Chandrabagah Beach – A shrine in Odisha
When we think about beautiful beaches in India, then Chandrabagha’s name hardly crops up in mind. Thirty kilometers from Puri, on the coastlines of Odisha lays a wonder which I had the fortune to explore with a close group of friends in the month of July in 2013. Our journey to the beach was completely unplanned as we were intending to visit the Sun Temple of Konark which is just three kilometers away from the beach.
The well laid road to the beach was surreal as one could see the expanse of water in the ocean covering one side of the road and swamps with lush green grass and trees of different varieties on the other. There were parts of the road which were completely covered from the top by the shade of trees which were forming a green canopy like structure with their branches and leaves.
The first look of the beach came across as a completely overwhelming experience. After seeing the wide strip of sand radiating even in an overcast weather and hearing the waves crashing on the beach, we could not go on without exploring this splendor. The moment we stepped out of the car a salty aroma greeted us, carried by the same winds which was making the water dance on the coastline. The shore was sparsely filled with any human presence. One could see only a handful of priests taking dip in the ocean, and two or three shops selling coconut water. Even the road was devoid of traffic, as hardly a vehicle passed in a period of fifteen-twenty minutes. The immediate thought which came across my mind was that this is a beach less travelled, at least at this time of year. Which was a boon for us as the only sounds greeting us was of the nature and not hustle bustle of tourists who also have a tendency of ensuring that the sanctity of such places is scarred with littering wastes.
As we slowly approached the sand and started treading on it, our footwear was deeply embedded with those white granules which felt like silk on the skin. One could also see crab holes spread across many areas of the stand with occasional white small crabs protruding out of it, as if to gauge the magnificence around. The beach extended as far as our eyes could see, much larger than others we had stopped at. The waves were the wildest I had seen on any beach in my life. Unlike other beaches in places like Puri where waves hit the shore in a stable mannerism, here they were unpredictable as one wave would only cover five meters of the beach and the other would suddenly come across to you at twenty meters. It was amusing to observe a friend getting splashed with waves till the waist while he was standing back and trying to avoid the water. My research an year after this experience informed me that the beach is actually deemed dangerous due to its unpredictability and there are many mythical linkages to its nature. I think now I understand that the dip in water for those priests was not ordinary but holy. But despite that, its unquestionable beauty had such an effect on us that we for a moment were engulfed in silence. Looking at the immensity of the endless ocean and white milky foam formed by the waves on the sand, endlessness of the white sand and the swamp beside the road, feeling the power of the crashing waves reverberate in your chest, sensing the spray of salty mist on the face and wetness of sea water on the lower body, talking to each other seemed like a trivial activity. It was losing yourself and forgetting about your existence for a while. All that mattered was that view and environment around.
No thoughts were penetrating our minds at that instance. It was a curious effect which was uniform on all of us. Now I am not amazed to know that the beach attracts many artists, poets and people looking for a place to meditate and heal their senses. Standing there, the very concept of time was lost as our planned fifteen minutes stroll turned into a sixty minutes silent meditation. Finally, we broke out of our trance state as we were running behind schedule to visit the rest of Odisha but there was just something magnetic which was trying to keep our hearts to the place. It was startling revelation when I read about similar accounts on the internet later about the place. I would suggest people to visit the place not because it may help you connect with your spiritual self but because it is a beauty yet to be explored by many. These uncharted hotspots in our country behold splendor which is incomparable.