Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Short tour to Galudih - window to Tribal India


We (Vidyut and me) left for Galudih or Galu-dihi (actually) by Howrah-Rourkela Ispat express (not Steel Express –which is different) from Howrah station at 6.55 am. There are other options too.
Get in – Ghatshila/ Galudi

* By rail - It is a railway station on the Kharagpur-Tatanagar/Jamshedpur stretch of Howrah-Mumbai track, 230 km from Howrah (apart from Ispat Express) one can avail Kurla/ Howrah Express or Howrah Jamshedpur Steel Express, Lal Mati Express etc. But Ispat express is the best option.

There are many Local Passenger trains connecting Jamshedpur and Kharagpur with Galudih/ Ghatshila.

For timings etc check with http://erail.in/

Nearest railway stations from Galudih is Ghatshila (8 kms) & Jamshedpur (44 kms). It is also possible to get down at Ghatshila (3 hours journey from Howrah) and then to Galudih by auto-rickshaw. (30 minutes/Fare Rs.80 approx)

$ There is a local train (Rs 2 !!) at 3 am to go to Ghatshila instead of taking auto from Galudih, if you take Lal Mati Express while coming back home.

* By road – It is about 240 km from Kolkata. Those travelling from Kolkata first have to take NH 6 to Bahra-gora and then take the road to Jamshedpur.Buses plying between Kharagpur and Jamshedpur pass through Ghatshila. Galudih is few stops after Kharagpur and few stop before Jamshedpur. By road Jamshedpur is 42 km away from Galudih.

It is much better to stay Galudih since it is lesser known, less crowded and all the sights which are accessible from Ghatshila can be accessed from Galudih also.

Get around at Ghatshila/ Galudih or Galudi
You have to hire an auto rickshaw to you around the places of interest. If you stay in Ghatshila then for movement locally you can contact Rashid Khan -: 9234 94 98 56 (auto driver) or from Galudih you can contact Subrata – 9239 25 60 62 (our auto driver)

Understand Ghatshila/Galudih

Ghatshila is located on the bank of the River Subarnarekha (the word ‘Subarnarekha’ means golden streak), and is situated in an undulating forested area. It has been a popular place frequented mostly by people from West Bengal, who have been going there for a change of place and climate. The noted Bengali writer Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadhyay of Pather Panchali fame was a resident of the city.
Galudih (Mahulia in Google map), lies in small hills and attracts the tourist for its natural beauty with calm and quiet atmosphere. In the rainy season the hills, the jungles, the agricultural lands make Galudih green. Though the best season is July to March but actually tourist can visit Galudih throughout the year.
Geographically placed between two mountain ranges (Dalma Hills is a range in Chhoto-nagpur Plateau) with the Subarnarekha River separating them from kissing each other. You can find the rocky river flowing in between hilly & rocky terrain with patches of human habitants, painting an awesome landscape.
On one side of your view, you can find smoking chimneys of the Hindustan Copper factory suggesting the industrialization that en marks this fast growing township. People stay in a variety of modern & old houses.
In all if you love nature and want to feel it from inside, Galudih is one of the best choices to make.
Hotels in Galudih
We booked our hotel (Hotel Rajanigandha- Rs 500 including Tax- 5 rooms) in Galudih over phone. It is owned by Mr. Satyabrata Pal of Sovabazar- 9432 11 78 35 / 98310 477 09 (or his son Subho 9830 14 69 21).

The caretaker is Rajesh Bhakat or Bhakta. Like almost everybody in Galudih he speaks Bengali – the lingua Franca seems to be Bengali and he can be reached at 0 90971-52364 and 06585-262 806.

He (Rajesh) waited for us at the station and carried our luggage with his cycle. The hotel is only 300 metres from the station – eastern side (less than 5 minutes). It is on an elevated place and you can see the mountain, forest just sitting outside your room in a huge adjoining terrace/verandah. If you are not in a hurry you can sit there throughout the day in the midst of nature and even see the sunrise or sunset from there. Do not even think of staying anywhere else! It is basic, but you have everything you want – commode, commode shower, soap, pillow, towel, loft to keep your luggage, hanger, mattress.

