Many of us have experienced a walk in the mountains, trekked through forest trails and meadows, loitered through remote villages and braved frozen rivers and lakes. But a feeling beyond reckoning is walking bare feet on the sea bed in Chandipur, Odisha, towards the infinite horizon. With 360-degree view of the watery carpet, the experience of standing in the middle of the sea, literally, is unparalleled. Staring at the horizon, wondering at the blue expanse, witnessing the ever-changing shades of water and the ethereal feeling of walking on the bed of the Bay of Bengal are some of the ‘must do’ things.
Waves recede into the sea for around three miles. The reason is the unique topography of the sea bed which aids the flow of water inwards during low tide and vice versa during high tide. This magical phenomenon is one of its kind in India. Very few places in the world boast of such an occurrence. Due to the difference in water level, one can witness varying colours of blue in neatly stacked parallel lines making it look like a painter’s canvas obsessed with the ‘blue’ paint. Another remarkable visual treat is the army of small waves in the middle of the sea. This unusual positioning and subsequent shifting of waves is due to the peculiar slope of the sea bed. Due to its special contour, the place supports a unique range of bio-diversity, namely the ruby coloured rare Horseshoe crab, often known as the ‘living fossils’ (fossils of these crabs’ ancestors date back to 450 million years which is 200 million years before dinosaurs existed). The beach also has an abundance of sea shells, drift wood and King crabs.
The Surreal Walk
Nature has a strange way of reminding humans how small we are and how fleeting our time is on this earth. Standing in the middle will make one experience that puny feeling. The surroundings speak a silent language which is easy to decipher, but hard to comprehend. Under the vast sky with one’s feet in ankle deep water, it’s a feeling of being submerged in nothingness with no sense of time and space. The occasional fluttering of a Caspian gull, the intermittent calls of fishermen, the sound of distant waves and the isolated giggling of playful kids create a blissful harmony.
During the ebb, the sea bed resembles a stunning silver sheet which reflects the ever-changing cloudscapes, while the sun rays play hide and seek creating contrasting golden sparkles intermittently. It takes time to absorb the euphoric atmosphere. The mirror-like seascape is reminiscent of picture-perfect postcards of high altitude water bodies reflecting the surrounding snow-clad hills. As evening falls, the entire sea bed turns into a collage of shiny orange and yellow. It is a photographer’s delight as the sparse evening crowd forms perfect silhouettes against the setting sun. It is impossible to describe the beach in phrases that aren’t clichés—breathtaking, enchanting and unforgettable.
A Quintessential Ride
Driving a car on a sandy beach is one thing and the experience of riding a bike is another. Splashing sea water on both sides, feeling the taste of the brisk salty breeze and the prospect of riding into the infinite horizon can be an exhilarating experience. The less adventurous can rent a jeep and have a joy ride on the beach during low tide.
Succulent Sea Food
The fishermen have an easy day during low tide and manage to catch aplenty prawns, fish and crabs. Hence local eateries line up the shore serving fresh sea food. After a refreshing walk, one can always tuck up delicious sea food adhering to either Odia or Bengali cuisine.
The waves come and go. The thoughts wander. But time stands still in Chandipur. There is something about the beach, its magnificence, its uniqueness, its scale and the glorious loneliness which makes it the ‘Wonder Beach’ of the world.
Getting there: Chandipur is 16 km from Balasore. And Balasore is 210 km from Bhubaneswar.
Best Time to Visit: August to March
Transport: Balasore can be reached easily via train from all major cities of the country. Regular bus services from Bhubaneswar.