The last Unwrecked Seaside Town — Gopalpur-on-sea

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The usually British appellation “-on-sea” already telegraphs a once bustling former existence.

Both its situation and the quality of its bathing earned it high visitation rights in the period when Calcutta was the first capital of The Raj.

A frenetically holidayed-in town and once-active port, Gopalpur was another colonial re-creation of Margate on yet another sub-tropical shore, discovered, constructed and maintained for the entertainment of a people fond of taking in sun, eating and napping on their island’s contiguous coastline.

Lasting impressions: the view from its lighthouse: the entire hamlet of Gopalpur, in the air the ghost of former caprices, the whiff of dive bars and in the day time, proper coconut cocktails, canopies and portable “gussal” khannas.

Today it’s the anonymous, splendid and yet as mythic as Alex Garland’s ultimate hideaway in “The Beach”.