There are luxury hotels like Galudih resort (eastern side of station) - http://galudihresort.com/
Here the minimum rent is Rs 900+ tax. (There are apparently some rooms of Rs 700 + tax, but under repairs). Do not make the mistake of staying there – it is nothing but a concrete jungle, overlooking a garden. Once inside the complex, you won’t understand whether you are in Galudih or Ahmedabad or Guwahati). However rooms in Galudi resort are better than Rajanigandha.
There is KD Palace owned by Prithwiraj Das (9830 67 43 20). It is on the other side of the station –western side. When I contacted them it was full. They have a saal forest inside their hotel. (One can stay at Marwari (Panchayat) guest house (eastern side) or Samiksha lodge (033- 2210 1036 / 2528 – 6807 or 9339 84 75 25 (1 minute from our hotel) too.
But Rajanigandha is a class of its own due to its location in a calm and quiet place yet very near to the station.
Hotels in Ghatshila
§ Bibhuti Vihar, +91 6585 226506 A.C. / Non A.C. Rooms Rs. 1000/-. Luxury rooms with hill view
§ Meridian /Anandita Lodge, +91 6585 225 624/0 9204 -05 65 59, Rooms Rs. 400
§ Hotel Safari, +91 6585 225 722, Rooms Rs. 350.
§ Hotel Snehalata, +91 6585 225 767, Rooms Rs. 350 – Rahul Bannerjee
§ Hotel (Suvarna Rekha) River View, +91 6585 226 603, Rooms Rs. 600.
## All the numbers are checked by me on 3/11/2011
Drink in Ghatshila

Notably, most tourists from nearby big cities like Kolkata are attracted to Ghatshila not only for its natural beauty but also to taste the sweet mineral water. At each pockets of the township, a public tube well or Chaapaa-kal can be found where you can taste fresh water. The water is said to have medicinal values. A glass of water is enough to fill-up your empty stomach.
After reaching our resort, we met a couple from Uttarpara at our resort – they were looking for a room. They have not booked the hotel beforehand. When they saw the location of the hotel, they decided to stay at the hotel. We decided to travel together since it will be economical for both of us. We made a great combination for next 3 days! He works in a bank and is on the verge of retirement.
He is an amazingly versatile person and quite a traveler! He is keen photographer with SLR camera – better than many professional photographer and very tech savvy. He is an expert mountaineer and trained people regularly in mountaineering. He is expert in electronics and writes software programme for some organization and does not take promotion lest he won’t get to leave for mountaineering. He is just my kind of person!
We quickly had our breakfast (Rs 30 each) – luchi, Parota in the hotel. Since the mother of the cook has died yesterday, it was difficult (they were asking too much because of that) for them to organize lunch or dinner. So we decided to have our lunch/dinner outside.
So we left for the locations, which I had decided before hand. We hired an auto from the auto stand – which is on the main road – NH 33 bisecting Galudih, for Rs 430 (Rs 400 later increased to Rs 430) for the day to see the part towards South - towards Ghatshila. We left at 12 30 pm.
Burudi Lake: First we went to Burudi Lake - it is 6 km south of Galudih, towards Ghatshila. The road is horrendous. It is really pristine and really nice. I would rank it above Nainital! It is surrounded by mountains and forest! In fact we were the only tourists there. We were told, we will find many picnic parties around that area during December. It is better to come here early in the morning. Few years back it was a Maoist infested area. Not anymore. Since were hungry we had some Omlettes, chips and tea beside the lake. We sat beside the lake for some time. They had Jhal muri too.
@@ I planned to go to Dhara-giri Falls from there. There is a water fall there - 20 feet high. But the auto driver did not take us there on the pretext that it is already late and roads are bad (in fact even today cars went there – we were told)

Phuldungri Hill

It is a small hill or hillock (tila). It is not worth going there. We were told Bibhuti-bhusan used to come here and sit here.

