What made us travel to Bankura
Yet another time I was bored with the hospital and we needed respite. So we thought of nature and primitivity. Maithon and Panchet Dams attracted us, so did Gar Panchkot and Jai Chandi temple. Begunia group of temples were a chance discovery.
Towards Maithon Dam
Kolkata to Durgapur
On 4th Aug 2012 we started from home with sunrise by our own car. We crossed Hooghly river by Vidyasagar Setu and moved past Santragachi as quickly as possible. By 6:30 am we took the Durgapur expressway.
By 7:30am I have crossed Burdwan travelling along NH19 and was rushing through Galsi and Panagarh to arraive at Durgapur at 8:27 am. I took some snap of the Thermal Power Plant from road while making a brief stopover.
Durgapur to Asansol & Maithon
Reaching Asansol at Vivekanda Statue we entered the city to search for our restaurant. We had breakfast and coffee at Hotel Ambassador Retreat. After being refreshed we started again for Mython by 10:20 am.
Maithon and Around Day1
Being in Maithon for the first time mistakenly we drove to the Jharkhand end by crossing the Barakar river. Google maps and locals helped us to reach our WBTDC Hotel at West Bengal side through the dam itself by 12 noon.
The location was good overlooking the dam but the car parking was risky. Parking had a steep slope car sliding to dam prevented by a strong wall. Room was spacious but amenities were not ultra modern.
Maithon to Barakar Begunia Temples
After brief lunch we started for the Dam road by 1pm crossing over to Jharkhand side. Then again we crossed the Barrakar river to reach Bengal side from Chirkuda Jharkhand border. We didn’t knew of the Barakar Kalyaneswari road so had taken a long route. However by continuing through Dubudi we appeared in Ramnagar colliery. We drove through the black surroundings to reach Ramnagar.
We travelled along the Maithon Dishergarh Road. Further by an waterlogged single lane narrow railway underpass to avail the Barakar road. Thus we crossed the Kulti Kumardubi Railway line near the Barakar station.
At Barakar at around 1:58 pm astonishingly by chance we came across an ASI site. Little did I know then of the rich Jain cultural heritage of Manbhum Singbhum areas then and of the vast cultural heritages submerged and villages dislocated in creating the big dams.
It was a group of 4 temples called Begunia group of temple or Sidhesvara temple. The 4th temple is distant from the entrance and oldest rekh deul temple of West Bengal (8th to 9th century AD). Originally the place was of Buddhist and Jain origin later taken up by Shaivite & Vishnuvaite faiths. The other temples resemble Odishan architectural forms being constructed around 1416 AD.
As we reached the dam we got rain though the stretch beforehand was dry. Same had we experienced that day for Maithon. Much snaps couldn’t be taken due to restrictions. We crossed the Damodar River travelling along the Sarbari Panchet Road. We reached the Mahishnadi checkpost and travelled farther.
Gar Panchkot a missed attempt
We were moving in a narrow rarely motorable road with shrubs on both side, no persons to enquire and Google locations misleading and incomplete. I reached the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation stay site at Gar Panchkot to be disallowed entrance as we had no bookings for night stay. So we felt disgusted and had to return without seeing the Gar Panchkot temples.
DVC Maithon Sunset & Night
We came back entering DVC Maithon Dam by 5:22 pm. I thought of climbing the Bhandar Pahar (hill) to the Amarnath Shiva Temple but abandoned the plan due to failing light and slipperiness caused by incessant rain. Along with my wife I had an initial walk at the dam side to see few scorpions live on the road.
Soon we drove to the dam road again and to a farther place from the dam to see the sunset. By 7:30 pm we were in our hotel room tired and exhausted.
Maithon & around & back to Home Day2
Maithon Morning Walk
Early morning treck to a hillock leading to the Maithan Forest Guest House. It seemed deserted being under lock and key.
We walked uphill to the hillock through a deserted rainy road. It was drizzling and we had a tough time over the slippery road. Saw few monkeys following us as we were going downhill.
Coming down by 7 am we walked lazily to the lodge to find no sign of breakfast. Thus we had tea and breakfast from a roadside local eatery.
The morning Joggers refreshed my mind and we took a stroll to the boating ghat side before returning to Tourist Lodge. After getting freshened up we started for our days tour.
To Gar Panchakot finally
By 9:13am we were at Siuliban in Jharkhand. Through Chirkunda and Kumardhubi we reached Panchet by 10:24 am. On way we saw some statues of tribal life and also of workers unity.
We were soon at Puapur and this time realised the road to Gar Panchkot temple through a tribal village.
Numerous temples of terracotta ornamentation in ruins. The serenity and primitiveness of the place made me feel great. A damp weather and lots of mushrooms and goobre poka.
We managed to get a tribal youth who promised to guide us uphill to a waterfall and a old Shiva temple as he said. But after going for few metres we realised the forest was becoming thick and the walking trail was being almost absent. We didn’t had anything to cut the branches and shrub on our way so we returned. By 12 :24 pm we were back to Neturia Chakra.
Jai Chandi Hill
Travelling we appeared before a small spring in about 15 mins and came to Gobindapur to catch with the Purulia Barakar road. We were at Raghunathpur and decided to visit the nearby Jai Chandi pahar (hill). We climbed numerous steps to get atop. Up the view was majestic.
The nearby Adra railway junction station and even the faraway Durgapur steel plant was visible. On way we saw a watch cum signalling tower built by the erstwhile kings.
We returned to the coliery to snap some pictures.
More of Maithon & return then
After lunch we checked out from the hotel stay and visited some temples at Maithon in search of antiquity. All fresh concrete structures and so it’s our time to return home.
By time we reached Durgapur sun had set and we hurried back to Kolkata along the expressway.
What we missed
In the hurry we had missed Biharinath Hills, Murudi Lake and Bero Hills and Bero jain Temple. We also missed little far away temples at Chelyama and Banda. Para temple was however farther away. Better make a new route plan for next time.
Taking leave till then
Yours sincere friend