How many times you have been stuck in a traffic jam while approaching Howrah Bridge? Or almost missed your train because of massive waterlogging at Mahatma Gandhi Road or a political meeting at Metro Channel? Often, when traffic comes to a standstill, the best way to reach either Howrah or this side of the river is to utilise the ferry service from any of the multiple ghats which offer this fast and comfortable ride to your destination. Learn about the best routes to reach Howrah or Dalhousie and many more from various parts of the city.
The ferry is a godsend, quicker way to travel for commuters from one bank of the River Hooghly to the other, primarily between Howrah and Kolkata. Ferry services on river Hooghly began in 1975, under Sunderban Launch Syndicate. This syndicate however failed to retain its services due to recurring losses incurred by the organisation and led to the formation of Hooghly Nadi Jalapath Paribahan Samabai Samiti Limited (HNJPSSL) in 1980. A government sponsored cooperative organisation, it aimed at reducing the load on land transport and prevent traffic bottlenecks on the Howrah Bridge. The service was first introduced between Howrah and Babughat, lying on either bank of River Hooghly. It remarkably reduced the time and distance between Howrah and Kolkata. Later, Government of West Bengal, also started their own ferry service on Hooghly River in 1992 through West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC). These two are the most prominent ferry operators, who operate on more than one route. Apart from them, there are two others namely Ghatal Stream Navigation Private Limited (GSNPL) and Indo Swiss Trading Company Private Limited (ISTCPL).
The main ghats in Kolkata which have daily ferry services include Chandpal Ghat (beside Babughat), Shipping Corporation Ghat, Fairlie Place Ghat, Armenian Ghat, Ahiritola Ghat, Sovabazar Ghat, Bagbazar Ghat. The main ghats in Howrah for the Ferry Service are Howrah Station, Golabari Ghat, Bandha Ghat and Ramkrishnapur Ghat. There are other ghats which had ferry services but they were closed down due to various reasons. Both Chandpal Ghat and Fairlie Place Ghat are the most popular ones as they are both located near Dharmatala and Dalhousie area- the central business hub of Kolkata. They both are linked to Howrah Ghat at the opposite side which has an enormous passenger pressure due to its location next to Howrah Railway Terminus and hence ferry services reduce the time taken to travel to Howrah from Strand Road especially when the road is clogged with traffic.
Daily commuters who have to reach Kolkata from Howrah or vice-versa, comprise majority of the passengers in these ferries. Most of the ferry services start from 8 in the morning and run till 8:30 at night. On some occasions, they also extend the timing. Starting from Chandpal Ghat to Bagbazaar Ghat, there are several closely located ferry ghats. One can reach Howrah to Bagbazaar on a ferry which stops at Golabari, Ahiritola and Sovabazar on its way to Bagbazar. This service starts from 7:40 am and carries on till 9 in the night. The fare is Rs. 6 per head. One can also buy the ticket for this route from Armenian Ghat and reach Howrah where they need to change ferry and avail the one which leaves from Howrah. People who want to travel on the same side could also avail the ferry. For an instance, if one has to reach Ahiritola to Bagbazar, they can avail the ferry coming from Howrah to Ahiritola which takes you to Sovabazar and Bagbazar. One can reach Howrah from Chandpal Ghat or Fairlie Place Ghat and vice–versa at a meagre amount of Rs. 5. The ferry also provides service from Howrah to Armenian Ghat at `5. One can also avail a ferry from Shipping Corporation Ghat to Howrah and vice-versa. Or reach Badhaghat in Howrah from Ahiritola at `5.
Apart from these daily commuting routes, the ferry services are available to Belur, Dakhineshwar and Aryadaha from Fairlie Place at Rs. 10 per head and this service starts from 8 in the morning and extends till 8 in the night.
One can also book ferries for tourism purpose, in which case one can hire from WBSTC depot near Millennium Park or via other private operators. The ferry journey offers a unique experience and ambience. Travelling on the lap of river Ganga with picturesque Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu as backdrop on each side successfully invokes a nostalgic feeling. If you haven’t travelled in a ferry yet then it is about time you go sailing!
|Daily Commuting Route Chart of Ferry Services|
|Authorities||Routes||Service Duration||Frequency||Ticket Prices|
|Hooghly Jalapth Paribahan Samabai Samiti Limited (HJPSSL) + West Bengal Surface Tranportation Corporation(WBSTC)||Howrah – Bagbazar (via Golabari, Ahiritola & Sovabazar Ghat)||7:40 am – 9:00 pm||10 min approx.||`6|
|Howrah – Armenian Ghat||8:00 am – 8:00 pm||10 min approx.||`5|
|Howrah – Fairlie Ghat||8:00 am – 8:00 pm||10 min approx.||`5|
|Fairlie Ghat – Dakhineshwar, Belur and Aryadaha||8:00 am – 8:00 pm||2 hours approx||`10|
|Howrah – Chandpal Ghat||7:30 am – 8:30 pm||10 min approx.||`5|
|Chandpal Ghat – Ramkrishnapur Ghat||5:50 am – 8:50 pm||10 min approx.||`5|
|Howrah – Shipping Corporation Ghat||8:00 am – 8:00 pm||10 min approx.||`5|
|Ghatal Stream Navigation Private Limited + Indo- Swiss Trading Company Private Ltd.||Badhaghat – Ahiritola Ghat||5:30 am – 9:30 pm||10 min approx.||`5|