Author Archives: gobindaroy

Santiniketan tour – a journey to feel the blessing of Kobi Guru Rabindra Nath Thakur

I have written the blog post of about “Santiniketan tour”  after 9 years of our family tour to Santiniketan in the Month of September 2009. If you plan for 2-3 days week end tour from Kolkata, Santiniketan icould be a top choice for travel lovers.

Our journey to Santiniketan – long drive experience 

We took road journey to reach Santiniketan. It was a nice driving experience in rainy morning in September. We started from Kolkata in the morning around 6 pm. Though it was September month, one round of morning rain made the journey cool.

We took National Highway 2 (NH2) to reach  Panagarh, after Panagarh we took right turn from the Darjeeling more towards Illambazaar. On the way, after crossing Illambazaar, we drove through a Sal jungles. It was 9 am. We are listening the famous song of Rabindra Sangeet. Melody of Sangeet mixed with the beauty of nature, made my car driving memorable.

After few minutes of drive, we reached Sir niketatan. We booked our stay at Poushali lodge inside the Santiniketan campus. Our lodge was located next to Prof. Amarta Sen’s house. In fact, in my knowledge, it was only lodge located right inside the campus.

Sightseeing inside the campus

We visited many memorable places inside the campus. Just to name a few,…

Campus tour:We visited many memorial buildings and exhibition centres inside the campus.

Memorable experience to spend morning time in the Amra kunja (mango gandel). My wife was singing a Rabindra Sangeet, and my little daughter Richita was dancing to that song. I  writing this blog post after 9 years, still that time, song, dancing sequence and tranquillity of green campus are afresh in my mind.

The whole day, we spent in the campus. We also visited a mini zoo inside the campus.

Upasana Griha at Santiniketan

Upasana Griha at Santiniketan (dated September 2009)

a) Amar Kutir

b) Vidya Bhavana

c) Kala Bhavana

Prakriti Bhavan Nature Art Museum

Prakriti Bhavan Nature Art Museum

 

d) Partha Bhavan

Patha Bhavana Bolpur

Patha Bhavana Bolpur

e) Sriniketan

Santinikatan Building

Santinikatan Building

Pathsala under the tree in Santiniketan

Pathsala under the tree in Santiniketan

Amra Kunja - My daughter was engaged in drawning

Amra Kunja – My daughter was engaged in drawning

 

Santiniketan mela just opposite Partha Bhavan- local studnets sold home made foods and crafts

Santiniketan mela just opposite Partha Bhavan- local studnets sold home made foods and crafts

F) Ballavpur wildlife sanctuary (Deer park)

Inside the deer park

Inside the deer park

Second day: we visited places outside the campus

1) Kankalitala Temple (The Shakti Peethas): it was about 5 km from the campus.

At Kankali Tala Mandir on 17-09-09

At Kankali Tala Mandir on 17-09-09

On the way to offering puja at Kankali Tala mandir

On the way to offering puja at Kankali Tala mandir

2) Kopai nadi: it is really awesome place for nature lover. You can walk through the nature, see the brids chattering over the tree. Spend some time near a lonely river kopai still bearing the memories of Kobi Guru Rabindanath Thakur.

Kopai Nadi , Site seeing

Kopai Nadi , Siteseeing

Khoai -Nadi -canyon

Khoai -Nadi -canyon

3) Prakiti bhraman kendra: it shows the marvellous creation of arts.

Praktiti Bhavan -Near Khoai Nadi

Praktiti Bhavan -Near Khoai Nadi

Praktiti Bhavan -Near Khoai river

Praktiti Bhavan -Near Khoai river

4) Village tour for kutir Shilpa.  I couldn’t not recollect exact name of the village. Based on the guidance from local people, we drove 30 minutes through the village road to reach that nondescript village to see the Bengal tant work in that report. It was day of Vishwakarma puja. When we reached the village, the whole area was decorated with flowers and pandel. We were tourists there, still they treated us as special guest. They invited us to have prasaad in a makeshift tent.

We spent the whole afternoon in that village, and returned to lodge before dusk.

 

Return to Kolkata

It was our last day (3rd day) in Santinikatan.

Someone told us there was tribal mela near kopai nadi on every Saturday afternoon. We couldn’t miss that chance. We waited till 4 pm to enjoy mela.

Purchasing crafts in the Tribal meal near Kopai Nadi

Purchasing crafts in the Tribal meal near Kopai Nadi

Crafts at display in the fair

Crafts at display in the fair

After mela, we are now ready for returning to Kolkata

After mela, we are now ready for returning to Kolkata

Baul song near the kopai nadi, made the afternoon nostalgic.   we left Santinekaton, it was 430pm. We started for Kolkata carrying with sweet memories of Santiniketan and Kobi Giru Rabindran Nath.

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Lucknow tour- very short tour to explore city of Nawab

It was a conference tour to present my paper at prestigious PAN-IIM conference in IIM Lucknow. Our research team from IIT Kgp started our journey from Kharagpur to board Kolkata -Lucknow Indigo flight. It was about 2 hours flight journey to reach Lucknow airport at 11 am on 14 December, 2017 (our tour was 14-17 December 2017). We reached our destination IIM Lucknow in 40 minutes car drive and checked in International hostel inside the campus.

5Th Pan IIM conference 2017 at IIM Lucknow Campus

5Th Pan IIM conference 2017 at IIM Lucknow Campus

Since, we went there for conference, most of the time we were  busy in attending relevant sessions and lecturers. Meanwhile, we roam around beautiful IIM Lucknow campus in the afternoon. By 16th December morning, my presentation got over. Now free for the  city tour. Since, Lucknow is a city of Nawab, hence, we plan to see most important historical places in Lucknow.

Beautiful IIM Lucknow Campus

Beautiful IIM Lucknow Campus

Normally, I used to read a lot about history and directions before visiting the places. But, time was limited due to conference activities. But tempo was high after I finished my presentation, as only limited time left for touring.

Some quick facts about Lucknow:

Lucknow is popularly called as city of Nawabs. Nawabi culture and foods make this city distinct from other cities in India.

It was a kingdom of nawab of Awadh.  The rulers of Awadh (anglicised as Oudh) governed the states in north India during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Nawabs of Awadh belonged to a dynasty of Persian origin from Nishapur, Iran.

