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Mandarmani

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Revision as of 09:09, 23 February 2011 by 203.201.231.35 (talk) (By bus)

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Mandarmani

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Mandarmani (or Mandarmoni, Mandarbani) is a beach resort in Southwest Bengal in India.

Beach at Mandarmani

Get in

The only way to reach your resort at the moment

The nearest train station is at Contai and the nearest airport is at Kolkata. Note that at the moment there is no proper road for the last 6km into Mandarmani, which forces you to drive along the beach, something that the locals encourage, but has a seriously adverse affect on the local ecology, not to mention the atmosphere of the beaches. But while driving on the beaches you need to follow the driving track or you risk getting caught in loose mud.

By road

From Kolkata, after crossing the VidyaSagar Setu, take the Kona Expressway. After driving a while turn left to Mumbai Road. Drive till you reach Kolaghat, and turn left toward Digha. 2 km before reaching Contai Town you will reach Contai Bypass Road, a shortcut that will again drop you on the Kolkata-Digha road. Drive another 10 km to reach Chawalkhola. Take a left turn from Chawalkhola and follow the village road till it ends at a sea-side village called Dadanpatrabar, around 8km. From Dadanpatrabar take a right turn along a narrow road that runs for another 2-3 km. At the end of this road, you can either drive straight along the sand or take a right turn again through a narrow village road to reach Mandarmani. The village road is just a soil road with dense vegetation and some population on both sides. There are no lights or any other amenities. This runs for another 3-4 km. It's best to cover the whole stretch from Chawalkhola to Mandarmani before dark. The total trip from Kolkata is around 3.5 hours.

Distances are as follows: Esplanade - 63 km - Kolaghat - 3km - Mecheda - 80 km - Contai - 12.3 km - Chawalkhola - 4 km - Kalindi - 4 km - Dadanpatrabar - 6 km -Mandarmani - total 166 km.

If some one is coming from from Kharagpur, one has to drive down the Chennai Highway which is a beautiful road but drivers need to be careful of the buses and trucks travelling on high speed. Drive till Belda where you have to leave the Chennai Highway and turn left to enter Belda village and proceed towards Egra. This road is comparatively narrow and filled with potholes. Clusters of small villages and towns will come up regularly. From Egra a sharp right hand turn will lead you to Contai from where the road extends towards Chwalkhola. From Chawalkhola there is a sharp left turn leading towards Mandarmoni. The road side area is densely populated on both sides and the road has speed breakers placed maybe every few hundred meters. There is no electricity in this area and it is strictly advisable to travel before dark. This road will lead towards Dadanpatrabar village where one can go directly towards the beach or take a right turn and travel parallel to the beach for approximately a 100 m, from there one can enter the beach.

By bus

From Kolkata, catch a bus at Esplanade or at Howrah headed for Chawalkhola, or any bus headed towards Digha. From Chawlkhola there are cycle-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws which you can take to Dadanpatrabar. From Dadanpatrabar, you can again get some cycle-rickshaws, but it is best to take the transport from Chawalkhola till Mandarmani since transport availability from Dadanpatrabar is very uncertain.

Get down at Chawalkhola, and look for private cars. You may contact Bisu for a drop to Mandarmani. Fare would be about Rs 200 to 250/- for a drop off at Mandarmani sea beach.

State Transport Buses are available cost Rs 76. A number of deluxe coaches run daily, Rs 100-110. Whiteliners is the nicest option, departing Esplanade at 7:30AM, cost is Rs 205. From 14 May 2010 Whiteliners bus service will charge you Rs 200 with an additional Rs 5 as reservation charge. Check if the route is operating while booking as most of the time bus is canceled for mechanical failure.

Mandarmani Beach.jpg

Get around

You'll most likely be walking between your resort and the beach, however if you need to travel longer distances, avoid the temptation to drive on the beach more than necessary.

Be careful while driving on the beach and try to stick to the central part of the beach while driving. Towards the end of the beach, the sands are soft in places and your car may get stuck in it. Avoid driving on the beach after dark as if you get stuck in the sand dunes, you may not be able to get any local help to pull your vehicle out.

On the beach, there is no electricity and after dark the only sources of light are the lights of the small beach-side shops which get their electricity from generators or batteries. As the evening progresses, the high tide causes the sea to rise. By 7-8 PM the sea takes up almost a quarter of the total width of the beach. So, if you had visited the beach during daytime, be careful as the sea will definitely be nearer in the evening. Better to have a torch with you at all times after dark.

