It was a Sunday morning in the month of January 2014; I was enjoying a cup of tea with newspaper at my hand. Last year I saw Chander Pahar movie at INOX, Kolkata. The scenes of jungle travel, expedition, wandering beasts are still afresh in my mind. I suddenly spotted Lattu pahar of Simultala in News papers. It’s close to Deoghar. We are desperately looking for 2-3 days break at hilly place very close to Kolkata. I heard knocking sounds at the door, my friend Dhukuda came in and joined the tea party. He suggested to go to Deoghar . It’s a perfect place to enjoy pilgrimage at Baidyanath Dham and Satsang Ashram and at the same time enjoy hilly rides across Trikut Pahar , Tapovan . You can enjoy jungle ride (to be precise: riding through jungle like bushes) outside Deoghar town.
So we got ready to set out for Deoghar Travel:
Before Deoghar tour, I had a notion that it’s a place famous only because of Satsang Ashram ( Satsang deoghar) , but this is not true . Main traction of this place is Baidyanath Dham mandir. Deoghar is famous for the Baidyanath (Shiva) Jyotirlingam temple that local people call Kamnalingam Temple.
Why Deoghar is famous and why you should go there?
Deoghar (also called Baidyanath Dham) is located in Jharkhand and it’s 310 km away from Kolkata and famous for most revered Jyotirlingams .
1. Deoghar is very close to kolkata and well connected via roads and rails
2. It has very good pilgrimage environment. In fact the holy environments at Baidyanath Dham and Satsang deoghar will make your mind fresh.
3. Surrounding landscape is dotted with small hillocks and forest
4. Very good weather (esp. November to February) and you can get many options for hotels and sightseeing.
Before coming here, I was searching for Deoghar blog, but I could not locate any suitable resources except some information from wiki.
So this’s my small initiative to share my experience…
We have planned to travel Deoghar by train. There are many trains from Kolkata crossing Jashidi junction, the nearest railway junction from Deoghar .
If you plan to travel by train from any major railway stations in India, then you have book train reservation up to nearest big junction Jashidi (Jashidi Station Code – JSME). From Jashidi you can reach Deoghar by auto Rikshaw or private car. Deoghar is just 6 km from Jashidi and well connected by very good road and rail. There is some shuttle train service between Jashidi and Baidyanath Dham (Deoghar) station, but those very less frequent. So it’s better to go by Auto or Car.
Here are few train information from Kolkata (Howrah /Sealdha ) .
Deoghar train timings – Kolkata to Deoghar train
Deoghar to Kolkata train
Our journey to Deoghar .
We have booked our ticket in Akal Takht Express and departure time is 7:40 am from Sealdah , but our train started late by 3 hours .
Our journey was smooth and we reached Jashidi around 4: 45 pm. Then we took footbridge to reach platform No 1 and finally took share Auto for Deoghar.
From Jashidi you can take either auto or private car to reach Deoghar . Since Deoghar is 6 km from Jashidi , it’s better to take auto . We took shared auto cost Rs. 10 per head. Private auto charge you around Rs 100. (While coming to Jashidi , we reserved Auto for RS 100 ) .
We reached Tower chowk at Baidyanath Dham in 25 min and informed our auto driver to show few good Deoghar hotels.
Where to look for hotel in Deoghar?
We had a list of many Deoghar hotels from wiki travel. So we checked few hotels by that list at Tower chowk area. We first went to Hotel Mahadev, it’s an expensive hotel, they charges above RS 2400 for double bed hotel room. Then we checked few more good hotels along Deoghar station road. Finally we checked in Hotel New Grand Hotel. This is a very good, neat and clean hotel. It had both ac and non sc rooms. It being a clod season, we took non ac room at Rs 800. (prices are seasonal in nature )
Deoghar hotels booking tips:
Along the Deoghar stations road and Tower chowk area, you get at least 20 -30 good hotels. I have found many budget and luxury class hotels there and room fares ranges from 400 – 2000. If you come here in December or January except holidays, then you check 2 -3 hotels and get the best deals.
Day 1 travel plan:
Earlier we had a plan to visit Satsang Ashram in the evening. But we reached Deoghar late at 5 pm. So after taking bath at hotel, we went for walking in Tower chowk area . We tested local snacks esp. egg rolls, Jharkhand’s special fried chops and super special malai tea . If you are in Deoghar, you should try malai tea at Tower chowk area.
After some brisk walk, we finished our dinner and visited nearby Hanuman temple. We finally came back hotel and went to bed for next day sightseeing.
Day 2 travel: Deoghar sightseeing
Today is sightseeing day (9TH January 2014). We have booked a car for sightseeing.