The top most historical places to see in Lucknow are 

1) Bara Imambara

2) Rumi Gate

3) Chota Imambara

4) Clock towers

5) Moti Mahal

Places to enjoy and shopping

  • Lucknow kebab
  • Chikan sari/garment

Journey started at Bara Imambara 

Our team set out to visit Bara Imambara from IIM Lucknow campus. When we reached the venue, it was 12 noon. Being it Saturday, there are many school teams and picnic parties inside the premise. We entered through the mail gate, and got mesmerised to see the vast and beautiful architecture of Imambara. We took ticked and price is Rs. 50 per head for entrance to old and new Imambara, and art gallery.  So single ticket is enough to visit there top 3 locations.

Bara Imambara gate

Bara Imambara gate

At Bara Imambara, it it better take a guide. They charge Rs 150 per team of 3-5 people. But it’s  worth to spend on it. Without guide you cannot feel the history of Imambara. We took a quick tour inside the main tomb of this beautiful structure. There we found samadhi of Badshah Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh .

Main entrance to Bara Imambara

Main entrance to Bara Imambara

First guide handed our team to second guide to explore bholbhuliya (labyrinth). This located on the top of tomb. Seeing through the secret window and sensing riddle of narrow path inside bholbhuliya could made you nervous. Without using permutations and combination, our guide  narrated that there  are hundred of ways you can get stuck inside the maze.

Ariel view of Lucknow city from the top of Bara Imamabara

Ariel view of Lucknow city from the top of Bara Imamabara

While walking though narrow dark lane, guide informed us to put ear on the left side wall. We could hear that someone was whispering from different chamber in the maze. Popular proverb, “deoler kan ache” (wall can also listen your talk) was originated from here. Following guide direction, we reached on the top of the bara imambara. We took some photo session on the top. From, here you can see distant view of clock towers, Chota imambara, rumi gate. All are located in a km distance.

After coming out from bholbhuliya, we were handed over to the third guide to explore Bouli. It located inside  the bara imambara campus. In Bouli, our guide explained how if some enter through the main gate, can be captured as a image on pond located beneath the fort. We took a quick round inside Bouli.

Chota Imambara

Chota Imambara

Chota Imambara

After Bara Imambara visit completed,  we now moved to visit chota imambara. It a nice, but small  structure. Which entering, one self appointed  guide asked us: what is meaning of big metal fish near the entrance? What is the meaning of statue in the garden? What there are the purpose of  certain hooks fastened on the main gate? “These are really top secret. If you like to know you have hire me as your guide at a fees of INR 100.” he exclaimed. But, we refused take guide here.

Magnificent view of Chota Imambara

Magnificent view of Chota Imambara

When we entered  the main mosque, a young man explained history and significance of this place.  He also explained the answers of the  3 questions that the first guide asked. We gave them Rs 30 as a tip  He was very courteous.

Clock towers and rumi gate

Clock tower near Rumi Gat

Clock tower near Rumi Gat

After Chota Imambara, we walked back to clock towers and spent some time near rumi gate.

Rumi Gate -famour landmark in Lucknow

Rumi Gate -famour landmark in Lucknow

It was 4 pm by that time. We took an auto to reach the nearest junction for shopping. Lucknow is famous for chikan garments. I purchased chikan sari for my wife from Aarohi market. We finished our lunch in this area. It was 5:30 pm. We booked another OLA  cab to return to IIM Lucknow campus.

It was a quick tour. We, in fact , need more time to explore Lucknow old city and Moti Mohal etc. However, we managed to see few  important places in Lucknow in a half day tour. Hope, in our next tour we would explorer cultural heritage of Lucknow.

Why I am not taking any resolutions on the new year day!

It is a popular habit or custom among us to take major resolutions on new year day ( first January) every year.

In fact, we keep our all plans on plate to be self-approved on the new year’s day. Some of us takes 1-2 week time to plan about what resolutions to be considered for final approval on the D day.

true-funny-new-years-resolution-1-be-more-awesome-than

Photo credit: Funny new year resolutions 

I feel this habit makes me lazy to take faster decision throughout the year. Hence, this year I take a resolution not to take any resolutions on 1st January. Rather, I plan to take decision on every first day in every month.

While spending time in a new year party, one of my friends informed me that he was quite excited to take major resolutions after lot of planning. On the contrary, I informed him that I quit this habit of taking resolution on the first of January. Hence, now I am more relaxed to enjoy my time with family. Yes, my planning has been started from second January. And I have another 11 new month’s days for planning and executing my personal and professional tasks.

Happy new year wishes to my friends!

Jhargram tour – a journey to the land of Malla Dev in Junglekhand

Monsoon sets in July 2017 with full force; flood inundated in many part of west Bengal. We are not sure where to venture out during this monsoon. I feel the God makes some places suitable during manson for travellers. Jhargram is one such weekend destination, where you can enjoy the beauty of jungle, verdant villages, hillock, and waterfalls at the same place. News paper (ABP) also reported many tourists flocked to Jhragram for a short week end tour in Jhargram.

Our Journey to Jhargram though Shalboni Forest along state highway 5

Our Journey to Jhargram though Shalboni Forest along state highway 5

I also did same during this monsoon, but I have taken different route to reach Jhargram. I have planned my visit first to IIT Kharagpur with my family. And we planned Jhargram Tour from IIT Kharagpur campus. We reached KGP on 11Th August 2017 and checked in Visveswaraya Guest House. As usual, we checked Google for all possible tourist destinations in Jhargram.  In fact, I have visited Jhargram 2 years back. But this time I planned tour with my family.

We are at Visveswaraya Guest House, IIT Kgp campus ready to leave for Jhargram Tour

We are at Visveswaraya Guest House, IIT Kgp campus ready to leave for Jhargram Tour

Jhargram tour plan from Kharagpur: I have checked few travel agents. And finally, I selected four seater Swift Desire (AC) car for day long tour in Jhargram. The cab cost me INR 1900 for day long tour Jhragram.

We booked our cab for tour on 12Th August (Saturday). We made our Google Map ready. We ate ready with all possible information of tourists’ destination (known and little known) in and around Jhrakhand.  Our Journey started from IIT Kharagpur campus around 8:30 AM. After few km Journey, we crossed Nimpura area to reach National Highway 6 (NH6).  We take left towards Lodhasuli.  It was 30 Km journey to reach Lodhasuli bus station along the highway. During the journey, we observed jungle on both side. After reaching bust stop, we took right turn to take State Highway (SH5) towards Jhargram. Jhragram is about 18 km from this junction.  Driving is very pleasant through highway and view of country side relaxed our mind. On the way, we found long stretches of Shalboni forest.

