GARHPANCHAKOT- THE BOUNTY OF NATURE
The sounds of the dried leaves under our feet, the chirping of the birds of various species, the silence breaking crickets, and of course our breath kept accompanying us till we returned home from our adventurous excursion on 13th of April 2013, just few hours after we reached Garh Panchakot, Prakriti Bhraman Kendra at Purulia District.
The moment I came to know that my office colleagues are planning for a short trip and this time they are planning to raid Garh Panchakot ,the Araku Valley of Bengal, I did not take much time to nod my head towards the positive direction.
I and my family met my other team members beneath the famous grand clock of the Howrah Station as all of us were set to take the Howrah Dhanbad Double Decker express train ( Train No12385) about to leave Howrah at 8.30 AM as per its scheduled time and we reached Barakar at around 12.45 pm 1 hour and 15 minutes late from the scheduled time. However the train late did not have much impact on our happiness
The journey from Howrah to Barakar was simply superb and the happiness was clearly visible in the eyes of our children too who converted the train compartment into a playground as the number of the passengers in that train was very few and in fact the ground floor was nearly empty.
“Where are you all sir” our driver Mr. Amit Kumar Gope called at my mobile number after just few minutes past we reached Barakar “there is huge traffic jam in the road and the cars set out to take you to the resort from Barakar Rail station will reach a bit late, but don’t worry sir I will be updating you about their status”.
“O.K then”, Somnath Da our tour mentor, senior and guide too advised “ let us not waste the time and take some shots around the place.” And the rest 30 minutes I passed my time by looking through the camera lens only forgetting the delay of the pick-up vehicle the scorching heat of the sun etc.
Practically, every tour party, unless having their own car take the pick-up and dropping service provided by Mr Amit Gope, ( telephone number is 97321-84195), who is actually the official transport provider of the WBFDC who runs the resort at the Garhpanchakot as well as to the forest rangers.
During the entire journey from Barakar Rail station to the resort we faced a severe heat wave and all the local residents traveling on the road were covering their face by their scarf/hankies to protect themselves from the infamous hot wave of the so called “Paschima”.
Love at first sight, the only sentence is appropriate here to explain my feelings after seeing the resort and its surroundings at the first time and I renamed the resort as “ A green tent”. Yes from a distant view point, the hill covered with green trees, and the entire resorts in the foothills, covered under the big trees really looks like a green tent.
Moreover, it is to be admitted here that astonishingly the scorching heat wave was no more present inside the resort, rather that was replaced by a non stop cool and soothing air wave which dried our sweating bodies and clothes instantly .
Anirban Da, our another senior and mentor of the tour, welcomed us there who reached a few hours before by the morning train Coalfield Express with other members, leaving howrah at 6.00 AM, our rooms were allotted, ready with all amenities, foods were ready to be served and we were hungry enough after the tiresome journey……….thanks to Anirban da and others who arranged all the facilities and made the rooms ready for all of us .
Within an hour of time all of us gathered at the beautifully located lunch room after taking bath and getting fresh. The quality of the foods served in the lunch was good enough and worth mentioning separately along with the polite behaviour of the staffs serving foods tirelessly in a smiling face.
Post lunch session of day 1
I though myself alone present in the afternoon to utilize the beauty spread around and get lost in the midst of the mother nature and take as many as photographs so that I would not have to repent in future. While chasing a gang of naughty and restless butterflies beside the fence line I found that I was wrong and there were other people present too who thought likewise and thrown away the comfort of sleeping in the hotel rooms after a journey.
So I,Somnathda,Anirban Da, Chinmoy and Biplab decided to invade the unknown and lesser walked area spread beyond the fencing of the resort located at the foothills of the Panchet rocks.
What did the afternoon and the nature give us back in return? How did all of us feel during our nearly barefoot (most of us were not prepared and were wearing slippers) jungle trek? What did we see? How did we jump like children from one gorge to another? The answers to all these questions are in our minds but unexplainable in words At that time as well as during those three days we responsibly forgot all our respective official responsibilities, be it cash or credit, and be it asset or liabilities.
We returned from our jungle trek at around 5.30 PM as darkness was chasing us very fast. However we did not repent for fast passage of such a beautiful time together in the lap of the nature as our minds were filled with lots of virgin experiences and cameras with some virgin green landscapes.
The evening of Day 1
The Mahua tree beside the canteen room was our meeting point for having cups of tea and Pakora as evening snax, a short spell to prepare ourselves for facing a dazzling and really star cast evening where the sounds of the airwave blowing down from the nearby hill and running over the tree tops with a very unbelievable and never heard loud whispering sound and the airflow gradually crosses you.
