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Old 11th February 2013, 09:53   #1
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Default Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Hello Tbhpians,

I recently travelled to Shantiniketan & Deul Park from Ranchi by road. This is the travelogue of the journey.

26th January 2013 falling on a Saturday, which means we had a long weekend this time. Yes, I know that it sounds boring, but unfortunately I am not among the privileged those who have Saturdays off! My & my wife had returned from our fantastic year end trip from Bhutan just a few days ago (Travelogue is here), but which petrol head would turn down an opportunity like this! On 24th Jan, the plan was finalized that we are doing Ranchi> Shantiniketan (Bolpur)> Deul Resort> Ranchi. The ride would be my ’02 Zen. The passengers would be of course, me (driving too; who else?), wifey, my MIL & FIL.

The car was serviced a week before; in the anticipation of the trip. The fuel injectors & throttle body were cleaned & engine decarbonized during the service, which meant that the car was in its top shape technically for the long haul. The evening before, the fuel tank was filled to the brim which holds 35 ltrs.

We packed our luggage on Friday night & slept a little late making arrangement for the trip. I am thankful to tbhpians and especially rch_Vijayant from Ranchi for confirming the routes. With all 4 passengers on board, we left @ 0645 in the morning & took some time to reach the highway- NH33. To update, the NH33 section from Ranchi to Barhi is now excellent in terms of surface and almost 100% of the road is now 4 laned. Spotting the opportunity of safely saving some precious time, I pushed the pedal little harder & the car was effortlessly cruising in the range of 80-100 KMPH.

The ghat section between Ranchi & Ramgarh is not what it used to be a few years back. The roads were narrower with lots or corners & curves compared to what we have now. The lane widening in the section has resulting in cutting of the mountains & roads now have become much wider. To be honest, I enjoyed this section of ghat roads in its pre-renaissance state.
Anyway, this happiness of 4 lanes is mostly short lived as you have to leave this section after 50 kms at Ramgarh town. The route that was to be taken is precisely Ranchi> Ramgarh> Bokaro> Dhanbad> Govindpur (NH-2)> Asansol> Durgapur> Panagarh (Deviate from NH-2)> Darjeeling More> Ilambazar> Bolpur = Shantiniketan. So, I took a sharp right turn from Ramgarh. The surface quality & the width of the road significantly suffered, but I was able to maintain around 60-70 KMPH with occasional braking for the potholes.

Just to put this on record, this road is pretty much doable by all standards and should not be of any concern even to small hatchbacks. We stopped for breakfast at about 0900 but the awfully slow service of the guys there made sure that we don’t leave the ‘dhaba cum restaurant’ before 0945! We had lost significant amount of time there, so I decided that we won’t stop for the lunch in the way and would take food only after reaching Shantiniketan. Thankfully everyone on board agreed to it! The funny thing is that I had almost no idea that when we would be reaching Shantiniketan! We crossed the city of Bokaro which houses the famous Bokaro Steel Plant and after some travelling reached the city of Dhanbad, the Coal capital of India.

The traffic @ Dhanbad was maddening. The diesel autorickshaws & bikers were the most irresponsible on the roads, who literally gave a damn to the traffic rules. The outside temperature was not helping either & I had to switch on the AC for the first time during the trip. The worst thing is that you have to compulsorily cross the city as there is no by-pass road for reaching Govindpur (AFAIK) which ultimately puts you on NH-2, which of course is the driver’s bliss. Crossing the city took at least 45 minutes and then upon subsequently passing Govindpur, we finally took the NH-2, the famous Delhi-Kolkata G.T. Road.

