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Old 18th May 2014, 22:46   #1
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Default Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

As they say it, with every road trip comes new experiences. And experience brings the urge for more such trips.

It was the period of elections in India. And there weren't many who approved of our venture, but we decided to move forward to a road trip to remember, as it unfolded.

As we started planning for this trip, we had to take into considerations the present conditions of NH34 which is the fastest route as per my MMI navigator.

There were basically 3 routes for us to choose from:

1) Kolkata - Durgapur Expressway - Panagarh(Darjeeling More) - Suri - Moregram - Malda
Cons : Around 70 kms more to travel than NH34 + condition of the roads are dismal in patches.

2) NH34 (Kolkata - Krishnagar - Baharampur - Malda)
Cons : Dismal conditions of the roads at stretches with diversions for the ongoing work for 4 lane NH34

3) Via State Highway 7 till Moregram, then NH34.
Cons : 2 lane highway 70% of the route, with practically no support in case of car breakdown from Burdwan till Moregram.

But option 3 was our bet of the moment, as the traffic was less and as we heard from friend that road condition was good.(Details of the route, an after-experience, to be shared later)

We were to start our journey early on 1st May, 2014. I barely could sleep the the night before with the excitement to hit the road the next day. In the morning, we started off at 4:30. Our first stop for breakfast would be at Saktigarh, the land of lyangchas, a famous bengali sweet.

We reached Saktigarh around 6:15 am, relished on some Puri Sabjis along with some Makha Sandesh () and of course Lyangchas. We ended off with hot cup of tea and asked the shopkeeper to fill a thermosflask full of tea for our next stop, anywhere.

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Then we crossed Burdwan Town and navigated through SH7. The condition of the road was far better than the NH34. Some snaps:

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We stopped near Khargram for a tea-break.


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We started again and its time to hit the NH34 and see for ourselves the progress of the ongoing four lane work. We soon crossed Moregram and we are now into NH34. The work is completed for the section between Moregram and Farakka, and we couldn't believe that it is NH34!!

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After crossing Farakka, the condition of the road deteriorated considerably. It was the old NH34 with more damage done to the tarmac.

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This is how wide the NH34 will be in some time from now. Work in progress.

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This state-of the-art tollway, just before Kaliachak, is on system integration testing phase. Coming soon !!

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We crossed Kaliacha with relative ease and reached Malda at 12:30 pm. That is 8 hours time (inclusive 2 stops at Saktigarh and Khargram and oil-refilling halt at Moregram BP). Not bad!

That was Day1. We stayed at our relatives house overnight and scheduled to visit GAUR the next day.

Day 2 story - coming soon.

Last edited by GTO : 19th May 2014 at 13:02. Reason: Removing extra smileys :). Thanks
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Old 19th May 2014, 13:17   #2
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

Wow! What a treat to read and see the initial pictures of upcoming great travelogue.

Travelogues from Northeast are always fascinating. The beauty of that region is unmatched.

Waiting eagerly for the rest of the story!
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Old 20th May 2014, 00:43   #3
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

Let's move on with the thread.

As Day 2 unfolded, we woke up a bit late, doing justice to the long trip last day. After breakfast, we started our journey for the ancient ruins of the remarkable Sena and Pala dynasties as well as the Muslim Sultanat, the Gaur, once the Capital of Bengal.

Gaur_Wiki

My EON felt relaxed too, as if she also craved for a place in history.


The Lottan mosque:

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The season of the mangoes, for which Malda is so famous, is in close proximity. The trees are laden with the green version of the King of Fruits.
But beware, don't dare to touch them.
Some snaps:

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This is how a mango garden looks like in scorching sun of mid-day.

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Gunamant Mosque:

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Chika Masjid:

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Qadam Rasul Mosque:

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Fath Khan's Tomb

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On way towards Firoz Minar:

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Firoz Minar:

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So, eventually the historical tour comes to an end and we are off to Malda Town, our relatives home.

On Day 3, it was more of a family get together. We went to visit my Aunt who lives in Itahar (Uttar Dinajpur) about 53 km north of Malda. The four lane work NH34 is 90% complete in the stretch between Malda and Raiganj and road is superb. It took me 40 minutes to cover the 53 km distance.

Some info for people travelling to Siliguri :

The four lane work for NH34 is complete between Baharampur - Farakka and between Malda Town - Raiganj. There after Dalkhola-Siliguri via NH31 is superb again.

But, the work is in progress in the stretch of NH34 between Kolkata-Baharampur, Farakka-Malda Town and Raiganj-Dalkhola. The roads are pathetic to say the least.

So, my suggestion would be to take Durgapur Expressway and SH7 till Moregram, then NH34.

On Day 4, it was travel back to the hustle and bustle of the City of Joy. The heart was filled with joy, the soul full of energy, till the time comes for another trip, a Road Trip.

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At the end of this travelogue, I would like to thank my wife for every support throughout the trip. And one special mention - All the pictures in this travelogue is her courtesy

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Old 20th May 2014, 15:12   #4
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
But, the work is in progress in the stretch of NH34 between Kolkata-Baharampur, Farakka-Malda Town and Raiganj-Dalkhola. The roads are pathetic to say the least.

