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Old 27th May 2012, 23:43   #1
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Default Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too

"This is no Nissan Patrol"

Not sure how many times, we have heard my father say this. Thats how deeply rooted, the Six cylinder Nissan, is to his heart. This time though the story was slightly different. The "no" was replaced by "almost like", signifying that its somewhere close to it, but yet isn't there. The stimulus for this statement altering was this

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A Toyota Hi-lux surf (aka the 4Runner - as it is known in the west). Belongs to a fellow team-bhpian Neil Law.

Now before this becomes a post from the 4x4 section, we will have to get back to to the travelogue part of it.

This trip was more of an after thought. We had been hearing a lot about Tajpur being an alternative to the usual sea side destinations in WB, namely Digha, Mandarmani and Sankarpur. Did not have much need or motivation to try it out. Mainly because, Rose valley at Mandarmani, does the role of a seaside destination much better than what a normal weekend getaway can offer. Daughter loves the water theme park, the swimming pool, the landscaped gardens and the themed cottages. However, the information, that Neil was going to be there with his Hi-lux, acted as a catalyst to try it out. His friend, Dibyendu Ghosh, has a facility there, called the "Tajpur Retreat" and Neil manages the adventure part of it, which constitutes parasailing, Kayaking etc.

In addition, this was also a trip in which my newly wedded sister and her husband would be accompanying us. So we would have loved to keep the drive to a lower level, giving us more time for bonding.

The drive is through the usual route to Digha. NH6 (4-lane) till Kolaghat. NH41 (4 Lane) till Nandakumar and SH4 from Nandakumar till Alampur, (6.9 kms from Chaulkhola more). There is a road going on left, elevated, and having waterbodies on both sides, for 3.5 kms. The entry to this road can be found just after the elevated embankment on the left side (6kms from Chaulkhola - while going towards Digha)

In otherways, this entry point is

74.8 kms from Nandakumar roundabout
22.2 kms from entry into the Contai bypass (right turn to avoid going into Contai town)
18.9 kms from exit from the Contai bypass (right turn to rejoin SH4 towards Digha)
6.9 kms from Chaulkhola more

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After driving for 3.5 kms on this road, the road comes to a 3 way junction, straight ahead is an earthen (morrum) road going to the beach, the road on left is metalled, goes for around 100 meters or so and then ends up into morrum stuff.

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Driving for another 100 meters this road itself turns left, and another 50 meters, the road turns right, it is at this right turn, that the Tajpur retreat is on the left side.

Beach access on foot is pretty easy, you take this 50 meter morrum road that you used to drive to the Tajpur retreat, there is a narrow, trail that gets into the formation of casurina trees, walk another 50 meters and you are on the beach.

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For us it took us 3 hours doorstep to doorstep to reach Tajpur, including a stop of fuelling and tea. Without harassing the speedometer (read: driving at relaxed pace) much.

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About the beach

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This beach is relatively crowd free and one can see substantial red crab population here. Driving on the beach is restricted, mostly to protect the red crabs. Mandarmani, I am told, used to have good population of these things, till it became a popular hotspot for the tourists, with access to it only by driving through the beach.

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However, for people, who woul decide not to pay heed to the restriction, it will be beneficial to know that the sand at the entry point of this beach is pretty soft and can sink cars very soon, unless a course taken by the parasailing jeep is followed, that too with adequate momentum and/or with 4wheel drive.

Once the entry point is crossed, roughly 50 meters, the beach is pretty much drivable. However, if the vehicle gets stuck, the locals start creating all sorts of problems. Mostly the strategy they follow, is to irritate and make the vehicle owners angry, then get a crowd going. Once that is done, they demand hefty amount in cash to get the vehicle out (close to around 4-5k). The secret, I was told was to keep cool. Pretend that you have help at hand coming and you are just trying to see something works out before that. They are also known to help people out for a lot lot less.

