Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes. Robin Leach
When I first came to Berhampur 3 years ago, I was mad at myself. Mad for not being able to get into a good college. Mad for not studying hard enough. Mad for being stuck in this sultry little town in Southern Odisha. Needless to say, Berhampur was at the receiving end of my hatred.
But living here for 3 years has made me realise that I was wrong. This town has kind of grown into me. It has both tortured me and comforted me.It is like that weird roommate who is shady and reckless but cares about you and is fun to be around. I know, it sounds confusing. This love-hate relationship I have with Berhampur(or BAM) has many reasons.
1.IT IS HOT BUT HAS A LOT OF BEACHES.
Winter is the shortest season in Berhampur which hardly lasts 2 months(that too with warm, very warm afternoons.) We wear winter clothes here pure out of fancy and not out of need.
So, what do we do to beat the heat? We go to the beach. It has a lot of beaches. And not those dingy, “cluttered with plastic” types but clean and pristine.
Though main beaches like Gopalpur are commercialized and over-crowded at times, beaches like Sonepur, Dhabaleshwar, Tulu, Aryapalli and Palur are comparatively cleaner. You can just laze around sipping beer or play in the water with your friends.
2.NO ELABORATE CUISINE BUT STREET FOOD ROCKS.
I believe that the true essence of a place lies in its street food. Delicacies vary from Idli, Vada, Dosa, pakodi(with a side of hot green chutney and white pea curry) to Seekh Kebabs, Rolls, Chinese, Soups and Lassi.
Being Indians and eating at roadside joints since childhood, we people have quite sturdy stomachs nearly immune to Delhi Belly. No reason to not eat away.
3.IT HAS NO HIGH RISE BUILDINGS BUT HAS HISTORY.
Though Berhampur is the third largest town in Odisha, its infrastructure is not as developed as compared to Bhubaneswar(Capital of Odisha). But it has lots of historical buildings like KC Higher Secondary School(established 1856), The Odia Baptist Church, Queen of the Mission’s High School(1947) and many more.
There are many stone-cut temples and religious sites like Tara Tarini Temple (one of the four major ancient Adi Shakti centres in India), Siddha Bhairavi Temple, Narayani Temple, Panchama Temple and Padmasambhava Buddhist Monastery in Jirang.
The old seaport of Berhampur in Gopalpur lies in ruins but is hauntingly beautiful. The light house still works, guiding boats of fishermen at night.
4.BERHAMPUR HAS COURAGE.
Being on the coastal region, Berhampur has faced a lot of natural calamities. The Super Cyclone of 1999, Tsunami of 2004, Cyclone Phailin of 2013 and Cyclone Hudhud of 2014 have all wrecked havoc on its shores. But everytime it shakes it off and rises again. Due to the commendable job done by the Government of Odisha and local authorities, fatalities during Phailine was limited to 23 people while 9 lakh people were evacuated in time.
For comparison The Super Cyclone of 1999 claimed 9,803 direct lives, as per government records.(Source:Wikipedia)
Watch the video below to know the extent of devastation caused by Phailin.
5.MANY WEEKEND TRIP OPTIONS.
There is nothing much to do in the city but once you are out of it, you’ll be overwhelmed with options. Sunbath at one of its balmy beaches or take a spiritual journey to many of its temples. Revel in the glory of Buddha in Jirang or take a winter trip to Daringbadi (allegedly called the Kashmir of Odisha). Go black buck spotting in Ballipadar or bird and dolphin watching at Chilika Lake. All the locations lie within a radius of 100-200 Kms from Berhampur and are good weekend trip options.
6. MY TRAVEL INSPIRATION
Last but not the least it has inspired me to travel. It is only after I came to Berhampur that I realised how much I want to be on the road. Weekend trips to Jirang and Gopalpur turned into week long trips to Sikkim, Vizag and Uttarakhand. It is here that the travel bug bit me and it is here that I started my blog. For that reason Berhampur will always have a special place in my heart.
Dear readers, do you have any such place that occupies a special spot in your heart? Share with us in the comments.
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