Birthday Gift – Red Crab Beach ( Lal Kankra Beach )
The Red Crab Beach ( most popularly known as Lal Kankra Beach) of Dakshin Purushattampur in West Bengal was hovering over my mind since quite a few years. Finally got the opportunity last year on the occasion of my elder daughter’s birthday. As a birthday gift I promised her a short trip to sea beach & The Red Kankra beach was the obvious option as it was in my mind since long. Without wasting any time I contacted Bidhu Maharaja of Sri Ramkrishna Temple, Vivekananda Math ( Barrackpore, Mandarmani Division) and booked a 4-bedded room for 22nd August.
When you are planning out with kids you need to strike out the word “Discipline” from your dictionary so far as Timing is concerned even if you don’t want it! Same happened with me too. Even though we targeted 6 in the morning but finally managed to get out on drive at 7am on my handsome blue eyed boy, Wagon-R with myself on steering. We took Belghoria Expressway and had a halt at Kolaghat to have some breakfast.
The smooth NH 116B allowed me to keep the wheels at a speed of 120km/hr for quite a some distance and it did not took much time to reach Nandakumar. From here the road narrowed down and my speed also had to be reduced by one-third as the entire road was on WIP under PWD. It was almost 11am when we reached Chaulkhola moor and from there we took left towards Mandarmani. The S-curves right through the serene village itself started to give a feel-good factor.
Google navigator alerted us that from one point at front we have to leave this page road and take a village road to left just opposite to the direction of Mandarmani. Once we turned left on the half broken village road, the open farm lands on our right gave a hint that beyond them lies the ever lasting beauty of Bay of Bengal. It was an amazing essence of the village life here that shuts your mind from Excel sheets in a flash.
You won’t get the high profile packaging and crowd rush of Mandarmani here even though its just on stone throw distance from here. Perhaps this missing factor itself makes this place more serene, more natural & more tranquil. In a few minutes we reached the massive pink open gate of the Ram Krishna Mission as if it was waiting to give us a warm-hearted welcome!
A brick road from the gate amidst lush gardens on both sides takes you straight to the guest house. There is a long running veranda on the ground floor. On one side of it lies the dining place and on the other side lies the cabin of Bidhu Maharaj and a big prayer room just after that. As soon as I parked the car, Maharaj came out of his cabin and gave a warm welcome to us.
Even though we had a booking in the ground floor, Maharaj offered us a room on 1st floor as because there was a cancellation from some other parties. We accepted the offer happily as views are much better from there. He assisted us to upstairs and handed over the room to us. You won’t get AC in these rooms are best in cleanliness and very well maintained. The big rooms can easily accommodate 4 adults also.
Meanwhile my daughters managed to find a glimpse of the sea from the veranda and got impatient to hit the sea on the first instance. Lunch timings of mission are at 12.30pm so we still have a quite lot of time in hand. So, off we went with photography gears and towels towards the sea. 10 steps opposite to gate took us to a narrow by lane on the right. The place is surrounded by vegetable field on both sides. 2 minutes walk on this way took us to a barren field and the resounding roars of the sea kissed our ears.
This barren land gradually merged into the yellow sand sea beach. The mid day sun glittered all over the yellow sand. Even its low tide now the sea from here is just at a stone throw distance. The smooth layers of sand had another layer of red over them in most of the places – those were the red crabs and hence the name, Red Crab Beach. Its an 180′ amazing sea view from here.
On our right side lies the Mandarmani beach at a distance. The human elements at this point of time on the beach are we 3 only. A fatherly satisfaction touched my heart on the thought that I could gift such a wonderful sea beach on the occasion of my kid’s birthday. The glow of satisfaction was on their face also.
Soon they got busy in completing the handshaking part with gifted sea. I too got busy in painting the nature with my camera and lenses. Within a few minutes I found that kids have already crossed the introductory part and enjoying the excitement of their new relationship with the waves. The innocent waves are also reciprocating with the innocence of the kids.
Almost 1 hr of playing with the sea made us hungry like anything. On returning to guest house after refreshing straight away we came down for lunch. The food tasted exactly same as a bengali household food cooked by our grand mother or mother. Maharaj himself came and ensured that we are satisfied with the lunch served.
Here let me tell you that there is no reason to have a confusion that as because its a Math or Mission there might be only non veg menu. Rather we got non-veg meal at both lunch & dinner. Post lunch after taking a rest for 2 hours we again came back to beach at around 4.30 pm.
The location of the now is opposite to the horizon so in proper sense we won’t be able to witness the setting sun over the horizon. Which means, in this beach you shall be able to witness the sun rise over the horizon & not the sun set. But that doesn’t fades the beauty of a wonderful beach at the golden hours !
Personally what I need now is a canvas & pallet of colors to start painting on my camera’s sensor. The tits & bits of dark clouds over the horizon skies assured me this canvas of colors. This is the first time we found some other people on the beach apart from us.
I found an inverted boat over the beach lines at a distance. It seemed some boatmen were busy in repairing it. In leisurely steps I proceeded in that direction. In this wee hours of the day the entire world in front of my eyes seemed to be engulfed in cosmic lights….a surreal world in dreams which is free from all tensions, all rushes, all pains and all earthly wealth! Over the horizon where the waves were kissing the shore, there was a bunch of kids busy in collecting conch shells from the sea shore. They are localities.
