We were planning for a getaway near Kolkata. Chandpur popped up as a possible destination. Mashimoni told us that it is the newest beach destination near Kolkata. It’s on the Bay of Bengal. She arranged for the trip. We packed up our bags and headed for Chandpur. At a distance of around 170 km from Kolkata, Chandpur lies between Tajpur and Shankarpur beaches in the Contai (a.k.a. Kanthi) subdivision of Purba Medinipur district in the Indian state of West Bengal.
The Journey Begins
We were a bit late in leaving for Chandpur. We made pre-booking of the hotel rooms, as we didn’t want to be disappointed on reaching there since there is only one hotel that provides A/c rooms. We left for Chandpur at around 11.00 am. It was a bright day then with some autumn white clouds in the sky.
The road to Chandpur gets diverted from Balsai towards Tajpur. Chandpur is after Tajpur beach towards Shankarpur and Digha on that road. The road up to Balsai is quite good. But the diversion road is a bumpy road and needs maintenance. The road is a narrow village road.
Hotel Moon, Chandpur
We checked in the Hotel Moon. It is a very serene and nicely maintained new property bang on the beach. It provides decent food and lodging facilities.
There’s a wonderful roof-top view. We spent the evening on the roof with uninterrupted view of the sea while bathing in the cool breeze from the sea and enjoyed the romanticism of the sea, water, soft wind and the vast sky overhead. It had become dark by the time we reached.
The clear water along with the beach of Chandpur reveals its truest colour during the full moon nights, when the bright light of the bright moon transforms the sea into silver and makes the beach a golden landscape. We reached here just after the full moon night.
We woke up early morning next day at 5.00 am and rushed to the rooftop for a view of sunrise. But alas, the sky was covered by dark clouds and the Sun couldn’t be seen. In fact, weather later on turned stormy and we had thunder showers during the day.
Erosion of the beach
The Chandpur beach is a little different from other beaches in vicinity like Digha. The coastal tract here is being eroded by seawater, resulting in the lowering of the beach and recession of the bank.
The beach is almost inaccessible during high tide; however low tides reveal a large part of the beach, where you can try to get yourself wet.
The coastal area is vulnerable to coastal erosion due to unbridled and rampant human interventions. The rate of erosion has been found to be about 15-20 meters per year in some parts between Digha and Mandarmani. Damages are caused by inundation of coastal areas due to periodic storm and tidal surges, seasonal high velocity winds, storms and cyclones.
Engineering solutions through civil constructions of appropriate shore protection measures and bio-shields are progressively being provided by the government to mitigate the vulnerability to coastal hazards.
There is a shack on the beach just across our resort. Babai and I went there had some cups of hot tea and omelette on bread. We had some nice chat about the place with the owners. They informed us that the sea used to be a couple of kilometres away from the present coastline.
The Bankim Connection
The famous Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the first graduates of the University of Calcutta. He was the composer of India’s national song Vande Mataram, originally in Sanskrit stotra personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring the activists during the Indian Independence Movement. From 1858, until his retirement in 1891, he served as a deputy magistrate and deputy collector in the Government of British India. He used to visit the Chandpur Inspection Bungalow riding by his horse frequently but that Bungalow is now completely engulfed by the sea. Locals say that the spot is about 3 km inside the sea from the current coastline!
Lunch at Tajpur Beach
While coming to Chandpur, we noticed that there are several restaurants in shacks on the Tajpur beach. We decided to leave the resort and go to Tajpur beach for our lunch before we return back home. Tajpur beach is more popular beach with more people, restaurants in the shacks by the sea. We entered into one of them — Maa Basuli — for our lunch.
Tajpur is slowly carving out a niche for itself as the stopover destination between the two major centers Digha and Shankarpur. The red crabs that are found here in plenty and the gentle breeze that lulls idle strolls by the sea make Tajpur a perfect place for getaway.
The restaurants there cook fresh as per orders. They asked us to choose local fish and/or local crabs. We opted for fries of pomfret (brama brama), Ilish (Tenualosa ilisha), Bhola Bhetki (Nibea soldado) and crabs masala along with rice and dal (pulses).
It was raining outside, so we couldn’t get near to the waters.
We enjoyed our hot lunch while it was raining outside. The fish and crabs were so fresh and when these were cooked they tasted yummy, finger-licking delicious. These restaurants are family run business units. Two young kids were serving us foods. Their schools are on puja vacation until Bhai-phonta or Bhai-dooj. So, they are also helping their family during this vacation.
The taste of the foods is still lingering in our mouth. It was an awesome experience. In fact, the last lunch was our the best experience of this trip.
A Serene Beach
Chandpur is best for spending your weekend in serenity by the sea. It is a secluded getaway near Kolkata for those who want a serene beach destination far away from the hullabaloo of the cities and the popular beaches nearby. It is indeed the cleanest stretch of beach anywhere in West Bengal, mainly because it’s still largely untouched by the tourists.