We reached Lodhasuli bus stop along NH 6, from here we have to SH5 towrads Jhargram

We reached Lodhasuli bus stop along NH 6, from here we have to take SH5 towrads Jhargram

Our plan is to cover few important places inside Jhragram City first, then covers tourists places outside city. Here is the list of tourist places in Jhragram

  • Eco-Tourism Centre & Tribal Museum (outside city)
  • Jhargram Mini Zoo (Inside city)
  • Jhargram Raj Palace (Inside city)
  • Sabitri Temple (Inside city)
  • Kanak Durga Temple (outside city)
  • Chilkigarh Raj Palace (outside city)
  • Kendua village tour (outside city)
  • Medical Plant garden (outside city)

1) Eco-Tourism Centre first:  We first planned our visit to Eco-Tourism Centre as it comes before entering Jhargram city from Kolkata (Kharagpur side). But local people could not tell the exact location of this place. We are actually interested to see the Tribal Museum. I know many things are written on Internet, but when you actually look for the place and ask local people with that reference, you may not find good direction. Even our Google Map could not locate this place. Hence, we could not visit that spot. Anyway, after some search we left for the next tourist spot Jhargram Mini Zoo which is 2 Km from city centre.

2) Jhargram Mini Zoo:  It is famous for the deer park. An exclusive big area is kept only for deer park.  When we entered the park, it was raining; a peacock was spreading his wing before us. An important point about this place is that most of the animals are kept in very natural environment in the bigger cases (spaces). It’s not like zoo where animals are fighting for their own space. I mean we find this quite spacious. We spent about 40 minutes in the Zoo.

We are at Jhargram Mini Zoo

We are at Jhargram Mini Zoo

We found a peaock in happy mode in the Zoo

We found a peacock in happy mode in the Zoo

Inside the deer park, we feel that we are in the middle of jungle. Very spaicous

Inside the deer park, we feel that we are in the middle of jungle. Very spacious

(Important notes: Zoo is closed on Thursday, Timing: 9AM to 5 PM, enter fees : 20/- for each Adult)

3) Kanak Durga Temple: This my favourite sightseeing places in Jhargram. You should keep at least 2 hours for this place. This is really a nice place to hang out with your family. In my previous post Jhargram tour,  I have narrated history about Kanak Durga Temple. In this post, I have highlighted some additional information about this place.

Way to Chilkigar Kanak Durga Temple

Way to Chilkigar Kanak Durga Temple, road direction helping us amidst the jungle. From Jamboni more (on SH5) we need to take road to reach the temple

Since this our first family trip, I ensured that I would spend quality time here. There 3 important things to see in and around Chilkighar and kanak Durga Temple area:

Way to Kanak Durga temple through dense Jamboni Forest

Way to Kanak Durga temple through dense Jamboni Forest, Some sources called it Kanak Aranya

We entering Kanak Durga Temple nested in a deep jungle

We entering Kanak Durga Temple nested in a deep jungle

a) Forest with medicinal plants: We have to reach Kanak Durga Temple through a brisk jungle walk. We parked our car in parking lot. Then we started our jungle walk towards temple located other side of the jungle. From Parking lot to mandir, it’s a 300 meter journey though jungle (but nicely maintained in garden like environment) on the both side of the road, you see various types of medicinal plants and many big trees are nicely labelled. Many places you find deep jungle both sides, and many roots are coming from tree tops and winding other trees. My Daughetrs told me that this place may be perfect for shooting Hobbit movie. On the way you will cross a bridge over a deep narrow canal. If you look through, you feel like a mini Amazon basin. In fact, I would not be surprised, if I locate an anaconda near the canal. Now you understand the nice 300 meter walking experience through the forest before reaching the Temple premises.

We are entering through medicinal plant forest to reach Kanak Durga Temple

We are entering through medicinal plant forest to reach Kanak Durga Temple

Dense Kanak Aranya consitsing of medicinal plant near temple

Dense Kanak Aranya consitsing of medicinal plant near temple, my daughter looking into the forest.

b) Chilkigarh and Kanak Durga Temple: The main attraction of this place is 500+ years old Chilkighar Kanak Durga Temple. Chilkigar was a part of Dhalbhum. I have read history about this place. But as a traveller I share a very short historical description of this place. Few researchers believed that king Jagatdeo from Suryavansh dynasty hailed from Madhya Pradesh assumed name King Dhabaldeb after defeating Chilkighar’s king. He later assumed another name “Jagannathdeb Dhabaldeb”.

Old Chilkighar Kanak Durga Temple popularly called as Baramahal

Old Chilkighar Kanak Durga Temple popularly called as Baramahal

King Gopinath was a popular king in Jangle  (now called Jamboni) at that time. He got her only daughter married to Jagannathdeb Dhabaldeb. After this marriage, relationship between Junglemahal and Dhalbhum become stronger. It was a golden age of Jamboni. History narrated that Devi Durga came in dream of king Gopinath and order him to build the temple (old temple).

Old temple popularly was known as “Baramahal”. It was believed that there was stone idol covered with gold and was worshipped as kanak Durga temple. Local folklore narrated that God Chandi was kin to Kanak Durga. You may idol of God Chandi in nearby forest and she was worshipped by the local tribal.

Some quick facts  about Devi Kanak Durga temple for travellers:

Location of Temple: Kanak Durga temple is located in the Jamboni area, a Jhargram sub-division. It was known as ‘Gateway to Bengal” as it is located in border area between Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Devi Kanak Durga – is a symbol of Energy and Power. New idol is made of Kanak (gold)

Old temple made by king Gopinath, King of Jungle Mahal

Shifting of temple: Historian said that  king Kamalkanta planned to shift the temple, but Devi came in dream and oedered not to shift. Iold was there in that old temple for 300 years.

Pujari of this temple: Sarangi (Brahmin) family is main pujaro of this temple

New Temple: Another folk lore said, after a long drought in Chilikigar, there was sudden deluge in area and save the region from further prolonged draught. But deluge did not harm local population. Local aged people felt that Devi Mahamaya saved local people. And local people erected a new temple near 400 years old banyan tree. You can locate the same in temple ground.

