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Udaypore: Unspoilt Weekend Destination
Jul 31, 2004 08:09 PM 7473 Views
(Updated Jul 31, 2004 08:09 PM)


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Well, at last! Deva and I were off for a Weekend trip to ''Shankarpur'' and we would go 7kms. beach hopping through some uncharted beaches from ''Border'' to ''Talsharee (in Orissa)''.

Now, here are some ''Golden Tips'' you must follow while visiting places not in ''Guide Books''. Firstly, talk to the locals; they are the only authentic source of information. Secondly, always show interest in the local culture and never order but request. Thirdly, if you are in rural Bengal, never believe in the ''sense of distance'' of the farmer friend or shepherd boy, ''Yehi Pass Mein (Its nearby)'' is basically 17 kms.


We boarded a non-stop bus heading for Digha from the Esplanade Bus Terminus, Calcutta at 7:45am and reached a place ''Ramnagar'' just 12 kms before Digha at 12:00 noon. You can get down at ''Ramnagar'' or ''Chaudha Mile'', but it is advisable to get down at ''Ramnagar'' to secure a seat in the Trekker Vans heading towards Shankarpur.

''Over Crowded'' is not the correct phrase, ''Heavily Over-Crowded'', still does not describe the situation. Its Twenty-One people and a few Goats and Cocks cramped in a single Trekker Van. We were squeezed into one such vehicle by the ever smiling, apologising, driver. A fifteen minutes drive, and we reached our hotel. Remember! when you are going to Shankarpur, never stay where most of the luxurious hotels are, they are far from the beach. Just follow the beaten track and head another 1.5 kms., deep into the Pine groves to reach the perfectly located Hotels like ''Hotel Belanibash'', ''Hotel Sandy Bay'' and ''Hotel Ashoka''.

We dropped our baggage in our cosy room and rushed off to the beach for the dip. This golden beach is clean, nearly empty and stretches as far as your eye can reach. The sea here is ''gently rough'' and perfect for having fun. In the evening we enjoyed the silent beach idly strolling and chatting with the locals. We also ate a couple of omelettes and had a few cups of extra sweet tea. One of the locals on hearing that we were planning to visit Talsharee the next day suggested us to take a detour from a place called Border and hire a Rickshaw Van from there to Udaypore and then continue further towards Talsharee treading over the untouched beach. We agreed!!

The next morning was cloudy but we managed to jump into Pradeep's trekker at 7:00 am and reach Ramnagar. Then somehow got a seat in a crowded bus heading towards Border, (the political border between West Bengal and Orissa). After getting down at Border, we started bargaining with a Rickshaw Van Puller to take us to Talsharee via Udaypore. He agreed for 40 bucks but put up three ''Conditions''. Firstly, we'll have to push his Rickshaw Van for 1km. over the loose sand, secondly, he will only go if there is low tide and thirdly Deva has to sit on the right side of his van. We couldn't understand the last point but we agreed.

Our perilous journey started off. The road got narrower and finally vanished into the dense Pine Forest and then we were suddenly on a beach, which is half a kilometre wide with crystal clear sand. A local fisherman assured us, that there would be low tide till the evening and so its safe to take this route to Talsharee now. You won't find tourist in these parts, only a few local fishermen. All the tourists take to the Highway to Chandeneshwar and Talsharee.

We paid the Rickshaw Van puller and started walking. After half an hour the sky slowly grew darker and the cool sea-breeze turned into gushes of wind. We hurriedly paced towards Talsharee but the strong wind caught us. The wind blew the sand and made the beach smoke. We finally reached Talsharee, it was drizzling then. The sky was getting darker every minute, the sea was rough and the sight of ''River Subarnarekha'' was awesome. At Talsharee River Subarnarekha meets the mighty Bay of Bengal. A motorboat took us to the other side of the river. After spending an hour we started walking back towards Udaypore.

After completing a few kilometers, 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 turned red with millions of sand crabs coming out of their holes. The rain became stronger and we could hardly keep to our feet in the blazing storm. Now, we could only see a few yards ahead of us. The whole world around us was empty and both of us walked towards Udaypore keeping the furious sea on our right side and the deep Pine forest to our left. Finally, after two hours we reached Udaypore completely drenched, exhausted and proud to have won the battle with the Almighty.

The next day we returned to Calcutta.

On personal note; we did see a lot in this weekend trip, much more than what we expected. The sun, the sea, the wrath of nature and of course some simple, honest people. Here, time travels a bit slower.

For Hotel and Tour Bookings to Shankarpur you can contact:

How to go:

From Esplanade Bus Terminus, Calcutta, West Bengal, (India), you can catch a bus heading towards Digha and get down at Ramnagar and then hire a trekker van towards Shankarpur.

Where to stay:

Plenty of Hotels in Shankarpur, but the best ones are booked by S.P. Tours and Travels, Phone: 91 033 31010515. Don't stay at Digha, its overcrowded with more than 8000 tourists in Weekends.

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