Friday, November 26, 2021

Baranti tour

 

19.11.2021(Friday)  Kolkata – Asansol – Baranti (Muraddi or Muradi Lake or Baranti Lake)

Normally I hate to miss any extended week-end. Since 19th November is Guru Nanak’s birthday (national holiday, on Friday), I planned to go to Baranti or Boronti. There are various ways you can reach Baranti.

Bus :  I took Volvo bus (Greeline – quite good) from Esplanade at 700 hrs (few also leave from Karunamoyee Salt Lake) by booking ticket from Redbus website. I paid around Rs 500 and got down at Cheliadanga, Asansol at 1130 hrs. You can call your Resort / hotel to send a car  for Rs 1200/1500 , depending upon the size of the car. But the cheapest and interesting option is to take an auto rickshaw (my driver was Paul Francis - 70015 60952 ) after getting down at Asansol (last stop Cheliadanga). I paid Rs 700 for little more than 1.30 hours journey. Other drivers were asking more than Rs 1000 !

Train : Nearest Railway station to Baranti is Muradi, which is well connected by local trains from both Asansol and Adra. But Asansol has more options than Adra to reach Muradi.  Black Diamond /Rupashi Bangla Express etc leaves from Kolkata/Satragachi for Asansol/Adra. From Muradi the auto will take Rs 150 approx to reach your hotel.

Car :  One can drive down from Kolkata (around 263 km, 5–6 hours). You can read https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Baranti to know the details.

Understand

The main tourist attraction of Baranti or Boronoti is Baranti Lake, which is also sometimes referred to as the Muradi or Muraddi Lake. It is a man-made lake – which apparently came up in the year 1975, I am told, to store water for agriculture. Baranti is surrounded by Hillocks and Forest. It has all the right ingredients to be considered an ideal retreat. It checks all the boxes ! You can come here with your family as well as friends. Not only is the place quiet and secluded, can you indulge in fishing, bird watching too. The place is yet to become another Digha ! There is a 1 km long irrigation project dam, between two small hillocks, Muradi Hill and Baranti Hill. Baranti is in the vicinity of Ramchandrapur Irrigation System (RIS).




Orientation

The North Eastern side of the Lake is called Manpur – where there are only two resorts – Palash Kunja (I stayed here) and Megh Roddur. They are around 350 metres from the sun set point, where people congregate during sunset. These two resorts are nearest to the sunset point.  Sunset point is the centre of activity of Baranti. But you won’t be able to see the Lake from these resorts, since they are in a low lying area. But you can see the hill.

Most of the resorts are in the  South Eastern side. This side is called Baranti ! Lake Hill Resort offers the best view of the Lake. Other resorts (except Baranti Village resort and Spangle Wings Resort) do not have any Lake view. Some of them do have view of the Hill. But not the Lake, except Palash queen, to some extent. Most of the pictures given in various websites are not actually correct !

The other side (North West) of the dam/lake is Muradi, There are 4 resorts - Allure de Baranti  and Baranti Eco Tourism  Government accommodation, but privately run –),  both are having very good view of the Lake. This side is nearer to the Muradi rail station and other facilities. There are some other resorts also in this side, without the view of the Lake , but has a good view of the Hill/ forest – Mahulban Resort and Green Park Resort.

Apparently the oldest resort, was a residence of a Doctor – Akashmoni – whose view is now guarded by Lake Hill Resort

https://goo.gl/maps/JdoY6JGKg7vMqFwg8

The Attractions of Baranti , apart from the Lake

 

The Village - You go to a tribal village. As you interact with them, you discover rural lifestyle and its closeness to nature. As you walk along the red roads, you’ll see the mud houses, some of them are painted beautifully.

Forest - The deep green forest is home to several trees and shrubs. These include Bamboo shrubs, Sal, Piyal, Amloki, Bahra, Haritoki, Neem, Palash, Teak and Mahua. Apart from that, the forest is home to several animals which include wild boars, foxes, rabbits, wolves, porcupines, deer and plenty of birds. You’ll also find butterflies in several bright colours. I have seen Rufous Treepie, Bee eater, Dove and white breasted Kingfisher.

 Hills - Baranti  Hill is one of the hills among the hilly ranges in Purulia. There are some small hillocks around the Muradi lake, including the Muradi hill or Gorongi Hill and the Ramchandrapur Hill. The place is, in fact, part of very hilly terrain of Purulia.

The Panchakot hill is clearly visible behind Muradi hil/Gorongi hill on a clear day. A few miles apart lies the Biharinath Hill, which falls in the Bankura district of West Bengal and is the highest hill of that district.

The Joychandi Hill is also a prominent tourist spot (the auspicious Joychandi temple is located on the top of this hill) which is situated at a distance of 21 kilometres from Baranti. 