On the way we ate Kala-kand sweet from Ganesh Kala-kand, which is very famous there. It is the oldest Kala-kand seller is Ghatshila and according to them Bibhuti-bhusan used to eat from here! It looks black unlike the while kala-kand we eat here in Kolkata. I liked it, but the better ones which we get in Kolkata are better probably! THEY SELL ONLY KALAKAND!

Then we went to the house of famous Bengali writer Bhibhuti-bhushan Bandopadhyay. He used to work in Indian railways and died at the age of 56 only. It has no architectural significance though.

Pancha Pandav

It is 5 km north-west of Ghatshila, A stone is there bearing the figures of five men; the legend is that they are figures of the five Pandav brothers. There we met a Saint, resident of Behala. He pressed tutul Boudi with some predictions and she bought some rudraksha from him. There is very nice bank nearby and we saw a beautiful sunset from there with sunrays falling on the Subarnarekha River.

It was time for us to come back and go to Galudih. It is already 6.30 pm when we reached. We were late since we stopped number of times to take the snap. Mr. Asit Mukherjee went to Galudi resort for some information for their bank’s picnic at Galudih in January 2012. We in fact had our snacks and tea there and even our dinner. The price is quite reasonable and quality is very good. We had chicken curry (3 pcs) for Rs 75 and rice – which is enough for two people.

Today again we took the same auto (he came to our hotel to pick us up) to go to Satgurum and Duarsini and decided to pay Rs 300 (later he took Rs 350) for the trip.
We first went to Satgurum/ Satgurang. It is 12/15 kms from Galudi Resort. In fact one can go there by taking trekker which plies regularly in front of the Galudi Resort. The genesis of the name is 7 streams of the river encircle seven separate hills seven times; hence the river is named as Satgurum. Trekking to the hills through the jungle-path full of unknown trees and flowers are the best attraction here. Elephants may also be seen in the jungles.

Then we went to Duarsini, it is inside Purulia, West Bengal. Duarsini is located around 13 km from Bundwan town in Purulia district which marks the border of Jharkhand with West Bengal. Duarsini is a village of hills and forest. The nature grows beautifully with the tribals of jangal Mahal. The forest is made of shaal, pial, shimul and palash. and the river Satgurang is with them. At night you will hear the music of madol drum which is come out from the tribal village. They have lot of festivals all over the year. Duarsini has no electricity, accommodation except 3 cottages of WBFDC. . In fact we went to see the cottage. Unfortunately when we went there, we saw it is closed because of Maoist problem. We could have gone to Bhalo pahar, but we were told it is not worth going there.
We got down to the river and took bath there. Then we had our lunch (fish Rs 10!) there and climbed the hills. We saw a bungalow apparently blasted by the Maoist long back.

