GPlot is a small island located in South 24 Paraganas within the confluence of the sea with the river. GPlot is a completely offbeat and relaxing destination. GPlot being newly discovered and unknown to mainstream tourists is a perfect destination if your idea of spending a weekend far away from the hustle bustle of the city where you can even listen to your heartbeat. GPlot boasts about the village culture, thus if you don’t mind leaving your urban sophistication and luxuries behind and just looking for a clean bed where you can crash down, you should visit GPlot before it gets popular!
I first came to know about GPlot from Sintu Da and Subhrangshu Da, who has taken this risk of setting up tourism amongst this village, far away from the city, where someone would rarely think of doing anything! But then, that’s what we thrive for – Innovation! Innovation has always been the buzzward in every industry. So to keep up with the pace, you always need to innovate new things or new ways. Sintu Da and Subhrangshu Da have become very close to me, since my Weekend Trip Mousuni Island – which is again another offbeat breathtaking destination! So they keeps informing me of such destinations that they comes up with every other day!
I was anyway looking for a quick family weekend getaway when Sintu Da WhatsApp’ed me a flier about GPlot. It immediately caught my attention and seemed perfect for a family weekend getaway. After a quick discussed with my family members, I called up Sintu Da and fixed a date! So we planned to stay for 2N at these serene island over a long weekend holiday to unwind ourselves up!
How To Reach :
Well, there are several ways that you can reach this island, however, it involves a few break-journeys though. But as we all know the famous saying “No Pain, No Gain”!
1. You can take a train to Kakdwip, then take a Bus to Patharpratima. The journey from Kakdwip to Patharpratima takes around 45 minutes. From Patharpratima you have to take a ferry to Chandmari and get down at Chandmari Ghat which takes around an hour. From Chandmari Ghat you have to take a Van to reach Gobardhanpur which takes around 45 minutes.
Kakdwip > Patharpratima (By Bus, 45 minutes) > Chandmari Ghat (By Ferry, 1 Hour) > Gobardhanpur (By Van, 45 Minutes)
NOTE: There’s a direct Bus from Esplanade to Patharpratima every morning at around 5:00 AM. So instead of taking a train to Kakdwip and then a Bus to Patharpratima, you can opt for this for too.
NOTE: From the Patharpratima Bus Stand you have to take a Toto (which costs Rs. 5/- per pax) to reach the actual Ghat. And again from Kakdwip Bus Stand, you have to take Toto to Kakdwip Railway Station (which costs around Rs. 5/- per head)
2. Another way is to take a train to Lakshmikantapur and then take a Bus/Auto to Ramganga. The journey from Lakshmikantapur to Ramganga takes around 1 hour 15 mins. Ramganga and Patharpratima are just the opposite ghats facing each other. From Ramganga you have to take the ferry to Chandmari and get down at Chandmari Ghat which takes around an hour again. From Chandmari Ghat you have to take a Van to reach Gobardhanpur which takes around 45 minutes.
Lakshmikantapur > Ramganga (By Bus/Auto, 1 Hour 15 minutes) > Chandmari Ghat (By Ferry, 1 Hour) > Gobardhanpur (By Van, 45 Minutes)
So in short, you can either go via Kakdwip or via Lakshmikantapur. In both cases, the journey time is almost the same. As in both the cases, you’d have to go to the Ghat which is Patharpratima (if you are going from Kakdwip) or Ramganga (if you are going from Lakshmikantapur), both of which takes around an Hour from Kakdwip and Lakshmikantapur respectively. Also, Patharpratima and Ramganga are just the opposite Ghats facing each other. Ferries leave from Patharpratima and stops at Ramganga (right on the opposite) to pick up passengers before proceeding further. After several other stops throughout the way (picking up and dropping passengers accordingly) it reaches Chandmari Ghat which is the last stop. From Chandmari Ghat you have to take a van to Gobardhanpur. Sintu Da would anyway arrange the Van from Chandmari ghat, so you can call up the van-wallah a day in advance and inform him to pick you up accordingly, and also keep him informed about your arrival timings.