       


                                                                                                                                                                   

On the first day, I reached the resort after 1330 hours. I was tired and went to see the sunset and roam around Baranti, to have a feel of the place. I saw there is a Shack - which sells Palm juice from 6.30 am in the morning. It is just opposite Palash Queen resort, near the lake.

 

 

20.11.2021 Baranti (Muraddi Lake) – Biharinath- Saltora- Baranti

You can do a Trip to Susunia Hill and Biharinath Temple by hiring an Alto/any small car for Rs 1800 from the resort.  Normally people do this trip on the first day, after taking lunch and leave by 2 pm . Susunia Hill is 45 Km from Baranti. The drive to Susunia Hill through the village roads with mud houses on both the sides will give you a feel of  life there. It will take around 1 hour to reach there. From Susunia one  can go to Biharinath Temple and come back to the Resort. Since I have more time, I decided to do it on the second day.

 One of my friends in-laws stays near Baranti (Saltora). His brother in Law (Mejda) came to pick me up and take me to Biharinath temple and then to their village The best thing was the picturesque route to Biharinath. We spent some time over there, clicking some pictures and visiting the temple. There are some shops nearby selling Khaja, Samosa etc. The hygiene factor is questionable. We did eat a Khaja – which is of course nothing great.



If you’re energetic, you can enjoy a 9 km trek from Baranti to Biharinath hills and enjoy the panoramic view of the hills. The Murardi lake has a grand view from the top. We trekked for around 10 minutes from Biharinath temple and returned back.

Then we went to see the Biharinath Eco Tourism Resort nearby – where Mejda has an acquaintance – who is the key person of this resort.. The resort, I must say, is really impressive with Biharinath Hill at the back drop.



But it is quite expensive. The minimum tariff is Rs 4000 + extra for food. http://biharinathecotourism.com/ . We went inside the resort and chatted with Maheswar Babu. Since he was limping, I recommended a very good Orthopedic Doctor (our family friend) who is with Bankura Medical Hospital. He went to Vellore without any benefit. (update : He went to meet the doctor on Monday). This resort is near Burpur and nearest train station is Asansol.

 Then we went to my friend’s in laws house and had lunch there. Since Rash festival is going on in their village (Saltora) , we went to see two Puja Pandals.




After that we left for Baranti and reached in25 min , just in time, at 4.25 pm to see the sun set. People come between 4-4.30 pm to see the sunset. Today being Sunday, I saw lot more people, then yesterday. Most of them are from Kolkata. Not local, for sure. There is literally traffic jam at the sun set point.




My resort (Palash Kunja Resort)is located in a very peaceful location. Recommendable. Some of the rooms have Hill view. But you cannot see the lake from the resort, because of the high embankment. The rates are Rs 1500 + Food (Rs 450/-). The owner is from Barrackpore and most of the residents are from Barrackpore. They have recently bought the hotel.


Our Resort
                                                                               Our Resort
The owner was also present during my visit. I met a nice person from Barrackpore - who owns one of  most popular hotels in Barrackpore – Trident Hotel. They  went to Ayodhya Hills. It took almost 3.5 hours for them to reach there, I was told. Baranti  Hill is one of the hills among the hilly ranges in Purulia. One of them is Ayodhya Hills. Ayodhya hills is one of the most popular destinations, in the entire district of Purulia.

  

21.11.2021  Baranti (Muraddi Lake) – Joychandi Hill- Garh-panchoko- Panchet- Asansol

In the morning at around 7 am, I went to the lake side to buy some Palm juice or Khejure tosh @ Rs 20 for a full glass and @ Rs 10 for half a glass. The first one seemed to be bit diluted. But the second one was quite good (just came fresh from the tree). I bought some palm leaf from a child, who in no time transformed a palm leaf to a work of art (for Rs 20).

 



Today being my checkout, I had  already had planned to explore Panchet Dam, Garpanchkot, Joychandi Hills. My bus is at 4.10 pm from Asansol. After having breakfast, I left for the Joychandi hills at 9.45 am. I booked the car for Rs 2100.

 

1. Joychandi Pahar – 25 km

2. Garh Panchkot - 20 Km,

3 Panchet Dam - 27 Km

3. Maithon - 58 Km

4. Raghunathpur – 20 km [It is famous for beautiful Tasar shari]

  

I skipped the first popular destination , Kalyaneswari Temple, after reading the blog of https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/    “ Truly speaking, it seemed more of a Business Hub instead of a Temple. At every step there’s one person asking for money (so called donation) to allow us proceed further. Although we skipped through them and finally went inside for Darshan. The business is stronger there, and they would demand more money (more donation) for offering your prayers. Believe me, this is the only reason, I avoid going to temples and putting in money to these Businesses out there.”

