Mandarmoni : the jewel of the sea

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The seashore always has had a special place for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The clear blue sky, gentle waves lapping across the sands, and the vast expanse of the sea beach elevates our mood and provides us solace , which is badly needed in today’s hectic life.
Mandarmoni, 172 km away from Kolkata, is one of the newer sea beaches that have come up in the recent past, providing a decent option for those who love the seaside.

One word of caution for those who plan to drive here, especially in the monsoons; the road is bad and it is advisable to take a decent ,sturdy car. Having said that, once one reaches here, the solitude of the place and the lack of overdevelopment makes it an ideal weekend destination.
To reach this place, you have to cross the Vidyasagar Setu, take the Kona Expressway,and move on to Bombay Road, crossing Dhulagarh, till you reach Kolaghat. Here, one has to take the left, till one comes to the Contai Bypass Road, then drive on towards Digha. 12 km on this road, take a right turn, reaching crossing Chawalkhola, then turn left ahead to take the road towards Mandarmoni. To reach Mandarmoni, one has to pass a village called Dadanpatrabar, from where one has the option of driving on the beach or take the normal road. The latter option is rather bumpy, the road being in bad condition.

Mandarmoni has a flat sea beach, and one can drive on the sea beach.In fact, that is one of the notable attractions of this place, which is available at very few places in India. We saw several vehicles making their way across the vast expanse of the sea beach. However, one had to be careful and follow the vehicle tracks, since the danger of quicksand is always present.

There are several good places to stay, including Sana Beach Resort, Rose Valley Resort , ADB Kanvas etc.The amenities are decent;however, remember that there would be a period of daily power cuts from 3 to 4 pm and from 5.30 to 6.30am.
What strikes the mind about this place is the calm,and the relative lack of clutter. Among the things you can do are; seabathing, paragliding, boating, ride the local motor vans, ride the water scooters. Or simply take a break, unwind, and relax in your hotel,watching time go by slowly.

For staying, I would definitely recommend Sana Beach Resort, which has decent rooms, and facilities such as swimming pool, badminton court, spa, lounge bar, gift shop, restaurant etc. The staffs are helpful and accommodating, and we were chatting with one of the restaurant boys, who gave us some good information on the place.
Be sure to observe the red crabs on the sea beach, making furrows as they move about. And also try out the local sea food…comprising of crabs/prawn/ fish.

Children would have an especially great time running around on the sea beach.Our daughter had a grand time making sand castles, wading in the water and running about.
You can also take the motor van to the local knick knacks market, where you can buy shells, gift items and other locally made items.
At the Sana Beach Resort, where we stayed, we saw an artisan who makes clay figures. We were gleefully informed by the hotel boy that this person has won the President’s award for his work. We were quite impressed.

The evening hours by the sea are especially enchanting, when one sees the reflections of the buildings on the glistening seashore.

Finally,as you pack up, you find yourself relaxed and happy after having spent a great time by the sea.You are reminded of Kabiguru Rabindranath’s immortal lines: ” Dekhi nai shudhu chokkhu meliya, ghar hote shudhu du paa feliya, ekti dhaaner shisher upor,ekti shishir bindu.” (I have roamed and looked everywhere.. .but have not looked at only 2 feet away from my house; where a single drop of dew glistens on the grass).It is often the destinations nearest to us which are the most beautiful, and give us the best sense of happiness and satisfaction.

FACTS
Reaching there:
Map attached
Map
Accommodation:
High- end

-Sana Beach Resort
+919831335066. “eco-friendly” beach resort with accommodation options from camping through to suites, plus air-con multi-cuisine restaurant, conference room, cafe, hookka bar, etc. Rs.3800 for bungalow.

– ADB Kanvas
+91 90 51 935666
Hours:

Closing soon • 12:00 am – 11:30 pm

-Rose Valley Resort
+9198834 77099. Check in: 12 Noon; Check out: 11.30Am. All air-con & all rooms sea facing Credit cards Accepted @ Kolkata Office. Spl. Package for groups. Boating, Garden & AC Conference Hall. Breakfast complimentary , drivers stay free or free pick up & drop from Chawalkhola

Mid-range
– Digante, +91 99 0346-8114, +91 90 0760-3406 (digante@digante.com); Rs 1300-1500 (NAC)
Budget
– Hotel Panthatirtha, +91 90 3830-6460 (et@hotmail.com). checkin: noon; checkout: noon. A/C and non-A/C sea facing rooms double, triple, eight bed and large dormitory; Rs 800-Rs 1,500

Best time to go:
Around the year

Food:
• Try out the local seafood. You can also buy fresh fish and crabs from the fishermen on the beach
• Green coconut water

Things to do:

• Sea bathing
• Driving on the beach ( trekkers/ own car)
• Ride the ATV bikes on the beach
• Paragliding
• Ride the Jet Ski (Water scooter ) on the beach
• Visit the local ” Mohana” (place where the river meets the sea)
• Buy fresh fish and crabs
• Buy local knick knacks, including shells

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