Sunday, 28 December 2014

Suryalanka Where you encounter the Sand Galaxies

After the Pelican Paradise at Kolleru Wild life Sanctuary ( Click here if you missed browsing it), our next stop was Suryalanka Beach. The 170 kms drive from Kolleru through NH-5 goes via Vijayawada, Mangalagiri (known for the famous Mangalagiri sarees and dress material), Ponnur- off NH5 and Bapatla. See map below.

There are huge monolith rocks that jut out of the horizon. See the picture below taken while driving on NH-5 between Vijayawada and Guntur.  

Highway or no highway, local transportation is a rich assortment in India. See this double-decker improvisation in a lorry!

This giant statue of Lord Hanuman towers above the trees and houses along the highway.

Krishna basin is very fertile. The drive from Guntur Junction on NH-5 to Bapatla goes through paddy fields. December is harvesting time. You can see the paddy in various stages of readiness for harvesting.

Time for a photo-break, 6 kms from Bapatla. See the milestone in Telugu along with our car Tata Zest.
The beach road to Suryalanka from Bapatla sees lot of traffic. This tender-coconut vendor makes a killing. Even though located in the heart of coconut growing fields, each coconut costs Rs 35/- (same as in cities like Hyderabad or Chennai). See inset below.

 We stayed with the Air Force. The guest rooms at Surya Kutir are very well furnished and maintained. Here is the view from our room.
The beach sit-outs offer complete relaxation.

Like all beaches, the attractions are the surf, sunrise (or sunset depending on the location) and the solitude. Beaches also help you understand the meaning of horizon. We could experience all of it.

However, being a cloudy and dull day, we were not so lucky to catch the rising sun. Yet we were well rewarded with the magical hues of dawn skies. This is pre-dawn shot.
As the day dawns on the beach, it shows its colours.
 Being a cloudy morning, we could see the Sun only after it came high up!
A stroll on the beach is always most refreshing. That is Neeta and me on the beach. 

And how can it be without a selfie?

While on the beach, we observed some intricate flowery patterns on sand. Close observation revealed that these patters were made up of tiny sand balls. To give you an idea of the size of these patterns, the toe of my shoe is included in the frame at bottom left! Take a look.

Time for a close up shot.

Later research revealed that these sand flowers and sand galaxies are created by tiny sand bubbler crabs.

Sand bubbler crabs (or sand-bubblers) are small crabs, around 1 cm (0.4 in). They look like scorpions and live on sandy beaches in the tropical Indo-Pacific. The picture below is courtesy Shravan Khare from the Net.

Sand bubbler crabs live in burrows in the sand, where they remain during high tide. When the tide is out, they emerge on to the surface of the sand, and scour the sand for food, forming it into inflated pellets, which cover the sand. 

The crabs work radially from the entrance to their burrow, which they re-enter as the tide rises and disintegrates the pellets. (Courtesy Wikipedia).

See some more pictures of sand galaxies created by these tiny marvels of Nature. The intricate patterns form when the tiny crustaceans sift through the sand in search of microscopic food before gathering what's left into a sphere and throwing it behind its legs. 

Here is another sand galaxy

During low tide, the whole beach was covered with thousands of sand galaxies. See the 'dark' picture below with an inset of the sea.

Another eye-catching pattern

You can see these tiny crabs at work  in this video: 

We also saw two dead star fish on the beach. Felt sorry. But couldn't help admiring the symmetry in their design.  Nature's marvel indeed. 

After another selfie on the beach, it was time to bid good bye to Suryalanka. 

 Christmas festivities were in full swing. We saw many large size stars put up on the road side as in the picture below.
 On the return log, we wanted to stopover at Vijayawada for a darshan of Kanaka Durga Temple atop the hill. But the traffic snarl and a special darshan day earmarked for devotees by the thousands, dissuaded us from doing so. See the white gopuram of the temple in right half of the next picture. 

We end this travelogue of Suryalanka with a quote from Picasso who had once said, "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible".

Bye till the next travelogue.
Enjoy the holiday season and see you again in the New Year.

Do drop in your comments/feedback.

   - Harsh-the Ghumakkad/ 28th Dec 2014