This was a good opportunity to make up some lost time and I pushed the pedal to the metal. The car responded & the speedo needle rose to the 3-digit category. The car was now continuously doing in excess of 100 KMPH. We crossed Asansol, Raniganj & Durgapur. The Distance for this leg was 110 kms; from Govindpur NH-2 to Panagarh, which we did comfortably under 90 minutes. Just after the Panagarh Air Station on left, you have to take a left turn for Shantiniketan. This turn is also called ‘Darjeeling More’. So, we left the NH-2 at this point & followed this particular stretch, which had potholes & patches but was drivable. Just an update: This road was probably in pretty bad state a few months back as per some posts on teambhp, but now the road has improved significantly and it’s not at all tough to travel @ 50-60 kmph on this stretch upto Shantiniketan. After some travelling, we reached Ilambazar from where 2 roads diverted forming a ‘V’. For Shantiniketan, we took the right turn & continued till we reached another small ‘V’. The road to the left is right! The other road leads to ‘Sriniketan’. Now that we had reached Shantiniketan clocking 337 kms on the odometer @ about 1500 hrs, I had to fulfill my promise: of the lunch.

We found a good restaurant; S.K. Restaurant which served good traditional Bengali food. We ordered 2-3 verities of fishes with rice. Prices were fairly reasonable by the standards. Then, we started to hunt for a good hotel for our overnight stay. First we went to Shantiniketan Lodge, run by WBTDC which looked exotic but what we heard from the guy at the reception was not encouraging at all. Obviously, he did not have any vacant room, but he also told us that it will be pretty tough to find one in the whole town as it was a big weekend and tourists have come flocking from Kolkata! & boy, he was so right. We enquired at numerous hotels & lodges but not a single room was to be found. Lesson learnt: Go for advanced booking for weekends. But finally after a lot of searching, we found 2 rooms at Hotel Ashirwad & we literally grabbed the room keys. The rooms were basic, but clean with the provision for hot water. We paid 1300/- per room, which we knew was too much for the place, but since we had no other option, we took it. The best thing it had of all was a secured parking space. By now, it was around 1700 hrs. We decided to stay back that day & visit Shantiniketan campus & the museum the next day- Sunday. Info: Shantiniketan is closed on Wednesdays. The hotel had a big common dining space. Terming it a ‘restaurant’ would be a blasphemy. We dined later in the evening at this place. Food was average here. After a small walk around the hotel, we preferred to cool our heels in the room watching TV.

We woke up next morning fresh & after having breakfast at the hotel itself, we drove to the ‘haat’ or the local bazaar. It was not even 10 by then and Vishwa-bharti campus opened only after 1030hrs. We utilized the surplus time to visit the small shops selling mostly handicrafts. Shantiniketan is famous for handicrafts and a special kind of cloth known as ‘Batik’ which traditionally is made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique (This technical knowledge courtesy goes to Wikipedia).
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02499.jpg

The handicrafts which mostly comprise of handbags, sarees, dress-materials, wall hangings etc are beautiful. Warning: However, these come at a price. I felt that the same (same??) articles are sold in Kolkata at lower prices. Fellow bhpians from Kolkata can enlighten us better on the matter. After too much contemplation of what to buy & what not, we drove to the Shantiniketan parking finally; without buying anything! After parking our vehicle, we took 2 rickshaws which would take us through the whole campus @ Rs. 100/- each.

Automobiles are not allowed to ply inside the huge campus, so the only other option apart from rickshaw is doing it on foot, which of course is not advisable taking into account the spread of the place! We were shown the ‘lichi bagaan house’ & some departments of specialized studies like Anthropology, Hindi, & even Chinese!
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02540.jpg

We visited the ‘Niharika Art Gallery’ (entry tickets Rs. 3/- each) and witnessed some truly stunning paintings by Mr. Selim Munshi. I am not particularly a man who loves painting so much, but boy; there were some paintings that I literally could not take my eyes off! Many of them were as old as 40-50 years. Photography, of course was prohibited inside. But now the surprise no. 1, Mr. Selim Munshi was himself present around us all of a sudden. He was an old gentleman, wrapped in an elegant white shawl and was eager to show his work. We appreciated his art wholeheartedly & broke into a conversation with him.

Now, time for surprise no. 2, the conversation advanced as following:

Mr. Munshi: where are you people from?

MIL: We are from Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Mr. Munshi: Oh, Great! One of my favorite students ‘XXXX’ (I withhold the name as it may be a breach to his privacy) lives at Ranchi only.

