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Worldwatch: Sunset on the sea

If you want to stroll down an endless beach, enjoy a colourful sunset, tackle the high waves on a yacht or gorge on some seafood, Gopalpur, a laidback village in Orissa, should be your destination. Here you can forget yourself and have a lovely, lazy holiday.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2006 12:59 IST

If you want to stroll down an endless beach, enjoy a colourful sunset, tackle the high waves on a yacht or gorge on some seafood, Gopalpur, a laidback village in Orissa, should be your destination. Here you can forget yourself and have a lovely, lazy holiday.

When the tourism department called it Gopalpur-on-sea, they weren’t kidding, I thought as I got off my auto rickshaw which I had hired from Behrampur the closest railhead to Gopalpur.

I stood transfixed at the beach as the sunset revealed a plethora of colors which would have made Kandinsky’s palette look empty. Traditional seaport village It was the Kalinga rulers who first made this small fishing village their port. Gopalpur was placed perfectly for building up trade relations with other countries in Southeast Asia, particularly Rangoon.

 What you should know

 If you are planning to come to Gopalpur, here are a few tips, which would help you reach without any problems.

By Air: The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar (180 Km). Bhubaneshwar is well connected with the metro of the country by Indian Airlines.

By Train: The nearest station is Behrampur (16Km), which is on the Howrah-Chennai route. Most trains stop here for a brief moment. Please confirm with your travel agents anyway.

By Road: Gopalpur is well connected by road with Bhubaneshwar and Puri.

In and around Behrampur and Gopalpur, the best way to travel is auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.

Places to Stay:

There are a few lodges, which are on the beach, which give rooms at affordable prices. People looking to spend a bit more of course choose the Oberoi Palm Beach Resort. The budget hotels are:

Hotel Green Park

Hotel Kalinga

Hotel Rohini

Hotel Sea Pearl

Climate:

The best time to go to Gopalpur is from October to April. Being a coastal area, the temperatures more or less remain constant throughout the year. In the winters the average day temperatures varies from 27 degrees to 30 degrees while in the summers this can go up to 35 degrees.



Later it was the British who made Gopalpur one of their busiest ports. It was only during the World War when trade stopped with Rangoon, and Gopalpur went into its shell, only to be rediscovered in mid 1970’s as a potential beach resort.



There is no doubt that the town must have been a rich one, but actually its beauty that made it a popular winter retreat. Cheap accommodation It doesn’t take long to find accommodation here.



Most of the hotels (called lodges) are on the beach front, the best of them being the Oberoi Beach Resort the only starred hotel in the area. The rest are simple rooms offering the best of views for as less as Rs. 100 a night! Within minutes of my arrival, I was back on the beach to absorb every bit of one of the most beautiful sunsets I could have seen.



I decided to walk south, past the lighthouse towards a small fishing village on the beach. With winter vacations already on I expected to bump into a few tourists who would be jumping into the cool waters of the Bay of Bengal or gobbling at the eateries they could find.



But then maybe I was expecting a bit too much. The only tourists that I bumped into were the fisherman, who had just returned from their evening catch and now were stringing their nets for the next morning. And regarding food, I soon realised that there was nothing except for a small bhel puri stall near the lighthouse. And that too quite passable.



The beach seemed endless and I felt I could walk all the way down to Kanyakumari, only if it were a couple of kilometers away. But after a few minutes I just sat and watched the sun set behind the lighthouse. Every single moment, the sky painted itself into a new canvas. Apart from the waves, there were just two more fishermen who gave me company.

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 12:59 IST