We had access to the beach due to some other connect. But while coming back, one local was trying to come in our way, on the jeep track that I was planning to follow. His main intention was to make us stop, loose momentum and get stuck in the sand. Infact that gives a fair idea of what the local folks are. I simply stopped, rolled the window down and asked him to move off, which he did, then simply drove of. Not sure it was the Geolanders or the fact that I had power on all 4 paws, but Marengo did not struggle at all.

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At this point, there was a Indigo Manza stuck in the sand and the local was also harassing the owner, an old man roughly my fathers age, with his wife and their son in his early 20's. So after parking Marengo at a safe distance, me and my brother in law went to help the Manza owner. The car was badly stuck. None of the local people were helping. They had demanded 3.5k from the owner. Firstly we had to get this local off us. Gave him a stern warning that we are connected to the authorities and I really wanted to know his name and his shop. He ran off. However the Manza was badly stuck. Seeing us, some other folks (all tourists) also joined us. A sumo owner also came up with a smallish nylon rope, that was just not enough to have the Sumo on firm sand and yet reach the Manza. A few attempts, with another cloth rope which was snapping progressively and finally flipping the Sumo over to have its front wheels reach as near as possible to the Manza, it was out of the sand.

The locals prevent the local resort people from helping. However, if its fellow tourists they cannot do a thing. So if you got to take your car on the beach, have the necessary permission and also make sure you have adequate help at hand if you happen to get stuck.

Driving on the beach apart, this beach is very peaceful, the waves are soothing and the environment kind of serene.

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Apart from when its interrupted by the sound of this Jeep

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Parasailing

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This activity is one of its kind at this part of the world. This activity is also managed and arranged by a team-bhpian, Neil Law. He has other setups in North Bengal/Sikkim for river rafting and what not.

The charm of being suspended up in the air, almost seeming static, with nothing but sound of the breeze overlooking the casurina trees, heavenly. Only thing is that, the contant feeling of, "if you fall you will actually reach heaven" is always there, but thats also part of the adventure, the uncertainty, attracts!

My parents in the air!!

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Tajpur retreat

We were lucky not to have attempted Tajpur on our own. Because, if we did, we would have invariably ended up booking rooms/cottages at Tajpur Nature camp. A visual inspection of the place, while we were there, really gave a different picture from whats depicted.

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But then, since our trip initiation happenned due to Neil, he pointed us to his friend, who has a facility there, called the Tajpur Retreat. The parasailing, Kayaking etc is run by them. The rooms, we were told beforehand, were basic, but spacious.The facilities, clean. The time we visited Tajpur, it was also very hot, however the cottages were quite cool, even before turning the AC on. The food is also basic, rice, dal, subzi stuff alongwith choice of items that one would like to have, provided the order is placed beforehand. Their Prawns, I am told, was special. Food quality was also good.

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The dining area
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View from the room.
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However, since Neil himself was present there, not sure if the good service we got was a direct result of that presence. Wont be able to say, if that service quality is maintained throughout. Hope they do.

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Overall, it was quite a good experience.

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Old 28th May 2012, 00:19   #2
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Default re: Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too

Nice write-up! :-)
I have been there a while back and participated in the adventure sports package with Neil Law. It was a superlative experience.
More details can be found here: PwC Voyageurs: Tajpur, the place where ocean and sky create amazing art
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Old 28th May 2012, 10:50   #3
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Default re: Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too

Nicely done. I was here during winter hence didn't go for the A/C room. However landed up in a room on the extreme left of the resort on the roof of which there is an entire pigeon colony. It was Friday night and the pigeon colony kept us awake all night as they had some grand party upstairs. Since you know the owner might be a good idea to ask him to get rid of the pigeon colony from the roof of that room . I was not impressed by this resort for the rates they charged specially due to that inconvenience. I think probably for the same value one might get better stay options. However the only USP of this place is they are directly tied up with "Himalayan Adventures" who are in charge of the parasailing and kayaking activities.
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Old 28th May 2012, 11:13   #4
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Default re: Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too

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Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
room on the extreme left of the resort on the roof of which there is an entire pigeon colony. It was Friday night and the pigeon colony kept us awake all night as they had some grand party upstairs.
Natural settings ain't it?!!

