Odisha is a state that is located prominently on the eastern coast of India. In addition to offering a lot of cultural experience, both historical and tribal, Odisha also has a wonderful treasury of nature’s blessings. What is better is that some of these historical heritages are located in these picturesque natural surroundings, so travellers have a wonderful time in this state. The following is an account of the major beaches in the state:
The Chandrabhaga Beach is one of the finest beaches of the state of Odisha. It is located about 30 km from Puri city. It is located very close to the Sun temple of Konark. A unique fact about the beach is that it was considered to be a place for natural cure for leprosy. Since the beach is so close to the Konark temple, a number of cultural activities take place here from time to time. Chandrabhaga Beach is very well maintained. So much so that it became Asia’s first beach to get the coveted Blue Flag certification. This certification is a tag that the beach is an environment friendly and clean beach, and that It has amenities of international standard for tourists. According to mythology, Krishna’s son Shamba used to worship the Sun God to get cured of his leprosy. He worshipped the Sun on the mouth of the Chandrabhaga. The river then dried up and turned into a very dry land with only just a narrow stream of water. It then became a religious spot since his disease was gone. Another lore says that Chandrabhaga, the daughter of a sage became the interest of the Sun God. He came down to profess his love for her, but Chandrabhaga refused to give herself to him. In a rage, the Sun God chased her, until she jumped into the river and killed herself. This way she protected her chastity, and hence the river became sacred. During winter, people take a dip in the water to offer their prayers to the Sun God. This place is also famous for its sunrises. Chandrabhaga has remained a place of interest for the romantics, poets and artists. While the beach at Puri is crowded, this one is serene. There is a large community of fishermen here, from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh here, who have settled down here since it is very rice in aquatic resources. The places to visit around Chandrabhaga include a lighthouse from which the vast Bay of Bengal is seen in all its glory. The Chandrabhaga Mela takes place here every year. It is a festival that continues for seven days in honour of the Sun God, Surya. One can even enjoy the water activities here like sun bathing, swimming and even surfing. The best time to visit the beach is either around February or during autumn to winter months when the weather is most pleasant. The nearest airport and railway station are at Puri. There are also state buses connected to other parts of Odisha.
Chandipur is a magnificent beach in Odisha. It is located in Balasore. It is also known as Chandipur-on-sea because the water subsides upto 5km from the shore during low tide. This happens twice a day, until the high tides bring back the waves again, which is an uncommon phenomenon. The unique phenomenon draws a lot of tourists here. The pretty beach is lined with coconut trees and casuarinas. There is a fishermen’s community close by as well as a thriving fishing market at Mirzapur which is located at the confluence of the Budhabalanga River with the sea. The sea here is rich in marine resources. The horseshow crabs are found in abundance as the receding property of the sea supports its habitat. From Chandipur one can go for sightseeing to a number of places. The Devkund waterfall is ideal for trekking. A number of water sports are also available here because of the high waves of the Bay of Bengal. One can even go for a ride into the sea on a fisherman’s boat. For the spiritual, there are a number of temples such as Panchalinegeswar, Khirachora-Gopinath temple, Chandipur Beach, Emami-Jagannath temple and the Nilgiri Jagannath temple. The beach, lined with coconut trees is pleasant for simply walking along and tourists prefer to do so as the water recedes. The beach is very popular with tourists because of the vanishing sea! Winter is the best time to visit Chandipur beach. The nearest railway station is at Balasore. From Balasore it is easily accessible by taking a bus or a local taxi or auto.
Gopalpur beach is located in a town of the same name in Ganjam, Odisha. Gopalpur is a majestic Bay of Bengal beach. It is located very close to the Andhra Pradesh border and is known as the commercial hub of Southern Odisha! The beach used to be a famous port during the ancient ages; the port is currently in ruins. It used to serve as a trade route with Burma. Rice used to be imported from Rangoon through this port, and the British East India Company had built large warehouses and godowns here. A new port reconstruction is under way. Otherwise it was a small fishing village which has now blossomed into a thriving tourist destination. The beach is a calm and quiet location with soft sand dunes, casuarinas and coconut trees all around. The tourist attractions at Gopalpur are aplenty. The old jetty in Gopalpur is a popular attraction. This jetty was an important point for trade and commerce as the sailors used to travel to Indonesia and Rangoon from this jetty. The Light House at Gopalpur is also quite popular with tourists. One can view the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal till the horizon from up above. Good photography opportunities are also available here. The rows of cashew nut trees here are also quite splendid. Cashew nuts are exported from here after processing. At the nearby Dhabaleshwar, there is a temple called Dhabaleshwar Temple. A beach festival is organized here every year in the month of December. Apart from the natural splendours, the backwaters of Gopalpur are ideal for a number of adventure water sports. A host of activities such as rowing, swimming, paddle boating, water scooter, scuba diving and wind surfing can be enjoyed here. One can even see sailing boats on the water. The best time to visit the Gopalpur Beach is during winter.
Perhaps the favourite holiday spot in the east, Puri and its beach has been a major crowd puller through the ages. Puri is most visited by tourists from Bengal and a favourite with the Bengalis. Puri is also a place of pilgrimage for various reasons. It is located on the deltaic region of river Mahanadi. Puri is characterized by fine white sands and the city on the other side. The sunrises seen from here are surreal. The waves are quite lively, bouncing off against the shoreline. The beach is famous for being very family friendly. Sand sculptures on the beach are a common sighting here. There are many vendors on the beach, selling various types of souvenirs, toys and food. One can go on a horse or camel ride along the sand. There are rows of hotels and restaurants just outside of the beach. There are also plenty of lifeguards around on patrol in case there is an emergency while bathing in the sea. There are many things to see in Puri. The temple of Lord Jagannath is an important place for pilgrimage. It was built in the 12th century AD and is the most important of the Char Dhams. Most of the treasures of this temple have been looted by various invaders. During the Rathyatra festival, the whole of Puri gets crowded with millions of devotees from all over India, with the massive chariots being pulled across the city from the temple. The Beach Festival here takes place every year in November. There are fishing villages nearby. The fishermen set out during sunrise in search of fresh seafood that get caught in their nets. Puri is accessible from Bhubaneswar or through a direct train from many neighbouring states. It is connected directly through railway with Calcutta, and it is just an overnight journey from here. On one side of Puri is the Bay of Bengal and on the other is the Puri city. The Chilika Lake is also not very far away. The beach is divided into a few distinguished parts. The Chakratirtha side is calmer. The Swargadwar is more bustling. Other places to visit are Markandeshwar Tank which is a sacred bathing spot; Gundicha Temple, the District Museum, the Raghunandana library. A dance festival happens every year at the Konark Sun temple which must not be missed.
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