Road Trip from Howrah to Digha
It was on a slightly damp rain soaked evening that we made the sudden decision “Lets go to Digha”. The stress of our daily home-office-home routine was really getting to us and we badly wanted a breather. So armed with a case of beer, our shades, umbrellas, shorts and a few changes of clothes and underwear we hopped into our trusted Swift and set off for Digha. We had done some research beforehand and tanked up with 40 liters of petrol (approximate usage is supposed to be 30 liters) for the Digha Howrah stretch of 180 km.
Thankfully the road was not too congested (contrary to the awful reports we had heard) and we cruised through this smoothly. Soon we had crossed Howrah Kolkata and were safely on the Kharagpur Highway. Here is the description of each and every turn that we took on our Howrah Digha road trip.
From Howrah Station we took the Drainage Canal Road that leads to the Kona Expressway (roughly 5 km). After reaching the Expressway we drove straight till we reached Bombay Road (9 km approx) which is a part of National Highway 2. We took left from Bombay Road and moved towards Kharagpur. After approximately 50 kilometers we reached Kolaghat. It is here that we got to see the beautiful RupNarayan River which is very famous for its rich yield of Hilsa; the Queen of Fish. Kolaghat is also the place where Sher E Punjab (one of the best known Dhabas on the outskirts of Kolkata) stands.
We had heard a lot about the famous Sher E Punjab restaurant (Dhaba) on the highway and it was there that we planned to stop for lunch. However we discovered to our chagrin that passerby were inordinately fond of giving wrong directions. People kept on telling us “agey hai” whenever we asked where Sher e Punjab was and it was not until we had driven on a couple of miles ahead that we were redirected to Sher E Punjab by a kindly policeman.
The Dhaba Sher E Punjab as it turned out to be was a huge sprawled out restaurant with multiple sections, outside seating area, terrace garden, bar (selling really awesome liquor brands) and a really pretty pond complete with fish and turtles. The food was excellent; we ordered Jeera Rice, Chana Masala and Butter Chicken. It was not expensive at all and we finished off with Mango Shakes which turned out be refreshingly cold and creamy. After a leisurely lunch it was time for us to again hit the road.
From Kolaghat we took a diversion left towards Haldia and left the National Highway. After taking the left we continued straight till the Island Nanda Kumar that is approximately 30 km from the Kolaghat NH2 Junction. From Nandakumar Island we took a right turn towards Contai which is approximately 50 km from Nandkumar. Nandakumar is a good place to stop for buying fruit as there are lots of fresh fruit sellers around. The road till Nandakumar was good but now we were set for a much rougher patch peppered with lots of potholes!!! After we reached Contai we took a right and drove straight till Chaawlkhola.
This is the junction we could have used to take a left turn to reach Mandarmoni (approximately half an hour). Since we were going to Digha we drove on straight crossing a place Ramnagar. This is a big town with lots of shops and small restaurants. We were already full but this is the place we could have grabbed some grub and tanked up our fuel tank too. Ramnagar is the place where you can buy large sun hats, t shirts, towels, medical supplies, fruits etc. It is specially recommended that you purchase your necessary medication and liquor from Ramnagar as in Digha medicines are not easily available and liquor is a little expensive.
After 19 km of straight driving following the road we reached the somewhat congested town of Digha. The current Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee has spent a lot of beautification of Digha. There is a beautiful gate that announces the approach of Digha along with landscaping on both sides. Old Digha is now prettily maintained with a newly boulder furbished road. In the evening we heard beautiful Rabindra Sangeet that was playing from the speakers fitted on the roads. We checked in into one of the most well known hotels of the area; Sea Hawk.
There are some other pretty good beaches around Digha should you want to explore the same. Mandarmoni is about 30 km from Digha and is the prettiest and most expensive beach on that stretch. The whole place runs on generators as there is no direct power supply line.
Shankarpur is about 20 km from Digha and the beach is quite rocky. The profusion of pine trees and a couple of abandoned old boats lying around give the place an interesting feel. You can go there for a couple of days if you like solitude and peace.
Tajpur is about 25 km from Digha and is a really nice place to go. The beach is filled with small red crabs at night and the whole beach area appears red thus earning it the name “Lal Mohona”. Pretty good food, beer and lots of tender coconut water is available on the Tajpur beach and you will see lots of tourists relaxing on the hammocks strung around. This is one of the best beaches around Digha and you can come here for a relaxed fun filled weekend.
Talsari is about 15 km away from Digha and it a place where you can see a river and the Bay of Bengal form an interesting triangular formation. There is a fishery nearby where you can go on a tour of the fish processing unit. This is a good place to relax and enjoy the beauty of sunset but do not stay there till late as there are incidences of petty thefts reported around.