Purulia, One of the last open spaces in West Bengal, a region that speaks about the vastness of the plains of India. Purulia is the land of mystical places and traditions. Incredible in the natural beauty of a raw arid kind, home to numerous different communities and mythological connections. As the region gets explored more and more with each passing day, with traveler’s mainly from West Bengal neighbouring Jharkhand visiting the area, I think it is apt that I made my traveller guide to Purulia as a gateway to this gem of natural rustic beauty in my exploration of West Bengal.
Numerous questions crop up in the mind of the traveler who is not from this region. Most frequent are how to get hold of a Purulia tour plan, which would be the best time to visit Purulia. Is there a Purulia tourist map, and which are the Purulia tourist places to see? Through these posts on traveller guide to Purulia , I will try to answer as many as possible these common queries.
Purulia – Lal Matir Desh
“Lal Matir Desh”, meaning the land of Red Soil, is how Purulia is described. It is a region abounding with minerals in the earth, resulting in the soil acquiring the reddish colour. At the same time, come February, the Palash trees flower with flaming red flowers that cover vast swathes of land with a red carpet.
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How do the seasons look in Purulia?
While Purulia is often termed arid because of the blazing hot summers and the drought-like situation it faces, a quick look at the google earth of the region reveals the presence of many seasonal Purulia waterfalls and lakes which impart a fantastic sense of beauty to the whole area. There are important places to visit in Purulia which need to be amplified in these posts on traveller guide to Purulia.
How to explore Purulia
As Purulia is a significant region, I realised that I need to divide the area into sectors to cover the places methodically. Thus, this will be a series of posts on the traveller guide to Purulia region as I take some time covering the entire region to my heart’s content. As I said, I will answer all the common queries like where to stay in Purulia, which season to visit in Purulia, what mode of transportation to use, and what to see in Purulia.
West Bengal Tourism and Purulia
It is also worth mentioning that West Bengal tourism has been at the forefront in promoting Purulia tourist places. It aims in getting the region seen as a popular sightseeing option in West Bengal and a weekend destination from Kolkata. The best time to visit Purulia remains the winter season from November till March, though I have also seen some splendid photographs of this region in monsoons.
What is my blog about ?
The ruins of Hampi ( read here ), the Cave temples of Badami ( read here ) and the Panch Kedar in Uttarakhand (read here ) are few examples of diverse Historical grandeur and legends. I have been fortunate to have got the opportunity to see these gems of India.
My blog focuses quite a bit on the ancient history and art of India, among other places of travel that I keep doing. The history posts come up because there is in ancient Indian History, so many monumental architectures created.
In case reading blogs is tedious at your end, would you like to check the story posts out here
Traveller Guide to Purulia
In this blog post, I will be covering popular traveller guide to Purulia sightseeing spots as follows
- Purulia Baranti tour plan
- Telkupi Temple
- Moutorh Kali Temple
- Panchet Dam
Discovering Baranti in Purulia
It is a beautiful village surrounded by hills and lakes. One of the most sought-after destinations in the Purulia region, this quaint village is visited by hordes of traveller’s and tourists alike in the winter and the monsoon. The beautiful sky, deep green forest and calm blue waters of Baranti Lake leave an indelible mark. The Muradi Lake created by Baranti dam is the centrepiece of attraction and home to many picnics in the warm winter sun by joyful families. It is also known as the Purulia dam in the local parlance.
Distance of Baranti from Kolkata is 235 km which can be covered easily by train or self-drive. Baranti sightseeing compromises of quaint villages, meandering roads and lush fields, imparting a sense of tranquility. Indeed Baranti tourism is booming with each passing season. The best time to visit Baranti is Winters; however, the monsoons also portray a unique version of Baranti.
Charm of laid back Baranti , Purulia.
Baranti is also home to numerous migratory birds that visit Muradi Lake, and one can enjoy their antics while sipping some tea and watching the landscape. There are multiple trails near Muradi dam, which one can explore to seek out and discover, especially if one has a personal vehicle. Numerous villages are nestled near the Muradi dam, with Baranti village being the centre focal point. One should not miss the sunset on Muradi dam, famous all over in this region. The sun’s orb as it goes down across the lake’s still waters makes for a breathtaking moment to remember and cherish.
As with any rural regions, the mornings are foggy as the birds and geese greet the day and search for some warmth. These are ideal mornings for photography with ponds and date palm trees dotting narrow field paths. No traveller guide to Purulia can be complete without sampling the local cuisine. These mornings are always to be enjoyed with some hot tea in earthen cups followed by a lip-smacking local breakfast. While nights are for long walks in the gathering fog as it settles down on the fields, ponds, and paths, the moon shines naturally in the sky.
In addition to Muradi village, one can also climb Baranti Hill, which overlooks the Muradi dam. It gives a mesmerising view of the entire landscape of the region.
Purulia Stay Options
There are numerous homestays and budget resorts where one can stay in baranti. However, they get filled up pretty quickly in tourist season. The reader will definitely find many traveller guides to Purulia advertising properties to stay. I stayed at Aranouk Resort which I found to be pretty decent for the duration of my stay. In Kolkata, one will find numerous companies that offer Purulia tourism packages inclusive of sightseeing in Purulia.
