My jaunt to the Brighton of the East from Kolkata

We say certain things are destined to happen, this Digha trip was something of such sort to me and my family. Will not call it a well-planned venture, happened simply out of the blue the moment my sister asked our father, on her Durga Puja visit to Kolkata, “Can’t we go somewhere for a night or two?”  It was “Digha” that triggered his mind and we all instinctively welcomed the bid and started packing for the journey.

           Whenever a trip is planned I make it a point to do a bit of home-work on that place regarding what are the main attractions and how to make the best workable itinerary. This time could not make any such as it was hastily planned and I lacked time so left it completely on my father who was well informed with the Kolkata to Digha road-route map.

          I do not know whether my Digha travelogue will be helpful to any tourist who plans for it, but it is my utmost desire to share with one and all with a futuristic view that it might aid if not many, at least one of my kind of a traveller who loves to read others’ backpacking stories before making his/her own LIVE.

Day 1

         It was October 13, 2016. In the morning we all had a heavy breakfast, got decked up, and stacked our Toyota Qualis SUV’s rear seat with luggage bags and kick started our 200 km long drive  (around 4 hours) to Digha around 10 am. On the way stopped at a petrol pump to load fuel to the brim and zoomed off through the streets of Kolkata.

       “Digha” is a famous seaside resort attached to the Indian state of West Bengal. The pristine beach, covering a distance of 7 km, is the home to a number of beautiful tourist spots. Justified by historical citations, the emergence of this city dates back to the year 1780 when this place was christened as the “Brighton of the East” by Warren Hastings that gradually transformed into a beach resort.

         We drove past Vidyasagar Setu aka Second Hooghly Bridge that connects the City of Joy with Howrah and stands at the banks of the River Hooghly. One can get a magnificent view of the entire city from this bridge. Well it is a toll bridge with superfine smooth finish. Then took the Kona Express way and sped all through the National Highway crossing Kolaghat Thermal Power Station and then Nandakumar More. From here we encountered small towns and villages on a single lane carriage path that snakes its way through them.

         After travelling almost half way, it was lunch time and we were fairly hungry to halt at a roadside eatery only to be happy enough to get Bengali food in home cooked fashion. The restaurant was no fancy but clean and hygienic which is more important while travelling. Once done with food, we headed straight towards our destination even more charged up.

Biswa Bangla Gate that depicts entry to Digha

         Eventually we crossed the Biswa Bangla Welcome Gate that depicts entry to Digha and reached our destination almost around 2-2.30 pm. We then kept searching for a suitable hotel as we have not pre booked any. It was an ultimate peak season just after the Durga Pujas as tourists especially from Kolkata flock in there to spend their vacations.

         Finally managed two air-conditioned rooms in a decent hotel, close to the sea beach, in Old Digha.  It was boiling hot when we reached in the afternoon, Sun being almost on top of our heads making it extremely mandatory to get A.C. rooms for a suitable stay in October.

Booking.com

         Digha lies in Purba Midnapore district of West Bengal and at the northern end of Bay of Bengal. The beach is covered by rocky boulders. It is the most popular seaside resort of the state. Digha is divided in two parts, Old and New Digha. As the name suggests New Digha is built comparatively in recent past and thus looks modern with well-planned architecture.

         We stayed back in the hotel room unpacking and refreshing ourselves and only got out for the beach visit in the evening after the temperature cooled down.

First glimpse of the sea when we visited the beach in the evening on Day 1.

         It was a complete visual treat to watch the sea in the evening as the waves came hitting at the shores. The sea beach overflowed with tourists. It had cemented seats where one can sit and find bliss passing time chatting with their loved ones munching the various stuffs being sold by the beachside vendors. The fried sea fishes are among the must-haves in a non-vegetarian tourist’s to-do list up here.

Fried sea-fishes being sold at the beach stalls on Day 1

The super-crowded local market on Day 1

         The beachside shops crammed with tourists who kept shopping their favourite souvenirs. We also kept exploring the numerous stalls alongside the beach and bought quite a few handicraft items like hand-woven mats called “maadur”, wall-hanging, cane baskets, sea shell ornaments and curios.

