The East coast of India starts from Odisha of which the Mahanadi delta constitutes a major geographical feature in India.It is known as the Emerging coast and receives more rainfall ,is more wider and fertile than the Western coast of India.Besides the geographical features it also hold some famous tourist places in this country of which Puri is one of the most important pilgrimage centre for the Indians.
Puri is a 6 hour drive from my residential township in Odisha so I frequently visit to this holy pace time and again.This time in the monsoon I decided to explore the coastal marine drive from Konark to Puri and reach to some distant rural beaches of Odisha along the marine drive.I kept in mind the spiritual connection that this state always offers to me along with the vast coastline to enjoy the sea breeze.
I started from Puri after breakfast at 10:00 in the morning and soon reached to a holy temple ,a 45 minutes drive from Puri. A sea beach with an unique landscape accompanied with a holy shrine is very much common in Odisha. Ramchandi beach lying on the Marine drive to Puri is one such example. While in the first picture you can see a clear difference of the two colours of water which determines the conjunction of Kushabhadra river into the mighty Bay of Bengal. The still water in front of us creates a sand island where we can see the distant waves marks the significant nature of the landscape in Ramchandi beach.
Apart from it’s scenic beauty the beach is famous among the tourists for the Ramchandi temple where Goddess Ramchandi is worshipped as a primary deity ,while others believe the temple belongs to Mayadevi,wife of the Sun God.Right at the entrance of the temple a huge banyan tree stands garlanded with numerous red prayer cloths .The branches of the tree looks majestic in red while the white colour temple welcomes us to the place of worship. The pandas inside the temple offers beautiful decorated venerations made with different varieties of colourful flowers for puja. The incense sticks, glowing candles ,worship bells and the Sanskrit chants from the pujaris create a spiritual experience ,that enhances a different sort of experience along with the sound of the waves from the nature. Surely a must visit place in this Marine drive route, which provides a subtle philosophical experience for a traveller coming to Puri or Konark.
Welcome to the Grand Marine drive of Odisha. This is a must drive for all road trippers in this country to get the feeling of driving closest to the sea. The road is smooth providing numerous food joints along the highway. The road stretches from the famous Sun temple in Konark till the farthest beach of Puri. One can have the best view of this highway along the 5 km stretch from Chandrabhaga towards Puri. There are numerous unexplored beaches of the Eastern coast that lies along this highway, which perhaps most of the visitors do neglect owing to the major tourism attached with Puri.
This picture was taken near Chandrabhaga sea beach which offers a panoramic view of a clean yellow sand beach along with the casuarina forest along the highway. In between the highway and the beach an elevated portion of landmass of yellow sand runs parallel to the sea from where one can get such mesmerizing views of a perfect road trip.
India is a vast country with thousands of sea beaches owing to its huge coastline bordering the Bay of Bengal in the East and the Arabian sea in the west ,both then converging to the Indian Ocean in the south. So despite the huge population of this versatile country along the coastline, a road tripper can still find a number of lonely beaches where the unpolluted sea water looks much more blue, capitalizing the effect of a changing sky. Marine drive from Konark to Puri provides similar experiences for a traveller along the mighty Bay of Bengal. The sand here is devoid of any plastics and the waves are wild ,crushing on the numerous lonely sea shores that provides a majestic view of a landscape devoid of any crowd.
At the end of the shore of Chandrabhaga beach we reach the sea mouth where the two rivers Chandra and Kushabhadra river meet in the Bay of Bengal. There are numerous motor boats which will charge rs 800 and take the tourists to a nearby island where one can stand in between the confluence of the river and the sea.
After a delicious typical Odiya lunch in Konark I proceeded towards further north along the coastline expecting to reach with zero crowd!
It is always rare to find a completely lonely beach around Puri. But thanks to the Google maps and with a little help from the localites I did find an unpopulated beach ,67 kms from Puri.
Astaranga beach is a major site for the Olive Ridley turtles and so the beach is always guarded by a forest government office. The backwater from the sea create numerous ponds in the localities which help the local fishermen to breed lobsters and fishes in the monsoon lakes. The drive through the rural villages and then stopping in front of a park surrounded by casuarina trees gives us an exhilarating experience of a countryside beach which still remains unexplored even to people of Odisha.
On the way to Astaranga sea beach:- Backwarters with fishing nets on one side and rice plantation on the other side
Although I found out few people travelling in big “Travellers” into this place and doing picnic inside the park of casuarina trees on the beach. Now government should take necessary steps to keep the area clean as such frequent gatherings in the form of picnics do makes this clean beach into a pile of plastics. Till now the beach looks very clean and the waves are much wild owing to the strong winds blowing in this part of Odisha. In the western part of India such lonely beaches provide a calm sea to us but owing to the violent wind speeds in Bay of Bengal the waves are more unsafe on such beaches in the eastern coast of India. So any tourists trying to visit this beach must be careful while taking bath, as the sea shore is also much deeper. The beach is also associated with a famous Sufi shrine built in 15th century A.D situated at the entry to the beach. The rich history and myth associated with the shrine is famous among tourists visiting Astaranga beach.
As we returned by the same route we visited the famous Maa Mangala Devi temple in Kakatpur. The temple was built in 15 th century and is a cultural heritage of the ancient Kalinga Dynasty.While the mythical history associated with this temple dates back to the Ramayana era.The temple is richly associated with the Lord jagannath temple in Puri. When Nabakalabera arrives (“time to change the wood of the three dieties Lord Jagannath,Balabhadra and Subhadra“),the priests come here to pray to Maa Mangala to find the direction to find the tree from which the three primary idols of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri will be constructed. Maa mangala devi is idiolized in Odisha in the form of SHAKTI or manifestations of Goddess Durga. Inside the main temple complex, photography is not allowed but the numerous magnificent architecture of the shrines and the statue of the other dieties will keep any eager tourist engaged in a fruitful spiritual time.
In the above picture we can see the chariot of the Sun God.
Besides these majestic places there is the famous Sun temple in Konark which is a UNESCO world heritage site in India.But I opted to visit such offbeat places along the Puri Konark Marine drive and I do believe there are more unexplored places that the East coast of Odisha can offer to us.A note of advice to all the readers to go through the rich historical facts associated with the sea beaches and temples and then visit these places to get connected with the spiritual significance of this road trip.