Saturday, August 7, 2010

Panchalingeswar and Chandipur in the weekends

If you want to enjoy a 2 or 3 day vacation , you can try Panchalingeswar and Chandipur. Panchalingeswar is situated just 35 Kms from Balasore and Chandipur is around 17 Km from Balasore.

Chandipur is a beach resort and Panchalingeswar is situated on the base of the Nilgiri hills.

Augsut 7, 2010

How to reach :Dhauli express from Howrah (leaves at 6 a.m.) could be the ideal train for Balasore. It takes 3 and half hours to reach Balasore. The Chair car will cost you Rs 90 .

Vidyut and I left early in the morning to catch Dhauli express.We reached Balasore at 9.40 a.m. In fact you reach Chandipur earlier than Digha!!


After reaching Balasore, and having break fast (there is not much option left in Panchalingeswar since you have to order everything before to have anything) , arrange a car(Rs 300-Rs 350) or an Auto(Rs 200-Rs 220) for Panchalingeswar. It is a 50 mins-1 hour drive

You can also break journey to Nilgiri and from Nilgiri again a trekker (Rs 5) to Panchalingeswar crossing. Rest around 1.5 Km you have to walk or hitch hike or ask the trekker to drop you at OTDC Panthaniwas.



Inside OTDC Panthanivas

What to do:You can plan 1.5 days in Panchalingeswar and 1.5 days in Chandipur.
Panchalingeswar could be a very adventurous place.

In the first day you can trek on the top of the mountains to see the forest and the whole Nilgiri hill range. While passing by you can see the Sitaram Temple - where you can (see or visualize) the linga immersed in water.If you are lucky enough, you may see a pack of elephants passing by your path. However in the first day we just went to see the temple and had a stroll around that place.






In the temple we met the Pujari/Priest of the temple, Purna Jena who has studied in Calcutta and used to work in Jugantar newspaper in Calcutta, before it was closed. He said if you have a wish , then this is the place to ask God for that. I told him jokingly , that God could not stop Jugantar from shutting down, though!

August 8, 2010

Next day, we took our guide Kanha, a tribal, to take us to the Watch Tower. This is a ruin which is partly immersed inside the lake. This tower was used by the kings for hunting elephants some 300 years back.


One can also see the falls. Start early in the morning. We went to see the watch tower through a somewhat dense forest inhabited by the tribals and while coming back we again went to see the temple, especially Bonbibi Temple which i could not go on that day.We took some rest beside the lake.








Tribal Hut

Tribals

Today is the day for Bhole baba - thousands of devotee will come in the afternoon to pour water on the linga of Shiva.

Take a local boy as your guide (Kanha or Vivek Mallick) who can show you the way.It is not possible to trek without the help of a guide. He will charge around Rs 100-Rs 120/- for each site.

We had our lunch and left for Chandipur at around 2 p.m. First we went to Panchalingeswar crossing to catch a trekker to Nilgiri. From Niligiri I found two more passengers willing to go to Balasore and hired a car for Rs 200 to reach Balasore. In fact we had our lunch and dinner and evening snacks (Vegetable Pakora is very good) at the beautiful Panthaniwas {The chicken meal is Rs 85 and fish meal is Rs 65 (2 pieces). since it was not a tourist season only 8 out of 30 rooms were full. The meals are made of Everest/MDH Masala - lacks the taste of freshly grinded spices} , though we stayed at Shakuntala Nivas (Rs 250). The less I say about it is better. It is the just opposite to Panthaniwas.The minimum room rent in Panthaniwas is Rs 600.



You can either arrange a car for Chandipur from Panchalingeswar or you have to return back to Balasore from there you can arrange for a Auto (Rs 140 for full auto reserve) for Chandipur or start walking along Chandipur to hitchhike a car (you bargain for Rs 50 per head - which we did incidentally) or even a tempo (for Rs 20/-) or book a car for Rs 220-Rs 250.

Chandipur sea is not a normal beach. The sea retreats 4-5 km from the actual beach and you have to walk a lot to the sea.

In the evening the water comes right at the doorstep of your guestroom.This would be a 4 km trek from the guest house. This place is beautiful. You just sit and chill .

We stayed at Hotel Chandipur ( as recommended by Lonely Planet:(Ph: 06782-270-030, 270- 033, 9437 267603 or in kolkata (033) 2259-1489, 9831 288924, 9830 788 781). It is more or less good value for money. We paid Rs 300. But OTDC Panthaniwas is located at a delightful location and at Rs 600 per day (non AC) it is worth staying there. We had our lunch,dinner, breakfast everything at that hotel. In the evening we stayed in the beach munching some wonderful chicken Pakora (@Rs 35 for 4 pieces ) bought from OTDC snacks counter just beside the beach. There is an SBI ATM inside the hotel complex.

August 9, 2010

Next day we woke up early in the morning (5.10 a.m.) to see the sunrise. We had our breakfast at OTDC restaurant just beside the beach (Tea @ Rs 5 at air conditioned comfort!!).



Then we went to see the fisherman's village at Budha-balang/Buri balan river (famous for freedom fighter Bagha jatin) by a localt trekker(Rs 5) - while coming back we bought some Pomfret fish(@Rs 60/Kg compared to Rs 260/Kg in Calcutta!) and got it fried from our hotel chandipur (run by a Bengali - they are very helpful) in the dinner.

In the evening again we went to the beach and went to see the ever smiling Sr Manager of OTDC with some complaints about food (they are selling Chicken Roast/Grilled Pomfret - which are in fact not from Tandoor, but fried.Even size of Tiger Prawn was very small).He was sincerely apologetic and even offered us free dinner - but by that time our Pomfret fry is already in our hotel! We booked an auto at 11.30 p.m (@ Rs 170/) to drop us at the station at Balasore. One can also book it at OTDC Panthaniwas for the same rate. Our train was due to arrive at 1.03 a.m. and it was dot on time. We reached Kolkata at 5.10 p.m. after a rejuvenating weekend!

How to book :For OTDC guest houses you can book the rooms from the OTDC office at Lenin sarani, near Subodh Mullick Square.There are many local hotels in Chandipur and around 1 more hotel in Panchalingeswar -Shankuntala Nivas.

3 comments:

Sabjanta Chandrima said...

Hi

First of all you deserve a pat on the back for the wonderful and most importantly, useful post on Chandipur and Panchalingeshwar. It is a fantastic write up. Any one who is going to these places for the first time can get every important information that s/he might need.

Just a small correction needs to be made. The OTDC office at Lenin Sarani is not near Santosh Mitra Square as you have mentioned. It is actually near Subodh Mullick Square.

Thank you once again.

I will revisit your blog repeatedly for such informative article.

Chandrima

sourabh said...

thanks for the input Chandrima

Shakuntala Nivas said...

Wow so nice place! I like this site. Keep it working every day.
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