Jayanta Kumar Mallick
Taki, a small town of North 24 Parganas district near Hasnabad, situated on the bank of Ichamati River, on the international border between India and Bangladesh, is a nice weekend place for sight-seeing, just about two hours journey from Kolkata. The strip of land between the two rivers, locally called tack, might have given rise to the name ‘Taki’. Taki was a land of old zamindar families. The first zamindar Krishna Das Raychowdhury (Guha) was a descendent of Birat Guha- one of the first five kayasthas who came to Bengal from Kanauj.
Time passes away simply sitting on the riverbed and observing the captivating sight of ever-changing mood and colour of the river-water. Here, the tourists can also ride on boats to get a close view of the town. Other attractions are ruins of zamindar houses existing even from the Mughal period, Ramkrishna Missions, Kuleshwari Kali Temple, 300 years old Jora Shib Mandir, Nandadulal temple at Jalalpur, Golpatar jungle (the river here is a narrow ribbon and you could clearly see the people in the Sreepur village of Bangladesh, but remember to carry a photo identity proof if you want to visit the Golpatar jungle, as BSF will only let you enter the region if you have one) and General Shankar Roychowdhury’s adi bari in Saidpur village as well as a memorial of 21 February. “Choto Hujurer Darga” is also an interesting place to visit.
Machranga (Kingfisher) River Island over 129 acres of land located near the confluence of the Ichhamati and Vasa, is a nearby destination to visit from Taki. You can visit by taking the launch service from the ferry ghat. It will take around 30 minutes to reach the island by a mechanised boat. The island is nice for a nature walk over the green fields and in the distance you can the villages of Bangladesh. The setting sun over River Ichamati is a spectacular view from Machranga Dwip. The island is ideal for a picnic and the Hasnabad Panchayat Samity maintains a number of picnic spots and a two-storeyed bungalow on the island. Brick factories are built in this island after the Aila onslaught. Entry fee for Machhranga Deep is Rs 5 per head. The mini Sundarbans, consisting of Sundari and Golpata trees have been created here by the municipality. You may take the van rides when you reach Taki. They will show you around. River cruise boats can be hired at Jetty Ghat. The benches along the Taki Rajbari Ghat in front of the Rajbari are the best place to spend leisurely evenings. The paved riverfront near the Jetty Ghat is beautiful and wears a festive look during the evenings.
HOW TO REACH: From Sealdah Station take Hasnabad Local train (5:15 AM, 7:45 AM, 8:17 AM, 11:52 AM, 2:57 PM, 5:59 PM) and from Dumdum to Hasanabad (10:30 AM, 1:17 PM). After getting down at Taki Road Station. After getting down at Taki Road station take a cycle van and reach the hotels (a 10 minute ride). You can also take a bus from Esplanade (No. 252) or from Shyambazar (No.79C) drive your car to Taki (80 km from Kolkata). From Science City Taki is about 75 km following Basanti Road via Ghatakpur. You can also take the Taki road from Barasat-Chanpadali crossing then reach Berachapa-Trimohini crossing and then Taki Thuba.
WHERE TO STAY: There are primarily many guest houses for staying. Nripendra Atithisala run by the Taki municipality is a good option. Address: Taki Uttar Bari, PO Taki, 24-Parganas (N), Pin: 743429 (Contact P.K. Choudhury, Netajinagar, 9331026585 or Swati Biswas, Kalindi, 9339375915). Other options are Suhasini Guest House (03217-234108), Amrapali Guest House (03217-234471, 9836064617), Taki Tourist Bungalow (03217-234647), Public Health Guest House, Mitra Rest House, Baganbari and Shuvadip. Permission from BSF and the BDO is required for staying the night at the two-storeyed Machhranga Deep Guest House. To book a picnic spot, contact Hasnabad Panchayat Samity, PO Hasnabad, District 24-Parganas (N).
Best time to visit: Taki can be visited any time of the year. However, the most suitable time to visit Taki is during the winter season, especially due to the original jaggery or Patali Gur available there. During this season, flocks of migratory birds settle here and they appear like puffs of cotton scattered everywhere. Another time to visit, which is equally memorable, is to watch the Goddess Durga immersion following the Durga puja. This is a spectacular event in Taki as idols from both the countries are immersed on the waters of Ichamati together.