Once upon a time….. in Gopalpur on sea


Berhampur – the silk city of Odisha, is just about 30 kms from Icchapuram – the border area of Andhra Pradesh and we looked out for a right turn after crossing Icchapuram as showed by the Google Maps. Gopalpur on Sea is located at a mere distance of 15 kms from Berhampur and is easily accessible.  The road which leads us to Gopalpur on Sea from the NH 16 is a bit narrow, but enough number of sign-boards were placed along this road to show us the way to Gopalpur.

Gopalpur was once buzzing with maritime activities which Odisha is known for ages. It was one of the outlets through which early settlers of South East Asia sailed off. During the days of Kalingas, Gopalpur on Sea was known as the port of Paloura from which traders sailed as far as Java, Bali and Sumatra mainly dealing in silk and pearls. Later it became a prominent trading port mainly a transit point to  export sugar and cheap laborers for the tea gardens of Assam in North Eastern India during the days of the British East India Company. Like Middleton-on-sea, the ‘on-sea’ tag has been conferred on Gopalpur by the Britishers.

Gopalpur-on-sea is a small quiet town which is popular for its beautiful pristine  sandy beach and a perfect beach destination for a tranquil holiday. We reached here around 16.30 hrs when it was drizzling a little. The beach is fairly isolated and there are not many tourists – the continuous rain may be one of the reasons! We parked our car aside and started walking towards the beach. The beach with its golden sand of the blue sea has its own sleepy charm and looked pretty during the drizzle! 🙂 There are no palm trees along the coastline and one get an uninterrupted view of the mammoth Bay of Bengal!

There is a light house which stand witness to the past port and also acts as the landmark of the place. This would be open only for a while in the afternoon and if you are lucky enough to visit this place during that time, you can get a sweeping view of the country side as well as the Bay of Bengal. But we were late that day 😦 We walked along the quite seashore which is undisturbed by the regular tourists or day-trippers. It was so serene that all we could hear is the symphony of the waves and our own heart-beats. And all that we could see is a vast stretch of blue waters with the fishing boats anchored on the sands of the beach by the fisher-folk with the crumbling walls and pillars of an ancient jetty together with some crumbling bungalows in the background!

The sea here is a bit rough and completely idea for sailing and surfing. And importantly, it’s comparatively a clean place to swim, but one has to take precautions as this beach is not that shallow! Once onto the road after a long walk along the beach, we went around the place to explore a bit. Once a favourite of British travellers during the Raj and home to retired British and Anglo-Indian railway employees, Gopalpur-on-sea still has several bungalows and mansions belonging to the Europeans and this gives the place still a colonial look.

Some of these buildings and bungalows were modified into small hotels and offers accommodation to the budget travelers. The promenade along the beach is filled up with small shacks selling a wide range of food products like prawns, fish, crabs, delicacies of mutton and chicken etc. Though we didn’t try any of these delicacies here, we ate few ice-creams and made our way further deep into the town. There is also a local market here which looked deserted at that hour of time and just about 3 kms from the beach, the local creeks in the vicinity of the sea have created a network of backwaters, which is an ideal place for a picnic.

Men were fishing; children were playing and boat-men were patiently waiting for the tourists who would like to go on leisure boat rides and others waiting for passengers who would travel across these backwaters to reach their villages on the other side. This is one of the most picturesque place in the vicinity, but one should be more cautious as these backwaters are quite deeper and the undercurrents more stronger! We returned to our car after clicking enough of photos without knowing what our next destination would be :-p 😉

If you are looking for a perfect weekend gateway away from the busy city life, Gopalpur-on-sea would be a perfect choice, as this beach with her backwaters continue to spread its aquatic magic since times immemorial! 🙂 There is also this 99 year old Mayfair Beach Resorts which offers luxurious accommodation for the tourists!

North Bay – The Coral Island

Day 4:

Guess what, we are going for snorkeling today! And the island which is very near to Port Blair and ideal for Snorkeling is nothing other than the North Bay Island. We started to North Bay around 9.30 from Port Blair. North Bay is about an hour ferry ride away from Port Blair. But we took very less time as ours is a speed boat 🙂

North Bay’s white sand beach seemed to be much crowded than usual. A large number of people were here, mainly for various water sports that this island offers. One can do jet ski, go for a speed boat ride, snorkeling and other such activities here. I heard that in the recent times, they started sea walk activity too.


