Odisha is an unexplored pristine part of India, from wonderful beaches to lush greenery, old forts and mountains, unimaginable carvings, Buddhist temples to caves, tribal culture and traditions and rich history Odisha has it all.
Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark was started on 14th Dec 2019 by the CM of Odisha, Naveen Pattanaik to promote tourism in Odisha. It takes glamping by the sea to a whole new level. Marine Drive Eco Retreat is located on the eastern coastline of Odisha, nearly half an hour drive from Konark Sun Temple. This festival is like the Rann Utsav of Gujarat but so much better. It was supposed to end on 31st Jan 2020 but later as the crowds gathered and Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark got exposure it was extended till Feb 14th 2020.
How to reach Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark?
The nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar and the neatest railway station with best accessibility is Bhubaneswar Railway Station. But the good news is if you stay in the tents of the Eco Retreat, hourly pick up and drop from station and airport is included.
Stays at the Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark
1. Presidential Villa
• Spread across 1,600 sq.ft.
• Two bedrooms, king-size beds.
• Private dining area and Non-alcoholic Mini Bars.
• Royal Sofa Set.
• Air Conditioning system and Inbuilt heater.
• Tea/Coffee maker.
• Cost: INR 25,000
2. Royal Cottages
• Spread across 900 sq.ft.
• Master bedroom
• Dressing room
• Flat-screen TV
• Tea/Coffee maker.
• AC and inbuilt heater.
• Cost: INR 20,000 (One Night Stay)
3. Premium Cottages
• Spread across 470 sq.ft
• A cosy room
• Tea/Coffee maker.
• Spacious front porch
• Cost: INR 14,000. (One Night Stay)
4. Deluxe Cottages
• Spread across 387 sq.ft.
• Twin bed.
• Ample front porch.
• Cost: INR 10,000(One Night Stay)
A complete corporate package (including conference facility) including a night stay for 80 pax. (twin sharing) with all other inclusions is packaged at just over INR 3,00,000.
If you are looking for budget accommodations, you can stay at hotels in Konark or Lotus Eco Resort and plan day trip to Marine drive or visit the concerts during evening.
What can you do at Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark?
- Enjoy the various adventure sports at the Retreat. They are Para Motoring, Zorbing, Archery, Rifle Shooting, Kite Flying, Cycling, Beach Volleyball. There are also water sports like Boating, Water Roller, Jet Ski and Wing Parasailing.These sports are included in the package.
- Every weekend music concerts take place. Many famous Bollywood musicians come and perform. Apart from this everyday cultural programs take place at the evening like Odissi dances, Sambalpuri folk music etc.
- You can go for early morning nature trails to the Balukhand sanctuary which is the best way to reconnect with nature.
- There is an exclusive spa for the guests to relax and enjoy your stay by the sea.
- They have an in house telescope where you can watch the moon, stars and map constellation.
- You can take sand art classes and also join the yoga classes.
What else to do other than Glamping by the sea?
As everything is included in the package they have one itinerary for 1 night/2 days and two itineraries for 2 night/3 days.
In 2 night/ 3 days you can visit either Jagannath Temple at Puri or Konark Sun Temple on the first day and on the second day you can choose to visit the beautiful temples at Bhubaneswar like Lingaraj Temple, Raja Rani Temple, Mukteswar Temple etc. You also get to see Shanti Stupa at Dhauligiri and Khandagiri Udaigiri caves. If not you can go for boating at Satapada in the beautiful Chilika Lake and spot dolphins and visit the artist village Raghurajpur. You get to see how Pattachitras are made at the artist’s home itself. You can buy beautiful souvenirs to take home.
Being a budget traveller, booking a tent at Marine Drive Eco Retreat Konark seemed a bit costly but being an Odia I felt I should at least stay there once and it was totally worth it.
My friend and I decided to go on a weekend to enjoy a relaxing day, glamping by the beach. The journey started from Bhubaneswar Railway station, since pick up was included we reached the Eco Retreat without any issues. After reaching we boarded the battery vehicles to go to the reception. We did all the check in formalities and also got welcome drinks. We found out that per tent they gave only one Parasailing ticket but they were kind enough to give us one extra Parasailing ticket.
The entrance itself was amazing, filled with colours, beautiful mermaid drawn on the sand with an welcome sign, small shacks to just chill and loads more. We had booked deluxe cottages.
The first view of the cottages left me in awe. The white tents, the blue sky, the brown sand and the dreamy sea really made the tents look like small castles in a fairy tale. Next we went into our rooms. The tents were very clean and the finish was awesome, not a single piece of cloth was out of place. The tents didn’t have any doors, they had zippers it might feel a bit unsafe at first but rest assured whole place was covered with CCTV cameras.
The bedrooms were beautiful, the rooms had TV, AC and even intercom. The bed was nicely made, there were slippers, fresh towels and a wardrobe too. There was a pattachitra hung above the bed. The lighting was beautiful, it was even more prettier at night. The washroom itself was just perfect with western style toilet, wooden wash basin with all toiletries. The tent even had a small balcony at the front to sit and relax to enjoy the calming view of the sea.
Next we decided we visit the Konark Sun Temple as we wanted to see the famous light and sound show. After having lunch we went out and there was a traveller taking people from all tents who wanted to visit Konark Sun Temple. The tickets to the temple were included and we also had our own tour guide. He explained to us all about the history and architecture of the temple. He also told us many stories and legends behind the temple. Next we went for a bit of street shopping and high tea, it was not included in our package they were nice enough to give it to us for free. Then after the sunset we watched the amazing light and sound show. It is a must see if you are visiting Konark, it happens only in winters and is closed on Mondays.
After praising the show a lot, finally we went back to our cottages. We quickly changed clothes and went to see the cultural programs. We saw Sambalpuri folk dances and had a good time. After that we went around and started exploring the Eco Retreat. We took photos at the selfie point, watched the moon and stars in a telescope, had drinks at a shack and roamed around. The music, the ambience and the people reminded me of Goa, it was nice to see Odisha government promoting all these places and trying to make people see that there is more to Odisha than just Puri.
We spent some time under the stars and finally went to our beds and called it a night. Next day we woke up early in the morning to go for the trek, unfortunately it didn’t happen as the forest guard officials were unavailable. Still we got to see the beautiful sunrise, cycled all around the tents and had a good time. Next it was time for the much awaited water sports. We did Jet Skiing, banana boat ride, speed bot ride and parasailing. It was so much fun. The people were very friendly and kept our safety foremost. Later at 1pm we checked out and went home with so many beautiful memories.
Odisha is a beautiful yet an underestimated place. I hope Odisha tourism keeps promoting Odisha and organised such festivals every year and make us proud. Trust me it’s really worth visiting. You can check out their website here.