Just kidding, being disturbed like that and some smart alec comes up and says this is in tune with the "natural settings", I know the expletives that might be provoked.

I dont think that room counts amongst their best rooms, though saw a few guests there, did not see them particularly displeased. Or probably they were tolerant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
However the only USP of this place is they are directly tied up with "Himalayan Adventures" who are in charge of the parasailing and kayaking activities.

I did not know anything about this place, did not spend anytime researching. I was there after a discussion with Neil and the motivation was his Hi-lux Surf as well as an opportunity to catch up.

Now, as I mentioned, if I actually intended to visit Tajpur, googling would have lead me to the Tajpur Nature Camp. Visiting which, I was happy that I did not do it.
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Old 31st May 2012, 15:55   #5
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Great write up anirban da....me, m wife and two other friends were also there, at the same time when u were there, i found that out later from a social networking site, as anubhav is a school friend of mine....anyways, great write up. We had put up at another resort very near to the beach called the Blue Lagoon which too offers pretty good accomodation and food for the rates charged by them. Maybe thats the reason we didnt meet at Tajpur, as it was terribly hot and we rarely came out of the rooms during the daytime. It is a wonderful and peaceful place to spend a nice quiet weekend. I too have a few pics, if you permit I shall upload them too for others to get a nice view of the place.
And yes, a really nice thing to do is help a fellow tourist out in case they are being harrassed by locals.

Here goes a few pictures from our side:
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Old 1st June 2012, 14:23   #6
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Originally Posted by arpanjha View Post
Tajpur, as it was terribly hot and we rarely came out of the rooms during the daytime. It is a wonderful and peaceful place to spend a nice quiet weekend. I too have a few pics, if you permit I shall upload them too for others to get a nice view of the place.
And yes, a really nice thing to do is help a fellow tourist out in case they are being harrassed by locals.

Here goes a few pictures from our side:
Thanks for those pics Arpan. Feel free to add more if you want. Looking at the snaps of your Punto, I guess I saw it there.

Blue Lagoon was good too, although the name does not sound inspiring.

Agree that it was quite hot there, but a walk through the casurina woods and then getting onto the beach and onto the water was very pleasant, beside that, there was a strong breeze, which was only present on the beach. So it was more comfortable by the sea than it was near the resorts. Hence we spent most time outdoors, even if we did have the option of retiring to the AC rooms.
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Old 1st June 2012, 22:23   #7
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Yes Anirban da, the breeze was very nice, it is really nice to know u saw the Punto, missed meeting u and anubhav by such a close margin, feel sad about it. Anyways, the place is amazing, it is really nice, I shall check if I have more pics of the tour, if I find anymore I shall put it up. Thanks for bringing up the trip on TBhp.
And also, I wish to meet you soon, will be good to meet you and Anubhav.
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Old 2nd June 2012, 11:49   #8
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Now coming to the topic of the opening line, the very reason that we got there.

Its been years since we joined work and as part of the first project that I was assigned to, used to visit the NSDL compound at Lower Parel. There used to be a Toyota 4Runner parked at the NSDL compound that I used to drool at. It always brought back memories of the Nissan Patrols that we used in my childhood.

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(in case one is wondering, thats me behind the steering wheel!)

These Nissans were utilised on site duty and I accompanied my father on many of such trips which were kind of daily routine for them, through slush, elephant grass and sometimes crossing some newly created water channels. Being a child, used to think of that, as a normal way of life, till we settled down to more stable stuff! Nissan Patrols ceased to be part of our daily life. So the sight of the 4runner, just used to bring back those moments.

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Just that the 4Runner is known as the Hi-Lux Surf in the Asian market. Was quite excited to be able to meet up in peson. Having known that Neil was coming down to Tajpur with it, we had setup this trip. Had also spoken to him about possibility of some minor offroading sessions, to see what it can do, versus what the Scorpio 4x4 (named Marengo) can achieve.

Marengo had recently acquired a new ability to lock its rear differential by means of a MLD supplied by Mahindra.

read about it here, if interested

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ml#post2745881


Needed to get stuck and create an opportunity to get one of the wheels spinning and hence activating the lock.

