While we are fortunate to have a number of sea beaches within the distance of 200 kilometres from Kolkata namely Digha, Mandarmani and Shankarpur, however, your quest for solitude is lost in the swirling crowd at these tourist spots by the sea and is no different from jostling for space at a crowded shopping mall. Therefore, Team WHEELS recommends the sea beach at Tajpur which has a beautiful dense casuarina forest, an unsoiled serene sea beach, natural sandy pathways, a fishing port and above all - less crowd.
Set your trip meter to zero and begin your drive from the Vidya Sagar Setu Toll Tax Plaza. Proceed straight on the Kona Expressway to meet the National Highway-16 (NH-16) through the left diversion at its end. The real pleasure of owning a car and going on a long drive cumulates with the National Highways. Once you are onto the NH-16 (leading to Mumbai), the highway being a 3+3 lane drive, offers an extremely pleasurable driving experience.
Be careful while overtaking the heavy vehicles ahead of you. Drive at a speed in which you feel confident without compromising on the control of the car. As a general highway driving rule, try to drive in the middle lane and take the extreme right lane only for overtaking the vehicles ahead of you.
Slow down at the congested crossings. Be careful of vehicles and pedestrians sometime coming from the opposite direction in the same lane as of yours, trying for dangerous short cuts, totally ignorant of the speeding vehicles.
Keep following NH-16 via Andul, Dhulagori Toll Tax Plaza, Uluberia, Bagnan until you reach Kolaghat Bridge. Drive slowly after crossing the bridge and take the left turn (just before the flyover across NH-16) and head towards Nandakumar by the NH-41.
Drive very carefully on the NH-41 to reach the Nandakumar roundabout. Take the third lane to your right going towards Contai/ Digha by the Digha Road (Now NH-116B, earlier State Highway-4).
Drive through the Digha Road and cross Chandipur, Nachinda until you reach Contai. Take the right turn from the T-junction to bypass Contai town on your left. These roads are all single-lane drives with good road conditions. However, be extremely careful of the high-speed buses recklessly coming from the opposite direction and always give way to them.
Tajpur is a beach located 6.9 kilometres further down on the way to Digha from Chaulkhola Morh (the point from where you enter Mandarmani) on the Digha Road.
Keep a watch on the natural earthen dyke running parallel to Digha Road on your left and turn left for Tajpur once you reach its end from the ‘Balishai-Alampur Morh’ to enter a narrow insignificant road. The laterite (murram) road goes straight over a dyke with a canal on the right and fisheries on left. The present road condition is quite rough with just enough width for two vehicles to pass at the same time. Proceed for another 3.4 km on this road to find a minor crossing with some shops on both flanks. The murram road ends here. Turn left from this point into a scenic pathway and the casuarina woods of Tajpur looms in your sight on the right.
Tajpur with its beautiful dense casuarina forest, an unsoiled serene sea beach, natural sandy pathways, fishing port and above all - less crowd, has the potential to outdo the more popular neighbouring sea beach resorts like Digha, Mandarmani and Shankarpur.
We got bowled over with the beautiful casuarina (jhau) forest right beside the yellow sandy sea beach. The 2 kilometres long stretch of casuarina extends all over Tajpur and stand between the sea and the village. If you want to reach the beach you have to cross the forest. The interiors of the forest is strikingly clean, thanks to the villagers who sweep it since the dry leaves are used as fuel. The forest is quite dense and stunningly beautiful. Carry a rug to lie down; some of the best moments of life's share of leisure may be spent inside the beautiful forest. And the best reason to rejoice is that the local authorities take immense care to protect the woods and have fenced it with barbed wire with two or three entry points. You may also choose to have a picnic here – but take care to maintain the cleanliness of the place.
Next is the sea beach. The beach of Tajpur is the cleanest in the region - if we go by our experience. It is the same beach which continues westward from Mandarmani. Just beyond Mandarmani there is an estuary separating the two beaches of Mandarmani and Tajpur and continue further towards Shankarpur (3 kilometres by the same sea beach) and Digha (6 kilometres).
The Tajpur beach offers you a riot of colours - the yellow sand, the blue sea, the green casuarinas trees and innumerable red crabs - like red flowers blooming on the bed but vanish the moment you come closer to them.
Bathing in the sea is absolutely safe here in Tajpur since the water is very shallow - the gradient of the sea beach being very low. The waves are not very high or rough and the water current is low which makes this one of the safest sea beaches of our state. Each high and low tide exists for duration of around 3 hours. During low tides the water recedes to almost around 150 metres.
Local people are quite hospitable with fishing being the major source of income. Local shops are few and thus it is recommended to carry your provisions from Kolkata.
The local fishing port 'Khati'- as they call it was a major surprise. We had been hearing from the locals about the 'Khati' from the time we started our survey. Tajpur still has open spaces and the village is sparsely populated with a maximum of 1,600-1,800 inhabitants. We could never imagine the commercial potential of the place until we discovered 'Khati' which is just 1 kilometre away from the main village inside a 'U' shaped sea port adjacent to the estuary where big fishing boats come to anchor and fishes are dried for exports. Hundreds of local fishermen sail-off from this point twice every month for a fishing trip which last about 12 days between the alternate lunar phases venturing into a distance of about 60 kilometres. They spend these 12 days in high sea facing all kinds of weather and withthe radio as the only communication. They return with a variety of catch including tiger prawns, tapra, sele, bhagor, parsey, bhekti, crab etc. which are mostly sold off at the fish market of Digha to be exported later.
Star Inn Resort
Our stay in Tajpur was booked in Star Inn Resort located just 2 minutes away from the sea beach. Star Inn is a budget resort which is ideal for an economical stay at Tajpur. The rooms are neat and the beds are comfortable. The washroom is clean and equipped with a geyser. The air conditioning is effective and cools quickly even during peak summer months. It is recommended to carry your own bath towel, toiletries and bath slippers.
The surprise package of our stay was the sparkling new swimming pool. It is most definitely one of the major attractions for the guests staying at Star Inn Resort. The new pool has been inaugurated on August 15. There is a pool attendant available to assist the guests. There is also a provision to enjoy your favourite music by the poolside. Don’t forget to carry your swimming gear to make the most of your stay in Star Inn Resort.
We tried the authentic Bengali cuisine for lunch, delicious cocktail snacks in the evening and Chinese food for dinner – all of which left us craving for more. You must try the fresh pomfret or country chicken. The staffs here are friendly and helpful with a smile always sporting their faces. Overall, our stay was both comfortable and enjoyable, thanks to the warm hospitality by Star Inn Resort.