India: The Picture-perfect 1-Day Beach Camp in Mousuni Island Along the Bay of Bengal, FAQs Answered

“Why don’t you write about your trip to Mousuni in my blog?” Jayashree asked me for the third time in a row now. The extended lockdown in the country, courtesy COVID19, compelled me enough this time, to attempt sharing my experience with you all. Back then, the contagion didn’t hit India hard. But, a hot topic already, as to its nature, symptoms, mortality rate, etc. Taking a trip was still a thing. All a history, nowadays! Looking back at the good memories and penning down about it, is our only choice now.

The wintry days were preparing for an adieu, rolling out the carpets for the spring. Having been occupied in the chores of research for quite a phase, it was time to recharge the fried circuits! And unapologetically, I turned to my best buddies. That we must go on a trip, if not a long one, a weekend jaunt at the least.

Mousuni blog @doibedouin
“Aj ek zindagi aur jee lo, kya pata kal ho naa ho… “. Thanks a ton to one of my friends for this awesome click. A ‘Jabra fan’ like me never happen to miss a chance to pose like SRK.

    “Mousuni” is a virgin island, not quite a regular tourist attraction though. Not many had heard of this non-descript southernmost slice of the Sundarban Delta. I came across the name last year, and saved it for a possible short outing, or whenever it fits in the schedule.  Beside ourselves with joy, summoned by the sea, we started off at the crack of the dawn on a Saturday.

    Reaching Mousuni

    By Train: Sealdah-Namkhana local join Kolkata to the Southern Bengal. A word of caution here, even the morning hours sees a heavy crowd in the locals. Although, post 2 hours of journey, on reaching Laxmikantapur, half the passengers de-boards. Thereafter it runs for more 90 minutes before coming to a halt at Namkhana.

    By Bus: One can also board a morning bus at Esplanade to Namkhana.

    Subsequently, a road journey to Chinai dock wherefrom the ferry is the only transport.

    We preferred trains. As expected, even a Saturday had the compartments jammed. Reaching Namkhana was rather the easier part. We reached around 10:30 am. We headed for the ferry ghat of Chinai River hiring an e-rickshaw. However, one can ride a magic van from Namkhana station on a shared basis. Noteworthy the newly constructed bridge over the Hatania-Doania River which cut down the travel time. A few years back, people had to struggle through two rivers to get to Mousuni Island. Taking a detour from the NH12 (which terminates at Bakkhali) we reached the ferry ghat. Crossing Chinai River is the sole way to reach the island and hence a long queue of people and bikers was not that of a shock at the dock. As our boat pulled away from the dock, I could see Mousuni across the waters. The riverbanks were covered with mangroves, bringing back the reveries of Sundarbans. A portal to the unsullied potion of Bengal beckoned.

    Chinai River huzzuti ghat mousuni @doibedouin
    The other dock on the mousuni island @doibedouin
    The queue at the Huzzuti ghat. As our boat pulled away from the dock, I could see Mousuni across the waters. The riverbanks were covered with mangroves, bringing back the reveries of Sundarbans. A portal to the unsullied potion of Bengal beckoned.

    Debarking at Mousuni, we hired another e-rickshaw and entered into the extreme rural reaches of South 24 Parganas. As we moved in, the landscapes morphed from dense greenery to farmlands, often marred by interventions as small mud huts, probably owned by the farmers and fishermen. The area is still undeveloped, but resilient. So much of the unpredictable climates and weathering! Lack of conveyance somehow kept it off the map and hence un-explored. If you are having qualms about a boat ride or the unavailable luxuries of a well-paid hotel at hand, this place is so not your cup of tea. But, if you are aloof to these constraints, then this is your place to find the rhythm divine.

    Where to Stay

    There is no permanent hotel in Mousuni Island. Temporary beach camps are thus the only bets. Namely, Sand Castles Beach Camp, Skyler Nature Camp, Izifiso Backpackers Camp, Jhinuk Camp, Alafia Travellers’ Camp

    Each of the resort has four types of accommodation facilities syncing with nature. Family cottage, mud house, family tent, and adventure tent. Cottages and mud houses, though a bit expensive, are well furnished and can easily accommodate 3 to 4 persons comfortably. Family tent and adventure tent can accommodate 4 and 2 persons, respectively and are very much affordable. For those who have a taste for the rustic experience, can opt for the adventure tents. As for the washrooms, our resort had three common bathrooms for all, at one corner of the resort area. To my surprise, each of the tents was supplied with a plug point, a table fan, and a low power bulb.

    Sand Castles Beach Camp @doibedouin
    mousuni deep blog @doibedouin
    The entrance to our resort, Sand Castles Beach Camp. A row of adventure tents in line, with hammocks at the end. So there you have your spot!

    Sand Castles Beach Camp mousuni @doibedouin
    mousuni blog @doibedouin
    Another colourful view of the resort ground and the haystack made shed that works as the individual comfort zones in the evening for the vacationers.

