Home / Travelogues / #Border2Border weblog: End of the Road

 

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In the final weblog, we cover the last stretch of 70 odd kilometres that separate the City of Joy from the Bangladesh border in Taki

Story: Aninda Sardar
Photography: Aditya Dhiwar

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The distance between Calcutta (Kolkata) and Taki, the end point in our epic journey is just 70 km and the route is pretty straightforward too. You just head east along the Basanti highway until you see a signboard saying Taki to the left. You then take the left and keep heading straight until you find a wide and flowing expanse of greenish grey ahead of you. You would have arrived at Taki Ghat, the point that marks the end of the Indian land. The greenish grey river in front is the Isamoti or Ichhamati and through the centre of this river runs the International Border that separates the two nations that were once one. But we’ll get to Taki in a bit.

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The road from Kolkata to Taki is a narrow but well surfaced dual carriageway. It’s also a very busy highway and you’ll encounter all sorts of vehicles on this road, ranging from the ubiquitous cycle-vans that are somewhat unique to this part of the country to trucks and buses driven by raving lunatics who can either calculate speed, time or distance and spectacularly fail at comprehending all three together. Moral of this story? Watch out. The drivers on this road vary between suicidal and murderous. Occasionally, you’ll meet one that combines those two qualities as well. In short, you’re never short of entertainment, excitement and thrills. If you do manage to find a bit of empty tarmac, like we did, you’ll realise that this part of our journey is particularly beautiful with ponds and mini-lakes dotting the lush landscape.

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Driving into Taki is a singularly unexciting affair. The roads are narrow and keep getting narrower, with lots of pedestrians, which is a regular occurrence in West Bengal. By the time you reach the crossing that will eventually take you to the Taki Ghat, there’s space enough for just one other Maruti Suzuki Alto. Should anything larger than that come down the other end, one of us would have to reverse to a spot wide enough for both of us to pass each other safely.

border2border-weblog-end-of-the-road-5 The Taki Ghat is an unimpressive work of masonry, with some benches that have been placed in a feeble attempt at turning this into a tourist spot, with wide flat steps leading down to the river bank. Across the wide expanse of the river Ichhamati, it is hard to imagine a completely different country. Lost in our thoughts we waited at the ghat, allowing the gentle lapping of the river waters to lull us into a daze. The sudden appearance of a pair of fishing boats got us out of our reverie and unexpectedly we had proof that we were indeed at the border of India and Bangladesh for one boat flew the Indian tricolour while the other flew the green and maroon of Bangladesh.

The Indo-Bangladesh border at Taki is a far cry from the publicised glamour of Wagah, but the history is no different. Back in 1947, when lakhs of people were crossing over from India to Pakistan or vice versa at Wagah, lakhs were crossing the river in their bid to reach safety right here at Taki. And like at Wagah, we paid our silent homage to all those who laid down their lives in those tumultuous days at the dawn of Freedom.

 

About the author: Aninda Sardar

 

Assistant Editor at Car India. Believes in the power of simplicity and in the simplicity of power (when it comes to engines of course).

Follow me on Twitter - @anindasardar

 

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