In the southern coastline of Odisha, just 15 km from the city of Behrampur is located the quaint, tiny town of Gopalpur which was a seaport, bustling with trade and commerce, in the colonial era.
What was once a bustling port city before being deserted is today one of the best beaches in the eastern coastline of India. It is known for being an offbeat destination and a place for relaxation. The seaport remains though largely in ruins, the British have gone too but what remains is one of India’s most loved beaches.
The Gopalpur-on-sea is considered to be one of India’s most beautiful beaches largely due to its remoteness, its peace and its offbeat crowd. The beaches are sparkling gold which along with the azure water of the Bay of Bengal provides a perfect place to relax and immerse one in nature. Besides the beach, the food is also pretty great in the town with many shanties providing tongue-tickling seafood. Gopalpur is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after beaches in the country, with more and more people becoming aware of its beauty.
PLACES TO VISIT
Located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, the Gopalpur Beach is a luxurious beach. It is popular for being one of the few sites in India where Olive Ridley turtles nest. Flanked with coconut and casuarina groves, it is a perfect place for an outing for a languorous weekend.
The beach, also known as ‘Gopalpur-on-Sea’ has a calm and soothing coast. It is famous for hosting the annual Gopalpur Beach Festival and offers up the possibility of experiencing a number of aqua sports.
One can also witness the exotic red crabs casually strolling on the beach’s lonely coast! From enjoying a casual strol among the cashew trees or getting an adrenaline rush with water sports, there is no dearth of possibilities at Gopalpur Beach!
About 35 km from Gopalpur, is located Ramha which provides a great entry point into the famous Chilika Lake. The place is covered in great greenery and also has a bird sanctuary.
Chilika Lake is the largest internal salt water lake in Asia, it is a paradise on earth for bird watchers and nature lovers. The pear-shaped lake is dotted with a few small islands and has fisheries and salt pans around its shore. The Chilika Lake also houses the most accommodating ecosystems in the world, which means that a wide assortment of flora and fauna can be spotted here.
The lake offers a flamboyant display of a myriad of avian charms in all diverse hues and colours, ranging from the white-bellied sea eagles to flamingos, and from golden plovers to sandpiper
Along with the vibrant variety of birds, both native and migratory, the enthralling lake also offers scenic views of sunrise and sunset and a host of other options to choose from. Attractions such as the Bird Island, Breakfast Island and Honeymoon Island are also frequented by tourists who visit the Chilika Lake.
The lake also boasts of being one of the only two sites in the world where the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins can be spotted. The decent and affordable lodges available here are an added cherry on this already delightful cake. Visit this enchanting lake to spend a day in nature’s company and experience tranquillity like never before.
There is an old lighthouse situated on the beach at Gopalpur maintained by the Odisha tourist department The lighthouse provides a 360 degree view of Gopalpur, the beach and some parts of the Chilika Lake.
The lighthouse is a great place to capture some amazing photographs of Gopalpur and its beach.
MAYFAIR PALM BEACH RESORT
The Mayfair palm resort has a lavish beach side pool along with a great bar-cum-restaurant which offers some great entertainment coupled with food and drinks.
SHOPPING IN GOPALPUR
Shopping at Gopalpur is not much of an option but Behrampur is the perfect place for some amazing shopping of Odiyan tribal handicrafts and handloom.
Behrampur is nicknamed the ‘silk city’ due to its stylish brand of silk sarees and clothing which adorn many Indian brides throughout the country. The Behrampur silk products along with the mush-sought after tribal Odissi handicrafts and handlooms are available at this OTDC shop.
A hidden gem in the state of Orissa, Rushikulya Beach is a quietude place ideal to relax and enjoy some solitude. This beach is not visited by a large number of people, hence you can visit this beach to get away from the hustle bustle of the daily life.
The shimmering blue water and the clean sand makes for a picture perfect place where you can also witness the hatching of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles. This beach is serene and tranquil where you can sit and listen to the melodious sound of the water and enjoy.
Shakuntala Market is another place where one can shop for tribal handicrafts, silk products along with Ganjam brass work, Gopalpur coir mats and Paralakhemundi horn work as souvenirs.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The four-month period from November till February is the best time to visit Gopalpur, due to cooler climates, lower levels of moisture and greater tourist activities to enjoy. The beach, the water, and the environment in Gopalpur is nothing less than charming during this period. The day temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius while nights can be a lot cooler at 18 degrees Celsius. You can enjoy at the beach in comfortable clothing while soaking in the warmth of the sun.
HOW TO REACH
By air: The nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar which is about 190 km away from Gopalpur. You can easily hire a taxi at the airport or catch a public bus towards Behrampur, from there Gopalpur is just 15 km and can be reached by autorickshaws.
By road: Gopalpur is connected to Behrampur and the rest of the state by NH 8. Public and private buses ply regularly to and from Behrampur for Gopalpur and connect it to the rest of the state.
By train: The nearest railhead is at Behrampur located at a convenient distance of 15 km. You can easily hire an autorickshaw at the station for Gopalpur.
Local transport in Gopalpur: Commuting within the city is fairly comfortable with autorickshaws or hired bicycles available to go from one place to another. For an excursion, you can also hire an autorickshaw for the to and fro journey.