Foaming Tides in Orissa

Boats in Puri, India.
[Wooden Catamarans at Puri, Beach of C.T Road]

I am left counting the stars on my ceiling, the sound of the ocean soaks in, as the sand riddles the sole of my feet. The sky in its burnt dusk slowly burns a light pink till it eventually gives away to an almost neon blue. A full moon night in June on the cleaner side of the beach in Orissa - bliss. A light drizzle and the clumsy trudging of feet wake me from my momentary calmness. This is Puri, for in its dysfunction lies its beauty. A few hours earlier we had arrived here on a crowded bus, the kind that will stop anywhere for anyone as long as they can pay the fare of a few rupees and are willing to ride on the top of the bus if they have to.

The  Bus to Puri, Orissa
[Crowded Bus to Puri from Bhubaneshwar]

Even if Puri was not a temple town steeped in history it would have survived for its stretches of golden sand, crusty waves lashing the shore and an unblemished skyline that greets you warmly. The beach, which is lined with local women selling an array of crystal and shell
jewellery and fishermen displaying their catch of shiny fish and glistening prawns, is a whirl of activity. The conical hatted local young men who double as lifeguards are as much a part of the beach as the surf and the sand and are a safe bet against the treacherous undercurrent.

Walking in to the Bay of Bengal
[An old man greets the Bay of Bengal with as much enthusiasm as the children to his left]

Puri was once the weekend resort of maharajahs and wealthy Bengalis from Calcutta. When the British came to the coast to bathe away some of the dust, they built or rented large beach villas; many retained them after independence some well into the 60's. Today these properties are now owned by not-so-wealthy Bengalis and are leased as company guest houses. I was told that till about five years ago they were the only buildings facing the bay, and it was rare, indeed an
imposition, to share that glorious beach with anyone except the fishermen and occasional shrimp peddlers.

Fishing Village Pentakota, Orissa
[Fisherman hauling in the nets at Pentakota near Puri.]

Anyway, we stayed at an LP recommended, strangely named Z Hotel, which excuse the falsely futuristic name, was once owned by the Raja of Serampore, and had still managed to keep its bougainvillea filled old world charm. Our stay there was pleasant even though our
auto-rickshawallah on arrival at Puri had given us the impression that it was raided and closed down by the police permanently - he quickly backtracked when I proceeded to remove my cell phone and call them.

What else is there to do after a 14 hour journey but to sit back, relax and watch the Bay of Bengal change her tides.

Boy on the beach,Bay of Bengal.

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vijayendra said...

Made me beachsick :)

Perspective Inc. said...

Brilliant pics!

BD said...

I travel to puri every year. I must confess, I never realized the beach could look so beautiful. Wonderful job!

GuNs said...

Amazing photos man !
Loved the one with the old man taking to the sea alongwith the kids. Very well shot.

Do visit my gallery at and leave your comments on the photos.


Akshay said...

vijayendra - well good then my job is done.

perspective - thank you.

bd - Puri is beautiful, yes the beach can get a little dirty in patches but I found really quiet beautiful.

guns - thank you, I'll take a look at your gallery.

Anonymous said...

i'm glad your back :)


BD said...

Do visit Konark and Konark Beach.

Anil P said...

Good Job, Akshay.

Was wondering how a cat searching for fish in one of those boats would look. It's just a thought.

Swapna said...

Lovely pics.

Vj said...

it was a long wait for this post.
but it all seems worthwhile .

Brilliant pics...really crispy.
absolutely fantastic

shraddha(delhi) said...

hey..grt pics !! lovd it,,am crazy abt sea beaches specially my home town sea beach (Gopalpur)...

Prakriti said...

Haunting the pictures on this one Akshay!

I have been staring at the last one for minutes!

anjaly said...

Brilliant. Lovely pics, amazing write ups. I am surprised I missed your blogs. Thanks to Desipundit, i found your blog. Yes, Puri has that wonderful lost world charm. BTW, what camera do you use? your pics speak for themselves. Are you a pro? I really woudl like to know more of your photography. my mail id is
keep writing. good work