Garh Panchkot Circuit Tour
Tourist places across Purulia got two major circuits to cover – Ajodhya and Garh Panchkot. We visited Ajodhya circuit in December 2016 but had to wait for the Garh Panchkot circuit tour till March 2017 due to upcoming seminars. Right after the seminars were over, we started planning for the trip. At the very beginning, we were mere a group of four students (myself with Krishna, Subhayan, Palash) but finally, more people (Prasanta, Falguni, Manoj, Saptarshi and Monimay) joined us. I found necessary details on itinerary & cabs from Indiamike whereas, googled for accommodation options. Finally, we were all set for a 2-day weekend trip to cover the circuit (Joychandi hill-Banda deul-Telkupi-Garh panchkot-Panchet) along with Maithan.
We had to start by mid-night and hence, planned for an early sleep. But after dinner, we started playing cards until our cab-driver called. We reached Kharagpur junction right away and caught the train (HWH-CKP Passenger) by 1.50 AM. Being a passenger train, it cost us Rs. 100 per head for the journey.
Soon after the tickets got checked, we retired at our berths.
We wake up early to disembark at Adra junction by 5.40 AM. When we reach Adra, the sun just rose.
Afterwards, we called the auto-driver Raju Singh (9563372098) we booked for the day’s trip.
We met Raju da, discussed the places-to-visit while taking tea at a stall suggested by Raju da himself. The tea was amazing. We started to believe that he knows the circuit like the back of his hand. We started our journey by 6.30 AM towards our first destination – Joychandi hill. It is located at a distance of 20 minutes from Adra and is considered a popular tourist attraction for rock climbing.
Joychandi hill stands with 3 other hillocks and comprises 2 temples on the hill-top. We had to climb 486 stairs to visit the temples and the sun was not that hot. So, we started without making late.
Just before reaching the hill-top, there is a desolated and almost-shattered tower.
Finally, we reached the hill-top and visited the temples.
The view from the hill-top was ecstatic. We spent some time there taking photographs.
The panoramic view of the temples and the surrounding hillocks were amazing.
We climbed down soon and started again. We reached Raghunathpur and took breakfast at a road-side stall. Over breakfast, we discussed further tracks to hit. I desperately wanted to visit Banda temple and Telkupi first but, Raju da wished to visit the contemporary trails. However, finally, we decided to move towards Banda temple. We started from Raghunathpur by 8.00 AM via Mangalda-Mautarh-Cheliyama villages.
We reached Banda by 10.15 AM. Banda temple is located at a solitary abandoned hamlet called Banda. The Temple, made of sandstone, is richly decorated and datable to 11th century AD.
After Banda, we went to nearby Mautarh Kali temple.
After visiting the temple, we moved towards Telkupi. The way passed via very narrow village-paths and it would be difficult for a Sedan or SUV to follow this trail.
After driving for another hour, finally, we reached Telkupi by 10.30 AM. It was located in the furthest corner of the village towards the backside of the Panchet Dam. Telkupi was one of the four Jain temples sites Purulia got. This temple was part of a series of 10 temples, 7 of which got shattered with time and 2 got under Damodar river. Motorable road was ended and hence, we had to walk for about one Km through grasses and mud to reach the temple.
Due to the presence of water lands, the place was filled with cranes and herons. Some fishermen were busy catching fishes where some herders were busy feeding their cows and goats.
Although Telkupi temple may not be a popular one, I personally would ask for better preservation and maintenance policies for any piece of History from Government bodies. I was greatly disheartened when I saw local people putting cow-dung-cakes over the walls of the temple.
After visiting Telkupi, by 11 AM we started moving towards Garh Panchkot. By 12 PM, we reached Panchkot village. The village paths with the Panchkot hill in the backdrop was looking beautiful.
Garh Panchkot has some ruins of the fort the kings of Panchkot built during 1600 A.D.
We ordered our lunch in a way-side stall and in the meantime, we opted for a walk to a temple the hilltop. The shop-keeper helped us in finding a guide. Our guide was a boy of around 12 years old.
After climbing up the hill for about half-an-hour, we reached the temple. The temple got no idol, but full of bats. It has four gates in four directions to enter.
Another 30-minutes-walk took us to a place where we were expecting a falls but, we found a creek. This place created a nice tree-shade and we took rest after walking uphill for about 1 hour.
We climbed down soon to the stall for lunch. We took rest for a while followed by lunch. After lunch, we started again by 3 PM towards Panchet. We reached Panchet by 4 PM but, as we needed to reach Maithan by evening we couldn’t do boating at Panchet. We just relaxed for a while, took some photographs and moved towards the Snake park.
From Indiamike, I knew that snake park is a place Raju da insists to show. It is located in Panchet colony and comprises various snakes along with some other animals. We took the entry ticket for Rs. 20 per head and entered.
The snake park primarily kept various snakes rescued by Mr Mubarak Ansari. He informed us with basics for handling, behaving with and preserving snakes.
One can fulfil their wish of photographing with these snakes as they wish. One of my friends, Krishna asked for a small python in his neck. They charged him with a meagre amount of Rs. 20.
Afterwards, we moved towards Maithan. We had booked three rooms for nine of us at Hotel Maithan (Phone: 086410 72212). We finally reached the hotel by 6.30 PM and confirmed booking at the hotel for Rs. 1500 for the three rooms. It was time to say good-bye to Raju da. He charged us Rs. 1700 for the whole day’s trip. Afterwards, we settled at the hotel rooms busy getting baths and surfing the Internet (as Hotel Maithan got free Wi-Fi).
After bathe, we ordered dinner at the hotel and got outside for snacks. In a nearby stall, we took tea and veg-pakora. Afterwards, we came back to our hotel rooms and spent the evening playing cards. By 9.30 PM, we finished our dinner with roti and chicken curry. Soon after dinner, we retired to our beds as we were tired.
I asked everyone to wake up by 6.30 AM and get ready. But, after a tiring trip, we had on the first day, it was hard. Finally, all of us got ready by 7.30 AM. We took our breakfast at a road-side stall and went for boating from Maithan boat ghat.
The boating ghat at Maithan provides facility to do boating in a paddleboat, country boat and speed-boats. The price-list is here.
We opted for a country-boat to fit with the tour options and number of people we got. They generally take Rs. 500 for 8 people and according to this, they charged us with Rs. 550. We had to wait for a while as the boatmen did not come.
Finally, we started boating at 8.30 AM. It took about half-an-hour to reach our destination Sobuj deep (Green isle).
The island was nicely decorated with several seating options, slip and slides etc. we enjoyed spending time over there and took photographs.
With the vicinity of water and nature, we got busy with throwing pebbles in water.
After enjoying the green isle for about 30 minutes, we started returning. We saw other people coming for the island at their country and speed boats. The speed-boat did not stop at the island, just took a round of it and returned to the base. The boatman asked for a little extra money for showing another island, known as ‘Titanic‘. But, we were not interested due to the scorching sun.
Finally, we returned to the ghat. The boatman was happy with a tip of Rs. 30. We came back to hotel, took bathe, got ready and checked out. We visited nearby Kalyaneswari temple and then took a bus to Asansol bus stop. Near the bus stop, we finished our lunch followed by lassi at Hotel Midos. The food was low-quality and expensive. We took a bus again to reach Asansol station, but it was walking distance.
We had our returning train ASN-KGP Passenger by 5 o’clock in the afternoon and hence, we again started paying cards at the platform where the train was expected to come. The train came in scheduled time and we set for our campus.