Digha-A Romantic Vacation on the Bay of Bengal
An Overview About Digha
Digha is one of the most popular vacation destinations in West Bengal. It is a famous sea beach and tourist spot situated at only 187 km away from from Kolkata and well connected with Kolkata. Digha has a low gradient with a shallow sand beach and known as the 'Brighton of the East'. Digha is a perfect holiday beach of Bay of Bengal. Its about 4 to 5 hour journey by bus from Kolkata.
There is frequent bus service to Digha from Dharmatala bus stand of Kolkata and many other parts of West Bengal. It is almost a 5 hour journey from Kolkata. Bus service is also available from towns across West Bengal such as Midnapore, Bankura, Asansol, Howrah, and, also from Orissa via Balasore (Baleswar). Apart from buses you can travel via train. It is advisable to make reservations in advance for weekends and national holidays. Two trains run daily from Howrah Railway Station. Sometimes special trains are announced on special occasions and holidays.
More On Digha and the Evolution of New Beach
Digha's old beach isn't as wide as it used to be due to heavy soil erosion. Big stones and concrete steps are use to hold together the beach. Another problem is the record number of tidal waves that have caused many of the unplanned shacks and smaller hotels to succumb to the sea. So a new beach has been developed at New Digha which is about 2 km from the old beach. This new beach is not only bigger than the old one, but might be considered a better one. It is clean and well-maintained and is not surrounded by a congested locality like the older beach. There are hotels within a walking distance from the beach here. The locality itself seems to be better planned.
The entire stretch of the Digha seaface from Old Digha to New Digha is filled with casuarina plantations, which looks beautiful. Tourists come here and bath in the sea, stroll by the beach along the casuarina trees and enjoy the sights and scenes offered by this magnificent stretch of sea.
Major Attractions In & Around
Shiva Temple at Chandaneswar which is 6 km west of Digha.(*During the Bengali month of Chaitra, a popular annual fair is organised here.)
Marine Station/Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India. This is possibly the most well equipped marine aquarium in India.(*The aquarium is opened to public on all working days from 9.3 0 A.M. to 6 P. M.)
Shankarpur Beach(*Also known as virgin beach, only 14 km east of Digha. It is also a regular fishing harbour. This beach is mostly empty except on weekends. The mornings are cool, when fishermen can be seen hauling their huge nets out of the sea. The morning sun reflecting on the sea waves in the east, and the local fishboats on the coast offer excellent photographic opportunities.)
Junput Beach (*It is 40 km away from Digha; famous for fishing.)
Subarnarekha River: The lovely place where the River draining into Bay of Bengal, only 12 km away from Digha, located in Orissa-Bengal border. This is a new destination for Digha tourists.
Talsari Beach small delta on Bay of Bengal, only 6 km away from Digha. A quiet place, close to both sea and Subarnarekha river.
Amarabati park,a very beautiful park which is 5 min walk from new digha beach. It is very relaxing and entertaning, and has a boating facility at the lake.
Mandarmani is a small virgin beach on Bay of Bengal, only a few km from Digha. It is also a small fishing harbour and a fast developing tourist resort.
The Digha market is open at low tide.To go for shopping in Digha is a unique experience and everyone should enjoy it. Skilled artists make all the seashell items. Numerous artists in Digha earn their livelihood by making these items. Local handicrafts are available at cheap rates. The major shopping area in Digha is located behind the old Digha beach.
The Key Attractions for Shopping Are:
Ornaments & Local Handicrafts
Plenty shops on the shore sell Ornaments Made of Sea Shells. Get wonderful shell made sculptures, handicrafts items and home decorating stuffs. If you are expert in bargaining then you can purchase here anything easily. Some of the replica pearl necklaces and other jewels can be purchased from Digha shops. To bring home a keepsake, try the cottage crafts of Digha and Midnapore.
Curios Made of Sea Shells
Hand woven mats: Midnapore is a tiny village near Digha, where hand-woven mats are made from wild plants. These mats are known as Madur.
Cashewnuts- Besides, seashell items and Madur mats the Cashew nuts are also obtainable at Digha. Cashewnuts are cheaper here than other places of West Bengal.
Key rings and key chains made of seashell are wonderful and worth purchasing.
For informartion on various buses and trains wikitravel.org
Local Attractions In Food & Drink
Try the Green Coconut water. Green coconuts are very cheap here. A single green coconut costs around Rs.5/- only. The green coconut vendors move with their cycles all along the Sea Beach.
Alcohol. There are many bars and wine shops in Digha serving all sorts of hard drinks.
Look for fried fish on the sea front in Digha, in the evening.
Those who are fussy about the quality of cooking, have transport at their command and are looking for real tasty fish preparations should go and have lunch at Shankarpur, some 14 km away - they prepare the fish much better than at Digha. The quality at Shankarpur is comparable to the Kolkata 5-star but is comparatively cheaper and the fish as fresh as you can demand.
In an average restaurant, vegeterian meal is available for Rs. 12-15, Bengali Fish curry-rice is available for Rs. 18-20. Meal with egg curry-rice is available around Rs. 15.
Another great idea would be to just buy the staple vegetarian fare at the hotel you are staying and have it delivered to your room. You can buy fresh fishes like ilish, pomfret, parshe, prawn etc. from Mohona, Digha fish market in the morning and have it cooked at the numerous "Dada-Boudi'r" joints around Sea Hawk. Have this fish with your standard vegetarian lunch or dinner. It is economical and funky.
Dont forget to carry your Mosquito repellent, Electric Torches or Emergency Lamps.
For Budget Stays
Some of the options for budget stays
Sandpiper Guest House Rs.800 upwards.
State Youth Hostel, at New Digha. Doubles with attached baths are Rs. 225/- per day.
Digha Tourist Lodge Dormitory beds Rs 100, doubles Rs 300,550,600,550 ( 4 Bed),700(DAB AC), Rs 900(DAB AC).
Minalay and Minakshi of Benfish. AC double bed rooms Rs 550, non-AC doubles Rs 250, dormitory with 5 beds Rs 250.
Hotel Sea Hawk. One of the few places in town that doesn't hike up their prices as demand increases. Food is good and room services standard. From Rs 400 for a ground-floor sea-facing double up to Rs 1500 for an a/c double bed.
Hotel Seagull has a picturesque view for the digha beach from its balcony.
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Best Restaurants in Digha
Azad Hind Dhaba: Serves mostly Indian dishes. They are all very tasty, believe me they will even suit the European palate as they do not put much oil or chilli in the food. Their cooks are trained and throughly professional. They will serve exacly what you want.
we had Masala Kulcha( stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese & chicken shreads), Chicken Tadka ( Lentils with Chicken), Mix Vegtables, Palak Paneer( Spinach with cottage cheese). All these dishes are excellent and even the children enjoyed a lot. They also have a Menu and the cover design is made by the Great Painter Maqbool Fida Hussein ( M.F. Hussein).
Mutton Biryani & Chicken Chapp. Spiced rice cooked with marinated Mutton Chunks in a perticular style of Mughals of India in slow fire to obtain a tasty delight called Biryani.