Pilgrimage tourism in South 24 parganas district
Some of the pilgrimage tourism sites of South 24 Parganas District are:
Gangasagar is a beautiful and serene spot for most of the year. It is windblown, quiet and has sweeping views of the mighty Ganga River ending her journey into the sea, and a lovely island they call Sagardwip beach. Come mid-January ( the last day of the month of Pous in the Bengali calendar), the place is absolutely transformed from being a spot of calm and scenic beauty to one of the holiest places of pilgrimage. Divinity seems to descend from the blue sky overhead on to the waters and the beach at Sagardwip. It is believed that bathing in the waters of the Ganga at this point in time will help absolve one's sins. Thus millions of pilgrims and devotees from all over India come to take a dip in the freezing waters here to cleanse all their sins away and offer worship at the temple of Kapil Muni. A huge and colourful fair takes place on this occasion- aptly named the Gangasagar Mela - which is held once a year during Makar Sankranti. To reach the place, one needs to take a bus from Kolkata to Lot 8/ Harwood point, cross on the ferry and board another bus to Sagar. There are a number of tourist hostels, cottages, tents etc available for the purposes of accommodation.
Leisure tourism in South 24 parganas district
One of the most famous sites of pilgrimage in the South 24 pargana district, and in fact all of West Bengal, are the Sundarbans. It is the largest single block of tidal mangrove forest which is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers. The forest lies at the foot of the Ganga River and is spread across areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, forming the seaward fringe of the delta. The seasonally-flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests. Declared as a world heritage site, the Sundarbans form the world's largest estuarine forest- one of the very few in the world still having its flora and fauna intact. One of the moat remarkable features of the forest is that the bayonet-like roots of mangrove forests stick out above the water levels. The area is known for the Royal Bengal Tiger, as well as numerous fauna including species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes. It is estimated that there are now 500 Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. Sundarbans can be reached by means of the launch trips organised by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation or private vessels going from Canning, Gosaba or Basanti. Accommodation is available at the tourist lodges in Sajnekhali, Bakkhali, Gangasagar.
Bakkhali and Frasergunj are twin towns forming one continuous locality. Bakkhali beach is a seaside resort located in the district of South 24 pargana. Most of the islands are part of the Sunderbans, barring a few at the fringes. Some of these are joined together with bridges over narrow creeks. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal. Casuarina trees line the beach. Except on an occasional holiday the beach is not crowded. Even if one part is crowded on a particular day, there will be plenty of barren pockets. One can laze around and relax on the beach, take long walks, go shell-picking, catch the phosphorescent gleam of the rolling waves and the hard beach is also suitable for cycling and driving. Bakkhali-Frasergunj can be reached by road from Kolkata. Lodges and hotels are available for accommodation purposes.