I & my wife almost together: REALLY??? He was our art teacher during school days!

I continued that his son was my friend and I have been to his house so many times to see his work!

Mr. Munshi was so pleased hearing this, that he offered a group photograph inside the gallery itself. I gladly took out the camera and clicked 2 shots. Just to remind, photography was prohibited inside his gallery! He was that happy! After acknowledging his work again, we left to continue our campus tour. We saw the ‘Kala Bhawan’ which had some exemplary works to say the least. There were mud houses, coated with tar and then images drawn or rather embossed by art students there.
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02558.jpg

I cannot simply imagine how much effort they put to create one of those.

We continued our tour to the Shantiniketan Griha; the oldest building of Shantiniketan which had beautiful gardens all around. It also housed the beautiful Prayer hall, made of Belgium colored glasses in 1863. NOT TO BE MISSED!
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02530.jpg

We clicked a lot of photographs of the beautiful green surroundings.
We had some rabri @ Rs. 20/- each which was delicious while roaming around. The rickshaws finally left us at the museum. The tickets to museum campus cost Rs. 10/- each. The most awful thing is that photography is prohibited not only inside the museum, but in this entire campus and you have to deposit your camera at the counter. Not only this, you are required to switch off cell-phones too. As the museum closes for a 3 hour break at 1300 hrs, we went first to the museum itself. The museum had all the old things…boy, why do I say this, aren’t museums for that only?? No Nobel Prize for me for telling you that…but hey…here we get to see one!

Yes, Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. He was a great personality blessed with multiple talents, which we all know but as an Indian, we should salute him for repudiating the Knighthood conferred by George V in 1915, in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The replica of Nobel medallion and the certificates are kept in this museum. The saddest rather the worst and ugly part of the story is that the original Nobel Medallion awarded to Rabindranath Tagore was stolen in 2004 from this same museum! But even knowing this fact beforehand that it was not the actual Nobel medal that we were looking at, our experience was not dampened even a bit because I knew that Nobel is just not a physical piece of metal, but a symbol of excellence, which can never be stolen.

There were many other articles in the museum like utensils, gifts received by Tagore from various personalities & countries, paintings, scribbling & other works of Tagore along with his pictures which made our experience of visiting this place much richer. We walked around the whole campus where we saw students painting live landscapes. It was tough to tell which one was better. We also saw the car used by Rabindranath Tagore. Now being a bhpian by heart, and to satisfy the curiosity of fellow bhpians, the car is a Vintage Humber in black & chrome. Had 2 spare wheels; one on each side near front wheel arcs. It was sad to see that it was kept up on jacks and had signs of dripping engine oil. Thankfully, it was kept inside a glass enclosure which kept enthusiastic tourists from touching the vehicle.

We moved around the whole campus and walked back to the car parking. This marked the finish of the tour to Vishwa Bharti Campus & Shantiniketan. We drove to Prantik, a small place close to Shantiniketan where a small ‘haat’ was selling handicrafts. We spent a few minutes there. I noticed a landscape which apparently had suffered huge wind erosion. After more haggling than buying, we started for our other destination finally, Deul Park Resort. This place is quite an under-discussed spot and I was amazed that many people whom I asked roads, particularly near Shantiniketan had not heard of Deul! Now, we were relying heavily on google maps on my cell phone & its GPS service; via cell phone towers for determining our present location and to our way to Deul Park.