Sacrifice of men (norobali): As per some historical account, there was a tradition of Naraboli (sacrifice of men) offered to Deity. It continued till the blood reached Dulung river (following down the temple).

Kingdom: Chilighar was a part of Samantabhum kingdom

General population: As per website update from folkgods.in, This is located in Village Dubra and general population is consists of Bhramin, and local tribal population. Though it’s part of Jhargam (West Bengal), but culturally it is close to Jhargram tribal culture.

Now Our journey experience to Kanak Durga Temple :

When we reached Kanak Durga Temple, it was 11:15 AM. We have kept about 2 hours time for this place as this is really nice place to enjoy.  This time while walking through the medicinal plant garden, we observed many labels were pasted on the various trees. This helped us to identify various types of trees.

New kanak Durga temple, recoonstructed near old mandir

New kanak Durga temple, recoonstructed near old mandir

When we reached main temple ground, we observed few small concrete shops are selling local foods and puja items. In my last visit, we found here many kaccha shops (huts) selling food items. Most of them were local people. That time, we ordered lunch in a makeshift food stall. They cooked food in their home located other side of Dulung river. They carried foods from there and served us at temple ground,

This time Mandir committee only allowed licensed few shops (about 6 shops) to sell puja flowers. Local people kept some precooked luchi-ghugni and chops as a lunch/ breakfast for devotees. They informed that temple committee does not allow any fire (for cooking) was near the temple premises. I am avid tea drinker, hence looking for tea stall. But, no sign of tea stall nearby. One local shop owner informed that I could get tea from a tea seller near Dulung river.

We located the old Kanak Durga Temple , and It’s remained in same condition as I saw 2 years back. Puja was going on in the New temple. Hence we rushed to new temple premises for Devi Durga darsan. It was really a hooly envirenemnt insde the temple and we felt relaxed and tranquiled after Devi darshan.  Mandir was closed by 12 Noon. Pujari was on a bike for retrunig to his home. Hence, visitor plan to visit this place make sure you reach before 12 Noon.

Greenery covering Kanak Durga Temple

Greenery covering Kanak Durga Temple

After puja we are free to jumgle darshan in and around the temple. As mentioned in historical accounts,  you would find many old trees guarding the temple ground. You can locate the most important big banyan tree near the near the old temple. This tree is supposed to be bridge between old and new Kanak Durga Temple.

c) Dulung river trip

When we finished the Devi darshan, I felt strong urge for tea break. On left side of the temple, you find a way taking you down to jungle path. Since I already visited this place, I guided my family to follow the jungle trail to reach the bank of Dulung river. Through a narrow step, we reached the river bank. Last time we observed a knee-deep water in the river in December. But, this is rainy season, hence river take full strength to refrain you from crossing the river. Many devotees are taking bath in the river.

Dulung river following the temple, nice view of jungle around

Dulung river following the temple, nice view of jungle around

We found a old man with a kerocine stove making tea and serving tourists. I placed order for 4 cup teas. We sit under a big tree near the river bank. While sipping the tea, we were hearing drum beats are coming from other side of the river. Tea stall owners informed that some tribal ritual was going on. Last time, we crossed the river and ventured into village walk on the other side of the rivers. As per legend, Devi Chadni temple might be nearby in the jungle. Norobali was tradition long back. Hope nothing is existing  now. I was narrating a tale of noroboli with my kids. Just to bring a sense of uncanny feeling of jungle and old rituals. Some kids from other tourists team was guzzling our story. Tea was finished by that time. Dulung river acknowledged our presence with a mind wave in the stream, It was sudden, but we found for a moment that water level was in Dulung river. It was 1:30 Pm by that time. Now time to reach temple compound on the up-slope of river bank. We come out from Chilkigar temple about 1:45 PM and boarded the cab for next destinations.

Dulung reiver bank, on the other side of the river you can enjoy village walk and bird watching

Dulung river bank. On the other side of the river you can enjoy village walk and bird watching. Last time crossed this river to walk into the village

4) ChiliKIgar raj palace: it is located 1.5 km away from kanak durga temple and located other side of Dulung river. In my last trip I missed this place. That time ee returned back from chilkigar kanak durga maandir. But after visiting this place, I felt that this is most historically rich place after kanak durga temple.

Chilkigar Raj bari located on the other side of Dulung river

Chilkigar Raj bari located on the other side of Dulung river

Main entrance to Chilkigar Raj bari

Main entrance to Chilkigar Raj bari- no description of this place. No historical account maintained here for tourists

We have kept 30 min for this place. We started for this place from kanakcdurga temple around 13:24  pm. We took the main road and turned  right . On the way we found lush green field and distant jungle. Our car took road in the down slop and crossed Dulung river over a rocky bed type bridge. Local tribal people were taking bath in the river. Herds of cows were bathing while crossing river. It was such a beautiful bucolic life; it was immediately framed in my mind. Car started ramping up upslope. After crossing this valley, we saw the main entrance of chilkigar raj place. It looked like historical monument counting it’s day before lost into oblivion. We entered into the palace ground, had 360 views of this place. Chilkigar place is just like big building showing its wounds due to negligence of local autthority. We have located a west Bengal government office placard pasted on the building facade. But there was no sign of people around. A big rath (lagannath dev rather) was parked inside a hall. In that vast complex, left side on the entrance, we found beautiful Temple, local people called it Shiva temple.

Inside Chilkigar raj bari, this temple is counting its day for geeting into oblivion

Inside Chilkigar raj bari, this temple is counting its day for getting into oblivion, jungle is threatening its presence. It is locked by iron gate. Entry is not allowed. No description of this place.

Beautiful Chilkigar raj bari temple. Local people infored me it is Jagannath Temple

Beautiful Chilkigar raj bari temple. Local people informed me that it is Jagannath Temple.

Opposite of the Shiva temple, there is a beautiful temple depicting cultural richness of jungle mahal and puri Jagannath temple.  This temple is extremely beautiful, and old architecture on this temple showed richness of the local culture. But, this is a neglected heritage side. Whole mandir is schekeled behind an iron gate. Jungle and bushed are eating its beauty. There is no signboard about this place. I checked with a local guy, that person after scratching head informed it is a Jagannath temple.

