Those who follow us on Facebook know that we were in Berhampur two weeks ago for a three day event. We were too busy for the first two days for any sightseeing so on the last day we set out for Gopalpur Beach. It is not more than a fifteen minute’s ride from Berhampur by road and quite easily accessible for everyone. Sadly what we encountered there was nothing more than disappointment.
To be clear, the beach itself is clean and nice all told, but nothing like the tourism pictures depict. There were no crowds of beachgoers and the stalls looked utterly lonely. In all honesty the beach was a stark contrast to Puri which has crowds milling about at all times. It may have been the season as well as the bright weather but I have my doubts.
There is no railway station at Gopalpur, the closest being in Berhampur. There are buses and taxis plying the road but the road itself is not the greatest. The exit road out of Berhampur is good but Gopalpur itself has narrow roads. It is adequate for for current traffic but if tourist traffic increases sometimes in the future then we’ll be in trouble. Add to that no good parking spaces and we have a recipe for disaster.
We parked our car near the main platform and walked all the way over to the lighthouse. It is still functional but the area around it has been abandoned. We walked up to a hotel plaza that had a prime view of the beach. However the construction was never completed and all that remains of the complex is a paved plaza and unfinished buildings without a roof. The hotels close by also do not have any easy access to the beach, with the beach being a few feet below the ground floor and no ramps. The only easy way to reach the beach is to trek to the main platform.
Now to be fair, Mayfair Gopalpur has gorgeous facilities but that section of the beach is cordoned off and the publically accessible areas are not very attractive to tourists. Most of us do not have the kind of money to spend on Mayfair.
There needs to be a lot more investment into the facilities at Gopalpur Beach, starting with easy access as well as better development of properties close to to the shore. There is a lot of potential here for tourism if there are better amenities available for people. Just using beautiful looking pictures is not enough, not when reality is not so rosy.
I hope the Government of Odisha puts some attention on developing Gopalpur Beach to at least Puri’s standard and promote it well. We deserve better.