By Biranchi Mishra
A few days ago I was traveling from Bhubaneswar to Berhampur on some personal work.Near Chhatrapur I saw a signboard on the National Highway which invited the travelers to enjoy boating in the Tampara lake hardly one km away from that spot on the left.I had traveled on this road several times but had never noticed the board nor had heard about the existence of a lake so close to the highway.
My children motivated me to take a detour and visit the place and find out the attraction there.We turned our vehicle to the left side of the road but found the approach very narrow which ran through Keoda plantations.The road never seemed to head for a lake but the drive was thrilling.Before we could discuss any further about the road, we were in an open courtyard with a massive building (the DRDA Guest House as we learnt later).We were greeted by a young boy, Maheswar.His eyes were bright and his lips bore a coquettish smile.He led us through a large hall.Lo and behold! We were standing by a fairly large water body.Cool breeze blowing over azure blue water created gentle waives which broke into white surf on the bank.Across the vast expanse of water stood a green cover of casuarina and cashew plantations.This was the Tampara lake extending over an area of about 10 sq km (10 km long and 1 km wide).The sight was amazing.Maheswar enquired if we like to try the paddle boat ride or water scooter.Yes, all of us spoke at a time.I was a little scared about the safety matter while riding the scooter.Maheswar assured us that he and his colleagues have been trained in water sports and will be with us.He also gave us life jackets and told us that it is essential and also mandatory.We followed his advice and got on to the scooter.It was an exciting experience.When we reached the other side of the lake, we were asked if we would like take a trek of about 2 km through the cashew plantation.If we did, we were told, we shall be at the beach.A beach! We were surprised.Yes, Maheswar said.It is a fantastic beach on the Bay of Bengal .We took the trek and found that Maheswar was right.It was a wide beach with white sand.The surfing waves were inviting.I wished if we were prepared for a swim or a sea bath.We were thirsty and were looking for some water or soft drink.Maheswar’s colleague was right there with the same.However, he told us that they have just started the Boat Club and are trying to organise the visitors’ amenities on a regular basis within a few days.Back in the lake, we found a few sail boats.On enquiry, we learnt that they are the sailors from Gopalpur on practical training.We took some more rounds of scooter ride and a paddle boat cruise before we returned to the shore.It was a memorable and unforgettable experience.TOURIST INFO: Tampara is on National Highway, on the outskirts of Chhatrapur, the headquarters of Ganjam district; 15 km from Berhampur; 30 km from Gopalpur; 170 km from Bhubaneswar; and 35 from Rambha and 50 km from Barkul (both on the Chilka lake).The Tourist Office at Berhampur (New Bus Stand, 1st Floor, Ph: 91-680-2280226) will provide further information and assistance.