Shiv temple opposite Jaggannath Temple inside Chilkigar Raj bari

Shiv temple opposite Jaggannath Temple inside Chilkigar Raj bari

I am delighted to this temple and its architectural richness, at the same time I feel sorry to see its dilapidated condition. There much hoopla about Jhargram rajbari. But if you like history and nature, then I feel chilikigar raj palace tour experience is more fulfilling.

My honest review: Jhargram Raj bari vs Chilkigarh raj bari

In my opinion, I prefer Chilkigarh raj bari over Jhargram rajbari. WHY?

a) jhargram raj bari is like a heritage hotel. If you stay at their lodges, then you can get entry pass. Whereas, Chilkigarh raj palace is purely a natural tourist spot to enjoy moments with nature and history. Entry is free for all.

b) If you like to enjoy architectural beauty, then visit Chilkigarh raj palace, just saunter inside the campus and visit 3 temples inside. In jhargram rajbari, at most you can see a rajbari from gate and have a quick walk around a garden in front of the palace.

c) Jhargram Raj bari is located right inside the city, whereas chilkigar raj bari is located near Dulung river and surrounded by green villages.

Hence, for nature lover, I feel Chilkigarh raj palace is more suitable for tourist.

We spent about 30 minutes in this place. It was 2 pm by that time. We felt hungry and asked driver to take us to a good restaurant nearby. In fact, you would not get any dhaba or restaurant nearby. We drove another 12 km and reached Jamboni Chowck (towards jhragram) on SH 5 connecting jhargram and Lodhasuli. In fact, from this junction, you have to take 10 km ride to reach kanak durga temple. We checked in restaurant Green view (AC restaurant). Prices are reasonable, but foods are not tasty. Anyway we are traveller now. Just finished the lunch and moved for  second phase of our journey.

5) Jhargram Raj palace:  This is the second time I visited this place. Last time (2 year back), we were allowed to enter the premises, but entry is restricted now. This time security does not allow us to enter the premise. In fact, nothing to see here except just roaming around near the gate. This becomes a private hotel and it should be not publicised as a tourist destination for general tourists. I do not like this place.

Jhargram Raj bari

Jhargram Raj bari

For history about Jhragram Rahbari, read my last blog post Chilkigar tour

6) Savitri temple:  We reached Savitri temple at 3 pm. It was closed that time. So we could not enter  the temple compound. It is located near the state highway 5 and close to Jhargram city centre.

7) Kendua village:

it was 3:30 pm,  now we kept  2 hrs time for outside city tour. Our next tour is visit kendua Village and Garshalboni for bird watching and village walk (you can call it Jungle Walt). Both spots are close to Lodhasuli and located along SH 5. Many internet websites described many things about these locations. But it was hard task locate these places. As there are no sign boards, no directions,  no Google map direction. Even locals do not recognize by these names.

Way to Kendua village and medicinal plant garden

Way to Kendua village and medicinal plant garden. We are coming from Jhargram. From here we have taken right turn to reach Kendua Village and medicinal plant garden. No signboard for village and garden. Hence, we have taken local guidance to reach Garden. If you go straight, you would reach Lodhasuli more after 5 Km drive

When we asked Kendua village or Garshalboni, many locals showed a quizzical glance. But, our driver helped us a lot to find the location. . He asked many local people. Finally we located the junction from where we should take turn to reach the heart of the village.

How to reach Kendua and Garshalboni?

Trust me; there was no sign or banner to guide us. So we got guidance based on local people’s  view. If you come from kolkata/ Kharagpur side along NH 6, and you  take SH 5 towards jhargram. You just drive about 5 km and asked someone about “veshoj uddan” (local land mark) or medicinal plant garden. You find a right turn and take gramin road (concrete road) taking you towards Labkush. It’s nice road recently build under pm gram sarak jojnya prokolpo.

If you come from Jhargram side, after about 20 km car drive, you would find Shalboni forest on both sides of the state highway, then look for a big cement factory ( I feel it is Reshmi cement factory). Now you are close to Garshalboni. Ask any one for “veshoj uddan” (medical plant garden).after 200 meter drive, you would a concrete road on the left and banner placed nearby indicating it was build under prodhan montri gram sarak jojona. Take left to reach kendua village and medicinal plant garden.

8) Garshalboni and kendua village: it was a 3km drive through jungle type village environment. When we reached there, it was drizzling. Due to rain the whole environment turned into a green hub of variety of tress. Birds were twittering over the trees. Road condition was very good. When we were driving, we could not find a single person on road or in the  fields. Only nature was our company. On left, inside the deep jungle, we found a resort. But, we moved on as our target was to enjoy the nature around.

Journey through Kendua Village towrads Medicinal plant garden

Journey through Kendua Village towards Medicinal plant garden.It was drizzling outside

After 2 km  drive, we located a person emerging from the jungle. We asked about medicinal plant garden. He pointed a distant jungle and said it was behind that jungle. Since, we are new to this jungle path; we drove slowly for reaching our next destination.

9) Medicinal plant garden (Amlachoti Medicinal Plant Garden):  Local people called it vessaj uddan or Amlachoti Medicinal Plant Garden. While driving on the way from Garshalboni, we crossed a jungle and took left turn. Then we saw tourist car on the road and we asked them for garden location. The driven informed us that we already reached the location. He pointed a jungle path and told it was a entrance gate. Believe me it was just a jungle path, hardly can you trust that this path takes you to famous medicinal plant garden cultivating 100 + plants. Anyway, we took courage and entered the path. After 15 mitre walk, we found a small gate on the left. On the others side we found series of plant tray cultivating different species of plant. We found another tourist team also roaming in the garden.

Way to,main gate of Medicinal Planr garden, it was drizzling

Way to,main gate of Medicinal Planr garden, it was drizzling

It is a big medical plant garden nested in a deep jungle. It is Very well known spot among local people, but no landmark or signboard at main road (SH5) or at main gate of garden. While walking in the garden, one official asked where we are from. I told him that we are coming for IIT Kharagpur. He immediately took interest to show us variety of plants. Also he  guided us to know various species of tulsi, lemon leaf, mixed spice leaf etc. We also identify few known plant and unknown species used for treatment of various disease.