It was time for us to come back and go to Galudih. It is already 3.30 pm when we reached. We were late since we stopped number of times to take the snap. We went to Galudih resort for snacks and tea.
Then we went to our hotel to see the sunset from our hotel (!) and went to Subarna-rekha River and spend some time beside the river. For that we had to cross the rail station (towards western side) and along the way we even saw an old age home.
Subarna-rekha River: Suvarna-rekha means the golden line. One can easily make a morning-walk to reach the river. Barrage on the river is also another attraction here. But the most interesting venture here is to cross the river by bullock-cart to reach the hilly village other bank of the river.
After spending some time there we went to Galudih Resort to have our dinner. Today we had Chicken fried Rice (Rs 60 – enough for 1.5 person) and chilly chicken (Rs 85 – eight pieces- enough for 2 person). It was quite good considering the place: real good value for money. Our dinner was over by 9.15 pm and left for our hotel which is around 8 minutes.
Today we got up early in the morning and took a local train (fare Rs 2) to go to Rakha Mines (owned by Uranium corpn. of India) station. The train stations are like this – Ghatshila – Galudih – Rakha mines – Jamshedpur. There are two trains to go to Rakha mines between 7 am and 7.30 am. It took around 5 minutes to reach there. From the Rakha Mines station we reserved an auto to Ran-kini Ma Temple for Rs 80 (I thought it is more than the real fare). From Jaadu-gora the auto takes right turn to reach the temple.
It is located in a nice location. It is surrounded by forest and mountain. It was not at all crowded. After they offered prayer (in fact they were doing day excursion just to go this temple from Howrah for quite some time!) we sat there for some time and took a trekker (there are buses also which are plying there) to go back to Jaadu-gora (@ Rs 7 each – real fare is Rs 5 though) and from Jaadu-gora (it is an important junction) we reserved an auto (Rs 40) to reach the station.
There is a train to go back to Galudih at 9.30 am. The next train is at 3 pm! We could have gone to Naroa Forest which is not very far from Jaadu-gora – but we were told it is nothing great and also we have a train to catch too. We could have come here by hiring an auto from Galudih – but going by train is a cheaper option. In fact we were told cock fight take place every Sunday at Rakha Mines and according to the Auto driver the aggregate bets crosses even Rs 1 crore!
Dha-lbhum-garh – there is a king’s palace or Rajbari there. This is the only place where we did not go. It is near Ghatshila. We were told there is place in Ghatshila where cock fight is held during Sankranti. There is a haat in Ghatshila every Sunday, we were told, it is treasure house for souvenirs - local Santali handicrafts.

Binda Mela - This fair is held in the month of Ashwin (mid October) at Ghatshila proper for 15 days. It was initiated from time immemorial by the fore fathers of the Raja of former Dhal-bhum estate. It is a very popular, particularly for the Santals. We could not see this one also.

After coming back to Galudih, we went to our hotel to arrange our bags (since we have a train at 3 pm to go to Ghatshila, to catch our train Lal Mati express from Ghatshila) and then left for a tribal village – to the right side of our hotel. We walked quite some time (and saw that arrangements have started for haat or weekly tribal market: will start at 2 pm - 3 minutes from our hotel). You can feel the village life with cows & chickens roaming here and there and housewives smoking the traditional chulhas (burners) with intoxicating smells of burning cow dungs. you can see a lively village life with tribals engaged in their daily rituals.

After walking for more than 1 hour, we went back to Galudih Resort to have our lunch. Today we had Chicken fried Rice and sweet and sour chicken (Rs 100 – eight pieces- enough for 2 person) and left for our hotel. It was already 2 .10 pm.
Vidyut and Tultul Boudi took some rest, while we went to see the haat. It has already started. I bought 15 lemons for Rs 5 (yes Rs 5) and one tribal broom for Rs 5. We saw the staff which you don’t see in an urban market. We saw people selling pork (@Rs 80 per Kg), live chicken, sickle, boxes/jhuri, and haria – local tribal alcohol etc. It takes place every Friday and Monday.

It was time to go back since we had a train to catch at 3 pm. We took a local train (Rs 2) to go to Ghatshila (it is also possible to go by road – but roads are very very bad and also a comparatively expensive option) and finally catch Lal Mati express at 5 pm from Ghatshila and reached Kolkata at 8.45 pm.


Ethical Travel Consultants said...
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Anindya Bagchi said...

Unique write-up

Hotels in Rourkela said...

True value of nature with pure inner satisfaction is simply can be a best gift. where you can relax yourself and will feel absolutely refreshing too. so thank you very much for all your delicacy and support, all my best wishes...........

Dr P Sen said...

Completely agree with the write up, recommend everyone to stay at the Rajanigandha Guest House, rentals are extremely cheap, staff extremely cordial, location exquisite, overall a very good experience..........met Mr Satya Paul the owner he is real good gentleman, who loves his place passionately.

Deepak Mitra said...

Thanks for the detailed information. We, 6 friends with family, are going to explore the Ghatshila-Galudih region by our motorbikes in early January. The information provided by you would be handy.

Unknown said...