NOTE: There are various islands which are only connected via this waterways. So from Patharpratima / Ramganga, there are several ferries going in different directions, so keep in mind that you have to take the ferry for Chandmari Ghat.
I have personally taken both the route i.e. I went via Lakshmikantapur – Ramganga whereas, while coming back I took the route via Kakdwip – Patharpratima. I felt the route via Lakshmikantapur – Ramganga have a little more advantage over Kakdwip – Patharpratima especially while returning. Here are my views regarding why I feel so :
1. All trains to Kakdwip passes via Lakshmikantapur. So if you get down at Lakshmikantapur you save around 15-20 mins of trains journey. Also while coming back, there are direct trains from Lakshmikantapur, so possibilities of getting seats are more than that of Kakdwip. Because there are no direct trains from Kakdwip. Most of them goes upto / leaves from Namkhana and most of the seats gets filled up at Namkhana only. So getting seats from Kakdwip can be a little bit challenging though. So Lakshmikantapur have a bit of advantage here over Kakdwip.
2. The route is like Lakshmikantapur > Kakdwip > Namkhana. So if you are going to / coming from Lakshmikantapur, you can factor in both the direct trains from Lakshmikantapur and the trains coming from Namkhana as well.
Day 1 – Kolkata – GPlot :
We woke up at around 2 O’ Clock in the morning and got ready and freshen up. Booked an Uber to Sealdah. When we reached Sealdah, it was just 5 minutes to 4 O’ Clock. Although we tried hard but missed the 4 AM Namkhana local. So instead, we fell back to 4:30 Local to Lakshmikantapur.
Finally, the train arrived and we embarked on our long pending extended family get together! Suparna’s Mom and Dad joined us too this time. I promised them of Sundarban once, however somehow it didn’t materialize, mostly due to my out of the blue travel plans! So I thought of taking this opportunity to go for an extended family get together out of our daily lives where we can just relax and do nothing!
This year by God’s grace, the winter was still there! So it was a chilled experience travelling in local trains at such wee hours of the morning! We reached Lakshmikantapur at around 6:10 AM.
After having our morning Tea we went out of the station. Instead of waiting for the Bus, we took a reserved auto for Rs. 500/- to Ramganga. It took us around 1.5 hours to reach Ramganga. After reaching Ramganga, we had our breakfast at a nearby dhaba then went ahead to the Ghat.
NOTE: There are two different Ghats at Ramganga. You have to go to the 2nd Ghat for ferries to Chandmari. The ghat that is right in front of the Bus/Auto Stand, is the first ghat. You have to take the right-hand side lane to reach the 2nd ghat.
Finally, our ferry came down at 9 AM and we embarked our journey to Chandmari through the beautiful mangroves of Sundarban. Yes! You heard it right and I’m not mistaken! This comes under the western part of Sundarban. You can visit Kalash and/or Bonnie Camp from GPlot easily and it’d be much economical than if you plan it from Gosaba / Godkhali region.
The journey to Kalash / Bonnie Camp costs around Rs. 10k – 12k including the ferry, fooding and permit charges. However, you need to inform them at least 2-3 days in advance for them to make all the arrangements. However, they are not directly associated with this tour. Instead, they will arrange you all the necessary things and will get you in touch with the local ferries for this tour. However, if you target Kalash and Bonnie both, then you’d need 2N and the cost would simply double up in that case.
Finally, we reached Chandmari Ghat by around 10:20 AM. After reaching there we went ahead and fixed a motor van, as instructed by Janmejoy Da. He is a very nice, co-operating local villager who along with his family looks after the tourists here.
It took us around an hour to reach the cottage. The place was actually a local clubhouse, named Baghajatin Club. Thus while catching the van from Chandmari Ghat, one should mention GPlot – Baghajatin Club for easy understanding.
The clubhouse was actually lying around unutilized. So Sintu Da actually discovered this place and along with the help of local villagers renovated this into a cottage. The cottage have 3 rooms and a dining hall. Each room can accommodate 2 persons and the hall is really spacious and the hall also have 2 beds, such that 2-3 persons can easily accommodate there too. So 9-10 persons can easily be accommodated without much hiccups.
