Coordinates: 21°41'N 87°33'E? / ?21.68, 87.55
Digha is a small seaside resort town in the state of West Bengal, India. It lies in East Midnapore district and at the northern end of the Bay of Bengal. It is most popular sea resort of West Bengal.
It is located 183 km from Kolkata/Howrah via Mecheda and 234 km via Kharagpur, this proximity has probably helped this small hamlet to emerge as a popular weekend getaway. Digha is connected to Kolkata/Howrah by a highway and a rail-link via Contai.
Originally, there was place called Beerkul, where Digha lies today. This name was referred in Warren Hastings's letters as Brighton of the East. An English tourish John Frank Smith started living here in 1923 and his writings provided a good exposure to this place. He convinced West Bengal Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy to develop this place to be a beach resort.
Bus Service :- There is frequent bus service to Digha from Dharmatala bus stand of Kolkata and many other parts of West Bengal. It is almost a 5 hour journey from Kolkata. Bus service is also available from towns across West Bengal such as Midnapore, Bankura, Asansol, Howrah, and, also from Orissa via Balasore (Baleswar).
Train Service :- Very recently (in 2004) train services have started for Digha. There are trains from Shalimar railway station, Howrah and there are a few trains from Howrah Station too.
Shalimar-Digha Express Train no.2867 departs from Shalimar at 08.00 hrs and arrives at Digha station at 11.15 hrs. Return train no. 2868 departs Digha station at 13.40 hrs to arrive Santragachi station (about 8 km from Howrah) at 16.40 hrs. This pair of train run six days a week except Sundays.
For Sundays there are 2867A Up and 2868A Dn trains which originate from and terminate at Howrah station. The Dn train arrives Howrah (189 km) at 17.00 hrs.
Digha's old beach isn't as wide as it used to be due to heavy soil erosion. Big stones and concrete steps are use to hold together the beach. Another problem is the record number of tidal waves that have caused many of the unplanned shacks and smaller hotels to succumb to the sea. Since it is one of very few popular beaches in West Bengal, it gets overcrowded, especially during the cooler winter break.
A new beach has been developed at New Digha which is about 2 km from the old beach. This new beach is not only bigger than the old one, but might be considered a better one.It is clean and well-maintained and is not surrounded by a congested locality like the older beach. There are hotels within a walking distance from the beach here. The locality itself seems to be better planned.
The entire stretch of the Digha seaface from Old Digha to New Digha is filled with casuarina plantations, which looks beautiful. Tourists come here and bath in the sea, stroll by the beach along the casuarina trees and enjoy the sights and scenes offered by this magnificent stretch of sea.
Apart from the sea, there is Asia's largest marine aquarium, a science museum and a beautiful park all on the main road from Old Digha to New Digha. There's also another upcoming sea resort at Shankarpur which is located 10 km from Digha along the coast. Another important spot near Digha is the Shiva temple at Chandaneshwar which is 6 km west of Digha. During the Bengali month of Chaitra, a popular annual fair is organised here.
Nearby places of interest
- Junput: It is 40 km away from Digha; famous for fishing.
- Shankarpur: Also known as virgin beach, only 14 km east of Digha. It is also a regular fishing harbour. This beach is mostly empty except on weekends. The mornings are cool, when fishermen can be seen hauling their huge nets out of the sea. The morning sun reflecting on the sea waves in the east, and the local fishboats on the coast offer excellent photographic opportunities.
- Subarnarekha river: The sweet place where Subarnarekha river draining into Bay of Bengal, only 12 km away from Digha, located in Orissa-Bengal border. This is a new destination for Digha tourists.
- Talsari: A small delta on Bay of Bengal, only 6 km away from Digha, located on Bengal-Orissa border. A quiet place, close to both sea and Subarnarekha river.
- Mandarmani: Mandarmani is a small virgin beach on Bay of Bengal, only a few km from Digha. It is also a small fishing harbour and a fast developing tourist resort.