The West Bengal tourism Purulia package comprising Baranti and Garhpanchkot is very apt. It can be taken as a starting point for venturing into this region. There is also Ayodhya Hills in Purulia, considered an important tourist destination. Traveller guide to Purulia recognizes that most of those visiting Purulia make it a point to visit Ayodhya Pahar Purulia. I decided to skip in this first venture out here, though winters would be the best time to visit.
Explore Garhpanchkot in Purulia
Another favourite Purulia tourist spot is Garhpanchkot. One reaches Garhpanchkot, Purulia by driving through some fantastic rural Bengal countryside. The drive meanders and road winds through fertile fields, small ponds and lovely mountains in the distance. The Baranti to Garhpanchkot distance by car is 22 kms. Garhpanchkot is a preferred weekend trip from Kolkata for many enthusiasts. It is a one-night trip from Kolkata and hence the allure.
Garhpanchkot is home to the ruins of the Panchkot Raj fort and a group of temples. So, the kingdom of Panchkot emerges in 90 AD by Damodar Sekhar, and he unites the various tribal chieftains who are based here. In recognition of these tribal warlords, he adopted the name of his kingdom as Panchkot to give credibility to the main five tribal chieftain clans. The most famous among the temples is the Panchratna temple. The terracotta panels are no more and few parts are painted. The temple has been restored; however, the original would have been amazing.
While the fort ruins have more or less perished, barring a few walls and odd structures, one can visit the other two temples located a short distance away in the nearby fields. If adventurous, one can trek up the nearby hill to visit the ancient temple on top of the Panchkot hill. Not many travellers do this trek and limit themselves to the Panchratna temple.
There are some options to stay at Garhpanchkot, but one can always be among the various options at Panchet Dam.
The forgotten Telkupi Jain Temples of Purulia
As a part of the Purulia tour map, I visited Telkupi Jain Temples. Telkupi, Purulia derives its name from the erstwhile Kingdom of Tailakampa, which flourished in the 8-10 century AD. At the time, there were several temples built by the local business traders who used to trade in copper, which was extracted in the region. Not many traveller guide to Purulia mention this place, so yea make sure to read this blog post to know more about Telkupi.
With the dam’s construction on the River Damodar at Panchet, this area is now inundated by the dam waters, submerging the remaining temples still standing over the centuries.
Journey to Telkupi
Trusting google maps and with the assistance of the local villagers, I was able to go as far as possible towards the dam waters of the river Damodar. I got to see only one of them, the still-standing half-submerged temple of Telkupi. On the other bank lay the state of Jharkhand, with the waters of the Damodar forming a natural boundary. Purulia trip plan indeed needs a bit of preplanning in terms of distance and where to stay, especially if one intends to do Purulia sightseeing in a detailed manner.
The journey to Telkupi takes one through the actual heartland of the Purulia region; there is hardly any tourist who comes so far inland to look at these half-submerged Jain temples. Here i am on narrow village roads which call for sedate driving. During winters, one can witness large fields of mustards on both sides of the winding road as it passes through small hamlets .
Time stands still when one walks to the edge of the waters and sees the ruins of the erstwhile Kingdoms of this region. Suddenly with a start, one comes back into the present, and all that he sees is a solitary fisherman maybe or a farmer tilling his small fields while the Purulia sun overhead casts a sense of stillness to the entire landscape. Truly time stands still in places like the Jain temple at Telkupi. Indeed visiting sites in Purulia which are offbeat is still possible. I endorse each one to make this weekend trip from Kolkata.
Moutorh Kali Temple of Purulia
As we continue to recount the visiting places in Purulia region, I am reminded that Bengal is a land of Shakti. Some mighty Kali temples are omnipotent even to this day. One among these situated deep in the Purulia region is the temple of Goddess Kali called Baro Kali of Moutorh. It is said that the Goddess at this temple never disappoints her devotees. She is visited by believers from far and wide.
Unlike many others, I found the temple quite neat, and there was a sense of openness towards visitors. The temple still organises animal sacrifices, mainly goats, in salutation to the goddess.
It is decreed that only those whose call comes; can visit this unique and potent tantric temple. dedicated to Goddess Kali called Moutorh Boro Kali. The final place to recommend in this series of traveller guide to Purulia is Panchet Dam.
Serenity at Panchet Dam in Purulia
There are two main Dams worth visiting in the Purulia region; Mython and Panchet dam. Panchet dam lies at the border of West Bengal and Jharkhand. The dam is famous for some lovely mesmerising views of the sunset that happen over the waters of the Damodar river.
The authorities do allow a drive over the Dam wall which is is an added attraction. It would be interesting to see the dam waters fully flowing in monsoons. While researching the history of Panchet dam, I came across the curious case of Santhal girl Budhni Mahajan. I would recommend readers go through her story,. It casts a light on the tribal traditions that are dominant and prevalent in this part of the world from those days to even today.
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Traveller Guide to Purulia : My conclusion
So this completes part one of the Purulia trip blog. There are other series dedicated to Purulia. They will come up as I make up my plans of venturing into more exciting territories in this region. A complete two-day Purulia tour plan excluding journey from Kolkata would be most apt for the above places. Kolkata to Purulia by road is 250 kms which is roughly 05 hrs. I have already spoken of various stay options in Purulia; most of these are located in Baranti, a few in Garhpanchkot and near Panchet dam. There are also a few government guest houses in Purulia. In addition to numerous stay options near Ayodhya Pahar, but I am not conversant with the same presently.