Noticing us struggling to find the cottage, Janmejoy Da came up and welcomed us warmly. My dad actually loved this place a lot. He’s a bit fascinated with villages and greenery. But aren’t we all city-dwellers are?
Soon we were served Tea. Later we took up our own sweet time to explore through the village. It was a completely different experience interacting with the locals. Unlike cities, they welcomed us warmly however they were quite surprised to see tourists in this region though. Which is actually out of their expectation. It’s like why on earth would someone from cities like Kolkata visit this village!
So first few questions were like “Kotha theke eschen?” (Where did you came from?) and “Kothay uthechen?” (Where are you staying?). My aunt and mom got familiarized with them in a short span of time. Soon they discovered someone might have trained them not to enter or come nearby the cottage as such, as city-minded tourists doesn’t like anyone to invade their privacy. Which is actually true, but we felt otherwise! So my mom and aunt actually invited them and we pulled up chairs together for something that we call “Jomiye Adda” (Gossiping!)
In the meanwhile, few villagers came up to invite us to the local gathering. They informed us that, like every year, there’s a local religious festival going on during this period. And today being one of the auspicious day, there’s a feast that’s arranged by the festival committee and that no one in the village cooks today.
Well to tell you the truth, we knew this as Janmejay Da informed us the same beforehand while booking. Well, he actually informed us, to let us know, that no one in the village cooks non-veg dishes neither any vendor sells meat/fish during this period. So he actually wanted to ask us whether we would be okay with this. And you know, in villages, these kinds of things are taken very seriously and any family who tries to break the local rituals gets bashed by the locals in the society. Also, more importantly, I didn’t want to break their faith thus considering the situation we consoled him that it’d be of no issue to us.
Later in the afternoon, we were served lunch. First of all, I must be thankful to Janmejay Da and his family that they went out of the box for us. Janmejay Da actually informed us beforehand while booking that during this period they have some local religious festival and no one cooks non-veg items during this period. And you know, in villages, these kinds of things are very serious and any family who tries to break the local rituals gets bashed by the locals in the society. Even considering all these, they prepared us non-veg items every day without any hesitation.
After having a sumptuous meal we couldn’t refrain ourselves from taking an afternoon nap! Well, that’s the reason we came here right? Eat. Sleep. Travel. 😀
Later in the afternoon, Janmejoy Da arranged a Toto (a battery operated auto rickshaw), especially for the mom’s, to visit the nearby beach. The beach is at the walkable distance, around 5-10 minutes walk from the cottage. However considering the condition of my and her mom, we asked Janmejay Da to arrange a Toto for them while the rest of us walked down to the beach.
There are actually 2 beaches nearby. The one we went, being the western beach, is perfect for Sunset. While there’s another beach which is known as Gobardhanpur Beach and the same being the eastern one is more suitable for Sunrise. Which we planned for tomorrow morning!
The way to the beach is really a nice walk through the forest. After spending the evening at the beach we came back to our cottage. We asked Janemejay Da if something like barbeque can be arranged. He nodded and informed us that he’d arrange the necessary equipment. Accordingly, we, the young ones, went to the market nearby (again at a 5-10 minutes walkable distance) for buying chicken and other grocery’s needed to marinate the same.
Noticing us, a lot of villagers gathered around us. They were surprised to see tourists in such a village and again we had to answer those same questions like “Kotha theke eschen?” (Where did you came from?) and “Kothay uthechen?” (Where are you staying?)!
Well, to be frank, we were the odd one out! In a crowd of Dhoti (Indian Men’s Wear) and Saree (Indian Women’s Wear), we were there in T-Shirt, Tops and Jeans! Also, we speak a different accent! And what amazed them most is why we asked the vendor to remove the skin of the chicken! Here they actually hated doing that and no one generally buys chicken without the skin.
So it took us some time to make them understand that, from where we belong removing the skin is the norm! Later Janmejay Da came to our rescue! He explained that we’ll be roasting the chicken and for our purpose, we need it that way only!