So it was decided on the evening of the day we reached there, that next day early morning we will explore the offroad capabilities, on loose sand near the beach, against some light dunes.


Next day morning both the vehicles and some occupants went to this place, it was a gathering of casurina trees, and we would be driving between the trees, going up and down a couple of dunes. Then come back.

Part of the route.

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Checking it out on foot, before getting the vehicles in. Sort of recce.

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Once done, the Hi-lux went into the sand first, I had decided to stick mostly to its tracks. Then realised, that Marengo's footprints were lighter. Grip better, thanks mainly to the Geolandar tyres, which will unfortunately be on their way out on the next change.

A few pics of the session.

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Neil explained that on a normal desert "dune-bashing" session, the desert sand is course in comparison to the fine beach sand. Vehicles are more likely to get stuck in the beach sand than in desert sand. But then the fun is that on a dune bashing session the landings are always "soft", though we do not have pics to show.

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That was me with the Hi-lux

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The whole gang - minus me.

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The two x-country vehicles with their owners.

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On the way back, I just asked myself to try a slope that was difficult to try on foot. Knew surely, that since this was sand, it would be impossible for Marengo to make it. But it did, had to use the extra torque from 4L and yet the grip wasn't lost. Thanks to the Geolandars.


In essence, Marengo happily did whatever Hi-Lux surf did, was more nimble and was quite surefooted. However the steering feel and the car-like driving position of the Hi-lux was to die for. Interestingly one can also get that on our desi Endy.

The two vowing to catch-up with each other more often

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But then according to my father, if only it had more power, in line with the in-line-6 Nissan.

Well then, did I hear someone say, "quiet and serene sea side destination"?

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Old 2nd June 2012, 12:23   #9
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74.8 kms from Nandakumar roundabout
22.2 kms from entry into the Contai bypass (right turn to avoid going into Contai town)
18.9 kms from exit from the Contai bypass (right turn to rejoin SH4 towards Digha)
6.9 kms from Chaulkhola more
Will you please give me the direction once again, starting from Chaulkhola More? Shall I go towards the direction of Mandarmani? And some more information regarding the resort, like the room rates and contact numbers will be very helpful.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 2nd June 2012, 12:46   #10
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Will you please give me the direction once again, starting from Chaulkhola More? Shall I go towards the direction of Mandarmani?
No, from Chaulkhola, one does not need to take the left turn (that goes to Mandarmani) but continue straight towards Digha for 6.9 kms (Alampur). There is an easy landmark, about 6.5 kms from Chaulkhola, there will be a raised embankment on the left (Bundh), right where this embankment ends , there is a road that will appear on the left side perpendicular to the Contai-Digha road. Opposite to this road there is also a fisheries office.

You take this road on left and it will go for 3.5 kms. Its a raised road with waterbodies on both sides. Right after 3.5 kms this road comes to a T junction. Beyond this junction, the road straight ahead is morrum (going to the beach), dont take this road. The road on left is metalled, so take this turn, it will have tarmac for around 100 meters, and then there will be a sharp drop into morrum again, but easily manageable. It is on this morrum road, you will find many resorts lined on the left side.

Will pm you the contacts
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Old 2nd June 2012, 21:37   #11
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There is an easy landmark, about 6.5 kms from Chaulkhola, there will be a raised embankment on the left (Bundh), right where this embankment ends, there is a road that will appear on the left side perpendicular to the Contai-Digha road. Opposite to this road there is also a fisheries office.
Yes, I have seen the raised embankment many times and this information will indeed be very helpful.
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Will pm you the contacts
Thanks, got it. But what may be the approximate charges for this parasailing? An approximate idea about the rates?
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Old 2nd June 2012, 22:06   #12
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Yes, I have seen the raised embankment many times and this information will indeed be very helpful.
It's very hard to miss. Right opposite this road that turns off to the left towards Tajpur is a West Bengal government's fisheries building, two storied, yellow in color.