We drove back to Ilam Bazar and spotted the famous egaro mile (11th mile as pronounced in Bengali) from which I took a right turn. Info: if coming from NH-2/ Panagarh, the place is exactly at egaro mile or 17 Kms and you take a left turn. Coming from Shantiniketan, of course you take a right. The road was now narrow single lane, mostly through villages, though tarred. After enquiring at most road splits, we mostly travelled on the right road entirely. Thankfully everyone knew Deul here at least! After travelling about 7 Kms, now a morrum road greeted us through the forests. To make matters worse, I encountered 3 road blockages in the total morrum stretch of 3 kms, for which I had to go off-road, through the plough fields. Every time I encountered such a blockage, I had to maneuver the car down to the plough fields through a make-shift, uneven and muddy incline and then back to the road through similar terrains. I was even greeted with somebody scrapping breakers too.
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02606.jpg

Seriously, Zen is a car to cruise effortlessly on roads as smooth as a billiard table and terrains as these are not particularly loved by it like most hatchbacks. I missed the Land Cruiser; the only problem I did not bring this vehicle on the tour was…that I am still to buy one! Well, jokes apart, I felt that it was a torture to my baby off-roading it, but she took all the pain and did not let me down even in those circumstances. The 60bhp power plant hidden under its cute looks with impressive power to weight ratio generated enough low grunt to manage everything with grace. The Michelins (XM1+ on Alloys) gripped all surfaces with a strong bite. Reminded me of the term that I used to describe the Zen back in its heydays- ‘A Monster in Disguise!’

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02699.jpg

Now, after encountering all these forests & stretches, we finally reached the Deul Resort at about 1600 hrs. The park had a big ‘wooden look’ main gate.. We parked our car there only and went inside to enquire for a room. Being a Sunday, as expected, all rooms were full, but I was confident that many tourists esp. coming from Kolkata would leave in a short while as the next day was Monday. And I was right. We got the rooms pretty soon, within half an hour which we utilized to have an awesome, homely lunch at the resort. Rooms were ready by then & we drove the car inside the resort. After keeping our luggage in the rooms, we went down to the park.

This was really a beautiful park with lush green grass lawns, beautiful flowers all round and greenery till where you can see.
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02624.jpg

I & my wife enjoyed boating in a nearby lake and the sun close to set made a perfect setting! I also tried my hand at some creative photography by clicking a ‘decommissioned’ boat (seriously…now don’t laugh…you call it decommissioned as it was not used anymore) with the majestic sunset in the background.
Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02644.jpg

After this, the whole family enjoyed the ride of the toy train and I clicked some nice photographs of the dusk. The sunset looked exotic through the forest woods.

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02659.jpg

It was now almost dark as we enjoyed the beautiful water fountains & various varieties of flowers. After dark, there is not much to do in the park as the illumination is underdone. We returned back to our rooms and settled for watching TV. Agreed, that it is not the best thing when you are in a resort as such, but seriously, there is nothing much to do after dark. We ordered our dinner in the room.

We woke up next just after sunrise and looked out through the window. The view was splendid. Later we took a small walk around after taking a bath and checked out of the rooms. Our car had become dusty & dirt was everywhere on the outside. I cleaned both the windshields, windows & all lamps of the car and we started for Ranchi. Once we reached the NH-2 at Panagarh, I let the car loose & it raced majestically upto 130 KMPH on some stretches. We stopped at ‘Punjabi Dhaba’ at Asansol for breakfast and again the service was painfully slow. They took 50 mins. and 2 threats of leaving to serve some aaloo parathas & Tea.

It took less than 90 minutes again to cover this leg of 110 kms; of course excluding the halt time at the dhaba. We soon reached Dhanbad where the traffic was again chaotic. I realized it was much more maddening than 2 days ago. It took us over an hour of time to get out of Dhanbad. We had lunch at Ramgarh (50 Kms to Ranchi) and reached my home at 1900 after dropping my in-laws at theirs. Our 708 kms journey had come to an end and the car performed flawlessly, whatever surface was thrown to the wheels and it obeyed all that I could have demanded, be that the spot braking to provide a safe passage to a rooster across the road @ 100 KMPH or those potholes that I couldn’t slow my vehicle for. The car took all that graciously like it has been doing it for last 10 years. That’s what you call a real work horse, isn’t it? Oh, did I tell you that it drank just 35 liters of gasoline in the process? YES, @ an average of about 20 KMPL; with about 30% A/C and not to mention those runs in excess of 100 KMPH.
Another fine trip had ended and we prepared ourselves to get into another week’s routine.