    Most of these resorts have their own website, implying all the necessary information regarding the facilities and rates. All the resorts of the island are mainly located in a place called Baliara where we reached around 12:15 pm. We had booked the adventure tents at Sand Castles Beach Camp. In our case, the price of the meals was included in the accommodation charge, except for the BBQ chicken.

    Best Time to Visit

    Fall and winter, October to March is the best time to experience this out-of-the-way part of the Indian map. Summer journeys are always perspiring and sticky. Given the proximity to the sea, it experiences low-pressure circles a lot. Monsoons are better avoided too. Due to heavy rainfalls, the roads get muddy. The wetlands are also submerged. 

    The Picture-perfect 1-Day Beach Camp in Mousuni Island Along the Bay of Bengal, FAQs answered doibedouin

    The Mangroves and the wetlands that get submerged in the monsoons. It is advisable not to travel during that particular time of the year. 

    Quick Check: FAQs Answered

    Here are some pieces of information that I searched before stepping out.

    Q. Is Mousuni Island safe?
    A. Yes. It is totally safe. But it is advisable to avoid the monsoons due to the unpredictable weather then. I found the natives quite cooperative, always ready to lend a hand. However, it is always better to travel in groups here as it is a secluded end of the mainland. This again is a personal view.

    Q. How can I reach Mousuni Island from Kolkata by bike or car?
    A. By bike, yes. By car no. Hoarding up the bike on the vessels on Chinai river is easy.  However, the car is not yet accommodated on the same.

    Q. How do I get to Mousuni Island by train or bus?
    A. Bus: Esplanade-Namkhana buses are available, the earliest being at 4 am.
    Sealdah Namkhana locals are also available, the earliest being 4am.
    Then either reserve or share a Magic or a toto (e-rickshaw) to Huzzuti ghat.
    Cross Chinai River.
    Hire another toto and head for Baliara.

    Q. Is Gangasagar and Mousuni Island same?
    A. No. Gangasagar is held in Sagar Island, a neighbouring island to Mousuni.

    Q. Is electricity available in Mousuni Island?
    A. Yes. WBSEDCL has reached the extreme stretches of Bengal. And all the resorts are having generators for backup.

    The 1-Day Break: Our Experiences

    Day 1: Sea, Eat, Linger, Repeat

    On arrival, the manager gleefully escorted us to our tents. Not far away, I spotted a few other groups already settling up. After the initial wave of capturing photos and videos, we hustled to freshen up. Meanwhile, we had a little pep talk with the owner. Apparently, he was from Kolkata and commuted diurnally. Mousuni, surprisingly, used to be a salt pan decades back. Only in recent years, it was recognized as a tourist spot for weekend trips.

    Beach-lovers have engaged with the sea time and again, merely to walk the sands and the water. So did us. The seashore is at a stone’s throw from the front gate of the resort. We seemed to have the Bay of Bengal to ourselves. The beach is quite the untainted one. Mousuni beach is more silts than sands, the estuarine of river Hooghly. Our exclusive privacy was intruded by a large group of bikers, racing, and cheering along.

    mousuni island baliara beach @doibedouin
    bay of bengal from mousuni island @doibedouin
    Calm, lonely Mousuni beach… an escapist’s paradise. A closer look into the Bay of Bengal.

    mousuni island india @doibedouin
    mousuni deep island blog @doibedouin
    The beach is quite the untainted one. Mousuni beach is estuarine of the river Hooghly. Our exclusive privacy was intruded by a large group of bikers, racing, and cheering along. Although their bikes were a great prop to my camera.

    Just as the rural scenes of Bengal, the seashore of Bengal offers fairly the typical sights. Colourful boats pierced the view, some floating in the water, some anchored inshore, with fishermen billowing their nets. The perfect subjects for the candids. The fishermen, yet again, the same. Bare bodied muscular men, with the striped gamchas tucked tightly. Amidst all the photography subjects and a few lots of selfies, our insides groaned for appetizers. Our hunger was silenced with rice, daal, cabbage sabzi, prawn masala, chutney, and papad. Tired enough, we could no longer resist the temptation of sinking into the cozy beds in our tent. The relishing lunch seemed to have augmented the luring.

    The day dusked with a jaw-dropping sunset, fascinating us enough to rush a run to the seashore. We clicked. And posed. We spent an hour at the beach until the sun completely faded into the sea. As the evening engulfed in, at that exact moment, we noticed that all the resorts and shops behind us are decorated with fairy-lights while our resort shone the brightest.

    mousuni @doibedouin
    mousuni blog @doibedouin
    A mesmerizing sunset which again proved that all beautiful things in this universe are short-lived.

    Our resort grounds offered many comfy zones, bamboo-chairs and benches, and we snuggled onto one. A scene vastly different, yet not so, from the complementary post-sundown sea of Baguran Jalpai or Mandarmani. Soon we all plugged into our devices, checking the awesome photos of sunset we had captured. Shortly, resort staff delivered the evening snacks and tea and conveyed that they would start preparing barbeque chicken for all the groups, one after another.