Joychandi Hills

 

Only 25 km from Baranti, this beautiful spot is famous for the shooting of  Hirak Rajar Deshe, by Satyajit Ray. The main attractions of this place are the Chandi temple and the Semaphore tower.  The hills around Joychandi Hills have lot of character. No wonder, Ray chose this as his location for shooting. Semaphore, popularly known as visual telegraph or optical telegraph, was a most popular communication technology in the pre –  telegram days. It is a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles. The signals were observed from the next tower by means of telescope and relayed on to the next tower.( https://rangandatta.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/baranti-boronti-an-amazing-weekend-destination/)

 You have to climb around 500 steps to reach the top. The steps are nice. If you take it easy with some halts. then it is not be at all difficult. There is a wonderful view from the top.







Anyway, after Joychandi Hills, we left for Garpanchkot (or  Garh Panchkot).There is a wonderful WBFDC Lodge at Garpanchkot. The place is actually the ruins of Panchkot Palace - resulting in from Bargi attack. The way to Garpanchkot was splendid ! After reaching Garpanchkot, I went for trekking towards the Panchet hills. It is a very steep trek. There is no stair case, unlike Joychandi Hills. There is a chance you might get lost. I saw some old tribal woman, who seemed to me to be a guide. According to the blogger Krishnendu ( https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/ ) ,  “ Then we proceeded towards exploring the area. Two aged grandmothers approached us for helping us explore the place and being guiding us. Though we well understood their intention, but didn’t resist keeping in mind their age and scope of employment at such region. Not only that, the positive side is their enthusiasm at such age and believe me, Bong Grandmothers are an expert on telling stories. They really walked us through each and every spot around the ruins and explained things in details. The simplicity and personal touch in them really fascinated us. We happily handed over a note of Rs. 50/- to each of them, although we never discussed any amount beforehand. You see, I personally feel, paying them (whatever the amount is), is much worthy over paying the same amount at such temples like Kalyaneswari. “

 


 After some time, I decided to come back, because of dearth of time. Then I had much lunch near the Terracotta temple. There are 2-3 shops which serves lunch. The WBFD bungalow also serves lunch (even for outsiders) at an exorbitant price.  I must tell you, this place has completely transformed in last 12 years. I came here in the year 2009.There are, now,  shops all around the temple. The serenity of the place has completely lost. Most of the pictures you see of Garhpanchokot are old pictures. To me the place has lost, lot of its charm. This is what mass tourism does to a place.

 After finishing my lunch there, we proceeded towards Panchet Dam. The famous Panchet dam is at a distance of 27 km from Baranti. Panchet Dam was the last of the four multi-purpose dams included in the first phase of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). It was constructed across the Damodar River at Panchet in Dhanbad district

 


I did not have time to go to Maithon Dam. It is around 15 Km from Panchet Dam. Maithon Dam is more interesting, without any doubt. It takes around 1 hour to reach Asansol at top speed from Panchet. We were almost missing the bus !

 

Accommodation

It typically ranges between Rs 800—Rs 2500

Lake Hill Resort :  Tel: 95649-25872 /  94322-96178/99325-42601/ 8372-875617 .  According to blogger Krishnendu (https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/ ) “ I’d give it a 5* eyes closed. Out of all the options available, this is the best considering the location and view it offers…. …The place itself is very clean and well maintained. Needless to say, one can spend whole day sitting in the balcony, gazing at the breathtaking view.”

 Mr. Pulak - owner (For Booking) –94322-96178, Email – pulak3398@gmail.com |

Mr. Birbal (Manager cum Caretaker) –99325-42601 / 8372-875617 / 95649 25872

 

Rabin (Driver who picked us up from Asansol, arranged by Lake Hill Resort) : -91-83487-29426
Lakkhikanta (Driver who took us for Sightseeings on both days, arranged by Lake Hill Resort) : 

+91-86702-64149.

 

(https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/ )

 

Akashmoni Resort :  Tel: 8017215958. Akashmoni, has positive reviews . However the Lake Hill Resort has come up in front of Akashmoni, blocking the view. Now Lake Hill Resort offers the best view.  ( https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/ )

This is also a very popular resort at Baranti. Similar to Palash Bari, this resort also offers basic cottages. However, a basic rustic accommodation does not appear to be misfit amidst the virgin nature of Baranti. This resort is also very close to the lake so if you prefer staying near the lake you may opt for this hotel near the Baranti dam. The resort is surrounded by Sal and Segun trees. There are three semi-deluxe cottages in this resort. Also, there are two deluxe cottages. All the cottages are fitted with a double bed and an attached washroom. The deluxe cottages also have geysers.

