These days, the impatient visitors stream through on noisy trains and tour buses, scanning the horizon and stopping for quick refreshments at the rest-houses that line the Indian coast. Armed with costly cameras and cellphones, the travellers search their screens, seeking to snap that special shot, while savouring the spectacular sunsets and spending some seconds staring at the slanted light shimmering across the endless expanse of softly rippling water. Families take the drive down from nearby Kolkata, at weekends, to linger at a popular beach.
Crumbling remnants of Chingrikhali, a once proud Portuguese fort are fast tumbling into the cloudy sea and except for the little red and white-striped lighthouse standing on the eastern bank, there is almost nothing left to impress the sightseers or suggest the scattered broken slabs and silent ruins served as a strategic stronghold supported by several underground rooms, booming cannons and a bustling West Bengal warehouse.
Where pirates previously roamed in the world’s largest delta of the Sundarbans, straddling Bangladesh and India, the cruise boats drift by lazily. The Rupnarayan tributary joins this part of the Ganges called the Hooghly, as the mighty river bends south and widens, boosted by another branch, the Haldi further down. In autumn, there are major festivals dedicated to the beloved Mother Goddesses Durga and Laxshmi.
Every mid-January, the ….