As soon as you think of a beach destination in India, Goa, Gokarna, Vishakhapatnam are the places that come to your mind. You might even think of Odisha and West Bengal to go a little offbeat but Uttar Pradesh? Yes, Uttar Pradesh is home to a calm and beautiful beach, the Chuka Beach in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve area near the Sharda Sagar Dam.
One of the reasons why Chuka Beach never got the required limelight amongst tourists is the infamous Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. The tiger reserve is still unheard for many because of the overshadowing Jim Corbett National Park in its neighborhood. It is an untamed area brimming with wildlife and nature all around.
Settled peacefully amidst the verdant surroundings of thick green trees and wildlife, Chuka Beach renders splendid isolation to travelers seeking the off the beaten path. If you can relate to it, we have got you all the information about this not-so-known tourist spot in Uttar Pradesh – its discovery, places to stay, how to reach and more.
Discovery of Chuka Beach
You will be surprised to know that it was a single man’s vision to develop the area of this beach into tourist spot keeping tiger conservation in mind. Ramesh Pandey, a dedicated IFS officer in December 2002 took the responsibility to develop and promote a type of eco-tourism that will come to aid in tiger conservation. To his luck, the state government did not support with any financial aid.
Ramesh started requesting his peers to donate a small part of their salary for the project. He also invested his time in spreading ecological awareness among the villages in the surrounding areas. Soon, they also started supporting him in building his vision. The villagers are active supporters of the forest till today.
Undeterred, Ramesh continued with joint forestry management committees along with local Gram Sabhas to ensure the project will also benefit nature. He also announced that the anticipated income from the eco-tourism at Chuka Beach would be directly transferred to the committees’ bank accounts ensuring provisions to invest the money for the welfare of the villagers and the forest.
In the two years of his posting, Pandey successfully built 4 eco-huts at Chuka. After his transfer in 2004, the forest department took over his vision and continued to build the tourist spot. Chuka Beach was formally declared as a tourist spot and opened to tourists in the year 2014.
In its 5 years of existence as an eco-tourism spot, not many tourists know about this spectacular place. Why not explore this secluded beach and make a contribution to our environment?
Location of Chuka Beach
Chuka Becah is situated on the banks of Sharda Sagar Dam, on the outskirts of Pilibhit town in Pilibhit District of Uttar Pradesh. Pilibhit town is only at an hour distance from Bareily. The area falls on the Indo-Nepalese border which makes the climate here pleasant for the tourists. The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is home to wild animals like jackals, foxes, boars, wild cats, flamingos and some more varieties that you can spot while your stay at Chuka Beach.
Best time to visit Chuka Beach
The weather in Pilibhit is at its best from October through March. Summers are quite hot to explore and monsoons experience good rainfall sometimes. So for a pleasant visit, you should make your travel bookings to Chuka during the months of October through March. The place experiences moderate temperature with soothing evenings.
Things to do when in Chuka
Chuka Beach is not like any regular beach (like in Goa) where you can lay on the sands and soak under the sun. This one is a place to embrace the untouched beauty of nature and much more. The tourism department has built thatched huts which they call tree houses for the tourists. It will cost you from INR 1500 to INR 4000 for one day stay. When traveling here in a group, you can book a tree house to relax and chill together in the day as the place is not totally recommended for overnight stay. There is jungle all around, you definitely won’t want to be a snack for those wild animals!
You can allure the beautiful surrounding paddling a boat in the calm waters. The boats are another initiative by the tourism department to attract visitors to Chuka. There is also a canteen for visitors to pay a visit to. If you are interested to explore the wildlife around, you can have a skilled and knowledgeable guide and take rounds of the forest area. The villagers are the best people to guide you through the thick jungle. If you are lucky, you might as well spot a tiger!
Food to eat
There are several small restaurants in Pilibhit where you can stop for a quick bite. The cuisine offered in these restaurants mostly include Chinese, Indian, Indo-Western.
Note to Remember: The Pilibhit area lies on the India-Nepal border.
How to reach
Pilibhit town is well-connected by buses and trains and you can travel from various major cities in India. Once in Pilibhit, you can hire a car and drive to the Chuka Beach.
By Train: Pilibhit Railway Station is connected to all the major Indian cities like New Delhi, Lucknow, Bareilly and Rampur. You can hire a cab from outside the station and reach the beach.
By air: If you are an international traveler or want to take the air route to Chuka, you can book cheap flights to New Delhi and take a train from the capital to reach Pilibhit. If you want to travel by road from Delhi, it is an 8 hours journey to Chuka Beach.
By Road: You can drive to Pilibhit district as it is well-connected to various Indian cities by road and we mean good news. You can also get a bus to Pilibhit from places like Lucknow and Bareiley.
Places to stay in Chuka Beach
Though there are not many hotels and resorts in Pilibhit and Chuka Beach area, you will find few like Hotel Grand Sharda. There are a few tree houses to spend some time by the beach on a day’s visit. However, it is suggested not to stay in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve overnight. You can book hotels in Bareilly if you want to stay overnight. It is only an hour’s journey to Chuka Beach.