Digha: A date with Brighton of the East

Digha: A date with Brighton of the East

It was one of those unplanned trips that just takes place on the spur of a moment. The motive was to get away from the monotony of city life for a couple of days and it was decided to take a trip to the seashore nearest to the city of Kolkata. “Digha!” chorused everyone and off we went.

Tucked between East Midnapore district and northern end of the Bay of Bengal – Digha is a seaside resort town in the state of West Bengal. The place boasts of scenic beaches like Talsharee, Shankarpur, Tajpur and Udaypur. Digha also houses the famous Shiva temple at Chandaneshwar, which just across the border and is well worth a visit

It was one of those unplanned trips that just takes place on the spur of a moment. The motive was to get away from the monotony of city life for a couple of days and it was decided to take a trip to the seashore nearest to the city of Kolkata. “Digha!” chorused everyone and off we went.

Digha, originally known as Beerkul during Warren Hastings time, was discovered in the late 18th Century by the British. It is West Bengal’s most popular seaside resort town and beach.

The place is visited by thousands of tourists every year, mostly Bengalis for whom it’s the easiest weekend destination from Kolkata.

In spite of not having advance reservations, we were lucky to get seats in the train. As the train sped through the countryside dotted with canals, coconut trees and a wide variety of lush green foliage, we began feeling rejuvenated.

We reached Digha and headed straight to our pre-booked hotel (booked at the last minute through apps during the train journey) at old Digha to freshen up a bit.

After having a quick lunch at the hotel, we thought it would be a nice idea to hit the beach and have a glimpse of the sun dipping below the horizon.

We decided to take a stroll down to New Digha along the beach road which runs all the way from Old Digha to New DIgha by the side of the sea and is bordered with casuarina plantations. These trees also prevent soil erosion.

The sunset view was truly captivating; Digha beach is one of the few places, where one can view both sunrise and sunset.

We lingered near the beach weighing the idea of getting into the water or not; then finally foregoing all apprehensions we rushed into the sea to cut through those tides! The water felt cool and clean. The sea here is "gently rough" and perfect for having fun.

Since it was a long weekend, the entire stretch of sea was bustling with tourists who were taking a dip in the waters warmed by the rays of the setting sun.

A number of stalls on the sea front were offering freshly fried sea food and tourists were taking a bite at them. We too followed suit and feasted on a sumptuous variety of fish, crabs and prawns, planning our next day itinerary.

One of the locals on hearing that we were planning to visit Talsharee beach the next day suggested us to take a detour from a place called Border (the political border between West Bengal and Orissa) and hire a Rickshaw Van from there to Talsharee. The idea instantly appealed to us.

The next morning was cloudy but we managed to cram ourselves into a jam packed bus heading for the Border.

After getting down at Border, we started bargaining with a Rickshaw Van puller to take us to Talsharee. He agreed for 80 bucks but put up two "Conditions".

Firstly, we’ll have to push his Rickshaw Van for 1 km over the loose sand; secondly, he will only go if there is low tide. We agreed and our perilous journey started off.

The road got narrower and finally vanished into the dense Casuarina Forest and then we were suddenly on a beach with crystal clear sand.

A local fisherman assured us that there would be low tide till the evening and so it’s safe to take this route to Talsharee now.

One normally won’t find tourists in these parts, only a few local fishermen. All the tourists take to highway to Chandaneshwar and then the State road to Talsharee.

After half-an-hour the sky slowly grew darker and the cool sea-breeze turned into gushes of wind. The wind was against us making it difficult for the Rickshaw Van Puller to move forward.

We released him and began hurriedly walking towards Talsharee but the strong wind caught us. The wind blew the sand and made everything hazy.

The sky was getting darker every minute and it was drizzling by then. After a little while, the drizzling turned into a torrential downpour and we were caught into the middle of nowhere and with no one for miles around us.

The beach had turned red with millions of sand crabs coming out of their holes which resembled a striking scene pattern in the tidal mud.

The rain grew stronger and we could hardly stay upright in the blazing storm. The whole world around us was empty and we were surging ahead, keeping the furious sea to our right and the deep Casuarina forest to our left.

We finally reached Talsharee. Here River Subarnarekha merges into the Bay of Bengal. After the storm had abated, a motorboat took us to the other side of the river. The sea was rough and the view of “Mohana”, that is, the merging point of river and sea was really awesome.

One of the most loved short gateways from Kolkata; Digha is one place, which popular among people irrespective of their ages and social statuses.

Perhaps, this is where the magic of Digha resides. From long seaside walks to a little bit of adventure to delectable seafood delicacies, you get everything here - under one roof and at every possible prices.

Location Digha is approximately 190 Kms away from Kolkata, towards southwest and in Purba Medinipur District of West Bengal.

Access: Train Services to Digha are available from Howrah Railway Station in Kolkata(about 4 Hours journey time). Bus Services are also available from Kolkata.

Stay: Both old and new Digha has huge number of hotels for all budgets.

Food: Eat to your heart's content, especially fresh sea food. Don't worry; even though the food is inexpensive, it is hygienic.

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