We then also visited the main market which was a few meters walking distance into the town opposite to the beach. After checking a few shops suddenly the current went out, good that the generator was available for the backup although not in all shops. We then, done with shopping, strolled back towards our hotel.

           Finally got freshened up, had dinner that we packed from a food joint adjacent to our hotel, on the way back from the market, and got bed after the hectic long day.

DAY 2

            It was October 14, 2016. In the morning we woke afresh after the long needed sleep and got ready as soon as possible and left the hotel. First we had breakfast at a local restaurant opposite to our hotel that had basic luchi and chholar daal which did not taste great but fine overall.

        After food, we hired an auto-rickshaw for half-day tour to visit a few tourist spots in and around Digha. The carriage was quite a spacious one with seating arrangement even at the rear end. We were a family of five thus fitted comfortably but yes it was a pretty hot day from the very morning. Ignoring all we started our auto-trip around 9.30 am.

The hired auto-rickshaw that took us on Day 2 for half-day site seeing to tourist places in and around Digha

First spot of Day 2, Chandaneswar Shiva Temple

       First spot of the day was Chandaneswar Shiv Temple which lies at Bengal-Odisha border and is mapped in Baleshwar, Odisha. It took about half an hour to reach there. The temple had Oriya writings on its entrance so one gets to know that it does not fall in West Bengal. It is quite an old temple but properly maintained. We offered puja with the help of a priest. Apart from Lord Shiva, resided the famous trio of Odisha, Jagannath-Balaram-Shubhadra at a temple adjacent to the main temple building in the same premise. There was a pond alongside where the local pilgrims took a dip before entering the temple. Substantiated with religious facts, it is also called “Second Puri of Odisha” and holds significance to the state. After staying there for around half an hour, we left for our second spot.

Second spot of Day 2, Taalsari Beach

        Our next spot was Taalsari Beach which too is mapped in Baleshwar, Odisha.  The name is derived from the two words “Taal” meaning “Palm” and “Sari” meaning “Row”. The palm trees surrounding the place gives such a name to it. It is one of the least exploited beaches in Odisha. Predominantly used by the fishermen, the shore is more customized for fishing rather than tourism. The sea  is calm here and not turbulent like in Digha. One can take a boat ride and indulge in the beach’s scenic beauty. My parents indulged in coconut-water from a vendor out there and after so we left for our auto-rickshaw.

Third spot of Day 2, The Udaipur Sea Beach filled with rocks and boulders

Beautiful cane baskets displayed for sale on the Udaipur Beach

          Our third halt was at the Udaipur Sea Beach. It is a small coastal fishing village. The parking was bit far and had to walk for around 10mins to reach the beach. There were countless rocky stones and boulders that look quite picturesque. Compared to Digha, this beach appeared less crowded and clean. It was too sunny a day and the sea gleamed with its sparkling water. After staying there for a while we walked back to our vehicle as soon as possible as it was blazing hot and unlike other tourists we did not carry an umberella or a hat to cover from the Sun. Beautiful handmade cane baskets and sea shell handicrafts hung from the beach stalls on the way to the parking place.

About to take the Cable Car ride at Amarabati Park on the very entrance

Bird-eye view of the beautifully manicured plants at Amarabati Park from the cable car.

            Fourth and last spot of the day trip was Amarabati Park which falls in New Digha. We took the entrance tickets and invaded the park. It was a very beautiful park with properly manicured trees and adequate greenery to sooth our city-lit eyes. First things first, we marched towards the cable car to get the bird-eye view of the entire park.

There were aplenty cashew-nut trees  which served as eye candies. Simply loved the park and spent some adorable family moments in the lap of greenery. The park had swings, sea-saws, boating facility etc to enjoy. Thus very attractive for children and also had adequate benches for adults to rest after long walks amidst the floras. After investing adequate time, we bid adieu to Amarabati Park and boarded our hired auto-rickshaw one last time to head straight to our hotel.

It was already past lunch time around 2 pm and we were hungry enough to rush to a nearby eatery and satiate our hunger pang. We tried sea fish curry with rice and vegetables which was really tasty.  Post  lunch we went to our hotel to freshen up and take rest before hitting the beach again in the evening.

             We left the hotel by 5 pm and first hopped into a nearby Durga Puja pandal near the car parking zone, where goddess was still there although 4 days have passed following Dashami. It was simply amazing to see the deities made out of cane. Sheer masterpiece!

