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Friday, June 22, 2012

Nature's Trail #2: Garpanchakot, Purulia, West Bengal, India.

The trip to Gorumara was not to end the endless plans that come with a promise of great week ends. Many graduates in India envy their american counterparts for having some great week ends, that has a proper Friday Night to look forward to. In India, the situation is nightless, endless... sometimes PhDjokes seem targeted towards us only!

So, a fortnight hence, it was another pleasure week end trip. Garpanchakot. Where time with the power of nature and innovation of humans.

Located upon a small hill, this place is one of the eastern most fringe of Chora Nagpur plateau. Industrial place, but this place has one of the greatest marvels of Indian engineering. It is located beside the Panchyet Dam, one of the four Hydel Power Dams within the grip of the Damodar Valley Corporation, producing more than 2million Watt power as a minimum production, per day. Taming the devastating Damodar River, called the Hwang Ho of India or rather say the Sorrow of India, this huge dam is a highly secured zone, placed between the territorial states of West Bengal and Jharkhand. Garpanchakot, is in Bengal.

I have seen sun rise / set over the oceans, rivers and lakes. It was my first to see it live from the reservoir of a dam. It was no less than awesome!


The team comprised of Nandana, Banhisikha, Bille, Belda and myself. Jayanta Da was about to join us, but due to unavoidable circumstances, he couldn't! But, never the less he missed a lot of things like the jungle....

 
West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) runs some guest house in several forests, within the territorial supervision of West Bengal. You can check the status of room availability, online and go with cash to the WBDFC office, located at Raja Subodh Mullick Square, Kolkata 13 and book.

We had reserved one four bedded room while a double room, all named after the local birds and trees, names that are specialty of Purulia District, West Bengal. Ours were "Kusum" and "Palash". Kusum was a four bedded suit and it was huge! Air Conditioned, but we loved the sun, as long as we had our eyes treat with the crowded forest; for a change, crowded with flora and aerial fauna, we were feeling great. The food was excellent as well.



What else was missed by those who failed to accompany; Good Trek and Excavation at the Garpanchakot ruins...


And did I mention about excavation? Oh! Yes... it was something to remember...

I can bet, with a handful of pictures about this dilapidated place, whose existence is over 900 years, a few will depict such pictures from the top of the temple. It was a paradise to sit a-top! Also, it was exciting to climb up the steps.

In between the lines, let me put in the little information about reaching the place. Take Black Diamond from Howrah, an early morning start and get down at Kumardubi (IRCTC code: KMME). Its nearer from Barakar, which many people believe as the nearest station to Garpanchakot. From Barakar its, a 45 minutes drive; from Kumardubi. it was 25 minutes! You reach the place within 4 hours, riding the Black!

How about soaking your feet, sitting within the reservoir. I mean, the place that would be flooded between July to March, due to rain and water storage for the hydel, remains dry between April to June. It's another paradise. The landscape is seasoned by the stored waters, where young grass grow and cattle graze, you move with a crazy driver, just up the hillock, which would be nothing but an island during the flood! And then, you take some rare snaps!


Bliss....


Surprise! The greatest experience of all: Mubarak Bhaiya's Snake museum, which he is trying to make a place where people can come and meet with these wonderful creatures, wild type! You can get a lot of such experience in Singapore, but those are well trained! These are all wild and you can touch them and even wrap them. Some are non-toxic, hence you can just love them, near your face... just like my good friend Nandana did:


Its the greatest thing you achieve, when you become connected with nature... Like that or may be,
Like this...


Always had the desire to hold a python.... Thanks Mubarak Bhaiya....picture: Jayabrata Mondal...!

In brief, the trip was fanta-bulous!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

প্রক্রিতির পথে : In Nature's Trail- Part 1

My face book profile will enlist the experience as "Chronicles of an Unkempt Traveler" and its more than a month old. One of the most acclaimed album hitting near 50 likes and hundreds of comments from far and wide, which had made me pleased that at last I have justified my talent.

Creativity is Man's ultimate independence, where every stroke of paint or words has its own meaning too his own satisfaction. And if it is understood by many others, you become the author or a painter, artist or film-maker. I have names galore to fill up the respective positions, but I know there are several others who have already done this.

I would simply like to place the beauty of Bengal in front of the cyber world, so that unlike the freedom to visit the mountains from other Metroes in India, Kolkata dweller can make an extended week end count, without cutting his or her salary or facing the sweet sweet music!

Every year, Jesus brings us a GOOD FRIDAY. Make it official or not, you deem to have a holiday. 2012, was an instance where I ensured such  holiday along with 17 other members, many from IICB to come into the celebration of life, called TRIP to Gorumara, North Bengal.

Since, it was a week end trip, we had an initial plan to visit the mountains. In fact, the plan was changed 12 times, before we came down to Gorumara. But we had our destination tickets purchased to NJP (New Jalpaiguri), although for Gorumara, its advised to get down at Alipur Duar.

But, if you want to start enjoying the nature from the inception of your footsteps on the ground, get down at NJP. The sight and sound of Teesta aand Murti made fabulous green trail that lead to Gorumara after a 2 hour drive.

Gorumara is one of the reserve forests falling withing the Jaldapara-Buxar forest belt in Dooars. Amidst the foothills of the lower Eastern Himalayas, the place is cool because of the mountains and also the dense flora of the Reserve Forest.

Several watch towers are connected with this place like the Gorumara Watch Tower itself along with Chapramari. But we chose the Gorumara Salt Pit tower and believe me, we watched all the available animals in the Dooars, except tigers. Peacocks were like hens from the poultry, running here and there. Had never witnessed a peacock fly; witnessed it here. Bisons, Rhinos and Elephants topped the chart. The jungle safari continued in broad day light, although we faced rain every day of our stay.


The most memorable was the night, of the day before we were to leave back for Kolkata. We had the plan to take the first car (Gypsy), to the Gorumara Tower. Its acclaimed and gurantees to show the most. We were lucky to see them, as mentioned earlier. But, what I will take from this place apart from good memories was one experience. It was 3AM and we planned to stand in the queue to purchase the first 18 tickets of the limited 20 tickets. We were to wait in turn, since we were intoxicated with VAT 69. I was siting nearby, the counter and behind me was dark jungle. It was fenced and it was just an arm away. Just then Subhadeep and Promit, who were standing initially went to call the next in turn to stand with me. Our lodge was just a few steps away.

Suddenly, I heard some tramples of the fallen leaves.  A run. I turned back, towards the barbed fence; saw nothing. Then I could clearly heard the sound of the herd of elephants! It just shivered a cold sweat down my spine as it was really "awesome" to hear amidst the unknown darkness.

This was taken with the IR mode on!

Gorumara helped in unraveling several secrets from known and unknown people. It also helped in identifying many. Here is our Group Photo....




It was fabulous!

Somnath Paul Photography

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The author holds all the rights to publish the contents and the specially earmarked materials. Any breach of this can lead to Indian Penal Charge, under the Act of Intellectual Property Rights, 2007.

The articles are not to be considered promotional neither detrimental of their credits. Its just opinion of a Free-lancer at Free time.

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