This time when I went to Puri, Orissa, I made sure that I visit the Golden Beach of Puri. I didn't know that a Blue Flag Beach existed in the Eastern part of India, that too in Puri, a place I have been visiting every year since childhood.
First, let me tell you the significance of ‘Blue Flag'. The ‘Blue Flag' is an iconic certification or award, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE ) gives to a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator on meeting the set international standards. The ‘Blue Flag' is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization working across 50 countries. In order to qualify for the ‘Blue Flag', a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained. Blue Flag Beaches are the cleanest and safest. This is the reason why I was so keen on visiting the Golden Beach of Puri.
Beaches in India with “Blue Flag” Tag
There are 8 beaches in India with the prestigious ‘Blue Flag' tag. They are:
- Shivrajpur Beach of Dwarka (Gujarat)
- Ghoghla Beach of Diu (Daman and Diu Union Territorry)
- Kasarkod Beach of Honnavar (Karnataka),
- Padubidri Beach of Udipi (Karnataka)
- Kappad Beach near Calicut/Kozhikode (Kerala)
- Rushikonda at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)
- Golden Beach of Puri (Odisha) and
- Radhanagar Beach of Andaman (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
Puri – The Divine City
Puri in Orissa is popular for the iconic Jagannath Temple and the world famous festival of Ratha Yatra. It is one of the Char Dhams, one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage circuits, determined by Shankaracharya, a great Hindu saint. Millions of tourists and devotees visit Puri, throughout the year. It is essentially an old city and is not so clean. Puri is situated on the Bay of Bengal. The sea is definitely another attraction. However, the beaches of Puri are crowded with tourists and stalls. The Golden Beach of Puri is an exception though. This is why I was so surprised when I came to know that Puri has a Blue Flag Beach.
The Beauty of Golden Beach of Puri
The Golden Beach of Puri is a stretch of 870 meters plain sand, absolutely spick and span, with high waves of the Bay of Bengal Sea splashing the shore. Besides the natural beauty of the beach, the infrastructure for the convenience of the visitors is worth mentioning. A clear approach road fenced properly with plantation, wide parking space (Charge of Rs. 20 is applicable per hour), CCTV cameras and a cafeteria definitely make it easier for visitors. Core infrastructure like clean drinking water, toilets, changing and shower rooms, demarcation of safe swimming zone, watch towers for coast guards, solar lighting system, sitting arrangements, and mechanized pollution abetment services are excellent. Beach safety and security measures are extremely strong.
The Sublime Experience
The periphery of the beach has a stretch of alluring jogging tracks. It is an experience in itself to jog on those tracks with the sound of the waves. You can feel the cool sea breeze kissing your cheeks. The sitting arrangements are amazing too. There are recliners and seats made out of bamboos, under the shade of hay umbrellas. I spent hours sitting with a book and staring at how the blue of the sea and the sky mix, till I fell asleep. It is so calm and peaceful. The periphery of the beach is decorated with intricate sandstone sculptures, typical of Orissa. Children can enjoy at a little Children's park.
I have enjoyed to my fullest- jogging, reading, making sandcastles on the shore, bathing in the sea and basking in the sun and the serenity of the place. The beach is secluded, far from the madding crowd of the city. There is an entry fee of Rs.20 per person. Entry for children below the age of 10 is free. The gates of the beach open at 5 Am and close at 10 Pm. Try and visit the Golden Beach in such a manner that you either see the sunrise or the sunset. It is a heavenly experience and the hues of the sunrise and sunset freshen the mind. You will remember it forever.
How to reach the beach?
The nearest airport to Puri is Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. It is 1.5 hours' drive from Bhubaneswar to Puri. Puri Railway Station is an important railway station with numerous trains connecting almost all the major cities of India.
The Golden Beach of Puri is very different from the other popular beaches of Puri. The crowd around always make me cautious. I could be childlike and absolutely carefree at the Golden Beach. I spent the whole morning on this beach and tanned myself. The tan will surely fade but the memories I made will stay on forever.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.