Garden official helping us to identify the plants

Garden official helping us to identify the plants

Spetakular view of Graden

Spectacular view of Graden

Suddenly, we smell of payesh (kheer) from nearby location. I hope some may offer us payesh in a while. My wife indicated that none was there for offering payesh, smell was coming from payesh plant, cultivated in a nearby location. We found many species of plant with labels for their function. After a few turn, we observed a tourist from another team enjoying musambi under a tree. I became cautious to guesstimate like payesh last time. But he indicated  a tree and low hanging fruits. He collected musambi and enjoyed fruits that under the tree. Few more tourists also joined in searching and eating fruits in ceremonious way. In fact, we have found many good fruit are lying on the ground. But we have not tried any fruits; rather we took a sampling of rare tulsi species from nearby jungle by requesting local official. It was really an enriching experience to spend such nice time ib garden located deep inside the forest. I urge you to go there to spend time with nature and know many facts of medicinal plants.

Nice labelling on each plant

Nice labelling on each plant

It was 4:30 pm and we are now ready to return to Kharagpur. On our return journey, we also stopped at Lodhasuli for tea break. When we reached Kharagpur, it was 6 pm. We stopped at Jagannath temple near Big Bazar Kharagpur. It is a very famous and popular temple in Kharagpur. About 6:30 pm,  we returned to our Visveswaraya Guest House at IIT kharagpur campus.

Jagannath Temple near Big Bazar Kharagpur

Jagannath Temple near Big Bazar Kharagpur,

Returning back IIT kharagpur with swwet memories of Jungle Mahal tour

Returning back IIT kharagpur with swwet memories of Jungle Mahal tou

Some quick facts for tourists

1) Jhargram tour: This is a very nice weekend tour or sightseeing tour from IIT Kharagpur. Jhargram is about 47 km from IIT kharagpur campus. Hence this is an ideal one day tour from Kharagpur.

2) Tour cost: We have book AC car (swift desire) for INR 1900 . Price may be about 2000 depending on season and car type etc. If you come from kolkata, it is better to check in jhargram and take car from there. In that case,  car price would be less. From jhargram, it could be a local sightseeing.

3) How to reach Jhargram? : You can reach jhargram by train or car. Many trains are running between Howrah and jhargram. Check time table on online.

4) Other tourists places in Jhargram: since I have come this place from Kharagpur, I only managed to these local tourist spots in jhargram. But if you stay at jhargram, then you can plan Belpahari tour. If time permits, I will plan my next jhargram tour to belpahari tour.

5) Best time to visit jhargram: Winter is always the best time to visit these locations. However, you can enjoy Dulung river tour and jungle trip in rainy season. But avoid heavy mosoon season. Puja vacation is the best time to visit these tourist spots in and around jhargram.

Hope this help. Please share your comments.

Thank you

Reference:

http://www.chitrolekha.com/V2/n1/11_Kanakdurga_Temple_Medinipur.pdf

http://www.folkgods.in/kanakdurga.html

http://www.jhargram.in/gallery.php?gallery=7

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amlachoti_Medicinal_Plant_Garden_Gate,_Jhargram.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c1dcZCC7_E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp9AmDaIRtk

 

Night on a stranded boat in the Sundarban forest

It was a Mokar Sankranti day (January 15, 2017). We were hopping from one island to another island in Sundarban delta during our sightseeing tour in Sunderban. I heard from local villagers that tigers are very active during this time for catching his/her pray.

Sightseeing in Sundarban -our day long tour in Sundarban Jungle 

We have traveled all the day to visit many islands in Sundarban delta like Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Do-banki camp. We have seen herd of deer grazing inside jungle, deadly crocodile taking sunbath near river bank, and distant view of Bonbibi temple near swampy river bank. We are eagerly waiting for a chance of tiger darsan. But it seemed that it is not there in our luck.

Crocodile on sea bank at Dobanki Camp

Crocodile on river bank at Dobanki Camp

In the afternoon, our boat reached Jharkhali ghat, and this was our last spot of our day long sightseeing tour in Sundarban. We have spent here about 1 hour and have seen tiger rehabilitation center, mangroves nursery cum cultivation field. When returned boat after seeing all these, it was evening 5 pm. We boarded on boat for return journey to hotel in pakhirala, our night halt in sunderban delta. Many tourists stay at Pakhirala village before going out for sunderban sightseeing.

Spectacular sunset at  Jharkhali – our boat in trouble 

We have observed a spectacular sunset on the back of deep jungle in Jharkhali. Our driver informed that our launch engine has developed some problem, and they are attending the problem. It may take some time to start. We told driver to rectify the problem first. As we need to take 3-4 hours water ride through deadly forest abound with snakes, tiger and crocodile. Our boat should not stop in the middle of the jungle. It is better to stay back for complete check up of boat. Other fellow boats departed with tourists for reaching hotel destination in Jungle Island.

Sunset in Jharkhali ghat - distant view of jungle on the other side of riverbank

Sunset in Jharkhali ghat – distant view of jungle on the other side of riverbank

We are the only boat still tugged to jharkhali jetty ghat. Our cook serves the evening tea on the boat deck. Cool breeze has started blowing and brought chiller all around. We all male members sit on the deck waiting for boat to start. Local folk song on a loud speaker is coming from some unknown destination in jetty side and reminding us petha-pully’s days in our days. In Kolkata, culture of pitha-pully on mokar sankranti is almost over. We are now at jharkhali, enjoying vicarious felling of the festival and winter chill just sitting on the boat.

Our boat journey started in night through deep jungle

It is 6:30 pm. Boat driver comes from engine room and informed that they somehow managed to repair the fault. But, he also cautioned, problem may happen again. We tell them not to be in hurry. Our boat now set out for next 3-4 hours journey through deep jungle to reach our jungle cottage in pakhirala. Dkukuda, our team member, ordered some benguni chop as evening snacks. Cook also informed that chicken rice would be served in dinner.

Our boat is sailing through river, and deep jungles on sides become more mysterious now. As if they come close to us. Driver told us not to stand on front boat deck in night. All female members have taken seats inside the cabin. We all male members sit together on the top deck and waiting for benguni and chilly chops for evening adda. A small light is lit on the deck. We sit on the deck with our second driver to listen some histories of Sundarban and any interesting stories of tigers attacks and local folklore. Hot beguni chop and chilly chops added energy in our discussion.

