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West Bengal : Ayodhya hill
Ayodhya hill, or Ajodha Pahar, as it is more popularly called, is about 328 km away from Kolkata. It is a popular place for novice mountaineers to learn the basic course in rock climbing. Bagmundi, surrounded by rocky cliffs, to the west of Ayodhya Hills, also attracts climbers.
The narrow lane from Sirkabad to Ayodhya is perfect for jungle trekking. The 13-km journey through an intense jungle of mostly Shimul and Palash takes five-six hours. But it is suggested not to take that road alone when you are going to Ayodhya because the road is deserted and you will not find many people around. It is better to have a local guide.
Turga dam and falls, lake prepared using the dam water, waterfall at an altitude of 200 feet on the river Bamani, newly made Purulia storage project which is 8 km away from Baghmundi are some of the places one should look forward to visit. Tusu fair, an occasion of backward community, organized near the Turga barrage, is very interesting for knowing their culture.
Festivals are almost a daily routine for the vibrant Ayodhya. Festival like “Gajan fair” of “laharia baba” is a very big occasion here. The competition of Chou dance, making various different highly adorned masks, is the attraction of the fair. Charida, a place 16 km away from Baghmundi is famous for Chou dance (A special form of dance of backward communities). Charida village is the residence of the popular local artist Gambhir Singh. Khairabera barrage in Baghmundi in the shape of half moon, Blue Water Lake amidst forest and romantic Kumari kanan are some of the sought after places of Ayodhya. If you are a temple lover you can see Suisa and Deuli temples on the way to Jhalda from Baghmundi.
Tourists coming from Mukutmanipur can come to Balarampur. Chandil dam, located in the middle of forest is an attractive destination which is 24 km away from Balarampur. Dam on the Subarnarekha River located in Balarampur is very popular with its mystic charm.
The temple, situated atop Matha hill surrounded by many hills, at a distance of 6 km from Baghmundi and 40 km from Purulia looks like a picture on canvas. Kudlung River looks even more beautiful if you see it at night. If you are lucky you can see bears which come down from Garga hill. Not only the fair of Matha hill, the Pakhi hill situated at a distance of 4 km from Matha hill also attracts a large number of tourists. The group called “Flight to Harmony” lead by the artist Chitta dey is making different sculptures on the rocks of Matha hill.
Sita kund, said to be made by Sri Ramchandra when Devi Sita was thirsty, is a place which is associated with the classic Ramayana. People belong to Tundra community drink water from Sita kundu before going for Shikar (Hunting) because they think Sita kund is a holy place for them. If you want to enjoy the nature then there is no alternative of the peak of Mayuri hill. Forest authority here in Mayuri hill has made rest houses for tourists imitating the structures of the homes of backward communities. If you are interested to experience something different then you must visit Bandhghotu water plantation project which is 5 km off Mayuri hill.
Purulia, located at the eastern side of Chotanagpur plateau, is a place with a strong cultural background. It is also the district headquarters. The saheb bandh or Jheel (Lake), spread over 50 acres, has an island called Sabuj Dweep. It is the central attraction of Purulia. The island in the lake of Purulia is a place which can definitely beacon bird watchers. Travelers can get to see different kinds of birds which come especially in winter. Subhas park is a beautiful park situated on the banks of Saheb Bandh, and so is Science center and Children’s park. Cultural center for backward community, teledi picnic spot, deer park, Kali temple and science centre which looks like Birla Industrial Museum are other sought after attractions of Purulia. An evening walk around Saheb bandh is a great way to refresh your souls.
Hotel Shree, Hotel Mayur, Hotel Shyam, Hotel Akash and many more hotels are available for you in Purulia for a night stay.
If you are interested to go to the interior of Purulia then you can go to Murguma, a place which can be reached by a rickshaw from Begunkodor. Begunkodar is 57 km away from Purulia. The bank of Sabarjoti River is the prime attraction of Murguma. The lake surrounded by the hills is also eye catching. If you are lucky you can also see a group of elephants which come out of forest at times.
Deulghata, at the banks of Kasai or Kansai River, on the way to Ranchi from Purulia, is famous for the terracotta works. Three temples are still depicting terracotta style even though rests of the nine temples are now destroyed.
If you are looking for an adventure in this trip you can contact Eco Camping Retreat for booking a cottage or tent for you and your family. You will have to call on [40012744/9830885455] this number for booking your cottage.
Duarsini, another 294 hector forest, has got its name according to the name of mother Duarsini. Devi Duarsini is residing in a rock in her temple. Satgurung River and Akash Park atop 155 meter hill are places which are not bad if you want to spend your time with your family here. If you are tired you can also stay one night at Kuilapala forest bungalow which is situated at a distance of 18 km from Bandoan. Bandoan can be reached from Duarsini by bus.
The forest bungalow of WBFDC, situated just beside the hill, amidst nature, is the only option for you, if you want to stay here in Duarsini.
Bhalopahar, situated at a distance of 9 k from Bandoan, is commonly known as a village of Backward communities surrounded by hills. Menjhuri, Sonajhuri which are 3 km away from Duarsini are villages of backward communities. Music lovers will have a good time there listening to the melodious sound of Madal, Dhamsa etc. Bhalopahar has a school now for the children belonging to backward communities.
Bhalopahar has only one cottage with 6 rooms for the tourists. Call on 9836184499 for booking the cottage.
How to reach: If you are planning to go to Ajodhya hill by train then boarding at Howrah Purulia express is the best option available to you. Tourists who decide to go to Ayodha hill by road transport; they can either book a car of their own or can take a bus from Esplanade bus stand, Kolkata. But buses are not going directly to Ajodhya hill. You will have to change your Bus from Purulia. Trekkers can also trek to Ayodhya hill from Sirkabad.
Where to stay: You will not have any problem of staying there but it is better to choose your option before hand to get quality services. Forest bungalow, Lodge of Comprehensive Area Development Corporation, Niharika hotel and Malabika hotel are the options for you in Ayodhya hill. Contact the Forest Department.
Also note that the bulk of Purulia district is having a rough time due to Maobadi movement, which has spoilt the general ambience of the place. Armed forces from the state and center also march throughout the district. It is advisable that you check the latest situation and then make your move.