Today Kiron Aunty accompanied us. Soon we were in the waters playing and splashing the water onto each other, at the same time quite excited about our first ever snorkeling experience. We found out a guy who had the snorkeling gear and he charged some hundred bucks for each person I think. If you can swim you can go ahead without his support, otherwise he will help you out, so snorkeling doesn’t require any swimming experience u know 😉

The turns started. It was Shivangi, who went on first. Later Harsha and Mounica together and then it’s my turn. The power glasses on my eyes were powerful enough to watch out all the undersea activities and somehow I was uncomfortable with the snorkeling gear, don’t ask me why! I was lucky enough to see some colorful fishes, a starfish and the corals spread all over, and they were like colonies, very vibrant in color and perfect in nature!


Time for some adventure! The person who was guiding me asked me whether am ready for it, I nodded. He removed by gear and asked me to take a deep breath. The target is to go as deep as possible and to feel the corals by touching them 🙂 I took a long deep breath and one push from him, I was down to the sea bed, touching the hidden treasure of the sea. A feeling that’s beyond description!

Once done, we were back to the shore contented. There were lots of shacks providing some eateries and huts to rest. We loitered along the beach for sometime and went around the shacks which were selling some accessories and all. The light house is few yards away from the beach and one can have a walk to it. Once done we were back home by 3 pm in the afternoon. Rest of the day I was in daze thinking about the pristine beauty of the corals.


Though we enjoyed this trip a lot, we used to get exhausted very easily as the mid-summer sun was scorching. Nevertheless, it was a great experience!!

Mount Harriet – The Summer headquarters..

Day 3:


It’s time to leave the waterfall and deep forests and head towards the second highest peak in Andaman and Nicobar islands and the highest peak in the South Andamans (365 mts high). It’s a journey of around 1.5 hours from Bamboo flat and an hour journey from Ferargunj. Drive on the narrow and sharp curved road up to the hill top is truly adventurous. There are few options of trekking also. But, as we don’t have much time (it’s almost afternoon), we thought of reaching Mount Harriet by our jeep itself.

Mount Harriet, the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj, and located on the other side of the Ross Island, is an ideal place for a nice and fascinating overview of the outer islands and the sea. The hillock is blessed with unparalleled natural charm and is famous for its rare endemic birds, animals and animals.


There is a forest Guest House on the top and if we want we can spend a night over here. Our driver stopped the jeep just in front of the guest house and we got down to enjoy the serenity of the place. Unlike the other hill stations, this place is not over crowded; to be frank there were just few visitors.


The place is very clean and tidy with no litter and dustbins placed everywhere. There were few huts with chairs and wooden benches to sit and watch the surrounding islands and the nature. Soon we unwrapped our packed food and finished off our lunch. Much to our surprise there were cradles here and we started fighting for them 😀  While some of us started to swing on the cradles, others started playing handball.


Once done, we started exploring the surroundings. I forgot to tell you that out of the 9 national parks in Andaman, Mount Harriet is the most beautiful and the most popular national park. The place as such does not have much to see, but it is a perfect place to relax for a day or two. Just a few yards from the Guest house, there is a trail leading to the deep jungles and it is ideal for those who want to do light trek. The chirping birds and the rustles of the wind are truly soothing 🙂


Once done with photography, we started our return journey to Bamboo flat to get a ferry back to Port Blair. While we were descending, we found something very interesting. It is a view of the North Bay Island, now don’t think what is so much interesting about a view, it is interesting because, it is the same picture that one can find behind a twenty rupee Indian note. Yes, it’s the North Bay Island’s light house. We quickly had some photographs there and resumed our journey.


When we were down, we went to a local church, which is supposed to be the biggest in the surroundings, we offered some candles and prayed and caught a ferry back to Port Blair.


Thus ended our energy and also Day 3.. 🙂