Digha - Lulled to Silence by the Sea

“The Briton of the East”

19 FEBRUARY 2014,

Close to the border of Orissa, 243 Kms. to the South East of Kolkata on the Bay of Bengal, Digha is a beach resort with a six-kilometer long beach. This beach was much sought after by the erstwhile mandarins of the British East India Company at a time when Kolkata was the capital of British ruled India. The Briton’s love affair with Digha prompted them to refer this spectacular beach as –“The Briton of the East”.

Digha is a much preferred weekend tourist jaunt for the average Kolkatans and generations of Kolkatans have cherished visiting this fabulous beach resort. Though a little crowded, particularly on the weekends, it has enough natural grandeur to entice the proverbial sun worshipper and those unrelenting beach bums.

If you are traveling by car, during the ebb tide, you can easily drive along the beach. However, for those interested in splashing on the waves, the safest place is the stretch from the bazzar that extends to about a mile where the vast majority of the beach bums can be seen sun bathing. For a truly aesthetic feel, the best time to be at the beach is during sunrise and sunset.

To ease the pressure of crowds from Digha beach, an exclusive extension in the form of a tourist friendly town by the name of “New Digha” has come up, where apart from the modern tourist amenities, a state of the art Science Center and the National Council of Science Museums have been set up. The later is renowned for its exclusive “Jurassic Park”. The Marine Aquarium too is worth visiting, opposite to the hospital.

Apart from the beach, one may also opt for short excursions to Shankarpur, which is located at a distance of 13 Kms from Digha. This place abounds with forests and happens to be one of India’s largest jetty. Fishing trawlers and boats can be seen either anchored or moving to the distant horizons. At Sankarpur, make it a point to savor the “Hermit Crab” at any of the roadside eateries. They are lip smacking good and reasonably prized.

Accommodation:
Hotel Palm Resort (Tel: 3220-266489), Hotel Sea Hawk (Tel: 3220-266235, Raj Mahal Hotel & Resort (Tel: 3220-267366), Hotel Blue View (Tel: 3220-266324), Hotel Sea Green (Tel: 3220-265851).

How to Reach:
Digha is easily accessible from Kolkata. Private buses operate regular bus services to Digha from key city hubs like Sahid Minar, Ultadanga, Howrah Station, Dum, Dunlop and Dhakuria. The West Bengal Transport Corporation also operates its fleet of buses from Korunamoyee in Salt Lake City. The journey by road from Kolkata to Digha is 4.5 hours.

By road, there are multiple options available. There is a route from Kolkata to Digha which passes through places like Howrah-Mecheda-Norghat-Contai-Ramnagar. There is another route that goes via Deulti-Kolaghat-Kharagpur. Many travelers also take the route via Tarakeshwar to Digha that passes through Harinkhola-Arambag-Vishnupur- Kharagpur, primarily with the intention of offering pujas at the Shiva temple in Tarakeshwar and then driving all the way to Digha.

Hired tourist cabs and cars are readily available from Kolkata from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah Railway Station. Another good option of hiring a cab is at the Sahid Minar-Esplanade stretch as well as Korunamoyee at Salt Lake City.

If you intend to reach Digha by train, there are local trains that operates from Howrah Station via Mecheda, Panskura and Kharagpur.

For transportaion within Digha, there are both metered and un-metered taxis along with auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. Being a popular tourist resort, Digha like anywhere else in India is infested with touts. So it is always advisable to settle the rates prior to the journey.

Shopping:
Curios, sea-shell, shell jewellery and hand woven mats.