clay with a tripod in hand to capture the right frame. Yes, this beach is somewhat muddy before touching the sea after the sandy part. Bidisha was busy in taking selfie. And Lina? She engaged herself in teaching the youngsters to sing the national anthem of India facing the setting sun. Mousuni has a basket full of wonders for all nature lovers. We sat on the sands until dark and then returned to our tents.
We spent the evening sitting in a circle over the table with the evening snacks and tea and each of us sharing some paranormal experiences of our lives. The youngstars were still with us.No matter how much we tell the children to go to home and study, who cares! Today is their festival… guest festival! Whatever it was, after a while we somehow forced them to go back to home. Biplab came and arranged our dinner.
After dinner, we all chatted till 12 o’clock at night and retired in our tents. Electricity facilities have not yet reached this village. The lighting system is all solar. Inside the tent there is a nice bed with a large Carlon mattress and a small plastic table next to it. 3 people can easily accommodate in one tent.
Next day I woke up at early morning and started screaming to wake up other members of team. Only Lina woke up in the that scream. Other 2 were still in deep sleep. So we both started walking towards the sea. Yesterday’s puppy dog was as if waiting for us. As soon as we landed on the sand, it came forward and became our companion. The sweet golden sun of the morning is shining brightly in the sky. I was walking lazily on the sea shore. All of a sudden I noticed that the boat that had been anchored for so long at a distance of 100 feet was no longer there at the moment.
Its all blurry in front. But the fishing boats floating in the distant sea are fully visible. I realized that a huge lump of fog had begun to form in front of us. It was as if a puff of white smoke was coming towards us from the beach. Nowhere else it has its presence. Within seconds this space-based fog covered us. I observed clearly that it was swallowing the plants in and around us and moving on.
This is the first time in my life I saw this strange place based game of fog on the beach and that also in the scorching sun! After 20 minutes of this game, everything is bright again, everything is visible. Due to the thick layer of fog so far, we were unable to see young group of yesterday came and appeared before us already. Seeing them, Lina took them in our company.We walked along the sea shore and then teh children guided us to their village.
Back in the tent, we saw the other two have awakened and are busy in arranging the breakfast. After breakfast we took bath at our turns and checked out bidding goodbye to the youngstar team. We rented a Toto and left for Kakramari. Dense forests of mangroves surround the on one side. The river has crossed the forest and merged into the Bay of Bengal. The topography of this area has a mixed contour of hard soil as well as muddy soil in some low-lying areas.These low-lying muddy areas are paradise for variety of crabs.
Probably due to this the name of the place is related to crabs ( Kakra in bengali). Before returning I sat for a while in the shades of a tree and engulfed in the smell of dense green of the Sundarban was thinking about the people of the village. I was thinking about Rahmat Mia’s words. On the way to Durgapur Ghat in the Magic we had a talk with Rahmat Miah. Rahmat Miah’s son lives in Burdwan.
Every year in the rainy season, salty water of river comes up on the courtyard of Rahmat Miah’s village house in Mausuni Island. The salty water destroys the crops grown with utmost care . Consecutively it ruins the the furnitures of his house . Above all it ruins the people’s minds of this region. The gentleman is old and could not bear this suffering any more. That’s why he fled to his son’s house during 3-4 months of monsoon.
The mind becomes heavy when you think all this. The monsoon wind brings a sweet feeling in the minds of city people like us but that same monsoon brings fear in the minds of these people who are fighting for their lives every year in in islands like Mousuni !! Goodbye Mousuni. I hope that along with tourism, the life of the people like this Rahmat Mia… shall also be taken care of ?
Best Time To Visit:
Apart from monsoon any other season shall be good.
How To Reach:
You cannot approach Mousuni Island directly by car. You have to reach Namkhana first via local train from Sealdah. Then from Namkhana the route is:
Namkhana Ferry Ghat –> Cross Hatania Doania –> Take Toto to Bus stand –> Take bus/tata magic to Durgapur Ghat –> Take Ferry from Durgapur Ghat for Baghdanga Ghat across Chinai river –> From Baghdanga take toto/auto to reach Baliari village in Mousuni island.
Where To Stay:
Few camps and tents available at Mousini Island whose bookings can be done from Kolkata:
- Nature Study Camp – 9836830342
Things Of Interest:
- Enjoy the sea beach
- Coastal trekking
- Rural life of the village
Hi! I am from Kolkata, India. Travelling and photography is my passion. As I love landscape photography most, travelling goes hand in hand with it. Since my matriculation days I started travelling. I have also penned down a book on my travelling which is available in Amazon in the name of Ghuranchandi – Part 1. Whatever travel experiences I have, I have shared those in my blog in the form of travel stories.