See

  • The beach – Most people are here to hang out at the beach. The waves tend to be calm and the water is often dotted with a few fisherman going about their daily routine.
Sun set.jpg
  • The Delta – At the end of the beach, there is the 'mohana' or river delta (place where a river meets the sea). There are some fishing settlements nearby.
This place is about 5-6 km from the main part of the beach where most of the hotels/resorts are located and is really beautiful with a scenic backdrop. On one side of the river there are dense jhau trees, while on the other side is the fishing village. A bit further from the village on the other bank of the river is some dense vegetation. It is not realistic to attempt to cross over to the other side and go into this forest as it is actually quite distant, despite appearing to be quite close.
You can watch the fishermen standing or wading through knee deep water laying their nets or catching fish and crabs.
Red crabs are visible over a large stretch of the beach near the Mohana.
However, try to avoid this place after dark as it becomes very isolated and you will not find any people, local or outsiders.

Do

Relax, swim and enjoy the beach. The beauty of this beach is that you are not likely to have many other visitors around. Activities include fishing, table tennis, carrom, beach cricket, beach volleyball, and boat cruises. Sunbathing is best from October to February. However, this beach is not frequented by foreign tourists and so if you plan to sunbath here, be sure to keep in mind the local culture. Please remember to carry medicines (essential) as there is no nearby shop for fetching the same, in an emergency.

Buy

  • Fresh fish & crabs – sometimes available from the local fishermen.
  • Shells : the small shops dotting the beach also sell small knick-knacks made out of shells and oysters. You can buy shell-necklace and other such stuff. Beach balls, hats, toys, brought from the Kalindi market or Chawalkhola, are also sold.

Eat

Most of the resorts serve typical Bengali food and Kolkata-style Chinese cuisine. However, food is a bit costly since most of the items have to be brought from far away Kalindi market. The local raw materials available in the nearby village will not usually serve the requirements of the hotels or resorts.

Also, do not expect very high quality food as the hotels usually employ local people without much expertise as cooks. However, the food is hygienic and generally clean. Crab and prawn preperations are worth savouring. But negotiate the price beforehand.

The beach also has a number of small eateries which sell tea and snacks. If you want to have meals from here, you have to place an order with the owners beforehand. These eateries make the food only 'on-demand' as per prior bookings from customers. With these stalls, you may have to compromise on the hygiene. Costs are again on the higher side.

From the eateries you can borrow chairs to sit on the beach.

Note : Food is very expensive. Approx Rs. 500/- per day per head.

Drink

Green coconut water is sold by the local farmers. You can get a limited variety of alcohol from the shops near the beach, but be sure to dispose of the containers properly rather than littering the beach. Also be informed that the alcohol is exorbitantly costly, and in some cases almost double the normal market price. Beer is approximately Rs 80 for a 650 ml bottle or can.

Sleep

Travel Warning WARNING: To avoid the unsavory, corrupt, and thoroughly untrustworthy booking services based in Kolkata, it is best to get a place to stay on arrival without advance reservation.

Several resorts are spread along a 6 km stretch of beach:

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under Rs 1,500
Mid-range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000
Splurge Over Rs 4,000


Budget

  • Hotel Panthatirtha, +91 90 3830-6460 (). checkin: noon; checkout: noon. A/C and non-A/C sea facing rooms double, triple, eight bed and large dormitory. Restaurant and childrens park. Rs 800-Rs 1,500.
  • Priya Jeet, +91 33 2481-9359, [1]. checkin: 11AM; checkout: 10:30AM. Private sunbathing area on the beach. A multi-cuisine restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and Continantal food. Rs 800-1,200.
  • Samudra Bilas, Mandarmoni sea beach (15 km from Choulkhola), +91 98 3141-7919. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11.30AM. A village resort consisting of 14 cottage style rooms. Four of them are 4 bedded, One room is 10 bedded, rest are twin beds, the resort have 32 bighas of land including ponds, childrens park, boating, and a restaurant. Rs 400-1400.
  • Samudra Sakshi Resort, +91 91 4315-0273 (). checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30PM. A resort with a small park, good for kids. Renovated with four bed and A/C rooms, on site restaurant Rs 500/600/800/1800.
  • Shorelene, +91 92 3957-2058. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11.30AM. Sea facing & sea view rooms. Childrens play ground. Complimentary breakfast from Sunday to Thursday. Pick-up and drop-off service from Chowlkhola at extra cost. Parking is provided for free. Rs 800-1500.
  • Tarangamala Guest House, +91 99 3297-7184, [2]. checkin: noon. A basic mid-range hotel with cottages around a lake. Rs 50 - Rs 150.

