Thursday, May 23, 2013
Last Updated: 22 May 19:22 PM IST
2 December 2012
Tajpur’s green canopy is unspoilt and rolling ~ like an elixir, writes biren sasmal
TAJPUR is the sort of place that prompts one to recall Robert Faust, for there I was thinking that “the woods are lovely, dark and deep”, save that I had no promises to keep though there would be “miles to go before I sleep”. No carriage horse to jangle its harness bells and I moved along, immersed in the silence so far removed from madding crowds, so unlike raucous Digha.
There I was, not a frozen woods off a snowy evening, but greeting the dawn and imagining the apparition of a damsel dressed in apparel of camphor-coloured light, undressing secretly to plunge into a pinkish-grayish-reddish deluge. The silence was seductive! I had all the time in the world to stand and stare — at the vast expanse of water, to shout at the top of my voice and recite from Tagore’s Nirjharer Swapnabhanga, to talk to myself, confess a pricking guilt and suddenly feel there was a host of phantom listeners! And then to fall on my knees and watch, in awe and admiration, as a reddish ball slowly emerged from the womb of the sea.
Tajpur is all about unheard melody, of leaves happily rustling together — as though for centuries. Casuarina (jhau) trees line the roads and make an afternoon stroll an epistle of pleasure. The place is no hi-fi tourist spot but a seaside constellation of resorts, nature camps, retreats and hotels, and for the first time one realises the absence of encroachment. The trees and shrubs, the coconut palms swaying in the salty breeze and the stretches of green are all intact, cool. The resorts and hotels are either scattered or lie hidden to the left, with an unmetalled, sandy road in-between. You can soak in the serenity of a virgin evening, walk through an eerie jungle. On the shore itself, you could sip tea, coffee, green coconut water served by phantom vendors who will also cater for a spicy lunch and dinner, with fried fresh (pomphret) and mouth-watering crabs. Country chicken? Yes, that, too. A drink and dance? But of course, your spectators the thousands of red crabs (Sanyasi kankra) that spread a carpet at dawn and dusk.
Be it summer and the scorching sun or a nagging monsoon with its downpours and overcast sky, Tajpur’s green canopy is like an elixir. Seat yourself in a chair out in the open with a tarpaulin sheet providing a roof and you could be in some oasis of pleasure sharing small talk with a group of Bedouin. Sip the nectar of green, semi-ripe coconut, stretch your eyes to the farthest horizon and soak in the joys of being the master of all you survey. If you’re the adventurous sort, don’t forego the ethereal charm of a boat ride. Negotiate with a boatman lazily cleaning nets in a shoreside lagoon and for Rs 200-300 an hour you’ve got yourself a deal, some parasailing thrown in.
Get back to your resort and there’s a homely breakfast waiting — of puris, luchis, vegetables, omlettes and sweets. (All meals – breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner – come to Rs 300-350 a day.) Breakfast over, a chat or adda with friends or family await in airconditioned comfort that is worth the price (between Rs 750-1,000 for a non-airconditioned room per day and Rs 1,500 onwards for an airconditioned one). Lunch is carefully prepared Bangali fare (of veggies there’s no dearth), inclusive of fragrant Basamati rice (or chapattis), fresh catch from the sea, fried or curried, plus country/poultry chicken and mutton. Satiated, sleep will call, but by 4 pm take to the high, winding path that dips into the home of whispering casuarina. Inhale the raw-green aroma and soak in the gentle breeze. Talk to the trees, if you will, and discover the poet in you. Walk into the heart of the forest and let your camera click.
Walk on the beach washed with the colours of a sun sinking behind a backdrop of intoxicated green. Catch the departing birds and do take note of the parasailing activities.
The Tajpur Retreat has introduced other activities like artificial rock climbing, cycling and paragliding. With night settling in, grab a pre-dinner snack and watch the mass exodus of red crabs (Hermit crabs) spread their carpet for what seems like miles without end. Note how they craftily dig in and out of their sand dwellings to play hide and seek at even the slightest movement of your feet.
Before you know it, your two-three day sojourn in “another” world will have come to a close, but you will be so much richer for the experience.
Tajpur is 170 km from Kolkata. You can get State transport buses from Esplanade (Rs 88) or airconditioned buses (Rs 250), or board the Duranta Express from Howrah/Shalimar. Get off at Balisai More. From there to Tajpur is four
kilometres. Accommodation at the Tajpur Retreat (the best) can be booked by calling: 9830271064/9830033896; for Friends Resort call 9732501903/9903832123; and for Lake View Resort call: 9874681828