It’s a cool December week end; we are planning for a week end trip during Christmas Holidays. We have already covered many tourist places in and around Kolkata, so this time we have selected Mukutmanipur .It’s a nice weekend gateway tucked away by 235 Km from Kolkata.
This time we have planned to visit that place by Express Train Aranyak express. We boarded train from Santragachi at 7:45 am and reached nearest big station Bankura by 11:35 am .You can reach Mukutmanipur either by train or bus . I suggest you go by Train.
From Bankura , you can reach Mukutmanipur by Bus or Car . We have taken private Taxi ( fare RS 800 ) . Since we come here without prior hotel booking and this is the top tourist season (December 25-1 January) , we have given some tips to driver to search suitable hotels . Finally we managed to get a cottage in Hotel Amprali , This is very close to dam area.
Our trip to Mukutmanipur :
Day 1 : Mukutmanipur – Jhilimili forest trip ( on 30Th December .2015 )
Since we are 4 family members, we have taken private taxi for Jhilimili trip . This is half day drip. Taxi charged us Rs 1000. We have taken route though Ambika Nagar route. On the way we have seen Maa Ambika Temple in Bazar area .
It was a 30 km journey, on the way we have seen tribal village , nicely decorated ( painted ) mud houses along the road .
After 18 km drive from Mukutmaniour , we entered in Rani Bandh area . It’s a small tribal town and sorrunded by jungle . From here you can visits to tourist place located deep inside the jungle . First is Talbagicha Dam and second is Sutan . We have chosen Talbagicha Dam for its scenic beauty .
Talbagicha Dam : : We have taken left turn on way to Jhilimili . Jhilmil was 5 km from this turn . Then we entered a deep forest . It was 3 km drive through forest and reached Talbagicha . It was really a awesome place . It’s a natural dam covered by hillocks and lush green forest . Ideal for a day picnic . We spent 1 hours there. It was so serene that we could not sense how the tine has been passed by .
Jhilimili : After this Dam visit , we took road to Jhilimili and on the way we have seen forest and finally reached Jhilimili town . It’s again surrounded by hills and deep jungle. We have seen 3 view points while coming back from Jhilimili . We have seen nice aerial view of Mukumanipur view from Baro mile view point.
Drving along the hill road toward Mukutmanipur was awesome experience. Then we reached plane area in 30 min drive .
Parashnath hill : Now our next destination is Parashnath Temple . You can reach this place by boating or local rickshaw . We have climbed the Parashnath hilll and on the hill top we have seen shiva lingam . From here you can see the awesome view of Mukumaniour dam. Our 1st day car trip ended after this visit .
In the evening, we have visited dam and observed sunset over the same . At the dame gate , you can book rickshaw for evening ride along the dam . We are sitting their and sipping coffee and enjoying evening at Mukutmanipur .
2nd Day trip at Mukutmanipur :
This is our second day: 31st December 2014 , we planned for Bishnuour tour , but it was postponed due to local tribal bandh . So we booked a local boat trip. Being the last day of year , It was supposed to be a crowded picnic place , but because of bandh Mukutmanipur was less crowded and we managed to get a good deal for boating at Rs 350 for entire 3-4 hours boating. Boating in Mukutmanipur dam covered 3 places : Pareshnath temple , Deer park and Mohana . All are nearby places . We took some snacks and get onto board .
Bonpukuria deer park : SO our destination is Deer park located on an island in the middile of the Mukutmanipur dam called Bonpukuria Mrigadhaba . It was 30min boat ride. From island we took a motor rikshaw ( they charged Rs 150 for to and fro booking ) for 2 km jungle ride to reach deer park . You can reach there by walking and enjoy mini forest walking. We are lucky so that we saw deers in the forest. We spent 30 min there and came back boating ghat . We have noticed Suma type car for big families .
Mohona : From this island you can see the mohona of Kangsabati and Kumari . It was 10 min boating to reach near mohana . From here you can’t see kukutmani pinic spot as it was behind the turn of the dam . You can see Pareshnath temple from here . After 10 min boating near Mohona , we set out for our last boating trip to Pareshnath temple .
Pareshnath temple: We have already visited this place through road . But this time it is different route as we are approaching this place through water route . We get off at dam bank and climbed dam slope and hill to reach the temple. It was a awesome trip from Deer park island to Pareshnath temple . From this place we retunred back to sonajuri dam .
Tips: From Pareshnath temple , you can book boating for only deer park ( to and fro boating price ) .
Day 3 trip: Our New Year trip to Bishnupur : 1st January 2015
Our travel to Bishunupur
Today is 1st January and the last day of our 3 days week end trip. I could not lay on the bed as picnic party started coming into picnic place at Mukutmanipur and they declared their presence by playing song in high baritone and we can it right here on the bed . We packed our luggage for checkout. We put our luggage in hired car. Our plan was to complete temple darshan in Bishnupur and they boarded train for Kolkata from Bishnupur station.
Bishnupur is about 60 km from Mukutmanipur . If you stay at Mukutmanipur, then you can visit Bishnupur same day and come back.
On the way to Bishunupur , we stopped at Khatra town for breakfast . It’s the same way taking us to Bankura station . After a 10 min drive , we take road at the right towards bishnupur. it was first January ( new year Day ) , we are watching the whole festive season along the way as many picnic party crossing us and heading towards Mukutmanipur and we are off to Bishunupur. After few km ride we entered jungle area . It was an awesome experience to cross the long stretch of jungle . We asked driver whether any chance here to meet any jungle beast . But my family members reminded me that we are for bhagaban darshan ( God Visit ) , not jungle safary .