Thanks for reading considering the fact it was kind of longish!

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 11th February 2013 at 10:03.
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Old 11th February 2013, 11:18   #2
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

It's rare that a travelogue involving Ranchi comes up on Tbhp, so let me be the first one to congratulate you for having undertaken this journey. The roads in Jharkhand have improved a lot since the past decades.
Felt very good going through the travelogue. Nice narration and good pictures. I almost travelled with you while I was reading it Put up a few more pics, so that we can relish shantiniketan more. It's a wonderful place for the artistic mind. Did you get to meet and see the performances of the "baul" singers? They are wonderful!

And moreover, good to meet you Saket, a fellow bhpian from Ranchi. We'll plan to catch up the next time I visit Ranchi. Which area in Ranchi are you put up?

Last edited by RevvMusic : 11th February 2013 at 11:47.
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:44   #3
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevvMusic View Post
It's rare that a travelogue involving Ranchi comes up on Tbhp, so let me be the first one to congratulate you for having undertaken this journey. The roads in Jharkhand have improved a lot since the past decades.
Felt very good going through the travelogue. Nice narration and good pictures. I almost travelled with you while I was reading it Put up a few more pics, so that we can relish shantiniketan more. It's a wonderful place for the artistic mind. Did you get to meet and see the performances of the "baul" singers? They are wonderful!

And moreover, good to meet you Saket, a fellow bhpian from Ranchi. We'll plan to catch up the next time I visit Ranchi. Which area in Ranchi are you put up?
Thank you so much for the appreciation Revvmusic.

Yes, Ranchi has a minimal representation on Teambhp but I am sure many ranchiites who have taken their jobs and living in metros (& other bigger cities) are very much on the forum. Like you probably

Just to let you and other fellow members know, I have also posted a travelogue of my bhutan travel:http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...te-bhutan.html (The Last Shangri-La…at the last minute - Bhutan!)

Roads in Jharkhand have improved leaps & bounds and they are much safer than what they were a decade ago. So, I will take the opportunity to invite t-bhpians from other parts of the country to include Ranchi/ Jharkhand in their drive throughs.

We missed the baul singers but sure, they must be wonderful. Have heard a lot about their performances!

Do let me know whenever you are in Ranchi. Will surely team-up here for a short drive may be! Will pm you the details of my whereabouts!

Will add more pictures of the place surely...

Thanks again!

Regards.

Last edited by saket77 : 11th February 2013 at 13:06.
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Old 11th February 2013, 15:01   #4
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Adding a few more pictures of the place:


Its unlikely that you will travel too much in Bengal missing this sight :

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02498.jpg

These mini-sculptures were actually made & dried on the spot

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02497.jpg

An old ashram @ Vishwa Bharti Campus:

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02524.jpg

Glass Prayer House, Another Shot:

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02525.jpg

The Shantiniketan Griha, the oldest building at Vishwabharti:

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02539.jpg

Fascinated by this art:

Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi-dsc02555.jpg
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Old 11th February 2013, 15:58   #5
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Saket,

That looks attractive. However, when you say the Ranchi-Ramgarh road have improved, do you have few pics to share with us ?
I would be interested to take a look. I was waiting for the pics of the roads in your TL but couldn't find any :(
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Old 11th February 2013, 15:59   #6
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Nice travelogue Saket. Many people from Kolkata and other parts visit Santiniketan but rarely did I come across any TL on this place.

I was born at Durgapur and have visited Santiniketan several times in my youth. Going through your TL, I was literally refreshing my memory of the old days. There were several sculptures of "Ramkinkar Baij" and "Nandalal Bose" all around the campus. I hope they all are intact and well maintained. I would suggest you visit Santiniketan during the "Dol Mahotsav" (Holi), the celebration is a treat to watch.

It is indeed good to know that the roads in Jharkhand have improved, but actually I did not see any during my October 2012 visit to Bokaro. You rightly said it is a nightmare to cross through Dhanbad city, specially the narrow underbridge near the railway station and the Bank More area.