Phone: 8017215958 (9:00 AM to 9:PM), Email: neelakash889@gmail.com

 

https://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/176836-baranti-travel-guide-a-budget-weekend-tour-from-kolkata

 

Palashbari Ecological Resort :  Tel: 9831507644 /90516 16012 Email address: palashbari73@gmail.com

This one is the  iconic resort of Baranti. I have personally stayed here for 2 nights and quite liked it. The Palashbari resort at Baranti is situated over a vast area of 7 bighas. The property has nearly 1600 Palash trees (Butea Monosperma) in its compound, hence the name ('bari' means house in Bengali, so literally the name of the resort means 'House of Palash'). So it is kind of a mini forest itself. In the month of March, when the Palash flowers bloom all around, the entire resort becomes red which is surely a great sight to behold. If you want to see the Palash flowers in full bloom, I would recommend this resort. However please note that you cannot have a view of the lake. The lake/dam is located at about 10  minutes walking distance from this property. It has basic rooms fitted with vitrified tiles with attached toilets. There are 10 rooms in the Palashbari Ecological Resort, Baranti. These rooms are fitted with geysers and water purifiers.

Check-in time is 11 am and check out time is 9 am. Their registered office is at Baguiati, Kolkata, near the Baguiati Big Bazaar Bus Stop.

https://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/176836-baranti-travel-guide-a-budget-weekend-tour-from-kolkata

 

My input: The rates here quite reasonable and the resort is quite organized and quick to reply your queries over whatsapp

Ankhaibari Resort : Tel: 9818827720. Considering the merits of the Ankhaibari resort at Baranti, location is, of course, a plus point. This resort is located at a prime location surrounded by tranquil mother nature. They have an in-house restaurant where Indian and Chinese foods are available. There are air-conditioned lake/dam facing rooms. If you are looking for AC Hotel in Baranti, the Ankhaibari resort is a great option. All rooms have attached bathrooms with geyser facilities. Fooding and lodging come as a package.


The check-in time for Rooms is 10.15 a.m. and Check-Out Time is 9.30 a.m. For tents, the check-in time is 9 am and check out time is 8 am. Mobile: 9433304643, 9609811544, 9800420013 , Email: barantiankhaibari@gmail.com


Spangle Wings Resort Tel: 9830341377.
Megh O Roddur.  Tel: 9932611915.
The Palash Kunja. Tel: 9051302925.
Baranti Wildlife and Nature Study Hut. Tel: 9830085483, 9239060292
Banabithi Baranti. Tel: 8296730165.
Mahulban. Tariff: Tel: 9830312333.
Monpalash Resort. Tel: 9732038397, 9062768434.
Album Resort. Tel: 8768008689
.                                                                                                 
Allure de Baranti :   This one is the closest to the dam. If you are coming from Muradi, this is the first hotel you will come across.

 

Source :  The words in italics are taken from one of these blogs or sources mentioned below.

 https://www.indiamike.com/india/west-bengal-f32/baranti-sweet-little-hamlet-in-natures-lap-t176151/#post1469025

https://krishnandusarkar.com/trip-baranti-garpanchkot/

https://www.bongbackpackers.com/baranti-a-perfect-weekend-trip-from-kolkata/

https://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/176836-baranti-travel-guide-a-budget-weekend-tour-from-kolkata

Thursday, November 18, 2021

 Flamenco in Spain



9
.10 Day 0  CCU to Del

10.10 Day  1  Del-Barcelona (BCN) 1145 Hrs +  BCN ½ day exploration 

11.10 Day 2: Full day city highlights of BCN 

12.10 Day 3: Costa Brava Tour : BCN- Blanes-LLoret Del Mar- Tossa Del Mar-BCN

13.10 Day 4: BCN -Monteserrat- BCN 

13.10 Day 4: BCN to Granada (by Train+Bus) 

14.10 Day 5 : Granada city tour

15.10 Day 6:   Granada

16.10 Day 7: Granada–Ronda -3 hrs by Trainat (Sleep at Ronda )

17.10 Day 8: Ronda – Seville  - city tour- 4 hrs  Train (Sleep at Seville)

18.10 Day 9: Seville city tour (Sleep at Seville

19.10 Day 10: Seville–Cadiz –1.45 hrs  Train at 6.40 am-8.24 - 1.44 hrs Hrs (city tour) (Sleep at Cadiz )

20.10 Day 11: Cadiz -Jerez de la Frontera (Sleep at Cadiz )

21.10 Day 12:  Cadiz - Cordoba - 2.15 hrs  Train at 7.55 am (Luggage at left luggage at Cordoba )

22.10 Day 13: Cordoba to Madrid by at 1.00 am (Sleep at Madrid)

23.10  Day 14: Madrid-Toledo (city of El Greco)-(Sleep at Madrid)

24.10 Day 15: Madrid-  Cuena Tour (Sleep at Madrid ) -(Sleep at Madrid) 

25.10 Day 16: Madrid  

26.10.Day 17: Madrid to Delhi 8.30 am

27.10 Day 18: Delhi to CCU

(To be continued)

Chronological order

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