It was nearing noon and the sun was at its highest point in the sky. There were only two enthusiasts, me and my husband, braving the scorching sun touring the paddy fields of Geonkhali. The van rickshaw driver was amazed at our persistence. He had never witnessed such resilience from city people before. The Van rickshaw, a unique contraption consisting of a plank of wood attached to a bicycle, is the only means of transport while you are savouring the natural beauties of Geonkhali. The plank is where you are supposed to climb up and sit with legs folded or hanging depending on which part of the rickshaw you are responsible for maintaining the balance of the vehicle. The driver will be only too happy to help. Once you are nicely and comfortably settled on the wooden seat, you can take a long look around as we did.
Located in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal, at the confluence of the Hooghly, Rupnarayan and Damodar (the tributaries of the Ganga) Geonkhali is a land filled with vast green paddy fields and clumps of coconut groves and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway. Moreover, its proximity to Kolkata makes it all sensible to club it with your sojourn of the City of Joy.
Walking is another more pleasant option, however, not during the day. Early mornings or evenings post sun down are when you enjoy your best moments in Geonkhali. A lazy stroll by the river bank as you enjoy the cool breeze is a delightful experience.
Geonkhali is famous for its huge water treatment tanks which help to supply fresh water to neighbouring areas like Haldia which has brackish water. The area around these water tanks is simply amazing. The roads lying between these tanks provide one of the best walks amidst nature.
The charm of the place is heightened by the fact that you keep stumbling upon discoveries that could be turned into hot spots for tourism. Thankfully, planned tourism is yet to take its toll in Geonkhali. Perhaps, that is why we enjoyed the cool environs of the little church we came across in the midst of a little cluster of local huts. As we stepped away from the scorching sun, the serene calm of the church interiors seemed to embrace us and applied a soothing balm to refresh our tired selves. The stretch of green wilderness that lines up the river banks aids to soothe the nerves further.
Refreshed after a lazy weekend, we returned to city life to pick up the threads of our daily lives with renewed vigour.