With a coastline of 485 km along the Bay of Bengal, Odisha is home to some of the best beaches in India. From Balasore to Ganjam, these pristine and beautiful beaches have everything to offer to a visitor from a clean sea bed to turquoise blue waters to golden sparkling sand. Travellers can lie back and witness sea waves crashing melodiously on the shore or engage in fun-filled activities, including fishing with the local fishermen, besides uninterrupted sunbathing. Almost all the unspoilt beaches are perfect destinations for travellers looking for tranquillity as well as adventure. Here’s a look at the most scenic beaches of ODISHA.
Paradip Beach in Jagatsinghpur District
Paradip Beach in Jagatsinghpur district offers a gorgeous view of the Bay of Bengal. In fact, the beach is located on the confluence of the Mahanadi River and the Bay of Bengal. It has clear blue water, large stones on the shore and a good marine drive road. The place is ideal for a family trip, where one can go swimming or enjoy a stroll by the shimmering water. It is 94 km from Cuttack, 125 km from Bhubaneswar and connected by good roads. Although beautiful, the beach is rough many a times, particularly the two km stretch from Hanuman Temple to Sandakhuda in Paradip and the one km shoreline at Siali.
These beach stretches have been identified as critically-vulnerable zones and are very risky for sea bathing. There is a lighthouse near the beach, which is armed with the latest differential global positioning system. There are several other attractions nearby. Visitors can relax at the sylvan gardens of Smurti Udyan, a place dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the 1999 Super Cyclone. The musical fountain inside the park is worth a watch. Odisha’s biggest aquarium, the Paradip Marine Aquarium, is also located in Paradip city. It has 28 tanks with different species of fish. Paradip is also famous for its port, one of the oldest in the world. It stands testimony to the rich maritime heritage of the region.
Gopalpur Beach in Ganjam District
Situated 16 km away from Berhampur, Gopalpur-on-Sea is a splendid retreat for avid beach lovers. From golden sands to clear blue waters, the beach has everything that can entice visitors. Besides a sun-kissed beach, Gopalpur-on-Sea offers glimpses of its past glory as a commercial port. The crumbling walls and pillars of an ancient jetty can still be found on the beach. In fact, Gopalpur was once a bustling maritime zone in Odisha and a sea port through which early settlers of Southeast Asia sailed off. Established during the British rule, the port stopped functioning in 1942 during the Second World War. There are ruins of several bungalows and mansions belonging to the European merchants, which give it a colonial look.
A red-and-white striped lighthouse also stands on the popular beach. Commissioned in 1871, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the State. Every year during Kartika Purnima, people sail tiny boats made of banana stems and paper, with lamps, betel leaves, crackers, fruits and coins in them, to mark the rich maritime history of Gopalpur-on-Sea. The beach is well connected by an excellent all-weather road which branches off from NH-5 on the outskirts of Berhampur. Regular bus services, taxis and auto rickshaws are also available.
Astaranga Beach in Puri District
Astaranga Beach is another popular beach resort near Puri. The beach offers an enchanting view of the horizon which becomes uncommonly colourful during sunset. In fact, the name Astaranga is a combination of two Odia words—asta (sunset) and ranga (colourful)—and this is why it’s also called a photographer’s delight.
The beach is also a popular fishing destination for Puri district. A small fishing market operates on the beach every morning, where fishermen immediately sell their catch to vendors. There is a shrine of Pir Jahania near the long, sandy beach, which is frequented by both Hindus and Muslims. They come to take the blessings of Pir Jahania and offer a chadar. Apart from the magnificent sea view, visitors can watch the nesting of Olive Ridley turtles during winter.
There’s also a mangrove path near the mouth of the Devi River. Although a beautiful beach, many areas are muddy or have quicksand and visitors need to take guides when venturing into unexplored areas on the beach. There are no accommodation options near the beach and the travellers need to put up at Puri, Konark or Bhubaneswar. By road, the Astaranga Beach is 90 km from Puri and 19 km from Konark. It is also well-connected to Bhubaneswar.
Puri Sea Beach
This destination certainly needs no introduction. This beach in the pilgrim city of Puri is the most popular beach in Odisha and the largest in the country. The splendid beach stretches up to seven km and is a round-the-year destination for both domestic and international travellers. Visitors can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset, sunbathe, sit back on the beach and watch local fishermen pulling their catch or mending their nets play with the waves, along with listening to the melodious rendition of the striking waves.
Compared to other beaches in the country, the Puri Beach is considered to be safer as it does not face high tide and undercurrent very often. High tides occur only during full moon, so taking a bath in the sea is an enjoyable experience. The area near the beach is dotted with hotels and lodgings for travellers of all categories. For food lovers, there are several shacks along the beach selling fried and grilled seafood like prawns, crabs and pomfrets, freshly caught from the sea, along with vegetable pakodas.
There are also many shops selling Odisha handlooms and seashell handicrafts. Like Chandrabhaga, Puri also has a lighthouse which remains open from 4 pm to 6 pm. One can get a spectacular view of the sea and the beach from the top of the lighthouse.
Chandrabhaga Beach in Puri District
Known for its mesmerising sunset, the Chandrabhaga Beach is considered to be one of the biggest assets of the state as far as tourism is concerned. One of the finest, cleanest and greenest beaches in eastern India, it is located at Chandrabhaga village which is just three km away from the 13th-century Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to historians, the ships took the Sun Temple as a reference point in the sea during the maritime trade between Odisha (Kalinga), Bali, Java and Sumatra, Later, a lighthouse was constructed on Marine Road in 1967 to guide the ships. As there are several mythological tales associated with the beach, a week-long Chandrabhaga Mela is organised here every year to honour the Sun god. Every year during December and January, the Tourism Department of the Government of Odisha hosts an annual International Sand Art Festival on the sidelines of the popular Konark Dance Festival at the World Heritage Site. The Chandrabhaga Beach can be visited anytime during the year and there are a lot of luxury and budget accommodations near the beach and the Sun Temple. There are also many restaurants and refreshment stalls near the beach. Visitors can purchase beautiful seashell handicrafts from stalls on the beach at affordable prices. People can hire taxis from Bhubaneswar or Puri to reach the destination.
