A Weekend Trip to Digha – Bengal’s own Goa
Huge waves splashing on the rocks and then to your face. The beautiful Sal Forest providing the much-needed respite from the scorching sun in the beach. That’s how I pictured Digha when I heard of it in my childhood days. Located a little over 200 km from Kolkata, Digha is the evergreen tourist hotspot for the city-dwellers. However, I never got the chance to visit Digha till June this year. This was the first trip since October 2020 and with our little one.
First impression of Digha
Digha is probably the most tourist-dense places I have visited in India, closely followed by Kodaikanal. These are domestic tourists, mainly from the home state West Bengal itself. We went in late June, when we experienced alternate days of unbearable heat and rainfall. Naturally this happens to be the off-season for any tropical beach. But even then, hotels were full, the beaches in vicinity were all too crowded and there was a rush at the famous Amravati Park till the time of closure.
The great thing about Digha is the beautification of some old beaches – the old Digha beach, the Shankarpur beach and some new beaches as well. They are all amazing to visit with the elderly and kids alike because of ample seats to rest in the shade. The Shaal forests are peaceful places to stroll, for those who can’t be in the crowd. If you are going by car, drive to the slightly secluded places like the Tajpur Beach and Talsari beach. Digha is also a fantastic place for shopping, so make sure you have some extra space for bringing back the goodies.
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We started late on Friday at around 9 am after getting our 10-month-old ready. The road from Kolkata to Digha is quite a breeze once you get through the initial hurdle of Behala’s traffic. We reached our hotel at 2pm after driving around 185 km. It was a good idea to eat and take some rest while escaping the scorching summer sun of June.
Our stay in Digha
We stayed at Hotel Daltin, which was located close to the Dheusagar Park Beach. While the location was within a walkable radius of the major points of interest like Old Digha Beach, New Digha Beach and Amarabati park, it didn’t have a sea-view.
Because of the huge tourist influx, the price of good hotels is on the higher side. But the entire coastline is lines with hotels and lodges for all pocket-sizes. They are mostly full on the weekends, so advance booking is a must.
Plan ahead so that you can book the government lodge that is located close to the old Digha beach. It is cheap and well-equipped for a decent stay. Although you will not get the luxury of pool and spa, the spacious rooms, and the proximity to the beautiful old Digha beach compensate for it.
Since there is so much to see and do in Digha, I’d rather not splurge on an expensive spa resort. For that you have the nearby beach-town Mandarmoni. Digha is a place for backpackers and thrifty tourists. Here are some other places I recommend.
Evening drive to Talsari Beach, Odisha
Well, that sounds strange right? Skip all major tourist spots and drive 10 km to a different state of India? Well, we started off with New Digha – the throbbing, overcrowded beach-cum-market. I don’t mind the crowd when you have a vast sand beach to explore. But New Digha Beach is not a sand beach. It’s a rock beach where the crowds hustle to get photos and see the sunset. It’s really the kind of experience that drives me away. And it did drive me far away to the Talsari Beach in Odisha.
It was a lovely experience to escape to this serene beach in rural Odisha. It is popular and hosts many tourists – like a quarter of the tourists in New Digha. But mark me, even that’s not a small number. Lined by the cashew forests, the rugged beauty of the sea will leave you enchanted in the evening.
We had a lot planned for the next day. Starting with old Digha Beach, Amravati Park, Marine Aquarium, and all the way to the distant beaches of Tajpur and Mandarmani. But with elderly parents and an infant, things don’t always go as planned.
Morning walk to Dheusagar Beach-Park
Before breakfast we had a brisk walk to the adjacent Dheusagar beach-park. It is a relatively new attraction in Digha. The beautified park amidst the Shaal Forest opens at 9 am. Though we couldn’t enter the park’s premises, we walked through the forests up to the beach.
The early morning views of the beach are spectacular as usual. Even though the sky was overcast, I loved the ambience of the morning.
Drive to Mandarmani
Mandarmani is a resort-town near Digha. Most of the beaches are private and owned by the resorts. The one we landed at by following the Google Maps was a secluded beach with not a single tourist.
Keeping the heavy traffic of old Digha in mind we drove straight to Mandarmani. The experience was quite unique with and refreshing after the overcrowded Digha. But with the strong gush of sand blowing across our face we couldn’t linger there for long.
Tajpur Beach – My favorite
Tajpur beach is located midway between Digha and Mandarmani. Not only is this beautiful and secluded, but also beautified by the government of West Bengal. With beach-shacks, cafes and parks, this is the perfect beach for families. There are ample shaded places to sit and enjoy the views on a sunny day or when it rains.
Also this is a sand beach where you can bathe, play and make sand-castles. Another refreshing change from the rock beaches of Digha.
Sunset at Mohana End point
After this we came back to the hotel for lunch and rest. We set out once again in the evening and drove past the Old Digha Beach to Mohana end point. Over-tourism ensured that we indeed had to drive to the “END POINT” to find a parking spot for our car. But this place had was quiet and calm- just the way I like it in an evening at the seashore.
Since this is on the eastern coast, you can catch the sunset on the opposite side of the sea. I walked up to the watchtower to manage a couple of decent pictures. Wasn’t too good.
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Old Digha and Amarabati Park
Old Digha Beach looked beautiful from far away. It’s also well-beautified by the state government and has a throbbing market near it. However, since we didn’t get a parking slot we drove straight to the Amarabati Park.
Amarabati Park is one of the most popular tourist spots in Digha. It has beautifully curated garden which you can explore through the lovely walkways. There is an artificial lake for boating and a ropeway too.
Day 3 – Homebound
On our way back we headed to the Shankarpur beach – a fishing village which has now been beautified similar to the old Digha beach. I must say that this was my second-favorite spot in the Digha trip, besides Tajpur Beach.
Well, if you are looking for a perfect Digha itinerary, this is not the one. This was our first trip after a span of 1.5 years, and we enjoyed the short getaway. The news of communal violence erupting in different parts of India did scare us right in the middle of the trip. But thankfully everything went smoothly.
I’d conclude that Digha is a great place for weekend getaway if you don’t mind the crowd. It’s better to use the local transport options in Digha instead of your own car. That way you not only help the environment, boost the local economy and a responsible traveler by doing so, but it is also convenient. Getting a parking spot at the major tourist spots is not easy.
It will take two days only to explore the Digha town. One would love to spend more time in the areas like Tajpur Beach or Talsari beach, for which you’d need to add a couple more days to your holiday.
Well, that was my travelogue of Digha. Have you been there? Let me know in the comments section and share the article if you liked it. Here’s an image for you to pin.