The Indian peninsula hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In addition, the beaches offer a unique perspective into the life of the communities that reside by the sea.
Today, we visit the sandy shores hosted by West Bengal on the Eastern Coast of the Indian sub-continent.
The clear waters of the Bay of Bengal, the estuaries of the mighty Ganga and the lazily stretched coastline make Bengal a paradise for the water lovers. With a number of unspoilt and unexplored beaches, Bengal is lately becoming a first choice for the beach lovers.
These are some of the best beaches this state has to offer.
Digha is West Bengal's most popular sea destination for families looking forward to spend a pleasurable weekend. The entire stretch of the Digha Beach is lined with casuarina trees that makes the whole area extremely scenic.
The sea at Digha is calm and shallow for about a mile from the beach making it quite safe for swimming. Digha, originally known as Beerkul during Warren Hastings's time was discovered in the late 18th century by the British and is located 187 kilometres from Kolkata.
The convenient location of Tajpur (170 kilometres from Kolkata) is the major cause behind the emerging popularity of this beach as a holiday destination. Surrounded with patches of forests this sea shore is a visual treat for visitors.
The sea shore at Tajpur has an unusual shape – the beach has an inverted Crescent shape which gives an unusual panoramic view of the sea. Tajpur is the most unexploited virgin sea-beach around Kolkata.
Bakkhali is located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Most of the islands are part of the Sundarbans, barring a few at the fringes. Some of these are joined together with bridges over narrow creeks. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
The south facing crescent shaped beach of Bakkhali is one of the rare ones in the world that offer great views of both sunrise and sunset. There is an 8 kilometre long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj with gently rolling waves.
Except on holidays, the beach is not crowded. A small stretch near Bakkhali has been lighted up. It is a hard sand beach suitable for cycling or even driving. One can take long walks with coconut water.
Mandarmani is a beach resort in Purba Medinipur district of South Bengal, one of the southern districts of West Bengal. With sun and surf, pristine sea beach and untrammelled silt coloured sand, this beach is slowly becoming popular among the tourists.
Mandarmani boasts of a 13 km long motor-able beach, one of the longest beach roads in India. The beach is an ideal destination for tourists seeking peace, solitude and tranquillity. Relax on the sandy shore and listen to the waves crashing upon the shore. It is sure drive away all of the fatigue and frustrations of city life.
If you are looking for a serene holiday location to enjoy your lazy weekend, Frazerganj will be the ideal destination for you. Frazerganj is a pristine white beach, stretching for 7 kilometres housing a pulsating fishing village adorned with muddy and undulating beach.
Exactly 100 years ago, Lt-Gov. of Bengal Andrew Frazer fell in love with a beach at one end of the Sundarbans. He was so drawn to that stretch of sand that he built a bungalow at Narayanitala, the nearest village. The beach still has many of the characteristics that fascinated the Lt-Governor a hundred years ago.
Quite famous amongst the locals of the state, Falta beach is one of the most visited beaches of the state. The beach is famous for its undulating beauty. A little ahead of the Falta Beach the River Damodar merges with Hoogly and provides a mesmerising site. The beach derives its name from a ship that was ruined here in the 17th century.
About 40 km away from Digha Beach is the Junput Beach. The casuarina trees are lined parallel to the coastline making it a beautiful combination of clear blue and lush greens and imparting a picture perfect view.
The beach is fairly commercialized as the number of visitors is quite large. The beach is famous for family outings and as a famous picnic spot of Bengal.
Located on the Sundarbans Island, Sagardwip or the Gangasagar beach is a silvery expanse of the calm and pristine beach. The beach overlooks an estuary of the River Ganga which bestows the place with religious importance.
The beach is visited by a lot of pilgrims in the month of January, who visit these shores to take a holy dip in the mighty Ganga. On the other days, people come here to enjoy the nature’s gift that this beautiful beach has to offer.
Being a quiet affair for a long time, the Shankarapur Beach is a comparatively recent discovery. The beach is about 10 km apart from the Digha Beach and is known for its soothing atmosphere. The beach is now being developed by the luxury resorts so as to give its visitors a piece of sea that they can carry in their experiences all to themselves. Shankarapur is known for fishing activities.