Cyclone Phailin: Gopalpur- a scenic beach spot under spectre of death
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On a bright autumn day, this famous beach in Odisha is a tourists' paradise as the lips feel the salt in the cool breeze from Bay of Bengal and its gentle waves splash at the feet.
But on Saturday, as the sky over this village gets darker, the howling wind stronger and the waves rise higher, the specter of death and devastation looms large with most inhabitants having fled fearing cyclone Phailin' which is expected to make land fall here.
Trees have fallen right on the gates of the Gopalpur police station and on the front main road leading to the facility and there is hardly anyone to sort things out as another gust of wind and rains crashes, bringing more sturdy things down to the ground.
A narrow 'pucca' road that meanders through this village, with residential buildings flanking it, is dotted with uprooted trees, electric poles, tin sheds and all sundry items used in a household.
The beach area, which has a raised platform for people to frolic in good times, now resembles just a mound of cement with no one wandering near it.
At some distance, near a resort, a few cyclone relief personnel in bright jackets stand watching the murderous rage of the waves which they say are becoming increasingly dangerous and giant bit-by-bit.
"We are just here as a precautionary measure. We will retreat if things go beyond control," Sooraj, a volunteer of the squad, said.
The entire beach area, including black coloured fishermen's shacks, have been emptied with some curious onlookers clicking photographs of the weary look they present.
The village is dotted with a number of temples and only a few people are seen taking shelter in them as they claim themselves to be volunteers of the rescue teams.