Everyday they are seeing the sea but that doesn’t stops them from thinking fresh every evening and search for the conchs in new zeal. That’s what nature does. It refills the energy everyday…every moment and gives an essence of what life is actually, far away from the maddening crowds of the city. Behind us somewhere where the village ends and merges into the sea shore, some local youths were delving deep into chit chats amongst themselves bathed in the reds of the setting sun.
Just after sunset
The western sky in the meantime is busy in stitching a garland of colorful images….one after another. The Eastern sky is blue…dark blue and we are into the blue hours now with the moon spotting on it and gifted us a wonderful moon rise! We stayed there till the last tinge of blue in the sky and then returned to the guest house. It was almost 6 pm by then.
Just beside the mission there is student hostel and very near to that, their school. At present 40 students reside in this hostel. At 6 pm sharp all these students gathered at the prayer room along with Bidhu Maharaj and started their evening prayers. The chorus tunes of these children will take you to a different world altogether…a world where our “I” gets surrendered immediately & a new persona takes birth.
The tune calms the mind and stops all the noises of restlessness that surrounds us all the time. Life is melodious here and at the same time disciplined also. The art of living a melodious life even staying in the high standards of discipline…this is exactly what the children learn from here.
After the prayer we got served with the evening snacks & tea. Post tea when we came upstairs we got awe struck with view of the half moon planted on a dark canvas. There was a soothing cold wind blowing all over. Its impossible to keep yourself confined in the walls of a room in such an environment. When I put on my gears and stepped ahead, a glimpse on the faces of my kids told that they were equally interested to witness the night sea. After speaking to Bidhu Maharaj I got assured that its completely safe even if its night. So, we went off together.
Once we crossed the road and took the alley way the street lights faded away and alas! The fields and our way was lightened by the moon light now…the light which is travelling amidst the unpolluted sky of this place. The more we advanced , the more clear was the world in that flooded moonlight. Its high tide now and the sea has come much closer. I selected a spot near the beach to set up my tripod.
The incoming waves over the shore seemed to carry some heavenly message with them wrapped in silver foil. The pleasantly cold wind and the tunes of the waves equally contributed to that heavenly and magical environment. Such an environment can only be felt…it can’t be described in words. Self existence gets lost here in the deep dark skies here.
The deep sea ahead…the horizon…the black sky above that planted with numerous celestial bodies on it…gives the essence of how tiny we are in comparison to the Universe !” Does this staff takes a photo in the dark even, babu?”…the question in local dialect landed from just beside my ears and almost made me jump to my feet with my heart pumping at 10 times acceleration.
He was a fisherman residing in the village aside. I was so engulfed with the night beauty that I had no clue when this man came beside me and was curiously watching me struggling with my long exposure shots over my tripod. As soon as he heard that we are guest in the mission, he started chatting with such a sheer innocence and simplicity with us as if we knew each other since long time. Yes, “simplicity” is the one word that can characterize these villagers. His simplicity gave me the comfort to chat with him for quite some time and finally we returned to guest house few minutes before 9.30 pm.
Dinner got served at 9.30 pm and a full days exhaustion invariably called us to bed early for that night. Even though I had put alarm for 4.30 am, at around 3.30 I woke up. It was load shedding and I am a person who needs fan even in winter over my head. Turning my attention on my kids I found that they are in deep sleep and will be reluctant for a an early morning venture now. So, I moved alone outside into the sea for some sun rise shots.
This time I was not as lucky as last evening. A mist of clouds blocked the sun rise view and I could only spot the sun when it was well high above the horizons. But this is what nature is…where unpredictability can only be predicted correctly! Returning to guest house I found that morning prayers are already on. Morning tea gets served after the completion of the prayer and so I waited. After having tea when I came to room I found kids were well awake already & are getting ready for today’s quota of sea bath.
Till 8 we were in the sea. Returning back we heard that due to some major power fault there is no possibility of electricity till afternoon and hence I decided there is no pint in staying back till the formal check out time. At 8.30 am breakfast gets served. After having our breakfast we took a leave from Bidhu Maharaja and headed back for home. In my heart I wish that no more hotels should come up in this place and make this place crowded. I wish to find the same serene and peaceful Dakshin Purushattampur again & again when I come back. What’s the harm in it if Lal Kankra Beach remains untouched from the fangs of modern tourism facilities? Let the nature be as it is….at its best.
© Arijit Kar
Best Time To Visit:
Better to avoid peak summer months. To get scenic skyscapes Autumn might be the best season.
How To Reach:
Road distance from Kolkata is approximately 172 km via NH-16 and NH-116B. Its in the same route of Mandarmani.
You can also take Digha bound buses and get down at Chaulkhola. From Chaulkhola you can get motor vans for Dakshin Purushottompur.
Where To Stay:
- Sri Ramkrishna Temple-Vivekananda Math – 8116793234 (Bidhu Maharaj)
- Shanti Neer – 7602510512
Things Of Interest:
- Ramkrishna Temple
- Prayer room of the Math
- Sea beach of Dakshin Purushottompur
- Sea beach of Mandarmani
- Fishermen village at Dakshin Purushottompur
Hi! I am from Kolkata, India. Travelling and photography is my passion. As I love landscape photography most, travelling goes hand in hand with it. Since my matriculation days I started travelling. I have also penned down a book on my travelling which is available in Amazon in the name of Ghuranchandi – Part 1. Whatever travel experiences I have, I have shared those in my blog in the form of travel stories.