It was really nice interacting with the locals. I was amazed to see how educated they are regarding the current affairs. There’s a fine line of difference between being literate and educated. Literacy is a different thing and not all literate persons are educated. These people here in this village were sensibly discussing things related to politics and current affairs are something that surprised me most.
Anyway, after all the marketing, we came back to our cottage. We were carrying our own poison back from Kolkata, as we were not much sure of spotting a foreign liquor shop at such a remote village!
Rest of the evening we spent enjoying ourselves! However, the barbeque went terribly wrong due to the absence of adequate options. Well yes trying barbeque here was not a good idea actually! Although there was nothing wrong with the preparation though, however, we are habituated to do barbeque with specific toolsets! So going by the old way, we were not skilled enough, which left most of the pieces un-cooked 🙁
Later we were served dinner at around 10:00 PM and called of the day shortly after that!
Day 2 – Relaxing at GPlot :
We woke up early morning at around 4 O’ Clock. Janmejay Da had arranged 2 Toto’s for us, to take us to Gobardhanpur Beach. Well, this was actually more of a proper beach. We spend some time walking around the beach experiencing the beautiful sunrise!
Later at around 7 AM we went back to the market. We went ahead to a nearby shop for some Tea and our craving for french toast! A lot of people gathered at the shop and they were discussing some violence that happened at a nearby village last evening. Upon enquiring, we came to know that, some kidnappers from the other part of the border seemed to have crossed the border and abducting kids and raping women and murdering them around these villages.
They further informed us that, local govt. have been announcing this since last few days. The whole region including Canning, Lakshmikantapur seems to be affected.
The locals further informed that these abductors are generally dressed like local people and speak local accent and thus it’s being a hard time for them to spot the criminals. These abductors generally targets during the afternoon when mens are generally at work. They are mostly into abducting childs, however, there have been cases of molestation, rapes and murders when women’s tried to protest to save their child.
Soon, the news on TV started showing the same thing. Actually a day before leaving from Kolkata, our house-maid informed us the same thing. But we didn’t paid much attention, as she mentioned it was happening around Canning. So considering the distance, we didn’t expect there to be much effect at such a remote island anyway.
So they were actually discussing that last night at the next village some locals caught one or two of the offenders and they almost beat them to death before handing over to police. Well at villages news spread like fire which sometimes is actually good like in these kinds of cases.
Finally, after breakfast, we walked back to the cottage. Generally, you can keep this day to go to Kalash or Bonnie Camp. Or even take a short boat ride to the nearby islands which costs around Rs. 2000/-.
However not much of us were interested in exploring, instead, we all decided to go for a village walk and keep it a leisure holiday.
Later at around 2 PM, we were served lunch, post which we went for a small afternoon nap!
Later around in the evening, we went again to Gobardhanpur Beach. We spent some time there enjoying ourselves. There was a small roadside vendor who was selling Tea, Snacks and ice-creams! We were quite surprised to find ice-creams there! I mostly wondered how’s this person getting the electricity at a beach to keep up with the fridge! Well, the answer was obvious!
We being ardent ice-cream lovers, in no time, we almost halved his stockings!
Later in the evening we went to the local festival and spent some time there before heading back to the cottages. Janmejay Da served us evening snacks – Chop and Muri (Fries with Puffed Rice) same as like yesterday.
Today actually they had some kind of local plays going on at the festival (Jatra / Pala in Bengali), so most of the villagers would be spending the whole night there. So it was kind of the whole village seemed to have gathered there together.
Today, it was mostly uneventful, discussing various things amongst ourselves. Later at around 10 PM, we were served Dinner and shortly we called off the day after that.
Day 3 – GPlot – Kolkata :
Today we kept sleeping like we haven’t been sleeping for like years! We actually planned to leave a little bit late after having lunch. In fact, we requested Janmejay Da to skip our breakfast as we’d be anyway having early lunch today.
The day was mostly uneventful, except I tried to photograph some of the birds. Well, to be very frank, I’m not into birding at all. However, this place is actually a birder’s paradise.