    The Picture-perfect 1-Day Beach Camp in Mousuni Island Along the Bay of Bengal doibedouin
    The Three Musketeers. “kahi dur jab din dhal jaye…. “

    There is sure a hypnotic charm in the evening aura by the sea. Like Mandarmani, here too, as the evening tide sets in, no holidaymaker stays in their rooms anymore. Each group of tourists in our resort occupied their respective corner zones, camp firing, cheering out to loud music, some even tapping a few steps to it. The whole place went into a trance, whilst drinking deep of the sea, and other stuff as well. Soon it was time, for the BBQ chicken. Heavy with the whiff of the grilled chicken, they were really a delicacy, too hard to resist. Speaking of which, we were so taken by the vibe, of the surrounding as well as the food that we kept on demanding for the chicken drumsticks. No wonder our plates had to be refilled every now and then.

    BBQ chicken in the making.  mousuni @doibedouin
    sunderban @doibedouin
    BBQ chicken in the making. Another group is supervising the preparation of BBQ chicken

    “Could we have some fresh crabs?” The manager declined but directed us to get it from a small roadside dhaba. Timely enough, the last lot were meant for us. The crabs here I found were smaller in size to that of Chilka in Odisha. Essentially, a combination of onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and red chilies, the curry was mouth-watering, spicy, and tasty. Time flew. We called off for the night, dining over the roti and chicken curry, guaranteed to lull you into a deep slumber.

    mousuni @doibedouin
    Spicy and tangy crab masala in the making and when served. Yummilicious!!!! @doibedouin
    Spicy and tangy crab masala in the making and when served. Yummilicious!!!!

    Day 2: The Beach, Please!

    I have always been a morning person yet the foregoing feast got me. Hence I missed the sunrise. But then again it is never too late. Why miss the morning splendor? So, I decided to go for a walk along the beach, careful enough not to get in the way of my sleeping handsomes. Serene as it was, the sea-shore was almost empty as usual. Very few people were up, for a morning glimpse of Mousuni’s beauty. Few local kids played their morning rounds in the muddy land.

    Mushy wetlands at the end of the mousuni island, west bengal india
    mousuni island india offbeat blog @doibedouin
    The mushy wetland at the end of the island. while returning I saw this bud. although it did not even bother to look at me. “Spare me Hooman, not in a mood of paparazzi…”

    A calm breeze unruffled from the sea. While I observed, each of the resorts had the same arrangement as our stay. Strolled for 30 minutes top, when the greeneries started waning. I might have stretched to the end of the island. A large mushy wetland was ahead of me, probably formed due to the changes in the course of the river. The smartwatch blinked 3 km. So I reverted to the resort. The morning tea was due, for long by then.

    Despite the Manager’s offer, we had to deny the lunch, and started our return journey around 12’ o clock.  This time though, the E-rickshaw driver took us to a different ferry-ghat which was less crowded, and we had a comfortable and more enjoyable boat ride.

    india offbeat places @doibedouin
    india offbeat beaches @doibedouin
    Us on the second day of our outing, memorizing the place to store it safely in our Mind's Palace.

    Few Things to Remember

    • Although each resort has its own rules. But most of them follows that outside foods are not allowed inside the resort premises.
    • No one is allowed to go outside after 11 pm. People generally get too drunk to return back to the resort.
    • If you want to hit the bottle, it is better to take up the liquor on the way. Boozing is not prohibited, unless outside the resort grounds.
    • People returning to Kolkata should start before noon. At the most 2 o’clock from Namkhana.
    • It is better to have lunch at Namkhana, lest you are opting for public transport.
    • Although electricity is not a problem here, it is still better to have your power bank. And if you are carrying DSLRs then keep the extra batteries with you.

    Pin It for a Later Read!

    mousuni island Ganga delta @doibedouin
    Mousuni Island Along the Bay of Bengal blog @doibedouin

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    1. Informative blog .... Will definitely visit this place in near future.

      Soothing script and attractive language ....

      Good work πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    2. Brilliant write-up! Very informative and helpful for those aspiring to visitπŸ‘

    3. I was seriously unaware about Mousuni, well written article. It gave me a fair bit of idea what to expect, once I am there. I also liked the way you mentioned key things to remember, these tips come quiet handy during the travel.

    4. Thanks for sharing these useful tips. I am saving this blog for future reference. I never heard about Mousuni earlier but will definitely going to visit this place for sure in future

    5. Mousuni looks really enchanting. I had not heard about it which is really good as it makes the place offbeat. We have not been to the Sundarbans region, though we had planned a couple of times. Now we know where to head to when we are in those parts next time. I like the fact that footfalls are comparitively less. The camping facilities look good. Must be an awesome experience waking up in Mousuni.

    6. Woow Mousuni looks divine. I never heard about this island which I can easily choose for my weekend trip from Durgapur. Next time when I'll be in my hometown I will give it a try :) Thanks for the article

    7. My goal for next year is to explore more of India. I had never heard of Mousuni Island until now and it has been added to my list. Do you think it is safe for solo female travelers? I am a solo traveler and would really love to go here. I have also bookmarked this so I can use it in future.

      1. As per my observation there, it is safe for solo female travelers.

    8. In days of vlogs, this is a welcome change..
      Thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue !


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