Explore Purulia West Bengal, detailed list of places covered

Where is Purulia? How to reach Purulia? what is Purulia famous for? I attempt to try to collate my thoughts keeping all these questions in mind. In this post, we talk about what to see in Purulia West Bengal. Purulia is one of the most visited regions of West Bengal. Also known as “Lal Matir” desh which means land of red soil in Bengal, Purulia has always welcomed travellers and visitors alike. Visitors have been enthralled by the region’s rustic beauty and the history visible in the form of various monuments and forgotten temples that dot the region all over. Not many know that Purulia also played a very important part in carving the history of Bengal and is extremely rich in tribal culture.

purulia west Bengal
Purulia West Bengal

Purulia West Bengal

Purulia is one of the last open spaces in West Bengal, a region that speaks about the vastness of the plains of India. It is a land of mystical places and traditions. Incredible in natural beauty, home to various communities and mythical traditions.

Lal MATIR Desh Purulia
Lal Matir Desh Purulia

Purulia has long been a rich cultural zone of West Bengal. Various cultural influences at different points in time in history. In the 6th century BC, it was first exposed to Jainism when Jaina Tirthankara Mahavira came to visit this region. The Jain religion rose to prominence when Anantavarman Ganga Deva occupied the entire southwest Bengal and created his second kingdom at Ambikanagar, Bankura. Thus this region received royal patronage and many temples for the Digmabara sect were built in Bankura and Purulia in the 11TH and 12th centuries. The remains of these are seen at Deulghata and Telkupi.

Explore places in purulia
Sunrise in the Purulia landscape

In this latest series on the detailed list of places in Purulia, I will be speaking on

  • Deulghata Jain Temples
  • Telkupi Purulia
  • Charida Village & Chhau Mask
  • Marble Lake
  • Ajodhya Dam
  • Pakhi Pahar

To read about traveldreams.live an earlier journey to Purulia click on the hyperlink. There is another gem in Purulia known as Baranti which in itself is a major journey destination. One can check out details on the same as well.

best Nolengur in Bengal
Nolengur Preparation in Purulia

Some of the well-known weekend destinations in Bengal include Taki on the shores of the Ichamati river. Journey to Gongoni is also a worthwhile destination to visit from Kolkata while Bandel remains a favourite travel option in Bengal.

For images, check my Stock Gallery here. These are available for Prints as well.

Deulghata Temple

Deulghata, literally meaning “land of temples “ in Bengal, is considered one of the rich heritage sites of the Purulia district, especially for Jainism. There were in recent times three brick temples out here of which two are presently seen. The third one which was the biggest collapsed a decade back. These are standing on the banks of the river Kasai in Jaipur Boram village, around 3 km from Purulia town. The overwhelming beauty of the Palash and Shimul trees encircle the whole area and lends an ethereal beauty to the temples.

Deulghata Purulia
Deulghata , Purulia

It is said that Deulghata Purulia also incorporated elements of the Odisha style of architecture especially the Rekha ( straight) Temple style and the placement of a Kalash on top of the Shikhara which rose above the Garbhagriha ( sanctum).

Temples of Purulia
Deulghata Temple Purulia

Both temples have carvings all over the outer walls with no definite pattern, but the Hindu temples’ influence is visible. The Hindu sculptures came into existence owing to the shift in royal patronage towards Hinduism. There are no deities inside the Deulghata Jain Temple, and there is a remnant stone temple out there with a Shiva lingam inside the sanctum.

The jain templles of Purulia

How to reach Purulia

The fastest way to reach Purulia from Kolkata is by car which will take you approx 7 hours. Kolkata to Purulia distance is 300 km. The road condition is generally good and it should not be too much of a bother. The advantage of a journey by road is one gets to see the intrinsic beauty of the Bengal countryside as one travels along. Kolkata to Purulia by bus is also a great budget option to reach the region.

winter mornings in Purulia
winter mornings in Purulia

One can also take a train from Howrah Station to Purulia. The journey will take approx. 8 hours or so depending on the train classification.

How many days are required to explore Purulia

As Purulia is a vast region, it is not possible to cover all the places in one go. There are far too many tourist spots in Purulia. Hence, I would recommend 2-3 trips to Purulia to explore the entire region spanning three days each else one can make a list of the important places to see and try to cover the maximum within 5 days.