Later after having our lunch, bidding everyone goodbye, we left for Chandmari Ghat at around 1 PM. Janmejay Da had already arranged 2 Toto’s for our drop. The only change was, this time, instead of taking the Ramganga – Lakshmikantapur route, we opted for Patharpratima – Kakdwip route. Although as I mentioned above, both the route is more or less the same in terms of cost and timings.
From Patharpratima we had to take a Toto from Patharpratima Ghat to Patharpratima Bus Stand. As we reached the Bus Stand, a bus was just about to leave for Kakdwip, so we embarked on that. The Bus goes up to Kakdwip Bus Stand, from there we had to take an auto to Kakdwip Railway Station.
The return journey to Sealdah and back to home was mostly uneventful. These kind of short family weekend gateway are memories like something to cherish for a long time to come!
GPlot Baghajatin Club Cottage: This was actually a clubhouse which was lying around unutilized. So Sintu Da and Subhrangshu Da renovated this into a cottage in order to support and boost tourism. The cottage has 3 Bedrooms which can accommodate 2 people each. And a spacious hall which is mostly where you’d sit down to relax and rejuvenate! The hall have dining table on one end and 2 beds on the other end where another 3-4 person can accommodate easily. So in total, the place can accommodate around 9 – 10 persons.
But as you can already guess, it’s a cottage and thus it’d have to be your group only. So even if you are Solo or a Couple, you’d be the only person! Well, Sintu Da and Subhrangshu Da follows this same culture throughout all their destinations. They don’t like to club different groups into rooms (more like Hotel / Homestay culture) on the same day. They believes in renting only one group a day. So it’s only you / your group around. And believe me, there’s a lot of advantage in this. First of all, you can enjoy yourself as you like without any chaos from other groups. Roam around and do whatever you like without hesitating what others would think of!
Anyway, the property is very clean and well maintained. A cottage amidst the greens is something to cherish for. Regarding the place, if you are wondering, yes it’s completely safe. It’s safe even if you are a group of woman. The destination is actually to promote village tourism. So please leave your city-minded sophistications behind. Although you’ll get all the necessary things like a clean bed to crash on, clean washroom, okayish food etc. However, if you are looking for anything more, this place might not be for you.
If you are into experiencing village life and their culture, GPlot might prove to be a new dimension in your life! And keep in mind, although the people villages are a bit reserved in terms of their culture however very open-minded as well in terms of welcoming tourists. And they go beyond the way to help or please you. They do not pose a complex mentality like us city-dwellers. They are very simple people and they speak their heart out. So unlike us who are more accustomed to saying something and mean something, they are completely different and doesn’t bother much if you are getting offended or what, but they generally speak the truth what they feel.
Yes, as you are the odd one out in terms of dresses and accents, do expect a lot of surprised eyes, but that’s very normal. They do not mean any harm.
Janmejay Da and his family, a localite, looks after the guests. He and his wife are a very co-operating and open-minded person. They went beyond their way to please us.
Well, the only thing that I can say is – We really enjoyed our stay here 🙂
GPlot Cottage : Rs. 1200/- per head per day including fooding and lodging
Sealdah – Lakshmikantapur Train Ticket : Rs. 15/- per head
Reserved Auto (Lakshmikantapur – Ramganga) : Rs. 500/- (Well, we took the auto for our own convenience, but there are frequent buses on this route for around Rs. 20/- – Rs. 25 per pax)
Ferry (Ramganga – Chandmari) : Rs. 12/- per head
Reserved Van (Chandmari – GPlot) : Rs. 300/-
Toto (innumerable times to beach, market, local festival, here & there) : Rs. 600/- (Actually it’s more of like 150/- per toto per day)
Toto (Drop To Chandmari) : Rs. 150 x 2 = Rs. 300/-
Ferry (Chandmari – Patharpratima) : Rs. 12/- per head
Toto (Patharpratima Ghat – Patharpratima Bus Stand) : Rs. 5/- per head
Bus (Patharpratima Bus Stand – Kakdwip Bus Stand) : Rs. 20/- per head
Auto (Kakdwip Bus Stand – Kakdwip Railway Station) : Rs. 5/- per head