Kolkata to Ajodhya Hill : Happiness on Roads Day1
Why again and how it started
Let’s escape to Nature. My childhood days specially my vacations to my paternal ancestral place near Mandarmoni beach shaped my love for nature. Rural sides attract me. Solitude and desolation enthrals me. So we chose Purulia and Jharkhand on this adventurous move for nature. Springs and falls be the theme this time. Be it sprinkled with histories. Lets enjoy Ajodhya Hill and some Jain Temple.
Jhargram Palace or Rajbari
Starting from home we rushed to Jhargram only with a brief breakfast enroute at uluberia. We moved past Khemashuli . Tried to visit the Jhargram Rajbari to find it locked and not getting permission to enter.
Locals were having trouble with a car so we sped off. The palace has developed stay facilities. Better next time. We didn’t had time for Kendua Village and Garh Salboni popular bird watching areas as we were to drive far more roads.
Kanak Durga Temple at Chilkigarh and Chilkigarh Forest‾
Not minding much we sped of to Kanak Durga temple an old one amidst a semiforest. We had travelled for 11.7 km along the Jhargram Jamboni Road to Jamboni. Furthermore 2km along the Chilkigarh Jamboni Road and Chilkigarh mandir Road. Our car was greeted by monkeys who were trying to prevent entry to us. After entering safely we took a nature walk to the temple to find the old original one neglected & in ruins.
Astonishingly a tree in the temple ground was witness to many peoples desires as evident from the string tying custom on it. A new structure stood erect with much fanfare. We had a tea break and used the toilet available before we drove off.
On way along the Chilkigarh Jamboni Road 1.3 km we crossed the beautiful Dulung river with the road sloping down almost to the river surface. Perhaps at monsoons the concrete road would have the river flowing over it.
We reached the Chilkigarh Palace to find it deserted. But the complex was vast and we saw the buildings with help from locals.
Driving along NH9 road we reached Gidhni and then Parihati. After crossing the Parihati Bridge we took left to reach Dharsa. Through Tingchapol, Poradiha, Kododiha, Domahani, Baramsol, Indpahari, Bhalukchua, Pankanali we arraived at Jamda. We travelled further along NH5 to Belpahari in Binpur.
Ghagra Falls on Tarafeni River
From Belpahari we took a small road 6.1 km to Ghagra. we traversed through Nayanagora and krishnapur to reach there. Ghagra our first waterfall in the menu and on Tarafeni River. It was small in height but wondrous. We could feel the water flowing through rock holes and the erosion in progress. My wife had a chat with few tribal women.
We didn’t travel to the Tarafeni River Dam 5.2 km away as it is offroute. But we moved through Kuldiha, Bamni and Bhula bheda. Further through Tamajuri, Majhugora , Siyarabinda, Neguria to arraive at Banspahari. Then to Jhilimili , Kuliapal Beko and Banduan, Madhupur, Liki. We crossed Jamuna Jor Bridge and travelled through Shankar Dungri and Rogima and Hargora .
We moved along to enter Jharkhand at Dhabani for a while. As usual the border road in Jharkhand was very bad and soon we entered Bengal again. Though in Jharkhand, Odisha and even Bangladesh at Dauki the roads are better the 5-6 km road to Bengal border is always terrible. Though the Bengal side road is good.
Lunch and Navigating to Guesthouse in Ajodhya Hills
In Jharkhand we moved through Dhabani , Mahultal, Barudih to cross over to bengal again along Barabazar Barabhum Bamnidih Road at Rasiknagar. Upon arrival at Buchudi we started calling our tour operator for which way to get to guesthouse and asking for suggestions for a place to eat as also refuel our car.
We further moved through Pirradih, Bamnidih, Barabhum, Salboni to arrive at Balarampur . I didn’t had time for a proper lunch and as it will take time to climb the hill we decided to have some snacks from a sweet shop at Balarampur.
We also refueled our car at a Bharat Petroleum pump at Balarampur. Restarting our journey through Matha we reached Baghmundi without noticing Ajodhya More on way. After enquiring the locals we came back to Ajodhya More only to be stopped by paramilitary forces suspecting our movement. They asked queer questions and didn’t answer our query for the way to the dam even after showing our passport.
Climbing the Ajodhya Hills with our Car
Through a badly maintained road we took the dam road. Through the Lower Dam view point and PPSP Upper Dam road we reached the Ajodhya Guest house. We were so tired and irritated we didn’t feel like to get snaps or alight from the car. We missed the Laharia Shiv Mandir too. The road was steep with sharp bends and our plain land driver had a tough time to navigate. Google maps navigation too was nearly impossible because of rapid change in directions and no data showing change in altitude. On reaching the Hill Top Ground we were relived to finally arraive at Niharika our night stay.
Ajodhya Hill and Jharkhand nearby Day2
Ajodhya Hill Morning
To utter despair at Niharika we found rooms not properly booked for 4 days and 3 nights. I also learnt that passport was not acceptable as ID proof and had a tough time explaining. However we got a room with no a.c. and the authorities were saving on the generator fuel. So no electricity in case of loadsheding. Disgusted we went to a local shop for tea and sweets after a cold lunch at the canteen almost at dusk. Couldn’t decide whether my car and driver was good for the hilly terrain. We decided for hired ones and asked our tour operator to be guide.