EDIT: I have a picture of this junction with the building in my own travelogue.
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Old 2nd June 2012, 23:24   #13
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It always brought back memories of the Nissan Patrols that we used in my childhood.
Hey, nice car. which country is this. I guess this a'int India from the reg. number.
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Old 3rd June 2012, 11:55   #14
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It's very hard to miss. Right opposite this road that turns off to the left towards Tajpur is a West Bengal government's fisheries building, two storied, yellow in color.

EDIT: I have a picture of this junction with the building in my own travelogue.
Yes, but that picture is taken from the Tajpur road side, which means he is not going to have the same visual while approaching from Chaulkhola side. Infact I was told about the fisheries office, and had a tough time spotting it. Luckily I saw a board of a Tajpur resort and stopped and then saw the office. IMO Tracking the embankment is a sure shot bet, for people who have driven to Digha often, this will be a good landmark.




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Hey, nice car. which country is this. I guess this a'int India from the reg. number.
Yes, you are right, very well noted. This was shot in Nigeria, late 80's. The KW on the registration plate signified KWARA state.
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Old 30th July 2013, 23:55   #15
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Well instead of starting a whole new thread i just thought of sharing my experience of Tajpur, Talsari and Udaipur over here. Thanks to 1100D for this wonderful thread.

Well its last week end when i got a call from my school time friends that they are planning for a week end stay at Tajpur from Kolkata. I was free and i promptly agreed upon there proposal!

So eight of us were there and we decided to take two cars. One was my friends Hyundai Eon and my Toyota Etios.

Day 1
As per our plan we started on 27th July morning at 7am from Kolkata. It was raining heavily and the sky was totally overcast. Heavy rains in a highway is always enjoyable. I was enjoying the drive to the utmost. We were driving in a sedate way and reached Kolaghat at 8-30am. We had out break fast in the famous Sher E Punjab and left from Kolaghat at 9-30am. Roads were excellent and one way till Nandakumar. As soon as we turn right from Nandakumar the roads became two way but the road condition was good. From Kathi we took the Kathi bypass to avoid the congestion in Contai town. By 11-30am we reached Tajpur. Odo reads 177kms. We had our rooms booked at Hotel Sabuj Saikat. Its a decent hotel. We checked in got freshened up and headed to the beach. The beach was very less crowded and it was enjoyable. So we decided to spend the whole day in Tajpur beach itself. We had a gala time enjoying among ourselves with the sea breeze as a constant companion. It was raining intermittently but not much to hamper our joy. We enjoyed the rain in the sea beach, the sky during sunset was fabulous too! Day1 was spent like this.
Few pics from day1

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Day 2
Next day got up at 5am to catch up the sunrise but it was overcast all over but the beach full of red crabs entertained us.
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We spent a good time enjoying the surroundings of the beach too.
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By 7-30am we returned back to our room. Got freshened up and had our breakfast. I must say the food served by the hotel was excellent.

So our plan was to visit Talsari, Udaipur, New Digha and by afternoon we will head back towards Kolkata.

As per plan by 10-30am we checked out of the hotel and headed to Talsari. Roads were good throughout.

Two pics from Talsari
Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_7194.jpg
Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_7195.jpg

From Talsari our next destination was Udaipur. Asked for direction from the locals and they gave us a shortcut mud road through the village. We took that road. But my advice is to avoid this road. Its very narrow full of turnings and in monsoons the roads are slushy. Best way is to go through main road. Once we reached Udaipur the beach was clean. Few fellows were giving bike for rentals. They were asking 100rs for 30 minutes and finally we got it for 80rs for 30 minutes. I had loads of fun splashing the bike through bay of Bengal! Few pics from Udaipur.
Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_1987.jpg
Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_7204.jpg
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Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_7214.jpg

After having all the fun we had a late lunch at Digha and finally we started for our return journey for Kolkata by 5-30pm. The drive back to Kolkata was mostly a night drive with heavy rain accompanying us all the way from Nandakumar to Kolkata. It took us 4 hours flat with a 20mins tea break at Uluberia.
Tajpur : Close to Kolkata, but fun too-img_0357.jpg

At the end of the whole trip the Odo reading was 397.2 kms.
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