Mid-range

  • Debraj Beach Resort, +91 98 3021-3935, +91 33 2231 0909 (), [3]. Suites, cottages, all with TV and mini-bar, double, triple and x6, sea-view rooms with private sit outs and lawns available. Rs 1,500-4,000.
  • Digante, +91 99 0346-8114, +91 90 0760-3406 (), [4]. A mid-priced beach retreat with a private sunbathing beach backed by sand dunes and Jhau plantations. A/C rooms available at extra charge, 24 hr generator. Durga Puja ceremonies are held at the resort. Bidisha is the onsite multi-cuisine restaurant. Rs 1,000-1,300 (NAC).
  • ecOvilla,The Screw Pine Beach Resort, Mandermani, +91 80 0138-6463 (). checkin: 12noon; checkout: 11AM. Eco boutique resort with 18 sea facing cottages with full facilities. Room service, homely multi-cuisine food. Ideal for package tour or groups. Can arrange picnics, DJ nights, musical evenings. Special holiday package starting from Rs 1,500-2,000. Car rental assistance, sight seeing and tours.
  • Hotel Dream Land, +91 98 0409-0739 (), [5]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. AC and non-AC sea view cottages and rooms. Multi-cuisine restaurant Rs 1,800-3,500.
  • Ganapat Palace, (If you arrive by bus set down at Chawalkhola and seek private transport to the hotel (14km)), +91 95 93081201,+91 90 51603295,+91 90 5160-3195, [6]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. Swimming pool, pool games, table tennis, gym. Childrens play area, multicuisine restaurant, non-A/C, A/C rooms and sea facing cottages. On site generator available. Rs 1,200, 1,600, 2,500.
  • Resort Hirak Jayanti, (Near Garden Retreat Resort), +91 97 48899684, +91 98 3187-5353, +91 96 0912-9721, +91 32 2225-7611 (), [7]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. All rooms sea facing, childrens park, conference hall, free car parking, 24 hrs room service and security, multi cuisine restaurant. CableTV, 20 hrs. power supply by generator, driver accommodation. Pick-up/drop at Chawlkhola and Contai railway station. Rs1,000, 1,200, A/C-1,800.
  • Hotel Shinjini, 9B, Sidhu Kanahudahar (7km from ChaulKhola), +91 91 6314-2803 (). checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 12 noon. Flower garden, delicious Bengali restaurant. Car parking. Pick up and drop off service from Chulkhola. non-A/C Rs 800/-, A/C Rs 1,800/-.
  • Neel Nirjaney, Mandarmani, +91 93 3188-2883, [8]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. Same day laundry service (seasonal). On call doctor. Massage services. Swimming pool and children's park. Multi-cuisine restaurant (Palki). Car parking, car rental, sight seeing services. Driver accommodation is available. Rs 1,000-2,000+tax.
  • Dream Hut Resort, Mandarmoni sea beach, +91 98 3141-7919, +91 33 4007-8155, +91 33 4007-8291 (), [9]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. A seaside Resort with modern amenities, childens play ground, swimming pool. Multi-cuisine restaurant providing breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. A/C, non-A/C Rooms with attached bathroom, T.V & intercom. Driver accommodations are available. Rs 1,000/- to Rs 3,000/-.
  • Sonar Bangla, +91 98 3638-1994. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11AM. Garden, multi-cuisine restaurant. Complimentary breakfast provided with deluxe rooms. A/C-Rs 2,000-3,500, non-A/C-Rs 1,500/-,.

Splurge

  • Rose Valley, +91 33 2500-6470, [10]. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11:30AM. 106 rooms, A/C, some rooms are sea-facing, other rooms at rear are non-sea facing. Credit cards are accepted at their Kolkata office. Group rates are available. Swimming pool, garden, A/C conference facilities and a banquet hall. Breakfast complimentary, free or free pick up & drop from Chawalkhol. Drivers stay free. Extra cot charge Rs 500 per day. Rs 1,000-Rs 8,000, bungalow Rs 20,000.
  • The Sana Beach, Sana beach, Mandarmoni (14km from Chawalkhola), +91 90 0772-5066, +91 98 3147-3785 (), [11]. checkin: 12.00noon; checkout: 11AM. "Eco-friendly" beach resort with accommodation options from camping through to suites & Maharaja tents. Multi-cuisine restaurant, local artisans' market/workshop, newly opened spa, swimming pool and lounge bar with a private sunbathing area provided on the beach. Shrimp Cocktail is a multi-cuisine restaurant serving Indian, Chinese and Continental food. Tulshi is their Jain restaurant. Sourav is a 24 hr cafe, or check out Majlish, the hookah bar. Kolahal is the sports lounge bar or try the Swimming Pool. Rs 3,250-Rs 11,300+tax.

Stay healthy

Reportedly some resorts dump solid waste into the ocean, which you may want to consider before heading out for a swim. The report may be wrong because any solid material dumped in the sea ultimately returned by the sea and make a line of debris at high tide line which is not visible. But every tourist should take care of their health. Don't go in the sea beyond hip level water for your own safety.

Get out


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