1. Satsang Ashram: this is our first location. It’s 4 km off from tower chowk. This is a very nice place where you can spend 1-2 hours. We have seen prayer house, museum. Inside museum you can see exclusive collection of items used by Sri Sri Thakur Anukulachandra . There is a small zoo inside. We have found Kids Park and visited Samadhi place of Sri Sri Thakur.
From our experience, you can plan 1-2 Hours here. This is really a very nice place to enjoy transcendental bliss and peace.
2. Nava Durga mandir
It’s close to Satsang Ashram .it’s a small Mandir and has very holy environment . You can spend maximum 15 min here and keep some time for some other good spots.
3. Naulakha Mandir
This is an old temple locate outside Deoghar . You can locate this big and old temple on the way to Topovan . It looks lonely and sad as if waiting for exit from history . Lack of maintenance puts patched over its historic glamour. We spend about 20 minutes there. We located a Narmada Kunda just opposite of the temple. Pujaris are staying in quarters close to that Kunda . We spent some time there and move to our next spot.
4. Prabhu Jagadbandhu Ashrama – This is located 4 km from Deoghar , comes on the way to Tapovan, just close to near Charki Pahari crossing.
We really enjoyed our half an hour stay in a cool, pristine environment. You can get peace while watching beautiful stone crafted Temple and spending time with monks and other ashramiks.
This is a good place for mental peace and photography is strictly prohibited. We managed took photos from outside campus.
This is the 3rd best spot. You can again plan 1-2 hrs tour here. : It is located 10 km from Deoghar and has a Shiva temple , called Taponath Mahadeva .
Topovan has very rich story. So we have taken a guide. There are many places to see. It has dark cave where Ravana performed siddhi to satisfy Shiva so that he could take the lingam to Lanka. Hanuman had come here and broken the Tapashya of Ravana . Here Mahavir Hanuman opened the rocks and showed his statues. But these are all legend.
We have seen a temple with Shiva lingam along our journey to Hilltop, local said it’s emerged on its own.
Balanand Brahmachari used to meditate here. On the top of hill, we have seen his meditation room and a small cave where he kept a tiger. After 12 years of sadhana , he got blessing of God and Siddhi (success through penance) .
At Topovan , Beware of monkeys, you should take a local fruits packet and give it to Monkeys otherwise they will chase you. It looks monkeys there are trained by local fruits sellers. We took one packet for Rs 10 and gave it to monkey. And they were happy and allowed us to see Topovan pahar .
Our guide explained us nicely all legends. I do not know whether they are true. But it suits that environment. I have given him 30 % bonus. Guide price various from Rs 80 to 100. If you love history, then it’s worth to spend money to take a guide.
6. Trikut Pahar.
After Tapovan , we started for Trikut Pahar . Trikut Pahar situated about 22 km from Deoghar . You can take main road from Deoghar to reach this place.
But we have taken a road directly from Tapovan to Trikut pahar .This was an awesome journey. If you like to enjoy journey through small forests and village type environment, then take this route. On the way, we have seen solar plant and driver informed this is the main source of electricity in this area.
After little km drive, we have seen a small village and local boys are looking at us. Suddenly we saw our road is closed ahead because of road repair work. Driver told us not be worry. He then took a jungle path, it wad muddy path. We could see the bushes around. It looks like a mini jungle journey. Driver is a local people, so he knew the road. After 1-2 km ride through jungles, we finally took the main village road to Trikut . It was really a good journey through jungle and local village.
This village road finally took to us to Main road connecting Deoghar to Trikut Pahar . Then we saw Trikut pahar from few km distances. Roadside milestones shows it is 4 km away . Driver warned us about local guide. While taking turn from Main road toward Trikut pahar road, a guide boarded our car from main junction with a hope that we could take his service.
We reached Trikut pahar at 1:30 PM . It was awesome view. We immediately went to ropeway. Each ticket cost us Rs 80 for 1 hour stay at the hill top. It was 7 min ropeway journey to the hill top and we have taken many Trikut Pahar photos.
When we came out from ropeway on the hilltop, we got confused as there is further information . Only few local youth were posing as the guides chasing us to subscribe their services.
Nothing solid there to explore on the hill top. Ropeway Company gave us only 1 hr to spend time there. They charge us only to take to hill top. But not a single guidance or boards are there to guide tourists. Local youths misguided us. We finally took road to the downward right based on our judgment. We see awesome views of three peaks of Trikut Hill. Some monkeys were looking at us with a surprise and a baby money pulled my trousers (very politely), but they are good than local youths ( guides) .
While coming to ropeway terminus for return journey, we notices that we should have taken left and took upslope path. As we could have seen better views there.
