This was a 1N2D planned weekend trip from Kolkata to explore the history of the cultural hub of west Bengal, the temple town Bishnupur. This is well known for its famous terracotta temples and Baluchari Sarees. I am not going to provide the history of this place or how those temples were built, rather to guide you to plan for visiting this place and witness the richness of its culture.
If you are travelling by car you can follow this route map:
Distance from Kolkata: Around 150 – 160 KM
Time: 3hrs 30mins to 4hrs
Road Condition: Overall the road condition is good and starting early morning from Kolkata will make a smooth drive. You might get bit traffic while crossing Dankuni railway bridge but depends on when you are crossing. You will get few speed breakers in between Kotulpur and Joypur. Inside Bishnupur, the roads will be narrow but that should not create any issue. You can roam around Bishnupur by your own car but will not be able to visit 2-3 temples for narrow roads/parking issue so I would suggest hiring a Toto for side seeing.
Train route: As far as I could find out, Aranyak Express train starts from Santragachi Jn and goes to Bishnupur via Kharagpur Jn. Approx travel time from Santragachi Jn is 3hrs10mins.
Otherwise, there are local trains to Bishnupur from Santragachi Jn. Via Midnapur which takes longer time.
In near future, the Howrah – Arambagh/Goghat train line will be extended till Bishnupur which will be the shortest route to reach Bishnupur.
Point of Attractions: Rasmancha, Dalmadal Kaman, Lalbandh, Jorebangla Temple, Pathar Darwaja, Garh Darwaja, Madanmohan Temple, Gumgarh, Nutan Mahal, Hawa mahal, Radhamadhab Temple, Kalachand Temple, Shyamrai Temple (Panchchura temple), Chinnamasta Temple, scenic drive and the beauty of Joypur forest, Shopping for Terracotta art and famous Baluchari saree
Day-1: We started at 7:00 AM from Kolkata (near Science City) and it took us almost 3hrs 30mins (including a tea break) to reach Joypur forest through the below mentioned route. After around 15 mins scenic drive through beautiful Joypur forest, we reached Bishnupur around 11:15 AM. Overall, it was a nice journey and a smooth driving experience.
You may prefer to stay in Bishnupur (Bishnupur Tourist Lodge) or can stay in Joypur forest (Banalata resort). The stay in Joypur will be expensive but the money is worth the experience you can get by spending the night inside the forest. You can roam around or drive through the forest and do photography. If you are lucky enough, you may be able to spot the elephants crossing the forest road in groups.
We made our reservation in Bishnupur Tourist Lodge few weeks back. After completing our check-in formalities, we get refreshed and went for lunch at Lodge itself. The food was good and not very expensive. We didn’t have much time to explore any restaurants nearby as we were planning to complete the major side seeing that afternoon itself. We were in dilemma whether to visit the terracotta temples by our car or to avail local transportation. Contacted few travel guides but finally decided to hire a toto. The deal was – it will charge us approx Rs. 350 to show all the temples along with other places Dalmadal Kaman, Lalbandh etc for 2-3 hrs. It was indeed a nice deal and the driver was decent and knows the history of each places/temples.
I would recommend taking a guide along or hiring any local transportation who can explain you the history of each place to make your visit more interesting. We visited each of the attraction points for more than 3 hrs. and took nice snaps. I, personally liked Rasmancha the best along with other temples like Jorebangla and Madanmohan Temple. Each temple is maintained and have small garden in it. The tourist guide will be able to explain you the history and specialty of each temple. We have been dropped near the terracotta market near Chinnamasta Temple. We roam around the market and bought few stuff for mfamily and friends and discover a restaurant nearby for dinner. Had dinner and came back to the Lodge.
Day-2: Next day, we explored the garden; play area, kids zone and temple inside the lodge. It is well maintained and having a large area just opposite to the Bishnupur High School. As per our plan, after completing complimentary breakfast in lodge, we get ready and check-out at 10:00 AM. The plan was to stop inside Joypur Forest to have lunch in Banalata Resort, roam around the places near the resort and came back to Kolkata. I was a bit curious about this resort as I heard about the special non-veg food available and the greenery of this place. We took some time to explore inside resort area where we found lake with full of duck floating, play area, clay made homes for stay, in house dairy, bunch of emu birds, koyel, chicken, turkey etc. along with their organic vegetable fields. I decided to order a special non-veg dish during lunch. The taste of Koyel kasha I finally ordered was not as per my expectation. Anyway, we had lunch and bought some organic vegetables and finally started our journey back home.
We followed the similar route to reach Kolkata but if you have time or interested to visit Sri Sri Ramkrishna and Sarada math, you can divert from Kotulpur and reach Arambagh via Jayrambati-Kamarpukur.