Rustic Purulia west Bengal

Best time to visit Purulia

Weather In Purulia has its extremes, especially in Summer and winter when the temperature in Purulia goes off the charts. However, winter remains one of the most preferred times to visit Purulia. Monsoons too are a great offbeat time to explore Purulia for the rainfall in Purulia opens up some great vistas in the region.

explore Purulia west Bengal
Magical Purulia West Bengal

Where to stay

There are ample budget hotels in Purulia for stay purposes. However, resorts in Purulia like Banjara Camps Purulia are limited in number though the future looks promising with more and more people wanting to visit this region. Also, many hotels offer Purulia tour packages which can also be looked into for those who prefer tailor-made itineraries.

Nolengur preparation
the art of Nolengur preparation

Telkupi Temple

As a part of the Purulia tour map, I also visited the Telkupi Jain temples. Telkupi, Purulia derives its name from the erstwhile Kingdom of Tailakampa, which flourished in the 8th-10th century.

Telkupi jain temple purulia
Telkupi Jain Temple

With the construction of the dam on the River Damodar at Panchet, the ruins of the temples at Telkupi were submerged in the still waters. Today only two temples still stand forlorn and forgotten. A testimony to the rich history that this region abounds in.

Telkupi Purulia
History of Purulia

The journey to Telkupi takes one through the heartland of the Purulia region. There are hardly any tourists who come so far interior to look at the half-submerged Jain temples. But those who do are rewarded with the rustic beauty that Purulia is all about. One travels on narrow village roads with large fields of Mustard on both sides giving such an ethereal feel to the whole experience.

Charida Village Purulia

Chhau dance is prevalent mainly in the tribal belts of Eastern India bordering the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha. There are three major forms and distinct styles of Chhau associated with the individual region. In West Bengal, it is the Purulia Chhau which is the prevailing art form.

Chhau masks in Charida
chhau masks in Purulia

The Chhau masks; the most essential accessory for the dance are made at Charida Village in the Bagmundi block of the Purulia region. The entire village comprising more than 500 families is engaged in this enterprise of making Chhau masks. Primarily created by the Sutradhar community, these masks follow an elaborate procedure of manufacturing which is manual.

Charida village Purulia
Charida village Purulia

Usually paper, mud and clay are used to make these masks with the mould being mud. The facial features are also made of clay or foam along with multiple layers of mud amidst cloth and paper. Bright colours are then used to decorate these masks and draw symbols and lines.  Once dried these masks are super strong and very ornamental.

Customized tours of Charida village Purulia
customized tour of Charida Village Purulia

The masks are representations of the characters that are played in the Chhau dance. The beauty and magnetism of the Chhau dance depend on these Chhau masks a lot.

It is said that mask-making started in Charida Bengal around 150 years back and received royal patronage as well from the Kingdom. In recent times the Govt of West Bengal has promoted this art form very enthusiastically and also set up a Rural Craft Hub in partnership with UNESCO. Recently Charida village has also been given the Geographical Indicator Tag ( GI) by the Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India.

chhau utsav Purulia
what to see in Charida Purulia

Best time to visit Charida Village

The Charida Chhau dance mask festival is held every December in winter when the artisans showcase their products. In addition, there is also the Chhau- Jhumur Utsav, a kind of rural art festival which is held every year during the winter months and is attended by a lot of visitors.

explore Purulia West Bengal
Chhau Mask Making Purulia

Marble Lake Purulia West Bengal

Ajodhya Pahar Purulia and overall Purulia is also known for multiple natural waterfalls and springs that acquire a different look during the monsoons. These owing to their natural rustic beauty capture the scenic beauty of the region very well. One such waterbody popularly known as Marble Lake Purulia can be seen a few km ahead of Bamni falls.

Marble Lake Purulia
Marble Lake Purulia

The site of a stone quarry has now been transformed into a soothing oasis of calm owing to the emergence of the still waters of Marble Lake. Watching a sunset out here is rated among the best in the entire Purulia region.

where is marble lake in Purulia
sunsets on Marble Lake Purulia

For me, it was the lure of the sunset which drew me to this place. The surrounding hill slopes are covered with Sal trees. The nearby meadow has a green carpet of grass, birds chirping in the trees and the overall sense of being amidst nature is so distinct if one comes to visit here when the crowds are less which can be a weekday.

Where is marble lake in Purulia
explore Marble Lake in Purulia

Ayodhya Dam

Ayodhya Pahar Purulia is a small plateau with hilly surroundings located in the Purulia distt. It is a part of the ChottaNagpur plateau with the highest peak in Ajodhya Hills called Chamtaburu (699 m).

