‘Sonar Bangla’ or Golden Bengal as quoted by the great novelist and bard Rabindranath Tagore, is apt to describe the beauty of present day West Bengal
. In fact West Bengal’s geographic location makes it a unique combination of nature’s best. Mountains, coastline, rivers, delta, forests, red fertile soil; all these come together to attract a tourist to the eastern fringe of India.
Seaside destinations are scattered in plenty across India but there are a couple of pristine sea beaches in Bengal worth visiting located very close and easily accessible by road and rail. Most of the beaches in Bengal though are located near a delta formation which all the more enhances the beauty of these spots.
The most popular and the oldest sea beach in Bengal, Digha never fails to impress and attract huge amount of tourists round the year. Located at a distance of 187 kilometers from Kolkata
(capital city of West Bengal) in East Midnapore district, Digha beach is located on a low slope with shallow coastline surrounded by dense groves of Casuarina trees. The beach extends 7 kilometers with soft waves rolling along the shoreline of Bay of Bengal. The picturesque beauty and the scenic landscape of Digha please tourists and vacationers beyond expression.
The enchanting sunrise and sunset on the beach is a panoramic sight for nature lovers. So much is the appeal of Digha (former Beerkul) that erstwhile Viceroy Lord Warren Hastings claimed it to be the ‘Brighton of the East’ in a letter to his wife in 1780.
In 1923, Frank Smith a tourist from England was so thrilled by the beauty and charm of Digha that he later appealed to Chief Minister of Bengal Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy to convert it into a beach resort and tourist spot. Digha now is divided into two parts, namely Old Digha and New Digha. There are plenty of accommodation options, guest houses, luxury hotels, budget hotels and resorts for tourists in Digha.Activities
- Vacationers and tourists can take a dip or go swimming in the sea, indulge in horse riding along the shoreline, walk along the beach, sun bathing and play volley ball on the beach. Tourists can also visit the Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India also known as The Marine Aquarium and Research Center, Chandaneshwar Temple and Amravati Park located nearby. Tourists can also dig into fresh pan fried fish delicacies served hot on the beach, sip into tender coconut water or soft drinks and buy junput ornaments and curios made from seashells.Best Time
- Between July and March How to Reach
- Regular state transport buses, AC luxury coaches and white liner buses ply from Esplanade and other parts of Kolkata to Digha which takes around 4-5 hours. Buses also ply from other parts of West Bengal like Midnapore, Asansol, Bankura, Burdwan and Howrah. Daily trains from Howrah and Shalimar Station in Kolkata. Rented car or private vehicles can also be availed to reach Digha via Nandakumar, Chawlkhola, Contai and Kolaghat.
Fast developing as yet another popular seaside destination in East Midnapore district of West Bengal, Mandarmoni is situated at a distance of 180 kilometers from Kolkata. Located very close to Digha and Sankarpur beach, Mandarmoni is loved by tourists for its distinct silt colored sandy shoreline, innumerable red crabs crawling on the beach, a river delta (river meeting the sea) situated 5 kilometers away from the beach. With a shallow beach and gentle waves, Mandarmoni has a shoreline of 13 kilometers and India’s longest motorable beach.
At dawn fishermen could be seen travelling to the deep of the sea in small fishing trawlers and boats from their fishing village. Sunsets and Sunrise on the beach, the gentle rolling of the waves and then crashing on the shore, line of Casuarina trees across the shore creates a breathtaking view of the area. The sea comes alive on a full moon night especially and early morning view of fishermen coming back with fishing nets is stunning.Activities
- Bathing in the sea, Beach Volleyball, Jet Skiing, Bunjee Jumping, Paragliding and Parasailing and Boating are a few activities, tourists can indulge in at Mandarmoni. Accommodation is not a problem here as there are endless luxury resorts and hotels at this destination attracting crowds throughout the year.How to Reach -
Mandarmoni can be reached via road in private or rented cars, state transport buses and luxury coaches via Kolaghat, Mecheda, Contai, Chawlkhola, Kalindi, Dadan Patra Bar. Trains can be availed from Howrah and arrive at Contai from where buses and private vehicles are available. It takes around 3.5- 4 hours to reach Mandarmoni from Kolkata.Best Time
- Between October and May
Located on a delta island, Bakkhali is an emerging seaside destination stretching 8 kilometers in length up to Frazergunj in West Bengal. Bakkhali located at a distance of 132 kilometers from Kolkata is preferred by tourists for its less crowded shoreline and gentle waves. Tourists can visit nearby Engine Canal, reserve forest and mangroves in Bakkhali area along with trips to Deer Park, Crocodile Project and Tortoise Project.
Casuarina Plantations across the shoreline spread a splendid charm among vacationers who visit this beach island on weekends mostly. Hotels and rest houses are plenty in Bakkhali as well as WBTDC sponsored tourist lodge which offers great facilities.How to Reach
– Bakkhali can be reached via state transport buses and private vehicle from Kolkata via Namkhana from which tourists have to take a ferry across Hatania Doania River upon which the tourist spot might be accessed via auto rickshaws and rented vehicles.
Located barely 14 kilometers east of Digha, Shankarpur is a famous tourist destination lined with caesarian trees and white sand along the shoreline. The beach is a less polluted one unlike its other counterparts at Shankarpur. Swimming in the sea is a hot favourite among tourists visiting Shankarpur as well as visiting the Fishing Harbor Project developed by the Government of West Bengal. There are innumerable hotels, luxury hotels in Shankarpur for lodging. The pleasant weather in Shankarpur makes its suitable for visit throughout the year.How to Reach
– Shankarpur is barely 183 kilometers away from Kolkata and can be reached by luxury and non AC coaches or buses from Esplanade in Kolkata till Chawlkhola. From there tourists can rent hired vehicles to reach the sea destination. Tourists can also get down at Digha Station and rent a hired vehicle or travel in private vehicles to Shankarpur.
The other emerging seaside destinations in West Bengal are Tajpur Beach
, Frazergunj Beach
, Udaipur Beach
and Sagardwip Beach
. Do not miss out on the fun as it is highly recommended to visit all these beaches on a trip to West Bengal as the sea calls out to the tourists!