As a part of the Chotanagpur plateau, Purulia, naturally gifted with picturesque landscape, is the realm of some of the perfect holiday spots like Baranti, Garhpanchakot, and Joychandi Pahar. And it’s also the birthplace of some of the best Indian Art forms.
Everything you can think about in a tranquil place is found in Purulia – the verdant hills, elusive tribal folk culture, captivating village life, mythological connections, warm welcome and delicious food.
The land of golden brownfields that blooms up during spring.
Best time to visit Purulia
Winter is the best time to visit Purulia. But, if you want to cherish the Palash festival, visit during March – April. Actually, every season beautifies Purulia with its own ornaments, but avoid summers because it’s scalding.
Baranti is a small village in Purulia.
Located in the Ramchandrapur Irrigation Project’s close vicinity, Baranti provides a grand view of the reservoir. Bestowed by its natural beauty with hills and forests, Baranti provides the silence we city dwellers crave. Wander on the landscape, sit near the dam, or enjoy a night safari – the choices for nature lovers are many.
From Baranti, you can visit Joychandi Pahar, Chelyama, and Garhpanchkot.
Where to stay at Baranti? – Baranti Eco Tourism
There are many private resorts in Baranti, but we had put up at the Baranti Eco Tourism. Being a Government-owned resort, there are no over-committed websites of this resort, but no other place can be better for spending a weekend away from the commotion.
Just like any other Government project, the location is perfect. And it’s a massive resort with beautiful gardens, well-spacious rooms, very supportive staff and a watchtower giving a picturesque view.
Let pictures do the talking now.
For booking at Baranti Eco Tourism, contact Mr. D. Ray at 7407971456. He’s an amicable person and will provide you all possible support.
If you are a fish lover, you will surely want to revisit Baranti. You get homely food, perfectly suitable for kids and elders. Despite being from Birbhum, I became a fan of Purulia’s style of alu posto. And at times, when I cook it, I temper it with paanch phoron and not Kalo jeera.
How To reach Baranti From Kolkata
Reach Durgapur by train or bus and book a cab from there. It takes 1hr 40mins to reach Baranti from Durgapur. And if you want to travel by train, don’t get down at Durgapur. Go to Asansol, and from there, you’ll get local trains to Muradi. From Kolkata, it takes around 6 hours by road.
One of Parna’s ex-students has recently visited Baranti and he has helped us with a video, too. It will give the drive route to Baranti Eco Resort from Raniganj.
We went from Asansol by our personal vehicle. It took us around 90 mintues.
Visiting Baranti and not going to Joychandi Pahar would have been a crime. After all, a few scenes from the Satyajit Ray’s “Hirak Rajar Deshe” have been shot here. So, the next day, early morning, we left for this trekking spot.
Adding to the charm of Purulia tourism, each spot is distinctly different from the other. While Baranti is for relaxation, Joychandi is a trekkers’ delight. Still an unexplored area, Joychandi is named after Ma Chandi. Her temple resides at the top of the hill, along with a Hanuman temple. Even an atheist must visit the temple, for the sheer view you get from there – it’s breath-taking! And worth the steep climb of around 500 steps.
In spring, this hilly area is adorned with bright palash, trebling the beauty of the landscape.
Where to stay at Joychandi Pahar? – Joychandi Hill Resort
The rooms are well maintained, spacious, and thoroughly sanitized. It has all the amenities required to keep you close to nature while making a stay comfortable. The property is enormous, with a well-equipped playground for kids. While our son jumped around the park and the resort’s steps, we sat under a shade, overlooking the empty fields. Our vision hit with nothing but the scattered hills.
How to reach?
We drove our personal vehicle from Baranti and it took us approximately an hour to reach the village.
There are many local trains from Asansol and Adra that take you to Joychandi Railway Station.
You get simple Bengali food. But, the quantity is more than sufficient. We had ordered chicken thalis, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
After having a sumptuous breakfast of luchi-tarkari, we left for Chelyama.
Historically rich, Chelyama is archaeologists’ and historians’ paradise. There’s a beautiful Radha Binod temple built somewhere in the 17th century, during King Balbhadra Shekhar Singh Deo’s reign. It’s a lot like Bankura’s Bishnupur temples, and its terracotta engraved structure is a manifestation of mythological stories.
This “Aatchala” (eight domed) temple faces towards the east. Its eastern wall has three terracotta panels with mythological stories engraved. The first panel tells the fearful story Shumbho-Nishumbho battle with Devi Chandi. The second one illustrates Rama and Ravana’s tense battle. And the third one is all about Lord Krishna’s mischievous deeds and his Ras Nritya. You can also see the Dasavatars (the ten
reincarnations of Vishnu), climbers, flowers, fruits, leaves, hunting scenes, horse-pulled chariots engraved on the walls.
After exploring through the historical remains and gazing at the undulated land with scattered hills, we left for Baranti. It took us around 1½hours to reach Baranti Eco Tourism Resort.
A Few Glimpses
Not having much idea about the available restaurants at Chelyama, we had carried some heavy snacks with us. And since we travelled during the COVID-19 era, we didn’t want to eat at the dhabas. However, there are many roadside dhabas en route.
How to reach?
The nearest staying option is in Jaychandi hills. So, for travelling to Chelyama, take your own vehicle or speak to the resort staff for a cab. It takes half an hour to reach from Baranti.
Garpanchkot (Garh Panchokot)
While returning to Asansol, we stopped at Garhpanchkot, a 45mintues drive from Baranti.
Snuggled in Pandhkot’s (Panchet Hill) foothills is this multifaceted, secluded, enchanting tourist attraction, Garpanchkot. This north-eastern village in the Purulia district is pretty close to the boundary of Burdwan and Jharkhand. After witnessing the rise of the kings and torments of Bargis, it’s still holding the ruins intact, enhancing the beauty of the place. The forests, hills, water bodies surrounding this locality make it a favoured tourist spot.
Even if history doesn’t attract you, the natural beauty will surely entice you.
Where to stay at Garpanchokot?
Out of the many options, the WBFDC resort is the best. Its lush green gardens, wide-open space, and the vast array of trees add to the overall experience. For booking at Garpanchkot Prokriti Bharaman Kendra, click here. Plan your trip beforehand, or you wouldn’t get a room. We were so much in love with the place that we wanted to spend a night there. But, we didn’t get a spot booking.
So, we drove around the place, halting, sometimes to capture the beauty of rural Bengal and witness the remains of history. We departed from there at around dusk and reached home within 90 minutes.
The Garpanchkot Eco Tourism is also a decent resort with all modern amenities, like a children’s park, swimming pool, comfortable cottages and a restaurant serving various Indian platters.
Panchet Residency at Garpanchkot is a treat, with extravaganza luxury and fantastic rooms. As heard from relatives, its panoramic view snatches sleep away from your eyes, making you crave not to miss a single facet of a day.
We had taken our lunch at Garpanchkot Eco Tourism resort. And we found the food to be good, like at most places in Purulia. But, it was costlier compared to Baranti or Jaychandi Pahar.
It’s not the conclusion yet…
Purulia is vast and you cannot cover the entire landscape in a weekend trip.
So, in the next part, we’ll share our experience of Ayodhya Pahar, where we stayed, and much more…stay tuned!