Some of the best evenings I have passed with my family, my daughter and my wife, would of course include this one. Days heat is already gone away by the cool breeze and most of the seats under the trees were occupied by our colleagues and their family members, the silence of the nature is often broken by either loud laughter or a singing in a mild voice, otherwise the silence remains unbroken for a long time.…………………………..an unbelievably romantic evening, which I would not forget for the rest of my lifetime.
The rest of the evening, we enjoyed the view of the Panchet Dam from our resort balcony with the signature tune of the nature created by the loud sound of the crickets like orchestra played by the hundred pipers, the lightings of the Panchet dam was clearly visible over the tree line………………………….the vision gradually blurs out as it started raining heavily.
Morning of Day 2
The next morning all of us were out for a trip to the famous Kalyaneswari Temple and to the Maithon Dam .
Kalyaneswari Temple being a famous in entire Jharkhand as well as in the whole India for holding the goddess of power “ Maa Kalyaneswari” which is said to be another form of Maa Kaali.
The temple is located within 6 KM from the Maithon Dam and 20 KM from Asansol . It was built in the early 1900 in the banks of the river Barakar. It is said that Maa fulfills the wish of the devotees asking for something to the mother with their heart and soul and the temple is visited by the devotees all over the India as well as very frequently by the local residents.
Our visit to the Maithon Dam was a bit average as due to scorching heat of the sunlight as well as the CISF security person’s presence on the main dam area we could hardly enjoy the trip to watch the sluice gates of the dam rather consol ourselves by walking by the side of the catchments area of the dam and taking some photographs. This was my personal feeling but as I observed that other people including children enjoyed a lot after seeing such a big open area and blue water where the surface of the water is filled-up with beautifully coloured natural stone grabbles.
Afternoon of Day 2
In the evening we started a bit late to visit the historically famous Garh Panchakot and the Joy Chandi rocks.
It is obvious for any traveler to go to the historical root of a historically famous place as the ruins of the famous garh were making me compelled to know them and read the incidents embedded in the gaps of the century old clay stuck bricks. Suddenly I was lost in the midst of the lost past when at during 90 AD one small king was trying to spread his kingdom in the other attached districts(paghanas),the dynasty fairly known as Tilakampa until the same was occupied by the famous Malla Raja “bir Hambir” during 1600 AD, some structures are still standing today at the middle of the 2013 though they have witnessed the water like flow of the time as well as the making of the histories, but due to our sheer badluck most of the structures of these kingdom were destructed during the construction of the Panchet Dam.
The sun was already taking his preparation to rest for the evening and a bright moon was shining over the Joy Chandi rock when we reached there, some of our friends still got on the top of the hills by the stairs though it was dark evening. Hence could not take a clear shot of the rocks.
Evening of Day 2
We returned to our hotel at around 7.30 pm We gathered in the dining hall for our dinner, then suddenly a heavy storm started to blow and following the storm it started raining heavily and the flow of the air was so heavy , it was felt that it might break the glass of the windows of the dinner hall, and then the obvious thing took place which was just expected by most of us, yes the pitch black darkness suddenly covered all of us as the power supply got tripped , but believe me I will never forget the immense power of the rain shower, the lightning in the dark black sky, the sounds of the thunder as well as the darkness of the nature.
Morning of Day 3
The next day was the third and the last day and we were set to evacuate the lodge within 12.00 pm at noon, but from the very starting day I was planning to climb the Panchet hill attached to the resort, actually the hill is spread behind the oldest building of the resort and after having a cup of tea and a mild breakfast I set for a trip to the hill, and by my sheer good luck I found another person who was also thinking like me and was stepping uphill, who is a regular, experienced and efficient trekker to the trickiest remotest hilly areas , I did not delay to take the positive decision to accompany him to the heights.
I have never taken part in any trekking, and was not at all prepared for the same too, but it was my senior who made the same easy for me and we were gradually getting higher through the hills. A mild fear of snakes and other wild animals were lurking in the furthest corners of the mind as I heard about the same from my friends already visited there,
but believe me, the courage and confidence injected to me casually by Anirban Da as well as the beauty of the route uphill did not allow my mind to divert my thinking from the beauty of the nature to the fear, the smell of the virgin jungle, the rocks, the mild fear for going through the unknown place, everything was creating a cause for excitement to my adrenalin……the beauty of the surroundings from the height that can not be narrated here only by words,………………JUST HAVE A VISIT THERE AND TALK TO ME TO SHARE YOUR FEELINGS
The journey ended safely on the scheduled time on 15th of April and all of us returned home safe but still we are carrying the experiences with us, the jungle, the hills, the airy evenings, the rain, and further to add the behaviour of the staffs of the resort.
(It is advisable that, never try to climb the hill alone unless accompanied by an experienced guide/regular trekker).