We are busy in evening add on top deck- stories of Sundarban made the adda more interesting

We are engrossed in evening adda on the top deck- stories of Sundarban made the adda more interesting

Boat journey experience in night through deep jungle – talking to nature and sky 

Our launch is sailing, twinkling stars are watching us from vast night sky on the mystic jungle. Some of us are looking into dark jungle for possible eye contact with wild beasts. Histories of local tiger attacks from driver made us glued to discussion.

Our boat stuck on river bed – deadly jungle around 

But, all of a sudden, we fell a sudden jerk. Some of us managed to balance to stand on our feet. All of us become alerted. What happened? We come to the side of top deck and tried to judge the fact. Our boat engine has started giving unusual loud sounds. Then, with a big jerk our boat stopped. We light our torch, and found on our utter surprise that water on both sides of our launch become muddy. Driver looks nervous. And later he informed that our boat touched riverbed because of low tide. We need to wait for high tide for more water level.

We try to gauge where we are in dark night in deep jungle. After some glances, we have realized that we are stuck up in the middle of river. On both sides, jungles are about 800 meters away. So it is not a small river. Driver told even big river in Sunderban may have low depth during low tide. Our team member head Khokada try to see the depth of river using bamboo stick. Driver hinted possible crocodile attack, if we go close to water level. Our adda on boat, still continued. However, we are looking into deep jungle to check whether we could feel any presence of wild beast. Our female members also started asking about what happened and when we would reach  safe zone. We know this place is not safe even we are in the middle of river.

Our boat started after incidence

It is about 7:45 pm, dark night rises and become more thick with cold breeze flowing over the river and jungle. After some time, we feel someone is shaking our boat. It starts undulating. Driver informs that water level is rising due to high tide ahead. We get relaxed and news is communicated  to female members in cabin as they are nervous. After, 15 minutes, out boat seems   that it gets untangled from the river bed. Driver has started the boat. We are all relaxed and some of us go to cabin for rest. Temperature dips further due to cool breeze. Hence, I feel difficult to spend more time on top deck, even though there is cover on the top deck.

Our boat stranded again near a narrow creek 

Our boat is sailing though jungle. We thought we finally got rid of the deep jungle. From the deck, we could see moon on the horizon. Few members are sitting on the top deck  to enjoy beauty of deep jungle in moonlight. All are relaxed and some members taking nap due to day long tiredness. I don’t know what time it is. Again we hear a screeching sound. And our boat is undulating due to some obstruction. This time jerking is more. We all come on the front deck. Again, our boat stopped  after big jerk. Same thing is happened again. We are again stranded. River water around boat becomes thick with mud.

We are very close to jungle – beasts are roaming 

To our utter surprise, we have found now that we are in relatively Narrow River. And our launch is hardly 20 meter from deep jungle in left side. Now we are very close to jungle. Driver requests us not to stand on front deck. Hence, we come onto top deck. Discussed with Driver why same thing is happened again. He narrated that he took shortcut through narrow river and hoping that water in high tide might have come here also. Explanation was not convincing as it is dangerous to stay in narrow river in this deep jungle.

However, we have no other choice than waiting on a stranded boat. Moon by that time appears above the horizon, and with dim moon light we could see riverbank and nearby treacherous narrow creeks flowing into deep jungle. Some unknown night birds are crying inside the jungle. We become cautious as we heard bird twitter may indicate the presence of tiger in jungle. Lady members have started loud discussion in the cabin.  Our lady team member Bela boudi lost her temperament as she got frightened and telling other members tigers is definitely going to kill us or some local looters will loot valuables. We are pacifying them and assuring them nothing would be happened. As we are very close to Pakhirala.

In fact, all members on the top deck are also nervous. It is 9 pm night. What would happen if we would have to spend the whole night here. We already feel the presence of unknown beasts roaming and watching us from nearby jungle. Anytime during night they can swim the river and attack our boat.  We are all discussing all possible outcomes and praying to god that show us path.

Something is approaching our boat from jungle side- we are nervous- what is that? 

All of a sudden, we hear some sound coming from left side river bank. Something is swimming or filing water to reach our direction. For a moment, it sends chill through our back bone. We don’t have any fighting instruments. Then how could we fight with beasts. Sound becomes clearer. From top deck, we look on to river water for any eye (may be tiger’s eye) coming close to us. Drivers also become nervous. Out two cooks are wrapping cloths on small bamboo sticks for making fire torch. We are all ready with some possible darshan (visit) of wild beast. We switched off all flight to locate eye on the river. Fire torchs are ready. We are counting each second with deep breath. It seems that time is refused to move ahead. Yes, after few minutes, we could locate the source of sound. By that time it comes close to our boat

New jungle visitor near our boat !!

No it is neither tiger or other wild beast. It is a small fishing boat. Two local fishermen with minimum dress braved the freezing cold water, catching crab for livelihood. They also got surprised to see us here. Our driver communicated with them. They inform that we would get higher water level soon and can reach big rivers confluence ahead. They speed away and vanish  into deep jungle. Driven tell us to keep silence and switched off light as this place is covered with dangerous animals. It is 10 pm. Moon become bright in the mid sky. In moon light, surrounding jungle looks more mystic and dangerously beautiful. After some time, our boat starts undulating and finally got enough water level to sail through. At last,  out boat starts sailing and enter into Vidya river. From there, we reach Pakhirala whining 40 minutes.

We reached safely at our jungle lodge

When we reach Pakhirala jetty chat it is 11 pm. Our hotel care taker is anxiously waiting at the jetty ghat. He gets relaxed after confirming our safe arrival. We are also happy to arrive safely at our jungle lodge.

Jakpur- Journey to The Valley Of Rose Garden

It is a non-descriptive Railway station located 5 km from famous destination of engineers IIT Kharagpur. Hardly any people know that this place is famous for many flower nursery gardens. There are at least 4 to 5 gardens are located here supplying varieties  of flowers to many national and international destinations. Most famous of these gardens is Puspanjali Nursery in Jakpur.

If you have few free hours  in the evening, planning to spend in a flowers gardens located in rural environment, then this is really a good hang out place for families during weekend.

Today is 26 the January, 2017. We plan to spend some free time in rural village for enjoying rural environment. I got some reference of this place from my friends. We set out from IIT Kharagpur campus by 3 pm and reach Kharagpur bus stand. From stand we take private auto to reach Puspanjali Nursery by 4 pm.