Baliharachandi Beach in Puri District
Swaying casuarina trees, an unending stretch of golden sand and the turbulent sea form the picturesque landscape of Baliharachandi Beach. Located 27 km away from Puri, the beach is a popular round-the-year picnic spot. A swim in the tumultuous sea is a delight for those seeking adventure.
Besides the clean blue sea, the beach is famous for the temple of goddess Harachandi close by. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses an asta bhuja (eight-armed) Mahisamardini Durga, who is worshipped as goddess Harachandi. She is regarded as the goddess of water and navigation who protects fishermen. All tourists coming to the beach make it a point to pay obeisance to the deity. A small river flows into the sea just 200 m away from the temple, and can be crossed in a boat for just Rs 5. On the other side of the river, there is a massive sandy dune with casuarina trees that makes for an ideal picnic spot for travellers. While the summer in Baliharchandi is extremely humid and hot, the beach experiences a tropical monsoon climate. The best time to plan a visit to Baliharachandi Beach is between the months of October and March. The beach is accessible with good roads, with the nearest railway station at Puri.
Balighai Beach in Puri District
Situated eight km on the north-eastern side of Puri, Balighai is a pristine beach that remains relatively undiscovered. It is situated at the mouth of the Nuanai River, off the Konark-Puri Marine Drive road. The beach is also a nesting site for the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles who visit the beach every year from December to January for mass nesting.
Migratory birds can be seen here during the winter months. In the evening, one can also enjoy deep fried seafood at shacks on the beach. Other attractions near the beach are the Balihirana Deer Sanctuary, where visitors can spot the endangered Balihirana antelope and Indian blackbucks; the Sea Turtle Research Centre, and small temples like Barahi, Lakshminarayan and the Amareshra. In fact, the temple of goddess Barahi dates back to the 9th century and is related to early forms of tantric worship.
There are very few accommodations in the area, except for some luxury resorts in the Konark-Puri Marine Drive road. Visitors can stay in Puri and hire a taxi to reach the beach. The best time to visit the beach is between October and March.
Aryapalli Beach in Ganjam District
Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, the silvery, quiet beach of Aryapalli is ideal for unwinding. At a distance of 30 km from Berhampur, the golden beach is surrounded by casuarina plantations and crystal-clear blue waters. While the weather is a little humid in the noon, it is pleasant towards early morning and evening. During the sunrise and the sunset, the azure sky offers an amazing colour play. Unlike other beaches, Aryapalli does not have many vendors on the shore to hound visitors. After sunbathing at the beach, visitors can go round the hamlets nearby, inhabited by Telugu-speaking fishermen, and know the socio-cultural aspects of their lives.
The Sand Mineral Project lies in the vicinity, and is another attraction that cannot be missed. The area near the beach has a number of resorts and sea-facing hotels that are equipped with all amenities. The ideal time to visit Aryapalli is between the months of October and June, when the weather is at its best. Travellers can reach Arypalli beach through a taxi or an auto-rickshaw after getting down at the Chatrapur railway station in Ganjam district. The beach is just eight km from the railway station. One can also hire a taxi from Berhampur city as the National Highway passing through the beach is also well-maintained.
Chandipur Beach in Balasore district
Chandipur beach in Balasore district is the only beach in the eastern India where the sea recedes up to five km daily at low tide and returns during high tide, offering a truly unique sight. Adding to the beauty are the casuarina trees dotting the area. When the tide returns, fishermen rush to collect the small fishes that the waves leave behind at the shore.
The beach is replete with small red crabs that emerge from tiny holes on the sea bed and rush towards the vanishing water during low tide. It is equally captivating to watch the sunrise and sunset at the beach. Touted as one of the finest beaches of Odisha, Chandipur is just 16 km east of Balasore and easily accessible by road. A visit to the beach is not complete without a stroll on the dry sea bed with a packet of jhalmuri and coconut water in hand. After reaching Balasore, visitors cab hire an auto-rickshaw or taxi to reach Chandipur.
There are plenty of accommodations near the beach. The Tourism Department of Odisha has a Pantha Nivas. Other places of interest like Remuna, Panchalingeswar, Aradi and Chandaneswar also lie close by.
Balaramgadi Beach in Balasore District
Soak up the sun at the wonderful beach of Balaramgadi, which lies at the convergence of the Budhabalanga River with the Bay of Bengal in Balasore district. Calm and clean, the beach is just two km away from Chandipur Beach. Here, a tourist can enjoy the sun, surf and the sand amidst casuarina plantations.
While a walk on the beach in the evening is rejuvenating at any time of the day, the sunrise and sunset cast an especially magical spell. Besides swimming in the turbulent yet clean waters, one can take part in fishing and boat rides. Visitors wishing to fish in the sea can seek the help of local fishermen who will readily volunteer to take their boat for a small price.
Smaller in comparison to Chandipur, Balaramgadi Beach is for those who want to unwind away from the cacophony. Visitors can hire an auto-rickshaw from Chandipur Beach to Balaramgadi, which is roughly an hour away.
There are limited accommodations here and visitors have to stay near Chandipur Beach. The drive from Chandipur to Balaramgadi is a beautiful one, with casuarina trees on both the sides.