How is the condition of NH23 from Rourkela to Ranchi.

Last edited by Sommos : 11th February 2013 at 16:01.
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Old 11th February 2013, 16:19   #7
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Thanks Shiv & Sommos for your appreciation,

@Shiv: Here are a few pics of Ranchi Ramgarh stretch, though, not taken by me. I found some on the web & posting the same. I hope, I am not breaching the copyright here. Mods please check. The copyright lies with the respective owners:
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@ Sommos: Yes, Even when I was searching for information about the place, I could not come up with any travelogue to the special place. Same for Deul resort too, however, all credit for my Deul visit goes to teambhp and people who posted about Deul Park. Else, I may not have known the place.
I liked the serenity at Shantiniketan, even though there was some rush, but still a calmness prevailed in the air. I hope to travel to the place again, preferably, as you suggested, near the holi festival.
Reg. Roads, yes, the section from Dhanbad to Bokaro ( upto Ramgarh to be precise) is not in the same league as NH33 & most other highways, but it very much drivable.
I would be little reluctant travelling Ranchi to Raurkela by road as such, more than the surface, I will be concerned about safety. Some parts of the section are still under naxal influence. The 3 hour train journey is preferable, but that's a spoilsport for a petrol head!

Glad to tell that all sculptures @ Shantiniketan are intact and well cared.

Regards.

Last edited by saket77 : 11th February 2013 at 16:26.
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Old 11th February 2013, 16:57   #8
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Saket : I think Deul resort is a new development. I have read some posts by Samarjit and others mentioning this place. But as far as I remember, when I left Durgapur in 1998/99 I never heard of this resort. Please confirm if you have any information.

I have done Bhilai - Bokaro several times, Bokaro being my in-law's place. I generally take the Pathalgaon-Gumla-Ranchi road. Once I had to take a diversion from Sambalpur to Rourkela (due to accident ahead on NH6) and I knew that NH23 from Rourkela to Chas exists, but the road condition after Rourkela was horrible. When I reached Ranchi I was stopped by the cops and they charged me Rs. 500 for having films in my car in 2007. Before entering Bokaro city (near Co-Operative colony) I was again caught in a nasty jam that delayed me for almost 1.5 hours. Incidentally I've never taken the route again.
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Old 11th February 2013, 17:07   #9
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Surely looks like a new development. The ExSem chain of hotels run this resort. If you still visit durgapur, it will be good day's trip to the place.

Unfortunate to know the incident about the sun-films, yes the cops act strict some times during the year! Currently, with President's rule in the state, they are again strict enough. But just to remind you that we should admit that dark sun films are illegal anywhere in India. However, rolling down the windows might get you sneak through!
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Old 11th February 2013, 18:40   #10
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Those are amazing tracks. At par with the NHs we are usually in habit of praising. I wish when i come to ranchi, we can plan a trip just to explore them. May be not too far

Thanks again
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Old 11th February 2013, 20:30   #11
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Great to see a travelogue involving places in and around Jharkhand! The NH 23 from jenamore - Naya More - Chas - Dhanbad is in very bad shape. Thought there are plans to connect these to Ramgarh through a 4 lane expressway. After that, Ranchi-Bokaro-Dhanbad could be done in a jiffy. The traffic in Dhanbad (especially in Bank More and Gaya Pul) is simply maddening. The bridges and flyovers are always choked, thanks to the diesel auto and bike wallas.

The photographs show how peaceful the environment must have been there. Are there some other places nearby to hang around?
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Old 12th February 2013, 10:22   #12
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Originally Posted by Shiv_1984 View Post
Those are amazing tracks. At par with the NHs we are usually in habit of praising. I wish when i come to ranchi, we can plan a trip just to explore them. May be not too far

