Mandarmani: A History
Some years ago, Mandarmani was discovered and was deemed as the answer to Bengal’s favourite beach weekend getaway. There have been numerous efforts to transform Mandarmani into a chic beach filled with holiday resorts, minus the chaos and crowds of other popular beach destinations like Digha. This place was originally called Mandarboni right after its inception, but a gradual shift has been made to the modern name, ‘Mandarmani’.
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Located approximately 180 km from Kolkata, on the road to Digha, Mandarmani is easily accessible by road and train, and boasts a 13-km long motorable beach. Considered an alternative to Digha, Mandarmani is comparatively peaceful and ideal for a quiet weekend getaway trip.
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Travelling to Mandarmani:
The vast network of National and State Highways will deliver you to Mandarmani in no time. The roads are good and the ride is smooth. However, the 6 km end stretch from Choulkhola to Mandarmani is an all-weather dirt track, and the last part of the journey will take you over a section of the beach itself.
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The closest train station to Mandarmani is Ramnagar, which is 11 km away from Choulkhola. Boarding a train on the Howrah/Santragachi – Digha route will do just fine Once at Choulkhola, you can rent a car and reach Mandarmani.
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Places to Visit:
Located just 22 km from Mandarmani, Shankarpur is host to the famous Fishing Harbour Project. Rent a car from Choulkhola and enjoy the warmth of this gentle and peaceful beach.
The immediate neighbour of Mandarmani, Tajpur is just 19 km away. The virgin beach is a pristine delight, and it has been transformed into a haven for tourists. Mostly undisturbed by the outside world, it is a nice place for quiet contemplation, especially when the moon is out, and the stars are all out there, accompanied by the dim lights sparkling on the water from the opposite beach, which is Mandarmani.
At a distance of 30 km towards Contai, Junput is a virgin and mostly undiscovered beach, with the only life being the few fishermen who operate the local fisheries. Another place for a quiet, solitary retreat.
Mohona is the river delta that separates the twin beaches of Mandarmani and Tajpur. The confluence of the river and the sea occurs here, and the entire place is devoid of hotels and tourists. The Mandarmani beach has local transport taking you to Mohona and back.
Digha is arguably the most popular beach destination in West Bengal, and as a result, the most crowded. Digha is approximately 30 km away from Mandarmani, and you can rent a car from Mandarmani to Digha.
An unexplored beach on the Bengal-Orissa border, Udaipur is approximately 32 km from Mandarmani, and is largely unexplored. Not on the tourism radar yet, this beach has a delicate ecological balance as this is also a breeding ground for turtles.
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Things to do:
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Wine and Dine:
There are no fancy restaurants in Mandarmani. However, there are numerous shacks serving everything from breakfast to lunch, and the regular tea and coffee. There are in-house dining facilities at the hotels as well.
The sea-fare is amazing, with local delicacies of fish, prawn and crab available at the shacks.
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Weather and Terrain:
Average temperature during the day is around 36 degrees, but the temperature falls to 22 degrees at night.
Even if it’s not raining, wind speeds can reach very high levels. The evenings are very pleasant, in spite of the high humidity.
Winters are calm in Mandarmani, with the weather not particularly cold, but there is a distinct chill in the air.
The shoreline of Mandarmani is full of Coastal Sheoak, or Jhau.
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Note to Travellers:
Since the beach at Mandarmani is motorable, it is important for a traveller to get information about the tides. Failing to do so will get you stranded in the middle of the sea.