Purulia’s Ayodhya Pahar is a familiar picnic spot during winter. And during March, dressed in Palash, the entire landscape becomes a nature lover’s treat. With the nearby picturesque places providing tranquil surroundings to drained city dwellers, like us, it’s a perfect weekend destination from Kolkata. There’s Baghmundi, Muruguma, Gorgaburu Hills, etc., waiting in serenity to take off the stress from you.
There was a time when Purulia was a haven for Maoists. However, things have changed now and tourists can visit this place to appreciate the mystical chhau dance, walk amidst the scattered forests, and experience the culture of diverse indigenous communities living here.
A Unique Pearl Dug Deep In The Sea
Ayodhya Pahar Circuit
Popularly called Ajodhya Hills, the places around the Ayodhya hills, Purulia are perpetually framed in quietness. If you want to visit all these places, you need to opt for the Purulia Ayodhya Pahar Circuit tour.
It is an artificially dug water body with a depth of around 40 feet. The water is so crystal clear that when the blue sky’s reflection falls on it, the waterbody appears blue. Durga Bera is a rich habitat for the endemic fauna and flora of Purulia. Situated above 2000 ft from sea level, it’s near Ranga Village near Ayodhya Pahar.
Deulghata is known for the remains of the ancient temples built during the 11th-12th century by the Sena Dynasty. Around 15 temples were built during that time. The Deulghata ruins speak about the traditional temple architecture evident in almost all the temples built during the rule of Sena Kings of Bengal.
P.C.: Official Website of Purulia Government
Hills surround Murguma Lake from all three sides. It is a dam constructed on Girgiri Nala, a part of the Kansai River. If you can visit it during the sunset or in the early morning, you’ll see the mesmerizing beauty of this lake.
PPSP stands for Purulia Pumped Storage Project. This hydel project is one of the most significant pumped storage projects in India. Two rock-filled dams, Upper Dam and Lower Dam, store water needed for the hydel power plant’s functioning. Though it’s a popular tourist location, it’s not crowded, and you can find a corner for yourself. The PPSP is located in Baghmundi.
The Bamni Falls appears pristine to the beholders. The natural beauty of this spectacular falls unleashes during the monsoon. The landscape around the Bamni Falls can lift your souls and rejuvenate you. One has to descend around 100 steps to have a full view of the Bamni Falls. It is located on the way to Baghmundi.
P.C.: Official Website of Purulia Government
Turga Falls is an equally picturesque waterfall located on the way to Baghmundi. The waterfalls join the Turga Dam. The water is crystal clear, unpolluted and streams down from all the sides of the hill. So, the natural setting around Turga Falls is extremely pleasing to the eyes.
Sita Kund is a shallow water body in Bagandi Village. The cold-water bubbles come out from inner lying layer of soil and surfaces up the upper layers of white sand. The beauty of the Sita Kunda or Kund is magnified by the mythological story attached to it. In that story, Ram brought up water from the underground by striking an arrow when Sita felt thirsty. The local tribal people consider the water body to be sacred and perform special dance during the full moon night of their hunting festival, Disum Sendra, before heading out to hunt.
The Chamtaburu is the highest peak of the Ayodhya Hills range in Purulia. And at its foothills lies the clear blue Khairabera Lake. The landscape around the Khairabera Lake is scenic and enhances the beauty of the lake by manifolds.
During the Doljatra or Holi (Indian festival of colours), the Palash trees around the Khairabera Lake area blooms beautifully, making the site even more beautiful. It’s a lifetime visit to the Khairabera during spring to observe the blooming Palash trees around the placid lake.
Charidah village is famous for the Chhau dance masks made by its artisans. The Chhau Dance is a folk dance that has main themes from Shaktism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Thus, the dance style has martial arts and tribal war dance influences. The masks used in Chhau dance are colourful and lively. Over 250 artisans make the Chhau masks here and paint these with bright colours. A Self Help Group also operates, giving the craft of mask making much-needed momentum. The Charidah Village is located in the Baghmundi Block.
Mayurpahar is a spot just around 2 km from the Ayodhya Hilltop, from where you can get a 180° view of Purulia Ayodhya Pahar circuit. The view is stunning and breathtaking.
Pakhi Pahar (Bird Hill) is the sculpted hill that was earlier known as Murra Buru. It is one of the brightest examples of Bas Relief’s style of sculpture art among its contemporaries.
Not only Birds, endangered animals like Pangolin are also sculpted in the hill to raise awareness. Started by sculptor Chitta Dey, the sculpturing of Pakhi Pahar also employs the local youth who learns the rock sculpture technique while working along with him. The sculpturing work is going on for three decades approximately.
Matha Forest at the foothills of the Mathaburu is a conserved forest with lush green trees. The natural beauty of the Matha Forest is still untapped and popular among the eco-tourists, trekkers and campers.
Pardih Dam is the irrigation dam built over the Kathaljhuri River near Pardi Village. The Dam’s beauty lies in its natural setting, with hills rolling down all over the three sides, keeping the waterbody in the middle.
Usuldungri is a scenic Sunrise Point just around 12kms away from the Ayodhya Hilltop. Moreover, the change in the colours of the surrounding hills with the sunrise is absolutely ethereal.
Activities while travelling in Purulia Ayodhya Pahar
You can indulge in treks on the plateau trails, forest walks, fishing in permitted places like Turga Dam and Durga Bera. Or visit the tribal village observing tribal dance like chhau dance, pata nach, and jhumur gaan. Or you can just sit back and enjoy the beauty of silence and spend time with your family playing around in the open fields.
Best time to visit the Ayodhya hills, Purulia
The best seasons to visit Ayodhya Circuit are winter and spring. The winter weather is very comfortable. Springs bring the beauty of blooming Palash trees. If you want to just go to Ayodhya Pahar, admire its beauty and take a rest, you can choose Monsoons as well.
- The West Bengal Government’s CADC Lodges – Niharika and Malabika offer good views from the Ayodhya Hilltop.
- Kushal Palli resort is a well-maintained 4-Star Accommodation.
- Youth Hostel – Budget stay option without in-house restaurant facility.
Reaching Purulia Ayodhya Pahar
You need to reach Purulia by trains like Chakradharpur Passenger train from Howrah or Rupashi Bangla Express and hire a cab from Purulia station to Ayodhya Hilltop.
If travelling by own vehicles, drive straight to Purulia, have a night halt there and head out to Ayodhya Hilltop the next day. From Kolkata Airport, it takes around six hours to reach Purulia. Or you can also take a bus to Asansol and book a cab from there.