Thanks again
Yes, its the part of Ranchi-Hazaribagh Expressway which will soon be a toll road. However, beyong Hazaribagh (100 kms from Ranchi), the stretch is similar upto Barhi (140 kms from Ranchi) where if forms a cross road with NH2/ GT Road which of course puts you on the Golden Quadrilateral.
Just knock once when you are in Ranchi, it will be a pleasure to plan a small trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blow Horn Ok View Post
Great to see a travelogue involving places in and around Jharkhand! The NH 23 from jenamore - Naya More - Chas - Dhanbad is in very bad shape. Thought there are plans to connect these to Ramgarh through a 4 lane expressway. After that, Ranchi-Bokaro-Dhanbad could be done in a jiffy. The traffic in Dhanbad (especially in Bank More and Gaya Pul) is simply maddening. The bridges and flyovers are always choked, thanks to the diesel auto and bike wallas.

The photographs show how peaceful the environment must have been there. Are there some other places nearby to hang around?
Yes, the NH23 is not in the same league, as I said earlier. It has lots of patch works & open potholes. But still is driveable by all standards. More than the surface, the city traffic of Dhanbad is a concern as you too pointed out. The diesel autorickshaws are the worst thing on the road.

I believe apart from Bolpur & Deul, the Terracotta temples in Bishnupur/ Bankura are not more than 50-60 Kms from Panagarh. Also, Sriniketan is very close to Shantiniketan. Maithan Dam Reservoir, Tarapith all are within a day's drive. Massanjore dam, across the Mayurakshi River (in Jharkhand) is also a site for tourists. If you ask from religious perspective, there are many places close to bolpur like Bakreshwar, Fullora, Kankalitala & Nalhati.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 12th February 2013, 17:45   #13
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Hi Saket,

Went through your TL yesterday. It was refreshing & very nostalgic.

I was born & brought up in Dhanbad. Ranchi was like a second home. Father's office HQ was at Ranchi. Hence he used to travel often & had lots of friends & colleagues there. During holidays I used to accompany him.

Our typical route used to be : Dhanbad > Chas > Purulia More > Jhaldah > Muri > Ranchi (Kantatoli).
We used to avoid the Bokaro > Ramgarh road as buses used to ply by that route and hence roads were bad.
I am talking about early to mid 80's.

Later I stayed in Ranchi for 2 years (it was still Bihar then) in Tharpakhna. I had taken my scooter (1990 model Bajaj Chetak) by road from Dhanbad to Ranchi (& back) by the same route. Distance: 180kms, time: 4.5 hrs.

My father had professional requirements in Ranchi till about 3 years ago. He was still staying in Dhanbad then and used to travel often to Ranchi. He used to hire a Scorpio / Bolero / etc and return the same day. His route: Dhanbad > Chas > Bokaro > Gola > (Ramgarh bye-pass) > Ormanjhi > Ranchi. Time: 3.5 hrs

I still keep going to Dhanbad often. Generally I drive down from Kolkata in my car, as it is much more convenient with my father, for whom train travel becomes a pain with crossing of overbridges, etc.

A note on Dhanbad traffic: I totally agree with you. The traffic has become chaotic by the day. I keep visiting Dhanbad (from Kolkata) very often. Nowadays, it is easier driving in Kolkata than in Dhanbad. Diesel autos seem to take 90degree turns out of the blue!! no signals given. Bikers can swerve past you from the left without realising you may have a blockade on your right and hence may turn slightly to your left.

Bank More and Gaya Pul are the worst choking points. Last December (2012) I got stuck with my father's M800, from Bank More to Shramik Chowk for 1 hr!!

Court More to ISM Gate no. 1 is the second worst choking point.

A shade better is Barwadda.

I remember my younger days when we used to move around in scooters. Traffic was fast, streamlined. Slowest of the lot were the Bajaj petrol autos, we used to overtake them from their right (& not left). Autos used to continue at snail's pace on the extreme left of the roads. There were no dividers then on Dhanbad roads, hence, we had the entire width to our disposal when there was no oncoming traffic. Remember : traffic density was sparse and they were the same roads with the same width!! Riding my scooter in 4th gear was no problem at all.

The last I ever rode my scooter (before selling it off) was in 2011. It was difficult engaging 4th gear during day hours. (My Bajaj used to upshift from 3rd to 4th @ 30kmph).

