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West Bengal - Jharagram
Jhargram, a 155 km away destination from Kolkata presently known for its political turmoil is a destination which provides you many opportunities to explore the natural beauty. Jhargram can be easily reached by bus or train from Howrah, Kolkata but traveling by train saves a lot of money. However, Due to the political unrest by the Maobadis or the group who believes in Mao philosophy, the hard wing of the communist, the place is under terror, and tourism has dried down.
Jhargram has many hotels with their quality service to welcome you but it is always suggested to select your hotel carefully as this is not a place as safe and secured as it was previously.
Dark, deep forests of jhargram with little huts of people living inside the forests give you a feeling of joy and happiness. It is a marvelous feeling to walk down the red soil especially in the moonlight. It is better to visit places like Jangalmahal, Jambani, Chilkigarh, Gidhni, Belpahari, Kakrajhor, ghaghra, taraphony barrage taking a car on hire which will cost you Rs.1000-1250 per day.
For the people interested in temples, visit temples of Shiva, Vishnu Deb, mother Manasha, Sabitri before visit Jhargram palace, subject to permission, which is an old palace of the local kings. Hiring a rickshaw will definitely help you to save your time and energy to visit deer park, situated at a distance of 3 km from Jhargram, big Kochena barrage of 100 acre area, Mela barrage and the Asram.
Only 10 km away from rail station, is the Botanical garden, a dream of Ajay . Covering an area of 20 bighas, it houses an astonishing array of plants. Cactus, Orchid, red and black roses are the special features of Jangalmahal, the famous destination of Jhargram. If you want to enjoy the forest in its true charm, then go to the place of “Lodha” community at a distance of 3 km from the city.
While going towards Jangalmahal, at a distance of 2 km, take right and cover a distance of 16 km to reach to Chilkigarh, crossing Jambani, a must visit place for the palace of Dhulbhum kingdom. Apart from the palace of Jangalmahal fort, temple of “Kanakgurga”, Dulung River across the forest, Kendia village near jambani famous for its seasonal birds, are some places where you can find this part of the country at its native’s best.
About 6 km away from Dhulbhum palace, is Gidhni. It is expected that this place with have railway connectivity soon. It is a destination for nature lovers and for the people who want to explore the lifestyle of the aboroginies and adivasis of this place. It is home to India’s oldest communities and tribes like Mundas, Saontal or Santhals, Mahalis and Sabar. If you are a bird watcher then give a shot to places like Dalma hill and Kanaisol, which are just a km away. The forests are filled with the chirping of different kinds of birds.
About 45 km away is another forest but of a different flavor. It is called Belpahari. The age old Tusu festival here depicts the rich cultural background of backward communities residing in this part of Bengal.
If you are interested in trekking then you have to go to Ghaghra, a hamlet situated about 9 Kms away. The enticing experience of Tarafheni falls and the barrage is amazing.
Silda, situated at a distance of 8 km from Tarafheni, a place where the history of Santhal revolution is associated with. Parts of different destroyed temples, Silda barrage, Bhairab fair are the attractions of Silda. Thre is railway connectivity too from Sealdah to Purulia.
Kakrajhor, is a beautiful forest destination, but it is marred with the violent politicial and social conditions. Some of the lodges are destroyed due to terrorist activities and bombing but you can still get some tourist lodges if you book it early from Kolkata itself or from Belpahari or Bholabeda range office. Firstly you have to reach to Bholbeda which is 10 km away from Belpahari and then again you have to go 18 km by bicycle or jeep. It is better to remember that there is no electricity yet. So make proper arrangements before reaching Kakrajhor forest bungalow. It is advisable not to go there in summer because of the rising mercury.
More than 1000 Munda, Saotal, Bhumij communities are the citizens of Kakrajhor in its 28 villages. The Bhairabi River which acts as a border of Kakrajhor and Jharkhand is the lifeline of Kakrajhor. Walking through the Bhairabi River to reach to Makuli is a very memorable and unique experience. If you have time you can also go to Ghatsila, Jharkhand from Kakrajhor. At a distance of 25 km is Bashpahari forest bungalow. Spending a day or two there will be an experience which you can cherish for a long time.
Kendugeria: Forests in Kendugeria and Nayagram are also beautiful. Kharagpur, a very renowned place of West Bengal for its IIT, is not far away from Kendugeria. The biggest railway station, IIT and many temples around 5 km of Kharagpur are some places of interest.
Hatibari: For spending a weekend visiting hatibari will not be a bad idea at all. It is a 6 hrs journey from kolkata by bus touching the Jhargram city. Relishing the beauty of calm and quiet Subarnarekha River is an unforgettable feeling to have. You can also take a ride on fishermen boats and enjoy the place.
Paschim Medinipur: According to the name of Modini kar Medinipur has got its name. Gopgarh which is situated at a distance of 7 km to the south-west of Medinipur was a very rich state. Visiting Gurguripal forest and seeing Kangsabati River will be a nice experience altogether.
Apart from this, Jagannath temple made by kings of Orissa, Sitala temple, Durga temple of Bibiganj, Kali temple Rashmanch, Baptist church, are other sought after places of Medinipur.
Habibpur is birth place of Khudiram Basu. The newly designed home of Khudiram Basu is the main attraction of Habibpur.
Pathra: Nabaratna temple, Kachari mahal, Durgehswar temple, Shiva temple are popular attractions of Pathra for their ancient architectural representations. Buddhist cultural touch is also visible in Pathra. Jinsahar, situated at the opposite side of Pathra was named as Jinsahar according to the name of Jain priests.
About 12 km away from the city of Medinipur, towards its northern side, Karnagarh is popular for its temple. Parang River adds to its attractiveness.
If you have a plan to go to Salbani you should go 4 km north crossing the forest from Karnagarh towards Anandapur. Anandapur is 31 km away from Salbani forest, and is a heaven for nature lovers. Chandrakana, 11 km away city from Salbani have many temples and palaces though most of which have not been able to bear the passage of time, is a must watch for travelers. Oirabat, Banabitan and Aarabari forest will also be very interesting for travelers who are planning to come to this part of West Bengal.
If you want to explore more os this part of the country, you can start your journey towards 29 km east from Chandrakana to go to Khirpai and Birsingha village which is at a distance of 10 km from Khirpai. Birsingha is the birth place of the legend Vidyasagar.
Garbeta, situated 11 km away from Chandrakana, situated at the banks of Silabati River is thefamous Raikota fort and Sarbamangala temple. This will give you some historical flavors in your trip as well.
If you are thinking about staying at night you can ask the authority of PWD bungalow to make appropriate arrangements for you.
You can always avail railway service to reach Medinipur which is 129 km from Howrah station. However, it would be prudent if you book your car for the whole journey after planning it out.
Reiterating, the whole of Medinipur district is undergoing a political turmoil and terrorism, and for the last few years, tourists have shunned this part of the country. It can be assumed that the district is not safe for tourism.
Forest at Jhargram View from MPS Resort