What I feel as a tourist, government or ropeway company should put information boards at the hill top. If you charge Rs for guide, it’s ok. You can club it with ticket so that tourist can get better services. You can employ local youth on contract and performance basis.
You can spend 1 -2 hours at this place. It was 2: 30 pm when we finished our trip.
Then we headed for lunch. Driver took us to a very good Maa Durga Dhava. It offers very good foods at competitive price and serve foods in a small hut type lunch cabin. You can see the Trikut pahar on the back.
7. Ramakrishna Mission
Our next destination was Ramakrishna Mission. It remains open between 9 AM to 11 AM and 3 – 5 PM every day except Monday. Its academic environment, green campus, great monument made us spells bounds. The best part was to visit museum. You should not miss it. You may be on a hectic sightseeing tour; still you must visit this place. It shows different cultures, old architecture, idols from 600 AD, and many glories memories of mission. It’s really worth to spend 15 min inside. Then you see a small zoo inside.
8. Nandan Pahar:
This was our last spot. It’s a small hill located 3 Km from Deoghar. If you are travelling with kids, then you can keep at least 45 min for this place. It’s a small hillock and there is a small park on the hill top . An entry fee is Rs 5 per head. You can find boot house, ghost house and toy train taking you on a ride round the hill. We also enjoyed ride on a jumping frog. There is a boating facility in downhill lake.
You can see ariel view of Deoghar from this hill top and enjoy beautiful sunset behind the Nandan pahar .
Day 3 Travel: Visit to Baidyanath Dham Mandir
As we had reached late at Deoghar on the first day, we had planned another long trip to Simultala on day 3. We planned to visit Lattu Pahar . But local people informed it’s not safe to go there in a single family. So we canceled this trip.
No problem! We have kept sufficient of time for the best spot of Deoghar travel : Baidyanath Dham . It’s very close to tower chowck and located about 300 meter from our hotel. So we reached there on foot. We took panda to give Puja to Shiva temple.
Legend says Ravana kept Shiva lingam here while taking it Lanka. Then lingam got fixed to ground. Ravana got angry as he couldn’t take it Lanka. He punched hard on the lingam so that it should go inside to Patal . Because of that punching pressure , Shiva lingam got flattened . We have given Puja in the main Shiva temple. We have touched that lingam and offered our Puja. We also offered Puja to Maa Durga ( Parbati Temple ) just opposite to Shiva temple . Pandas were very cooperative; they guided us all the way. We have spent 2 hours there.
2. Enjoyed special foods at Deoghar!
If you are at Deoghar, you should miss the following foods:
A . Malai tea- you shouldn’t miss it. They give milk tea and put cream on it. You can have good Malai tea near Tower chowck. I am fond of tea . So I took 2 – 3 samples from various tea stall. The best one was from a tea stall neat Baidyanath Dham station. They put lots of cream on tea
B. Peda- you can get it from many stalls near Baidyanath Dham Mandir . We purchased 1 kg Peda from a stall. While purchasing peda, we talked local shop owner, he informed many Bengali were there in Deoghar and lots of them now moved out of Deoghar. We also saw how pedas were made.
C. Tilkut- you can get this from many local sweet stalls on the way to Baidyanath Dham road . It’s a good experience to see how local people make tilkut We took 2 packet after a test trial at local shop .
3. Eating out at Deoghar
There are many restaurants near tower chowk in Deoghar . The best vegetarian restaurant is hotel Neelkomal . It serves very tasty food and at reasonable prices. I really enjoyed their foods. There are few Bengali restaurants and many non -veg restaurant. We have tasted Chinese foods from our hotel restaurants. It’s a bit expensive but good in taste.
3. Best time to travel to Deoghar : Deoghar train timings
Best time is: December- January, very cool weather. (You can also plan your journey in between September to February
You can enjoy both foods and sightseeing.
Time to avoid this place: If you plan to come to Deoghar just for travel , then better to avoid Sawan Mahina (June- July ) . Because during this time , millions of devotees come to Deoghar for Baba Baidyanath Dham Darshan. In fact, this is summer season. So it is better not to come this time for Deoghar tour .
Have I missed anything this time?
I had a plan to visit Simultala tour, especially planning to visit Lattu pshar and few other places. I was late to book the car and we were a single family. This was a jungle path and very remote area. So we canceled the trip. But next time I will try this spot.
Our three days tour was over on 10Th January 2014. On 11th January 2014 we took Jan Shatabdi exp from Jasidih for Howrah.
I am finishing this blog while travelling by this train. Our train is now reaching Madhupur . I have placed an order for a cup of tea. I look through the window, vast landscape of Jharkhand is passing by, distant hillocks are waving their heads, telling us goodbye. I take 3 days’ beautiful memories in Deoghar with me for ever…