It was a rainy day of last week of July in the city of Kolkata. I boarded the early morning Digha bound Tamralipta express from plate from No. 19 of Howrah Railway station. It was a long kept desire to go to Digha, the famous beach of West Bengal.
The train was full of passengers and on inquiry I learnt that since it was Saturday, most of tghe passengers were on their way to Digha. The train arrived at Digha some half past ten o’clock. A small railway station, which is in fact a terminus. On coming out of the station, I found a number of auto rickshaw and electrical rickshaw were waiting for our trains’ arraival. I ignored them and asked a tea vendor as how far the Digha Beach was? He replied just walk down on the straight road, it is just one kilometer. I along with my wife choose to walk down. After walking a few steps while feeling the soothing breeze, I reached the beach, which was really walking distance.
Digha is West Bengal’s most popular and sought after beach and sea resort, located 185 Kms south west of Kolkata, bordering Orissa. It is in Midnapore district. The beach is described as the ‘Brightest destination” of East India.
Digha beach is a sandy beach, having a width of over four football grounds and too shallow waters where the waves are gentle and the usual slope is lesser. It allows you to go deep inside with just knee deep water, the waves barely strike your hips. However, you can’t enter the water during full tide as the raised sea water touches the stone wall erected on the sea shore. The scenic beauty of this place is attractive and charming enough. The sea shore is having long lush green trees all along the coast enhancing the beauty of this place manifold. These trees while beautifying the sandy beach also provide natural safety in reducing the erosion of sea coast.
One can view both sunrise and sunset at Digha sea beach. The sunsets and sunrises reflecting off the salty waters of the Bay of Bengal are something straight off an artist’s frame. The sea at Digha is just calm and with shallow water for over a kilometer from the beach making it quite safe for going into deep and swimming if one desire.
Digha, earlier known as Beerkul during the British era, was discovered in the 18th century by the British. It is mentioned as “Brighton of the East” in one of Warren Hasting’s letters written in 1780 to his wife in Britain.
Lore has it, that in 1923, an English tourist John Frank Smith was so charmed by the beauty of Digha, he lived here for the rest of his life. His description about Digha slowly gave exposure to this place. After independence, Digha Beach was developed as a tourist destination and resort and it is one of the most attracting tourist destinations of Bengal tourism.
If one walks along Digha beach for say 3 Kms, one enters Orissa, and while the beach continues, it now falls in a place known as Udaipur, which is in Balasore district. Udaipur beach is considered to be an unexplored and virgin sea beach located on the border of Orissa.
This beach is away from the crowd and surrounded by dense, tall casuarina trees along the shore. One can feel that this is a beach of its own kind and is simply pleasing and refreshing. This uninhabited beach is around 3 km long and lies between Digha (New Digha) and Talsari.
There are a number of fisherman huts all around who also runs temporary stalls on the beach and sell all kind of fresh cooked sea food like fish of various kind and crabs. I am a vegetarian, however on one such make shift stall table, a number of fish and crabs were displayed. As a matter of curiosity, I went near to it spoke to the lady managing the stall, about the kind of fish and crabs in whatever little Bengali i knew. She was prompt to reply with an offer that you may choose any of them, it would be cooked in ten minute’s time and shall be served.
Ever freshening and charming sea beach of Udaipur and New Digha is favorite honeymoon destination as well. Over the years a number of guest houses have come up all around which provides good accommodation at cheap and reasonable rates. For fish lovers, it will be a nice idea to buy fish from the fisherman along the sea shore and relish the deliciously cooked dishes.
The makeshift stalls run by nearby villagers in the beach is nice place to sit and enjoy the fascinating breeze of the sea. If you like bathing in the sea, it is the right place to do so. One can go deep into the sea and swim. At Udaipur Beach, unlike Digha, one can go into the water during high tide as no sea shore stone wall is constructed and the sea shore is plain and sandy. The make shift stalls right on the sea shore serves all kind of sea fish, crabs, prawns along with rice and other Bengali food.
Bichitrapur, around 25 KM from Udaipur, located upstream of the mouth of Subarnarekha River is famous for mangrove forest. Bichitrapur is developing as an unexplored hot tourist spot but paucity of time deprived me of a visit to this place.
Talsari is another unexplored sea beach located in Baleshwar district of Odisha. The scenic beauty of Talsari is overwhelming. Lash green palm trees, coconut trees and dense forest of casuarina trees on the backdrop of blue hills and calm sea will surely make anyone visiting there, remember it forever. Witnessing sunrise and sunset from a gleaming stretch of sandy shore is an experience to remember.
Another feature of Talsari is that the backwaters fascinate tourists. One needs to cross these backwaters to reach the sea. Talsari is just 7 km from Udaipur and plenty of cheap conveyance is available. There are certain issues that the beach has not been looked after properly and that the sea shore becomes dirty due to a number of eateries right on the sea shore. Also, you find people is groups indulging in drinking. Awful scene with empty containers, bottles and dirty dishes. There is a need for local administration to disallow such act and upkeep of cleanliness to attract more tourist in this unexplored beach.
My day crept away swiflty and sunset was approaching fast. Just after sunset, as scheduled, my return train to Kolkata was to be boarded as the next fixture was to start the next morning, for Plassy and Murshidabad, the old capital of Bengal and Orissa.
I was just fascinated on this day long visit to Digha and Udaipur beach, a beach far away from the City of Lakes Udaipur…with the same name but totally unexplored.
Contributed by: Mahendra Kothari, Honorary Correspondent, UdaipurTimes, Ahmedabad.