Jakpur Puspanjali Flower nursey

Jakpur Puspanjali Flower nursey

Puspanjali Nursery is build over a 20 acres land. It is big nursery and house of hundred varieties  of rose. There is no formal entry tickets. You just step in and local nursery people helps you to locate different types of flowers. We found 2 rose gardens full of various types of roses. Besides you can see how nursery people are treating  various types of flowers including roses.

Flower decorated house inside Nursery

Flower decorated house inside Nursery

Varieties of flowers in the garden

Varieties of flowers in the garden

Sapling of flowers

Sapling of flowers

We located a big pond located right in the middle of garden. Left side of the pond, there are many small gardens with varsities of flowers. On the others side we find fields cultivating saplings of flowers.

Big pond inside the garden - nice village environment

Big pond inside the garden – nice village environment

It is really worth to spend 1-2 hours there. We came out from nursery by 5:15 pm. We found a small village market near nursery. We finished our evening snacks there. While coming we could not find any transportation.we walked about 2 km to reach Jakpur station. And returned Kharagpur  by Medinipur local.

We spent some time in local market in the evening

We spent some time in local market in the evening

Travel tips to reach Jakpur

1) It could be a popular picnic destination during winter.

2) You can reach Jakpur from Kharagpur/ Medinipur by local train and get down at Jakpur station. From here nursery is about 1.5 km located along the road connecting NH2 and jakpur station. You can reach there by 20 min walk or by auto. But we have found  very few autos there.

From Jakpur, you can get up Medinipur local at 6 PM evening for Kharagpur, There are very limited trains stop at this station. Only slow Medinipur and Kharagpur local train stops here.

3) Pushpanjali nursery opening time till 5 pm

4) Best time  to visit : during winter (December and January)

5) Other side of Jakpur station, you can visit  famous Maa Manasa mandir. This is a popular pilgrimage destination.

Hence, if you have half day time, you can enjoy following things in Jakpur

A) Maa Manasa temple

B ) Puspanjali Nursery- a famous nursery

C ) Enjoy bucolic simplicity and village life during village walk.

D) Off course a popular picnic spots during winter.

For Jakpur Maa Manasa temple visit, please look into this blog post:

https://gobindaroy.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/its-my-journey-to-connecting-with-rural-mythology/

Nadia to Noida : Lone journey of a poor father

It was a January morning in Noida. Weather suddenly became more chill and wet due to an unusual winter rain since the last night. I got up early at my hotel bed for attending conference at IIM Lucknow Noida campus. I came to Noida for attending conference in IIM Lucknow Noida campus located in sector B2. Since I was new to this place, I tried to start early in the morning despite continuous rain outside.

I Lost his photo in mobile. Hence just shared similar photo (PC. jansandesh )

I Lost his photo in mobile. Hence just shared similar photo (PC. Jansandesh )

I came out of the hotel; the whole area was covered with thick fog. The incessant drizzling made  the move difficult to find rickshaw or auto for reaching the venue. After a few step walk ahead, I located a rickshaw puller shivering in cold and waiting for customer in this difficult hour. After a few step closer, I observed a middle aged rickshaw puller looked at me with a great hope.

I also eagerly checked whether I could get that rickshaw. I observed that rickshawala is almost drenched. For a moment, it appeared in my mind that he must be from Bengal, as he was wearing a typical bong face. But he looked tired for some unknown reason. I asked whether he could take me to IIM campus. His face became bright as he at last got a customer in that rough weather. He asked for Rs 30 and I find it reasonable. So I boarded on his rickshaw for destination. Drizzling was still there. He tried hard to reach the venue fast. I assured him no hurry and he can drive safely.

Rickshaw was meandering thorough lanes and by lanes of Noida sector 62. I asked rickshawala about his native place in Bengal. He narrated his ordeal while driving his rickshaw. He was a worker in jute Mill near Nadia district in West Bengal. His father was landless laborer. He was a good student and consistently performed better till Class 10. But his father expired, and he was forced to leave his study and join mill as a labourer.

But luck was not in his favor. He lost his job due to lock out in his factory. By that time he was father of 2 children. He felt the pain of losing opportunity of good education due to want of many. He didn’t want it to be happened to his kids again. He searched many places for job. But no hopes resurfaced.

One day he got a call from his distant relative now working in Noida. He was desperate to join some job to support his family. He left Nadia in West Bengal for Noida for exploring opportunity there. He came to sector 62. Hetook a rented rickshaw and become a rickshaw puller. He managed to get Rs 300 per day after a daylong hard work. He could send some money to family. Three years have been passed, children were grown up . Expenditure was shooting up. Then he took a call to shift his family from West Bengal to Noida. His wife also joined some domestic help. Now husband and wife both earned about 20k.

I was grossly engrossed in listening that story. He still murmured… “Babu, now I can support children education here after tight budget control”. He still remembered his old days in rural village. But he is happy now; at least Delhi NCR helped him to earn his living and supporting children education. Despite mild fever in last few days, he came out today to earn some money. After all, he has to save some money for children.

We are about to reach Noida IIM campus. He is still recounting his journey. Telling me, “Sir, you know. My elder son is studying hard and he is class 12 now. My son is telling me, ” baba, you need not work, let me finish graduation and then I will join job”.

I also know Delhi and NCR are such a place that young man like him would get a job someday. He can help his rickshawala father to get some relief in the rest of his life. I reached campus and deboarded the rickshaw. Priyalal ( his name)was still looking at me. Asking me, ” Sir, will not my son get  job here ?” I nod my head and assured him. I know this place is far better than west Bengal in terms of job opportunity.

Hence, without any hesitation I assured him that your son would get a job and fulfill his dream. His face again become brighter with a hope.. I give some courage to this old father before leaving to join conference. I appreciate his courage to leave Bengal and struggling in Noida to give support for his children’s career.

I stepped into the campus. Rickshawala was standing there with a pensive look as if he was still talking to his past. After few seconds, when I looked back and seen he was vanishing into the fog at the turn of the road.

Next day he again picked me up from hotel. Today we also discussed many things starting from politics to job and education market.  I got astonished to see his interest in many fields. I am haapy to know that this rickshawala still finds hope to get his dream fulfilled through his son and daughter. Noida has given him earning and hope for his next generation.