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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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:
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.