Upon power failure our mosquito repellant cartridge was useless. Thus we shopped for mosquito coils at the dead of night. Our repellant cream was of some use but the windows also didn’t have any mosquito nets unlike we had at Simlipal in Odisha.
After a stroll near the animal houses we had a good dinner amidst a garden place. However we went to bed being disturbed by mosquitos and profuse heat as no fan due to loadsheding.
Early morning I was pleased to see the adjoining garden and the pets like rabbits and goose thereof.
Murguma and Murguma Dam, Purulia, West Bengal
The nights despair ran away with dawn as we started for Murguma. Soon we understood why we couldn’t use my car and driver. Sharp bends with trees and shrub covering the road. Reaching Murguma we were astonished by a small spring by the roadside.
The reservoir there had such a peaceful look. Luxurious trees around gave the place an amazonian look. We took snaps around the water pump while moving along the Murguma road.
We felt uncomfortable to stay back at ajodhya hill for another day. Though the stay at Murguma was perfect solitude at the lap of nature but my wife disagreed for the solitude itself.
From Murguma to Brajapur, West Bengal
We travelled along the Murguma Road till Irrigation Bungalow at Murguma and took left along the Ajodhya Road. We didn’t continue on the Murguma Road till Begun Kodar Bus stand. Instead through Gurubera Road , Baruakacha Road and Baghbinda Road we reappeared on Begun Kodar Road at Lagam in West Bengal. On Baruakocha Road we travelled through hills at Nawagar and Jaharhatu. We had avoided Begun Kodar Bus stand to save both Km and time. But we missed the so called haunted Begun Kodur rail station.
We continued on it Begun Kodar Road to reach Jhalda Sub Post Office. We travelled along Ranchi Purulia road within the town. From Jhalda keeping Shikra Hills on right we took the Gola Road. We crossed the railway line at Badgram between Jhalda and Tulin Railway Stations. We crossed over from Brajapur West Bengal to Hethbarga in Jharkhand soon.
From Hethbarga to Sikidiri Jharkhand
From Hethbarga through Barlanga we were continuing on the Gola Road. We had a level crossing at Saragdih, Jharkhand near Sondimra Rail Station. We crossed the railway line again at Nawadih, Jharkhand near Harubera Rail Station.
From Gola we took a right road to arraive at Kulhi . We took the Gola Charu Road to appear at Kulhi at base of the hill. Our guide choose the steep yet short Kulhi Shikhidri Road uphill to reach Swarnarekha Dhaba at Shikhidri. We could see the Sikidiri Power Plant driving uphill.
Lunch at Sikidiri, Jharkhand
Swarnareha restaurant was good and indeed a surprise on part of our guide. Food was not cheap but well prepared. We usually don’t expect good food at such hectic travel trips.
We ate outdoors deliberately sitting beside a deep well decorated with seasonal flowers.
It is a waterfall on the Subarnarekha River and is the 34th highest waterfall in our country. Actually it is on one of the edges of the Ranchi Plateau.
It was worth climbing down so many stairs.
The dam was a surprise by our tour operator en route. It had a fish market and a pleasant view. Though we missed the local Chhinnamasta Temple, Patratu Valley, Ranchi Hill Paharia Temple, Dassam Falls, Ranchi Jaggannath Temple , Hatia Dam etc around Ranchi this was a good addition indeed.
It is a dam on Subarnarekha river and was commissioned in 1971 almost 4 years before my birth. Though main purpose of the dam was to fulfill the water needs of Ranchi it provides fishing opportunities to the local people too.
Taking the Ranchi Puruliya Road we reached Dokad. We took right to catch with the Jonha Falls road through Gurudih.
Thereafter we took straight from a bifurfaction to start with the Sita Falls Road. We reached Sita Falls view point. Many more stairs to get down to the base of the fall. We were tired so we didn’t . In the rush we also missed a Buddhist Temple.
We moved back along the Sita Falls Road to catch the Jonha Falls Road again and continued left till Jonha Falls.
Jonha is the most majestic of the falls. But we reached there last after climbing up and down so many stairs. Yet we climbed down and really enjoyed the place
What surprised me was at the interval men cleaning the stairs and the cleanliness of the steel railings. Been to waterfalls in Ajodhya but missed this. I could feel why Jharkhand won for cleanliness recently.
West Bengal return
In the hurry we missed the Ancient Jain temples of Pal Sen era at Deulghata inWest Bengal. It was could have been visited from Murguma but we had rushed at morning. At evening to visit Chharida we needed to follow a different route same as our first ascent.
We reentered Bengal after sunset and went to Chharida through Tulin upon nearing Ajodhya Hills. Purulia masks had their home at Chharida. After seeing many I bought 2 one of a bull and another of a lion.
We climbed up Ajodhya at darkness. So stopped at the dam to see the beautiful lights on the dark hill. Wasn’t having a DSLR or Mobile got discharged so couldn’t get low ISO pictures of the dam and hill. Better next time.
To learn what we did next day how we toured Ajodhya Hills proper and rest of our tour to Jharkhand and through purulia back to home don’t forget to read Part2 of this series. On expectation of telling the whole story
With warm regards