Want a vacation with diverse tourist interests and have limited time and budget? Below is a plan you can follow.
If you are travelling by car you can follow the below plan:
Duration: 3 days
Main places to cover: Banalata Resort, Joypur Forest, Purulia City, Ayodhya Hills, Joychandi Pahar, Garpanchkot, Baranti, Panchet dam
Day 1: Start around 8:00 in the morning. Take the below route:
Kolkata (Science City) ->Airport–>Dankuni–>Mosat→ Champadanga–>Arambagh–>Bengai–>Kotulpur–>Joypur
Banalata resort is just before you enter Joypur forest. It is on the left side of the road. The resort is a sense a farm house. It boasts a very large area and they claim to prepare food from their home-grown products (vegetable, meat, milk etc). They also have a variety of birds(koel, turkey, emu,swans) and a horse. A huge number of flowers are also in the garden.
You can have a good lunch in the resort as the food quality is good and at a reasonable price.
Just after the resort starts Joypur 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. Below are a few photos and video links for your quick view.
Drive to Purulia city: About 100 km from Joypur is Purulia city. The connectivity is very good and you can reach Purulia town in around 3 hours. You can check-in in a hotel in Purulia town. Charida village is around 50km from Purulia. This village is famous for chhou-mask making. You can buy a few masks as souvenir from one of the many shops. You can easily visit the place and come back before evening.
4) Day 2: Ayodhya Hill, Murguma Dam, Charida Village
You can book a local cab for sightseeing or drive your own vehicle to Ayodhya hills. Ayodhya hills have a number of beautiful spots. Below are some of them:
- Marble quarry
- Upper Dam
- Khairbera Dam
- Bamni falls
- Mayur pahar
Below are photos of some of the above mentioned places:
Murguma Dam: Around 17 km from Ayodhya Hilltop is the beautiful Muruguma dam. However, the connectivity is not so good – either you need to drive through narrow village roads if you go from Purulia town or you need to drive through not-so-wide hill road if you go from Ayodhya hill-top. So, you can take a local cab if you are planning to visit Muruguma Dam.
Charida village, Baghmundi: Charida is a village near Baghmundi. It is around 50km from Purulia city. The main attraction is the shops making Chhau masks. You can buy a few as souvenirs/home decoration.
Day 3: Joychandi Pahar, Garpanchkot, Baranti, Panchet Dam
Joychandi Pahar is around 45km (around 1 hour drive) via Asansol-Purulia road. There are some small hillocks at this spot. There is one temple at he top of the hill and you need to climb quite a few stairs to reach the temple. The place is surrounded by small hills.
Garhpanchkot is located around 20 km further from Joychandi pahar and you can reach in around half and hour via Asansol-Purulia road.
The approach road is a little narrow but the views on both sides are captivating with greenery and the hill on the horizon.
The spot is very close to the hill. There is an old temple of terracotta and opposite the temple lie the remnants of an old fort.
Around 14 km from Garphanchkot is the beautiful Baranti Hills. The road is a bit narrow and not in a very good condition and hence it takes a bit more time(around half and hour) given the distance. However, again the views are mesmerizing with palm and date trees all around. You can spot some pots hanging from date trees to collect the sap which later is converted to Khejur Gur.
The main spot is a very large lake with small and round shape hillocks nearby. It is a photographer’s paradise and it is difficult to say from which side the view is the best as it is beautiful from all sides when you look at the lake.
There quite a few resorts in this area. It is worth staying at least one night there if time permits.
The last destination in this route is Panchet Dam. It is around 23km from Baranti via Sarbari-Panchet road. Alternatively, you can take the Asansol-Purulia road.
Panchet dam has a marvelous view with the huge reservoir and the nearby hills. You can drive through the barrage and enjoy the views on both sides. Below are a few photos of the dam and the surrounding views.
You can return to Purulia straight via Asansol-Purulia road(70km, one and a half hour drive approx) after visiting the above places or go further to Asansole(relatively closer from Panchet-30km, 1 hour drive) and stay for the night.