Vacation plays an important role in our life. This time we planned for Gopalpur-on-sea. It’s a coastal town in Ganjam district of the Indian state of Odisha and close to the borders of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
We travelled to Brahmapur by train. The tiny town of Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal is around 16 km from the silk city of Brahmapur (a.k.a. Berhampur), the hub of Southern Odisha.
Gopalpur is well-connected by an all-weather road which branches off from National Highway NH-16 (previously, NH-5) on the outskirts of Brahmapur.
The hotel arranged for a minibus to pick us up from Brahmapur station. We were 8 families in our group.
After a lot of research, Mashimoni zeroed in on the Hotel Sea Side Breeze. We didn’t think of such a fantastic location of the hotel. It’s located just on the beach! The staff are very polite and helpful. The food was fresh and homely.
The sparkling gold beach of Gopalpur along with the azure water of the Bay of Bengal provides a perfect place to relax.
The sea here is a bit rough. The beach is a very quiet and comparatively clean place to swim and sunbathe. The locals advise not to go deep inside the sea because of treacherous undercurrents as this beach is not that shallow!
A quiet, small fishing village on the coast of Orissa, Gopalpur was so named when a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna was constructed sometime in the 18th century.
Apart from its temple, Gopalpur was distinguished for its magnificent beach and was discovered as a perfect winter resort.
During the days of Kalingas, this place was known as the port of Paloura from which traders sailed as far as Java, Bali and Sumatra and piled up wealth dealing in silk and pearl. Ptolemy, the Greek Geographer recorded during c. 2nd century CE that the sail from the city-port of Paloura to Sada, a Burmese city, was 13,000 stades (1 stadion is approximately 185 metres) in the direction of equatorial sunrise (due east).
Later Gopalpur regained its importance to maritime trade during British colonial rule. It was a transit point to export sugar and cheap labourers for the tea gardens of Assam in north-eastern India. Today it survives on fishing as its main industry and a pristine beach with unforgettable views of the sunrise.
The greatest experience that we had here is the breathtaking view of the rising sun in the morning.
The lapping of the waves follows a rhythm. Watching these waves from the beach and enjoying the sunrise is really a divine experience.
There is a quaint lighthouse on one end of the beach.
This lighthouse has the somewhat unsung distinction of facing two of the worst cyclones in recent memory: Odisha super-cyclone in 1999 and Phailin in 2013. The lighthouse serves numerous ships as well as the Indian Navy and Coast Guard as a radio beacon station and is open to the public. At night the light shines every five seconds, which gives the place a unique glow.
The original mast-light, established in 1871, was replaced by a skeletal tower in 1925. The lighthouse as it stands today was commissioned in 1967.
We enjoyed the first day on the sea beach. The second day was planned for a visit to Rambha, Chilka.
DAY TRIP TO CHILKA LAKE
Chilka is one of the largest brackish water lagoons in the world, offering shelter to a huge variety of birds and aquatic plants. Rambha is located at the southern coast of the Chilka lagoon, at a distance of 40 km from Brahmapur on National Highway NH-16. The lake also serves as a safe haven of around 150 species of migratory birds during winter. Dotted with numerous islands, Rambha boasts of its enchanting picturesque beauty overlooking the Chilka Lake and the hills. We reached the OTDC resort — Rambha Panthanivas by a minibus. We negotiated for motor boats at the jetty behind the Panthanivas.
We split us into two groups and each group cruised into Chilka lake in separate motor boats.
We first reached the Breakfast Island. It took us around 20 minutes. The Breakfast Island has been formed between Badakuda Island and Somolo Island in the Rambha Bay is truly the most beautiful place to have your packed breakfast.
The Somolo Island has the remnants of a dilapidated bungalow, built by the King of Kalikote. The name breakfast point came from British rule time where this place was used as the breakfast point.
From Breakfast Island, we cruised for another 20 minutes to reach a small island with one statue of Dinosaur at one side the island constructed by the Odisha tourism department. Some part of it was damaged by the recent cyclone. This island is also known as Birds Island. All trees and birds nest were affected by the cyclone Phailin in the month of October 2013.
We then cruised to a small rocky island named Sanakuda Island. There is a small cave that houses the Siddeshwar idol in this rocky uninhabited island. We prayed to Siddeshwar from the boat and moved ahead.
Cruising on Chilka lake is truly an unforgettable experience. We returned to our hotel at Gopalpur-on-sea after having our lunch at a Dhaba by the National Highway NH-16.
It was Christmas–New Year time, Gopalpur is having a fair just beside our hotel. it’s a small, rural fair. Kids enjoyed the fair.
The third day of our trip was December 31st, New Year eve. We relaxed the day by the sea and playing with the sea waves. In the daytime, we went to the local market and bought some chickens. In the evening, we had a bonfire and a temporary grill to barbecue chicken pieces.
While we played music and danced the hotelier arranged for some fireworks before the midnight.
It was our private fun-filled New Year eve programme. We returned home the next day January 1st, 2018.
Gopalpur is the perfect place to visit with friends and family on vacations. It is one of India’s most beautiful beaches largely due to its remoteness, its peace and its offbeat crowd.