On the way, we saw a forest park, but we couldn’t stop there. If you have time, please spend 30 min there .it was serene and thrilling jungle environment. In next one and half an hour time we reached Bishnupur . It was about 2.5 hours relax driving from Mukutmanipur to bishnupur .
History of Bishnupur
Bishnupur was a kingdom of Mallaya dynasty .As per legend , Mallaya kings originally hailed from Jai Nagar kingdom near Brindavan . Mallya raj Jagamallya established this Bishnupur kingdom and he set up first Mandir Mrinmayee temple in 997 A.D.. Mallya Raj Birhambir was influential king and he took baishnav relegion from Sri Nivas and established Vinshu Mandir Rashmancha in 1600 A.D.. Afterward many Mallaya kings built many maundir in the town .
It was all about the brief history of Bishnupur. We were going through the guide book. Driver told us we reached our first Mandir Rasmancha..
1. Rasmancha : King Birhambir established this in 1600 A.D. .We took ticket Rs. 5 /- per head from here and keep this ticket as you need to show this at other temples . It’s a unique infrastructural combination of pyramid and our own Hindu temple. Top part is built with bricks and base built with makra stone . There is a beautiful lawn before the temple. We entered the temple with torch as if we are watching mummy return movie. But it’s small structure. Still I feel this is the top 3 temple in Bishnupur.
2. Madanmohan Temple : it was built by Mallaya king Durjan Singh in 1694 AD. Our driver took us to this spot through narrow road passing through Shakhari market . I found it also in top 3 temple in Bishnupur . Whole mandir is decorated with beautiful sculptures of animal, krishnalila , ten avatars of lord krishna . If you reach early there you can offer puja to God Madon Mohan.
3.Shyamray temple: This beautiful terracotta temple was built by Mallaya king Raghunath Singh .it’s popularly known as Pachchura mandir . We have found mastery of terracotta work is beyond our explanation. As per local guide we have found four lines inscription on the right facing wall of the temple.
Guide pointed a Gumgarh while entering into this temple, it looks intimidating as if it was a testimonial of old style torture house. But guide informed that it was used for storing water as historian found many water pipes of terracotta near this site.
4. Other Important temples : Jor bangla temple : this place you can find 4 popular temple in a single place and they are situated 50-70 meters apart from each others .
a. Jor bangla temple : it was built by Mallaya king Rraghu Nath Singh I in 1655 AD. It is popularly known as Krishna Rai Mandir . We spent 10 min here .
b.Radhashyam temple : This was built by Mallaya king Chaitanya Singh in 1758 AD. This temple has a nahavat khana at the entrance of temple . As per historian, sahanai and other local music were played here. Temple sculpture is good and we have found small lanterns shops here . Bishnupur is famous for this lanterns industry.
c. Radha Lalijiu temple : we have identified this at a corner of a big playground. This Radha Krishna mandir wad built by Mallaya king Virsingh in 1658 AD.
d. Big and small stone gate. We have found big gate at the other end of the playground. It was used as a northern entrance of Bishnupur fort . There was a place for army to position with armours .we have also seen small gate and stone chariot.
Our second phase trip was over. We took some rest with juice and snacks.
5. Lalbandh ( Lal Lake ) : After snacks break , our driver took us to this lake . It was used for storing water .it is just a simple dam, not much worth to spend time here , though it has some history of Lalbai and king Raghunath Singh II. I don’t find it much interesting.
6. Dalmadal canon : As per history , it was used to drive out bargi ( maratha invaders ) by King Bhaskar Rao in 1742 AD. Its length is 3.8 meter and diameter is 30 cm.
In 1919 British raj put this canon on a podium for tourist visit. Mallya had many canon, but British has most of those from Bishunupur.
7. Chhinnamasta temple: it’s a temple sans terracotta work and made of marble and built in 1973 by Krishna Chandra Gui from Medinipur .we found it recent temple and don’t find any good history behind it. So stayed some time here . You can offer puja here .
After all these dashan , we visited nearby terracotta shops and purchased some artworks and finally headed to Bishnupur station for Kolkata Train .
Some tips for travelers in Bishnupur:
1. You get many hotels in and around Bishnupur
2. You can stay in Mkutmanipur and travel back to Bishnupur for sightseeing . I feel if you come to Mukutmanipur during peak season , you should book in advance as there are only 6-10 good hotel in Mukutmanipur .
Few Mukumanipur hotels for pleasant stay are :
- Ahla Lodge ( This before main dam area )
- Hotel Amrapali : This is very close to dam area , we stayed here during our trip
- Hotel Aparajita
- Peerless Resort
But, I have found location of these hotels are really good :
- Hotel Green Park ( You can see it on the right side before entering Mukutmanipur Dam area )
- Sonajhuri Prakriti Bhraman Kendra
- Youth Hostel
3. Shopping ideas : We ave purchased few terracotta items from Mukutmanipur and Bishnupur :
a. Terracotta items are cheat at both location .
b. Lantern crafts : Very famous in Bishnupur . We have bargained one Lantern @40 Rs , since we are not Lantern users , so didn’t purchase that .
c. cotton sarees : We have found many cotton sarees shops near Chhinnamasta temple
d. Dashavatar card ; Famous handicraft in Bishnupur