Sunday, February 17, 2013

A walk of life; Chandrabhaga beach to Ramchandi temple (Puri)


Children from the fishing village playing near Chandrabhaga beach.
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I have no word to describe this memorable walk and I will do it again and again if creation is willing. It is 4 kilometers of fun and joy.
So let’s do it again.
Are you ready ………..
Make sure you are wearing light clothes, have a pair of hawai chappal with you.
Well I got mine in my little backpack also I got a lungi which is my multipurpose item. I can wear it, take bath, sit upon it on the sands .. etc. etc. etc.
So most probably only I and you will be there on this stretch of the beach or may be we find some foreigner enjoying miles of beach all for himself …. hope we are not going to put any monkey wrench in his privacy.

Let’s get to the Puri bus stand but we are not going to hop on the bus. No Sir – no way. This route is so scenic and crowded tiny buses on this way will only spoil the fun. Let’s take an auto-rickshaw. Just a bit expensive though but may not going to cost a fortune. Probably double the bus fare. But wait a minute did you have Puri’s famous breakfast. Let’s have it first. So many stalls on the straight road from temple to bus stand; stall after stall for 2-3 kilometers. My method of picking the best food is to go where crowd goes. So let’s pick the one that has most crowd. We will order a mixture of subzi, rasam, idlee, pakodas, utpam and whatnot for barely 10 rupee. Wow! My tum tum says yum yum.
Wow it was some hearty breakfast. I like the curry and was given it again generously. Lord Jaggannath takes care of everyone in this town.
Now let’s catch the auto-rickshaw. It is going to be our open air theater for 40 kilometers of scenic route. Chandrabhage beach is barely 3 km before the famous Konark temple. Our auto-rickshaw comes out of Puri; it is not a big town anyway. Then it crosses a scenic river; a tributary of Mahanadi because we are in the Mahanadi delta area. Then lush jungle begins on both sides. Kewra bushes (I heard that the area is full of kewra fragrance during July August when kewra blooms.
On the way to Chandrabhaga beach
Kewra bush
Cashew tree
Along with Kewra, there are casurina trees, big banyan and pipal trees and also a lots of cashew trees. Lots and lots of cashew trees midst of sand dunes and jungle. There comes a village; the only village with a couple of shops. Let’s stop here for a cup of tea because this is an excuse to stop here because way is scenic and village is scenic. We order tea to the tea shop and as tea is ready; we take it to about 100 feet to the road going to the villages so here we are alone and out of this village and we enjoy our tea.
Time to hit the road because auto driver too had his tea and is waiting for us. Again endless scenery begins and then we get gimps of ocean from the jungle foliage.
Now another tiny village comes; actually it is the Ramchandi temple. We will be coming here by walking from the Chandarbhaga beach but let’s ask auto to stop here to check out our return walking route and look at the ocean and Kusarbhadra river meeting it from the height of temple. Views are superb. This temple is in the middle of jungle and one side is the ocean. Tea, Coconut water and basic food is available here.
Time to hit the road again. Let’s walk out to the temple gate where our auto is waiting and get to the Chandrabhaga beach. First comes a river bridge and in front of us it is meeting the sea. Then again lush jungle and then one can see beach at some places wherever jungle thins out.
Well, we have now arrived at the open Chandrabhaga beach. I call it open because one can feel the openness of the sky and land. So much to do here; so much to walk here. A small market is here so let’s drink coconut water and buy some bottled water because on our long walk there is no potable water; but wait a minute we can buy water later on because right now we are at the beach and will be in this area for a while.
Stone carvers near the beach
Stone carvers near the beach another picture
Stone carvers near the beach another picture
First thing first; is to visit the sea. Then there are a couple of temples; very scenic and serene. I like small temples under the trees, unfortunately most of the temples in the cities are becoming concrete buildings with no open place. Initially a temple originates under some holy tree and then in cities gradually temple grows into concrete jungle and tree dries up because its roots and branches has caged within the walls.
Then there is a tank by the ocean full with fresh water and Ram temple next to it under the shady trees. Very serene and calm location. When I bath at this beach some times I come to Ram Temple to wash off salt. A hand-pump is here. Sometimes I bath at the other temple and sometimes at the tank. Then I spread my wet clothes on the bushes around here and then wait and relax at the temple under the shade of trees till my clothes are dry again.
I and my wife at the tank by the beach.
Fishing village is just 1 km from the beach. Fishermen begin bringing their catch around 2pm; if you are curious to witness their catch then you can wait till 2-3 PM but may be next time because today we have a long scenic walk to do.
Fishermen bringing their catch
Ok Sir, ready – steady – go.
First make sure we have a water bottle and if you are hungry then let’s have out lunch at small market and also pack some snacks if you wish. But I am like a camel; can go long distances without water or food. Well it is just 4 km we have to walk but we will do it slowly and take bath at several places.
After just 100 yards of walk we have left all people behind and there is ocean at one side and sand dunes followed by the jungle of casurina and cashew trees at the other side. Road is not far away but not visible and one need to climb the dune and cross the vegetation to get to it. So we walk and walk and then all the symptoms of mankind vanish. Crabs vanish because they depend upon the trash thrown by people. You won’t see any discarded paper, plastic or bottle. Then it is on I and you here. Fresh air, blue sky and blue sea. A bounty of Creation.
You will feel blessed here.
Chandrabhaga beach walk
We won’t see anyone here for the 2 km. I remove my chappals and put’em in my backpack and walk on the cool wet sand because walking on the dry sand is a bit hard on the feet. Water splashes sometimes on us. We keep walking and relax sometimes. After 2 km, all the sudden the scene changes. We are at the confluence of the ocean and the river and a resort lies ahead at our right side. Water is turbulent here and a natural saltwater pond is formed at our right side and some people who are staying at resort are swimming in it. Water is deep in this pond so beware. Then we pass the ruins of a broken abandoned bridge in the water. These ruins give this place a character. Some people are trying to do surfing in the turbulent water but it is not safe. Then we pass the resort at our right and take the trail to the road and then to the bridge of the river and then we arrive at the temple.
What do you think …. was it a great walk. Of-course.
Well it is evening and look at the ocean
Hungry kya?
Food is available at Ramchandi temple. Want to return to Puri now. Let’s wait for the transportation at the temple gate. If we find bus crowded then will will take it only to the next village where we had tea in the morning. From that tiny village more transportation is available and also autos are available and fare is negotiable.
So we reach at Puri in the evening and everybody loves Puri.

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