The roaring sea hitting its waves hard on Day 2 evening.

            Next visited the beach where the sea danced to the tune of its waves. We spent the evening at the beach itself watching the sea, chatting with family, munching snacks from the beach vendors and watching other tourists. Also tried capturing the beauty of the Sun setting behind us.

Sun setting behind us on Day 2 at the Digha Beach in the evening

            We kept ogling at the Bay of Bengal infront of us living every moment. Spent almost the whole evening at the beach but still could not believe how such long hours passed by like a stroke of lightning without an inch of boredom hitting any of us. That’s what I believe is the magic of MotherNature. The beach lights hardly fell on the sea opposite to it, what one could get is only the roaring sound of the waves as it kept banging along in the dark.

            It was our last day in Digha as the following morning we are scheduled to leave so we made the most of our time and kept checking out all the stalls. The shops sold different conch shell variants and exquisite models of goddesses made out of sea shells. Outstanding craftsmanship!

The conch shells being sold in the beach stalls on Day 2 evening

            After we were done with sea-gazing and shopping we parcelled dinner from a restaurant and went to our hotel to have it getting freshened up. Later we packed our luggage which now almost doubled with loads of shopping stuffs and finally hit the bed with dreams of the whole day outing.

DAY 3

            It was October 15, 2016.  Woke up early and got ready to embrace the final day of the trip. Our baggages were already done with so it saved time. We then checked out of the hotel clearing all the financial obligations and loaded our SUV with all the belongings. Afterwards visited an eatery to have breakfast and straightaway headed to the beach one final time.

On Day 3 bidding adieu to the Bay of Bengal

          The beach was filled with tourists seeking their morning sea-bath. On this trip we did not take a dip in the sea since my parents looked reluctant as Old Digha’s beach is not as wide as it used to be due to heavy soil erosion. Big stones and concrete steps are used to hold the beach together.

          It was yet another clear bright day where the sea looked all charged up splashing its water on the shores. Did not wish to accept that our unplanned, out-of-the-blue Digha trip alas came to an end. No doubt all five of us had an amazing, much needed adorable family time. Thus clicked a few family pictures on the beach before bidding adieu to the Bay of Bengal water and zoomed off to yet another 200 km long drive, this time for destination HOME SWEET HOME (Kolkata) cherishing each moment of our Digha jaunt.

  • Patrick Jones

    Been to Brighton last year but east’s fried fish and three-wheeler look appealing.
    Good work, Wondergirl.

    • wondergirl89

      Hi Patrick, thank you so much for stopping by…your appreciation is a welcome boost…thank you for reading and enjoying the article..

  • AUROJIT

    Hi Wondergirl,

    Welcome to Ghumakkar.

    Digha agreeably is the first beach destination for Kolkata people. Thanks for bringing out details about the place.

    We have visited Mandarmoni a couple of times…..taken in by the general Bong wisdom that Digha is ‘touristy’ and Mandarmoni is the ‘real thing’ :-)

    Well, after reading the lucrative narration, guess next time it will be Digha for us too ……

    Thanks,
    Auro.

    • wondergirl89

      Hi Aurojit,

      Firstly thank you for such warm welcome…am happy that you stopped by to read my article and moreover enjoyed… yes Digha indeed is the first-stop destination for Kolkattans for a jaunt… Undoubtedly I had a wonderful family trip out there though completely unplanned and I believe you too will like the destination….

      I am yet to explore Mandarmoni and feel the ‘real thing’ as per you…Guess will make it on my next beach trip..

      Thank you yet again.

  • I haven’t been to Brighton, but I now feel liking making a trip to Digha ASAP after reading your post! The beach looks inviting , especially Udaipur Sea Beach .. I shall plan a trip soon :)

    Thanks Wondergirl for vacationing us in Kolkata !

    • wondergirl89

      Hi Archana,

      Let me first thank you for liking my post and making it LIVE on Ghumakkar page… It really means a lot…..

      Yes Digha is quite a lovely beach destination to trip around for a short span… Udaipur Sea Beach is a rarely explored sight but is truly beautiful and picturesque…Glad you liked the pictures…

      Thank you for stopping by.