It was the second Saturday, March 13, 2010 and a nonworking Saturday for me. The entire day I was pretty busy with home management and I was also very happy to get the opportunity for a long awaited afternoon nap. Also, in the evening we had a pre-scheduled pool party at Aquatica. So we were all ready for a stunning weekend. But we never knew that almighty had arranged something special for us in addition.
After the pool party, returning back home we were planning to watch a movie and dine out. But Sankho suddenly proposed to go out of Kolkata. He said – “just lets go somewhere, let’s take a break”. I admit initially I was absolutely reluctant about his proposal, as I did not want Sankho to risk a long drive at night. So we planned to visit Bakkhali and decided to start early in the morning. But from our friends we came to know that condition of the road to Bakkhali is very bad. So we dropped the plan and decided to visit Mandarmani instead. But in order to visit Mandarmani we needed to start at that very moment, as it is almost 172 kms from Kolkata. So without wasting time we went back home, packed our haversack, dressed up in cool track pants, tees and flip-flops. We started from Kolkata around 12.30 am Sunday, March 14, 2010.
It was a long drive. But thankfully as it was already Sunday the highway was pretty much clear. We continued our journey till Kolaghat. At Kolaghat we took a tea break, and then again we started. But as we were moving farther away from localities the smog seemed to increase. Visibility on roads was less than 10 meters as we were driving south. We crossed Mecheda, Contai almost at a speed of 30 km. We reached Chawalkhola around 4.30 am. It was dark all around. It was the time for another tea break.
From Chawalkhola we needed to take a left turn and follow the village road till it ended at a seaside village called Dadanpatrabar. We were worried whether any resort would open its gates for us at such early morning, it could be that we needed to stay on the sea beach in the dark till the daylight came out. With anxiety and hope we landed up at Mandarmani sea beach and drove straight along the seashore and reached Rose valley. We got the accommodation and entered the resort premises. WOW! It was beautiful. The Rose Valley Resort is huge inside, very spacious and very well maintained at the same time.
We were guided through the area to reach our room. The best part of Rose valley is that you can drive within the resort to reach here and there. It was 5 am when we stepped inside the room. Rooms were also very good and big. Washrooms, necessary items were properly arranged and maintained. Overall first impressions were extremely pleasing. We forgot our sleepless night and tiredness just because of their hospitality.
We didn’t waste a single moment. We freshened up and headed towards the sea beach. The Bay of Bengal was absolutely tranquil with the cool breeze garnishing our overall morning pleasure. We were waiting for the Sunrise. We spent almost one hour there and enjoyed the sunrise with a cup of hot tea freshly brewed. We had local bread and butter, which had an awesome taste, or may be we were too hungry.
We came back to the room to rest. Sankho slept and suggested that I do the same. But I could not. I felt it would be absolute idiocy if I wasted my time sleeping. So I got ready with my camera and went outside for searching birds. I knew that the Bengal Seashore wetland areas are good habitats for birds.
Immediately I saw the Pied Kingfisher. I know that I have waited for long to see this bird. Now is the time to see it, capture its beauty and to understand its nature of activities. Next I saw a bunch of Green Bee Eaters, but I was unable to photograph them. At Mandarmani I had seen White Wagtail, White-throated Kingfishers, Common Kingfishers, Stork Bill Kingfishers, Black Drongo, Black-necked Stilt and rare Eurasian Bittern.
I spent a good time with them. By that time I was flooded with SMSs and a number of missed-calls, so I went back and had an awesome breakfast.
I took rest for half an hour and then got ready for sea bath. Ooo… it was mind blowing. We spent 2 to 3 hrs at sea and we enjoyed every moment thoroughly. Coming back from the sea we washed ourselves and jumped into the swimming pool. Another two hours passed away and we were not feeling like leaving the pool and would not have come out of the waters if somebody did not mention the lunch session.
Without using too many words I would like to thank Rose Valley for their excellent food, services and friendliness. It would have been still better for us if they kept an option for room services at least for lunch & dinner.
In evening we went to the sea beach again, driving along the coast and enjoying the cool, pleasant environment. We had prawn pakora, Alu kata, chips and tea from a sea side local stall.
Coming back Sankho showed his talent in photography with all blurred photos. We spent the evening watching TV and had Chinese food for dinner. No doubt that this last touch was also excellent.
Monday, March 15, 2010 we came back to Kolkata with a heart-full of pleasure, satisfaction and desire to revisit Mandarmani.