“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There are two kinds of Bengalis – those that prefer the mountains for vacationing and those who are enticed by the sea. I fall in the latter category. Having grown up in north Bengal, with mountains and forests abound, my heart always yearns for the majestic view of the sea – serene, endless and unrestrained. The sea epitomises a boundless bundle of energy which follows its own rhythms and refuses to bound by any rules. Who can say no to such charm, right?
My latest trip (on Bhaiphonta) was to a little-known beach near Digha in coastal Bengal. Tajpur, located 180 km away from Kolkata in Purba Medinipur district, is a quaint, secluded and serene destination, ideal for those who want to break free from the maddening city-life and relax in the lap of nature for a weekend.
With an abundance of Casuarina trees, the Tajpur beach is a joyous territory for those who want to explore nature. The greenery is striking, and the air so fresh and pure that you feel alive again. The place is also known for its red crab island. With small shacks serving fresh fish right next to the beach, the experience attains fruition.
The Government of West Bengal is currently constructing a road connection Shankarpur with Mandarmani. The road passes over Tajpur and is a tourist’s delight. The mighty sea on one side and the lush green, idyllic, rural Bengali landscape on the other side – this certainly is a sight to behold.
You can just sit on the sandy beaches (or the rocky embankments made by the administration to prevent erosion) and stare at the waves; there can be no better purpose in life.
How to go
We had hired a car from Kolkata to Tajpur (180 km). The route we took was: Kolkata – Kolaghat – Nandakumar – Contai – Chaulkhola – Balisahi – (turn left) – Alampur (turn right) – Tajpur.
One can also take the train from Howrah to Digha (and a local vehicle from there). There are several buses that leave from Esplanade for Digha.
A rain soaked ride
Where to stay
While there are a few hotels to stay in Tajpur, I would advise staying in Shankarpur or Digha. The facilities are better there.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Travel… the word enthuses me for sure, but I haven’t had the opportunity for a trip often, reasons being many. My friends say I have an eidetic memory, so penning down my thoughts on a memorable trip wouldn’t be quite difficult.
The earliest memory of a trip is that of Kurseong…. I was barely 3-4 years old. I remember (and my relatives still remind me of it) creating a ruckus for “feeding bottle” (for my staple diet at that time- milk).
The trip to South India in 1991 was also a very special memory. My birthday was celebrated at Auroville (Pondicherry). The sheer beauty of the place where Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal meet the Indian Ocean, that ferry ride to Vivekananda Rock, the plush Hills of Nilgiri at Ooty…. I still search for that album whenever I go home.
In the mid-1990s, we visited Gangtok. Driving through snow, clicking photos on the frozen Changu lake or the joy of seeing a live yak were too good to forget. And if I start counting the numerous short trips around places in Dooars, it would take me ages to complete this post….
My first trip without family was the Excursion in the third year of graduation at Presidency. After heated deliberations, my suggestion of North Bengal trip prevailed. Those 9 days with Physiopals were pure bliss – the elephant ride with Bham, Madhu, Ritu, the wrong knock at Jaldapara, social physiology surveys and awkward situations faced when you ask about birth control, the Lataguri food, canopy walk at Loleygaon, midnight mayhem, Chadan’s fainting at Lava, PM Sir and his antics, Ritu using AKS sir’s armpit as headrest, hypoxia, dim petni, Rheshyap, bonfire…. Those were unforgettable memories…..
This trip was followed by another one – to the sea this time. Bham, Sayan, Sugata, Sandipto, Sabir and I went for a 3-day trip to Chandipur near Bengal-Odisha border. The tranquility of the sea, the ferocity of the rain, that adventurous walk in the rain through knee-deep water, the jeep ride and masti…. Those were the days.
Even my recent trip to Digha was a memorable one. The first trip in ages with my parents… A trip to Digha after a gap of 25 years… The much-needed vacation… The fast-paced development in Digha, thanks to the new regime in Bengal… The mini-vacation was worthwhile.
Life is all about moving on. I am sure in the days to come, I would get more opportunities to explore the world. The book of life has a lot left to explore!