The beach at Gopalpur has earned a tranquil backdrop amid bluish waters of the sea and a few lush green canopies that cover lagoons to form a backwater bed. The remains of port buildings belonging to the British era still hold some charming memories of their golden days.
The beginning of our journey
We boarded the Chennai Mail at Howrah on 18th Jan and returned on the morning of 22nd January. Our immediate destination was Brahmapur in Orissa. The scenic beauty of Chilika caught our eyes on the following morning once our train had gone past the Khurda Station by about 30 minutes.
How we reached Gopalpur from Brahmapur
It took us about 11 hours to reach Brahmapur, which is at a distance of 16 km from Gopalpur-on-sea. We opted for the regular bus service at Brahmapur and reached Gopalpur within an hour.
Our 52-member strong group enjoyed every moment, and everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood as we headed for the Kalinga Resort in a bus after de-boarding the train at Brahmapur. By planning your trip a little earlier, you may easily avail a flat cash-back offer from a popular hotel booking service.
We got a pleasant view of the pristine beaches right from our hotel rooms. Such nearness to the enormous sea made us a little impatient at night.
Our trip to Chilika
Our tour to Chilika began at 8:00 am on the following morning as we drove from a place near Pantha Niwas. It took us about 40 minutes to reach the shores of Chilika. We opted for a tour of this lake, which continued for 3 hours. We had to hire a number of boats as we were in a large group, but most of us preferred staying within our boats when we halted at the Jambudweep. We were mostly scared of frogs, scorpions, and snakes.
The Breakfast Island:
We reached the breakfast island at 9:00 am. We had some snacks after reaching the breakfast island and hired a choppy boat for visiting the Kalijai temple at a nearby island. We enjoyed more as we were in a large group of cheerful visitors. Upon reaching this temple island, we were delighted to see peacock spreading its wings in full glory.
We again opted for boating while visiting the Birds Island. The black water lagoon makes it an excellent place for the tourists. The boatman told us that about 160 species of birds flock to this island during the winter. We saw a few of them and a dolphin taking a quick dip in the water.
As we moved out of this island, we were approached by a person selling pearls. Some of us were fascinated by his method of breaking snails and bringing the pearls out. But we didn’t consider buying any of these pearls as we had been warned of synthetic pearls in advance.
While returning, we had our lunch at the Chilika Dhaba which is some 30 km away from Pantha Niwas. Although some of us opted for the seafood, it marred our spirit since all items were served with the same curry.
You may order a few delicacies in advance while booking your trip with a leading car rental service. You may also avail a few good Zoomcar offers for obtaining the best travel discounts online.
Few other things that caught our attention:
We had noticed a few things on our way to Chilika and back. We were delighted to see a few beautiful patterns created by women at the entrance of their houses. We also noticed a few marker poles while passing by the sand dunes of some unknown beaches. The driver told us that these marker poles are meant to guide the local fishermen during the day time, while the lighthouse guides them at night. While taking a few snaps of the beaches, we came across fishermen wearing conical hats that make them easily distinguishable from the fishermen of Andhra.
On the second day, we drove to Taptapani hot springs lying at a distance of 67 km from Gopalpur. After spending an hour at Taptapani, we headed 36 km southward for visiting the village of Tibetan refugees at Chandragiri. We saved much on our travelling expenses as we availed few Ola cabs discount offers while booking our rides.
We also drove to Dhavaleswar at a distance of 15 km, which is considered to be a holy place due to a temple of Lord Shiva. Tourists love spending some time at the golden beach after visiting this temple.
On our way back, we paid a visit to the Tartarini Mandir. Experiencing the Ropeway was certainly a great reason for joy for our kids. All of us enjoyed sea-bathing for hours since the morning of the third day. We returned to Brahmapur by the evening to catch a train to Howrah.
Few good traces of historical value
The ruins of the commercial port of Gopalpur still carry its ancient heritage. Under the British East India Company, Gopalpur had turned into a major trading port from being some obscure fishing village. Huge godowns and warehouses were built by the East India Company for speeding up their rice trade with Rangoon. Gopalpur owes much of its vibrancy to the rich Bengalis and the British colonials of that era.
Gopalpur has regained its tranquil state of late, but now this port reflects a unique charm in being one of the most attractive beaches of India.