Driving sense has decreased. Last month, an Alto driver was honking continuously behind me. Assuming (with Kolkata logic) that he must be in some kind of an emergency, I tried to pull as far left as possible and applied the brakes to slow down. The fellow, instead of overtaking me, rammed straight behind me!! He, it seems was honking "kyon-ki horn toh bajane ke liye hi diya hai na!!" My Father (who is a veteran driving on Dhanbad roads) said, "Kolkata traffic is much smarter, keep the difference in mind while you drive in Dhanbad"

There is a byepass for Dhanbad. But the route is cumbersome approaching from Bokaro side. One has to take a left turn after Mahuda, and then go through near about Katrasgarh and Hirak byepass. Otherwise, if you enter into Dhanbad through Bank More, there is no escape but to drive through Dhanbad town. Only, you can avoid the more congested Shramik Chowk > Puja Talkies > Court More > Hirapur > Police Lines > Saraidhela > Bhuiphore route and go through less congested Shramik Chowk > Puja Talkies > City Centre (Combined Building) > Bartand (Bus Stand) > Barwadda > Hirak Point > Hirak Ring Road > Bhuiphore route to approach NH2.

Govindpur to Panagarh is a dream to drive on. Good to know your Zen clocked 130kmph!! I generally drive my M800 (5 Gear MPFI) between 95-100 kmph if I am doing Kolkata - Dhanbad - Kolkata.

I am also planning a trip to Deul, having read about it on the forum. Can you please help me with the phone numbers of Deul Resort, so that I can book from Kolkata before going. Found on google maps that Deul Resort can also be approached through Muchipara (Durgapur).

Regards,
Saurav
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Old 12th February 2013, 18:30   #14
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Thank you, Saurav. Your long post says it all! It really was a pleasure sharing your olden days feeling. Even I felt nostalgic reading it. Though, I am a proper Ranchiite, I had never traveled to Dhanbad...could you imagine, as I have no acquaintances there. Also, I am not aware of the city roads, particularly those which you have mentioned in your post, but just managed to get out of the city during my drive somehow without getting too much lost. I remember the bank more, puja talkies, court, etc. You are absolutely right about the bikers & autorickshaws. Its no less than a miracle if you manage to get your vehicle through the whole city without getting a scratch or at least getting kissed your bumpers often. However, I somehow managed that without increasing the no. of scratches on my car!

Its sad to know about your car getting rear ended. Can't think anything else except a quote from Ceat's ad- "The road is filled with id****..." Its sad that we end up with damages on our machines with no fault of ours.

Nearing 30, I have become a matured driver, that I can say. I expect people around me to make mistakes anytime and am mostly prepared for it. This in turn keeps me more alert on the road. Had it been ten to twelve years ago, when I was 18, I would have posted the top speed on the Zen as well along with 0-100 too! I believe agebrings this with itself...not bad. Now, On the NH-2, I keep myself mostly in the range of 80-100 KMPH, it is just the occasional bursts that I clocked those extreme speeds of 120-130 kmph. Just made sure that there is nothing which will be a hazard.

About the Deul Resort, I believe it can be booked from Kolkata itself. They have an office in the city. http://www.perfectparibar.com/ might help being the website of the resort chain that runs the resort at Deul. Should you need more info on this, I will be glad to help!

P.S. I still have my late dad's Bajaj Super scooter in fairly good shape.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 12th February 2013 at 18:34.
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Old 12th February 2013, 20:18   #15
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Default Re: Road Trip To Shantiniketan & Deul from Ranchi

Ah ha!
Two places i am attached to. Stayed for a year in Ranchi way back in 1990 as a kid studying in Bishop Westcott. Remember Firaylals, Express Shoppe and Dasham, Hundru falls.
Santiniketan happens to be my hometown and our house is very close to Hathi pukur. The best time for Santiniketan is Dol (holi) and then poush mela (22nd to 25th Dec) If you are looking for dirt cheap handicrafts - that's the time.
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