Ajodhya Hills West Bengal is home to many tribal communities. Some of these include the Santhals, Munda and Bhumij tribes. These tribes have been proficient hunters for many generations. In the recent past, they have taken to agriculture as the main source of livelihood.

PPSP Purulia
PPSP dam project Purulia

The Upper dam and Lower dam together known as the Purulia Pumped Storage Project ( PPSP) is a hydel project in the Ajyodhya Pahar Purulia. It is one of the largest pumped storage plants in India and is in existence since 2008.

Ayodhya Dam Purulia
Ayodhya dam Purulia

The main structure of this project includes the Upper dam and Lower dam created to store water. These are situated in the Bagmundi block and offer some panoramic views as one drives up to these two locations. Very picturesque indeed, they offer great vantage points to see the surrounding hills and region.

Explore dams in Purulia
Explore Purulia West Bengal

The Ayodhya hills are an ideal weekend escape from Kolkata for city dwellers because of the lush green landscape with undulating hills and terrain. There are sufficient hotels in Ayodhya hill in and around Bagmundi where one can stay and explore the region. Kolkata to Ayodhya hill distance is 297 km.

Upper & lower dam Purulia
explore Lower Dam Purulia

Once these were the most isolated regions however now they come under Bengal’s most popular travel destinations.

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Pakhi Pahar Purulia

For over three decades, a veteran artist Mr Chitta Dey has been sculpting images of birds on Ayodhya hills thus giving it the name Pakhi Pahar ( meaning bid hill in Bengali) and transforming it into one mammoth bas relief.

pakhi pahar Purulia
Pakhi Pahar Purulia

The hills now have birds and animals etched into them. Thus drawing curious travellers and tourists alike from all parts of Bengal who are left speechless by the dedication and passions of one man.

It has been a long perilous journey for Chitta Dey right from convincing the entire world of his passion. Getting the requisite permissions and grants from the government and also establishing a rapport with the local population for the work involved.

what to see in Purulia - Pakhi Pahar
exploring places in Purulia – pakhi Pahar

Today Pakhi  Pahar is a constant aspect of Purulia tourism for the locals. Visitors from far and wide come to have a look at the passion and dedication of the entire project undertaken.

My thoughts on Purulia West Bengal

Purulia remains one of the most visited regions in Bengal and yet one of the most sparsely populated. It has always greeted travellers with lush green meadows, hills, forests, waterfalls, scenic dams and unending beautiful roads leading into the embrace of nature. The people remain one of the most simple and open-hearted. It is a joy to interact with them participating in the famous Purulia Gaan ( songs of Purulia) on moonlit nights.

explore Purulia West Bengal
explore Purulia Bengal

Every time I visit this region to marvel at the simple joys of nature. I am reminded of how life can be led simple manner in the most ordinary of places yet the simplicity makes the place irresistible in its way.

Purulia sunrises
Purulia – the land of beautiful sunrises

I hope you liked this third part of the continuing series on Purulia West Bengal. My endeavour remains to document this great and unique region of Bengal. It also creates sweet memories in addition to being a great weekend trip from Kolkata.

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5 Replies to “Explore Purulia West Bengal, detailed list of places covered”

  1. you give me serious travel fever here! I haven’t visited this region yet and actually would love to. It looks so unusual to my eyes and very beautiful. Your guide is making it even more approachable and hence more desirable to me

  2. Thanks so much for this detailed sharing about Purulia here, I’m planning to revisit Kolkata this year, so can include Purulia in my trip planning, will check out your other blog posts in this Purulia series for my planning 🙂 cheers Siennylovesdrawing

  3. I had not known about Purulia until your post… so much to explore here, it is so hard to say what I found the most fascinating – everything is the right answer!
    We visited the artist village of Ratnagiri during a trip to Puri and Konark last summer and it was beautiful. Your description of Chau reminded me of that.

  4. Chhau dance of West Bengal is a magnificent art form that encapsulates the essence of the region’s rich cultural heritage. With its intricate movements, elaborate costumes, and captivating storytelling, Chhau mesmerizes audiences and transports them into a world of myths, legends, and traditions. As an integral part of West Bengal’s artistic legacy, Chhau dance continues to thrive, delighting spectators and ensuring the preservation of this magnificent art form for generations to come.

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