Thursday, April 06, 2006

Trip to Shankarpur (Sankarpur)

The travel bug in me first raised its head when I was in Denmark. Bitten by that bug, I travelled a lot of places in Europe over a relatively small time frame. I started with Paris(which incidentally remains my favourite) then went on to see Italy, Switzerland, Athens, Stockholm, Barcelona, Norway and then the UK.

But I have never really travelled much within India - which I now consider to be rather unfortunate and sad. For example, I feel really ashamed because I have never seen the Taj Mahal. Hope to set this record straight within the next year or so..the destination at the top of my mind is North India - Corbett National Park, Ranthombore, Rajasthan and the Northern Himalayas.

As a small start I went to Shankarpur (or Sankarpur) on March 19 & 20th. This was a mini-reunion of the old gang at Maersk project - with myself, Sanjay-da & Debasree-boudi, Shibaji-da & Durba-boudi & Popai in the touring party. To add to the fun Somnath-da & Sonali-boudi & Sneha and also Pramit joined the gang. The notable absentee was of course Pijush, who dropped out (for a reason which is now part folkfore) at 3 AM (or is it PM, Pijush?) the day we left for Shankarpur.

Shankarpur is around 200 kilometres from Calcutta and we drove there. I had been there before in 2002 but now the roads have improved considerably. It took us around 5 hours to reach there, with numerous 'pit-stops' in between to top-up our 'tanks'.
We put up at the Sandy Bay Hotel, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Shankarpur. The hotel is situated right next to the beach with great service and wonderful food.
There is nothing much to do or see in Shankarpur. It is an ideal getaway if good food, good rest and total peace & quiet is what one is looking for.
The beach is clean and wide with very few people. We dived right into the sea after reaching Shankarpur and checking in to the hotel (the photo below is courtesy Shibaji-da).

We went out to the beach in the evening also. The overall ambience is quite different at that time with the sun setting and darkness slowly embracing the beach. We also came out to the beach at night and the combination of moonlight sparking on the top of the waves is magical.

The following morning I planned to wake up early to watch sunrise. However the tiredness from the first day took its toll and I was a bit late in making it to the beach. I missed the moment of the sun rising from the sea horizon but managed to capture the following shot.

Another shot of the beach, early in the morning...

Shankarpur was great fun. It was wonderful to relax in calm & quiet without the hustle & bustle of typically 'touristy' places corrupted by commercial activities. The food too was excellent - especially the pomphret fries...the only thing which we probably regret is missing out on the 'tiffin' on the last evening, as Somnath-da had suggested :-)

We all agreed that we will come back to Shankarpur sometime in the future in the same group - I sincerely hope that that thought materialises!