Excellent write-up.We are planning to go to Galudih in March, 2014 and your easy- flowing description answered all my questions. Thanks. Malabika Mukherjee.

Unknown said...

Excellent write-up.We are planning to go to Galudih in March, 2014 and your easy- flowing description answered all my questions. Thanks. Malabika Mukherjee.

sourabh said...

thanks....@malabika mukherjee....all my travel stories are similarly wrtitten....

Pramit Mitra said...

Hi, read your report. Loved your simple lucid style of writing yet describing everything so well. The additional information are very useful. I am planning a trip to Galudih this March.

I am a railway enthusiast and love clicking trains; so can u please tell me if the hotel u mentioned can give me some good views of the tracks passing by?? Or, is there any elevated spot near the tracks that i can access to capture a few trains?

Thanks in Advance!

তারিণী খুড়ো said...

This is just an awesome blog on Ghatshila .........
Ghatshila is one of the famed tourist spot of Jharkhand where the beauty of the undulating forested slopes and the leisurely flowing waters of Subarnarekha River make the place an epitome of beauty. Find all the latest and up-to-date information on Ghatshila Tour at: http://easytouristguide.com/off-beat-tourist-places/ghatshila-tour-journey-to-the-land-of-scenic-beauty-in-jharkhand.html

Unknown said...

what is the temperature in galudih during july?

Tanaya Chakraborty said...

Your write up is really wounderful. I was planning a trip to Ghatsila with friends and family but after reading your write up I have changed my plan. I am planing to visit in August 2014. Hope I will enjoy a lot there.

Tanaya Chakraborty said...

Your write up is really wounderful. I was planning a trip to Ghatsila with friends and family but after reading your write up I have changed my plan. I am planing to visit in August 2014. Hope I will enjoy a lot there.

Anonymous said...

What a detailed tour report !!!
I have just visited Galudi & stayed at hotel Rajanigandha( August 2014).Excellent overall experience & completely matching with this blog..
Cons : 1.Only one man (Rajesh himself) knows to start generator in this power shortage area i.e. u may have to wait 1 hour/more in darkness in his absence...this happened at least 6 times in our 2 night stay.
2. Never found a smiling face from Rajesh(even after tips) though other arrangements were ok.
Still, don't stay anywhere else in Galudih for it's awesome location.

Unknown said...

Wonderful write up!! We are planing for a trip to Galudih with friends and family.Thanks so much for your detailed informations!! Your informations answered all our questions.

Unknown said...

Wow..it was really enjoyable to reab about your journey to Galudih. 240 kms away from Kolkata, Galudih seems like a perfect weekend getaway destination. Also, check out these hotels near Kolkata railway station for anyone who is planning to visit the 'City of Joy'

Alec Das said...

Excellent write up..in fact tomorrow morning we 2 friends are going by car and have arranged for stay at Bhalopahar...and from there would witness the beautiful nature, tribals life & the place as mentioned in this write up .Thanks for such nice detail.

Unknown said...

Most of the times being a traveler gives it all a different feel which is the reason why a lot of things gets better tours to washington dc from ny would be there for me and surely it can all be taken ahead on a level in this part.

Anonymous said...

Galudi is a wonderful place and hotel Rajanigandha is a class of its own due to its beautiful location.

Unknown said...

Galudih, Ghatsila, Duarsini are nice place to visit. We stayed in Rajanigandha Guest House, nearer to Railway Station which is excellent place to stay due to it's location. Good food is also available there.

Rahul Ghosh said...

Rahul Ghosh

I visited Galudih Rajanigandha Guest house in the monsoons
I was a totally new experience which is still unforgettable

Tanmay Banerjee said...

It is a lovely place very close to nature
Food cooked at the Guest house are very
Tasty and Homely ...all Credit goes to the cook Kanai. .
But most important. ..Please don't forget to taste the Idli of Base Daa at the Guest House. .
Basu Daas Idli is very popular all through out Ghatshila and Galudih..

Anunoy Samanta said...

