Ahead of the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup in November, in Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha, plan a visit that’ll encompass your love for the beaches alongside satiating the hockey fanatic in you. There are many charming and pristine beaches in the state; courtesy waves of the Bay of Bengal breaking on the sandy shores of this eastern coast of India.

The beaches are mostly unspoilt and uncrowded and visiting them in the winter months can especially turn it into a one-of-a-kind experience. However, exercise some caution when on the beach, because the combination of underwater current and the slope of the land may put your life at risk. Venturing far into the sea even if you are strong swimmer and being careless about the instructions of the life guard, is totally not recommended.

These are the top beaches of Odisha you must visit to make the most of trip there:

Puri

One of the most popular and crowded of all the beaches in Odisha is Puri. Since it’s in close proximity to the  Jagannath Temple, travellers from all cross the country love to visit it. In winter especially, the town bursts at the seams because people visit Puri with the twin intentions of pilgrimage and a beach holiday. Swimming in the sea, lounging on the shores and boating are among the favourite activities here. The beach converts into a bustling night market with kiosks selling local handicrafts, unique textiles, and local street food, including the local fish and fried seafood.

Chandipur

Beach

Image courtesy: Getty

About 15 km away by road from Balasore railway station, Chandipur is a favourite weekend getaway in the inter-tidal zone. The sea recedes during low tide exposing an almost five km long shallow water beach, twice every day. Chasing the water, talking long walks, clicking photographs of red crabs and collecting driftwoods; time spent here is going to stay in your memory for a long time.

Gopalpur-on-Sea

Puri beach

Image courtesy: Getty

Around 16 km by road from Brahmapur, Gopalpur-on-Sea is a relatively less crowded beach than Puri. Once a port, it is now a great spot for enjoying the blue waves of the sea receding into the horizon and the surf washing up the shore, for watching the fishermen come in with their catch in the early morning and late afternoon, and  boating in the lagoon. Its tranquil, laid-back atmosphere makes it easier to recuperate here.

Talsari

Not far from Odisha’s border with West Bengal is Talsari beach. It’s interesting to note that people travelling to Digha (a popular beach in West Bengal), often make an excursion trip across the border to Odisha to visit the Chandaneswar Shiva Temple and then this beach further down. Hemmed by casuarina trees, Talsari is great for a dip in the sea and for enjoying picnics.

Chandrabhaga

This beach is about three km from the famous Sun Temple of Konark, remains forlorn for the greater part of the year. Largely because there is no place to stay in the vicinity. So if you are staying in Konark, pay an early morning visit to see the sunrise and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. In February-March, on the day of Magha Saptami, people come here for a holy dip.

Ramchandi

Seven km by road from Konark, Ramchandi Beach is known as a famous water sports zone. An annual surfing festival is organised here every year for the last couple of years. It’s USP is that it is largely uncrowded, so you can have your share of peace and quiet on this beach. It’s a must visit if you’ve travelled all the way to Konark Sun Temple.