Tomorrow I'll be riding to ghatshila and had planned to stay there for one night. But after reading your details trip report I think I better stay at Galudih. Thanks for sharing your story and all those essential info :-)

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Helmi said...

Well, I've stayed most of the Hotels, Resorts in and around Ghatshila during my long visit to Ghatshila and following are my perception.

About Aranyak Resort, situated inside a village, faraway from Burudih Lake, bad road. Indeed opposite direction to Burudih Lake. Won't see anything apart from tribal village. Rooms are over priced, rude behaviour, shown a room belongs to villager. Food is over priced as there is nothing around it.

May opt for Ratmohona Resort if you would like to have real resort type feeling as well as would like to test natural beauty. Excellent location situated next to the bank of Subarnarekha River. Rooms are okay but again food is over priced. But at least one will have magnificent view.

Muktadhara Resort is somehow okay or better than Aranyak Resort . Location is not like Ratmohona Resort. Again price is stiff not to mention food.

There is one more resort which I came across (did not stay) close to SUCI office (Sir Shibdas Ghosh Memorial Building), parallel to railway track and close to Ghatshila Rail Station. Can’t remember the name my apology. Might be cheaper one. As it’s bit inside but location is nice.

About Ramakrishna Mission Math, fantastic place as well as location. One can stay here just paying Rs. 500/day, does include foods. Extremely clean rooms and environment. But prior booking is a MUST. May write them at ghatshila@rkmm.org or rkmathgts@gmail.com or rkmathgts77@gmail.com , office phone number: +91 6585796314/ +91 9471794243 for booking.

Over all, Hotel Bibhuti Vihar is the best in Ghatshila. Situated next to SDM/SDO office on National Highway-33. It's a Govt. property hence every thing is extra large including rooms. Price is halve of those so called resort. Bargain may get a good deal. Friendly and polite staff (running by private party). Have food from out side. There are two dhabas next to SDO/SDM office, first one is good for TEA not for food (over priced or charged extra from tourists), around 200 feet away from the first one is K.K Dhaba, run by Mr. Darshan Singh, an Indian Army veteran, foods are prepared by Mr. Singh’s wife and daughter in law. One can have pure Punjabi taste here with nominal charges. Please note, bed tea served by the Hotel is chargeable.

I’ve found the place “Muktinath” (shamshan ghat) is the best for sun set as well as falls (unknown). It’s probably the right place (closer to Ghatshila) to enjoy sun set or give a try to Galudih Dam (bit far away from Ghatshila). Indeed the sun set is the best at Galudih Dam. There is a falls other bank of the river and accessible to Ratmohona side.
For Muktinath take left turn next to Hindustan Copper (just before the bridge).
Caution, don’t even think to venture lone at Hathi Pathor and Saat Bon in Subarnarekha River.

There is a illegal toll gate run by locals way to Barudih lake, was given a receipt of Rs. 50/. Which I denied to pay. After arguments I was allowed to proceed without paying.

For Maa Rankini Temple, travel through NH-33, better to avoid Ratmohana/ Hindustan Copper road which is longer (around 27 KM). Indeed one can visit first Galudih Dam then proceed to Rankini Temple.

Newly opened Maa Vaishno Devi temple also worth visiting. It’s on NH-33, towards Jamshedpur and around 8 KM from Hotel Bibhuti Vihar and just before the toll plaza (on right hand side). Don’t forget to taste hot Khichuri and Chatni served freely. Kindly wash your plate.

Street foods are available near Ghatsila Railway Station, but not hygienic. May try food at Pather Pachali Restaurant near Rail Station.
Ganesh Kalakand is okay, prior order is a must if you are planning to buy more. May visit Sunday Haat which is close to RKM and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s house (Gouri Kunj). And don’t forget to contribute little as they totally depend upon on this.

And finally, must see sandha aarati at Ram Krishna Mission, starts at 1730 HRS. Just feel the soothing heavenly voice to purify our mind and body.

Thank you for reading.

Chronological order