So, my suggestion would be to take Durgapur Expressway and SH7 till Moregram, then NH34.
Nice travelogue and pics. Never visited this place, but have read the historical novel "Gaur Mallar".

I took NH34 from Kolkata-Bahrampur in March 2013 and it was horrible to say the least. There was work in progress in several stretches and the road was pothole ridden. Hope they complete the widening soon, this stretch can hardly be called a national highway now.

Last edited by sdp1975 : 20th May 2014 at 15:18.
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Old 20th May 2014, 15:49   #5
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
Nice travelogue and pics. Never visited this place, but have read the historical novel "Gaur Mallar".

I took NH34 from Kolkata-Bahrampur in March 2013 and it was horrible to say the least. There was work in progress in several stretches and the road was pothole ridden.
Exactly. The stretches of NH34 is in its worst condition ever. The stretch between Farakka to Malda is only 30 km, but it took me 1.5 hours.

I could see the four-lane work of NH34 progressing steadily, but I am not sure how the officials will tackle Kaliachak area. That portion of NH34 was always a bottleneck, and I don't see any work with respect to broadening of NH34 being done on that 2km stretch.

Last edited by gearhead_mait : 20th May 2014 at 16:12.
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Old 21st May 2014, 11:54   #6
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

Well thats a small, comprehensive but detailed travelogue with some useful information's. The pictures are good too.

Nice to see the progress of Nh34. In 2012 end it took me 11 hours to reach Malda and 16 hours to reach Siliguri. If the roads are totally done i hope we can do Kolkata to Siliguri in 10-12 hours.

I think i have spotted your Eon on 27th April afternoon at Durgapur expressway. It had url's in the rear but not the LTD sticker on the right door. I was in a silver Etios with LTD on the boot. Was that you? I have mentioned it on the Team Bhp sticker thread too.
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Old 21st May 2014, 14:03   #7
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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Well thats a small, comprehensive but detailed travelogue with some useful information's. The pictures are good too.
Thanks! I tried to put together the useful information together with the travelogue and pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Nice to see the progress of Nh34. In 2012 end it took me 11 hours to reach Malda and 16 hours to reach Siliguri. If the roads are totally done i hope we can do Kolkata to Siliguri in 10-12 hours.
Yes, the work in NH34 has progressed considerably. With myself taking 8 hours to reach Malda (including breaks, with 60% work complete in NH34), I think when the work of NH34 will be 100% complete, we would be able to drive to Siliguri in 11-12 hours from Kolkata, if not less. Fingers crossed for that! Then Sikkim and North Bengal will call all the BHPians from Kolkata, and there wouldn't be any "what if's".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
I think i have spotted your Eon on 27th April afternoon at Durgapur expressway. It had url's in the rear but not the LTD sticker on the right door. I was in a silver Etios with LTD on the boot. Was that you? I have mentioned it on the Team Bhp sticker thread too.
Absolutely spot on!! I already replied to the "sticker thread" quoting your post.
I spotted your silver Etios. I was returning from my maternal uncle's house in Durgapur on 27th April, 2014.
The LTD sticker was not present at that time. I ordered it at that time, bit it was shipped only on 28th April, 2014. That's why my EON had the LTD sticker in front door for the Malda trip four days later on 1st Mat, 2014.
The sticker on the rear windshield that you saw, was a gift from my senior in office 2 years back, when he ordered that set of stickers.
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Old 21st May 2014, 19:54   #8
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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Originally Posted by the_skyliner View Post
Travelogues from Northeast are always fascinating. The beauty of that region is unmatched.
Malda is not in North-East of India :-) It is in North Bengal. Technically it is in eastern India.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Let's move on with the thread.

As Day 2 unfolded, we woke up a bit late, doing justice to the long trip last day. After breakfast, we started our journey for the ancient ruins of the remarkable Sena and Pala dynasties as well as the Muslim Sultanat, the Gaur, once the Capital of Bengal.
Could you please give the driving directions from Malda town to Gaur? In which direction does one go? How long did it take to drive from the town to the ruins?

Also, how long did it take for you from Farakka to Kaliachak? Did you keep a log? I am planning to go to Kaliachak for some lichu this summer, if the road is reasonable.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 12:58   #9
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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Could you please give the driving directions from Malda town to Gaur? In which direction does one go? How long did it take to drive from the town to the ruins?
Actually, if you are travelling from Kolkata, the route to Gaur via Gaur road, comes before you reach Malda Town. Near Jadupur, you have to turn right and travel via Gaur road.

I have driven from the town on 2nd day and the distance is ~15 km.
The Gaur road, which diverts from NH34 near Jadupur, is in excellent condition, far better than NH34 and you can easily do 80kmph (but beware of the poultry and cattles of the local peoples) .

I would recommend you to visit the Indo-Bangladesh border at Mahadipur. The Kotwali Darwaza of the ancient Gaur civilization is now used as the border pass by BSF. We were allowed to go on top of the Kotwali Darwaza and see the other side of Banladesh. We were allowed to take photoraphs, for that we had to submit the PAN cards for each one of us to a local officer of BSF. I could not post pictures of the border, as it may violate the border rules of our Nation.

The picture below will make things easier to understand.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Also, how long did it take for you from Farakka to Kaliachak? Did you keep a log?
From Farakka to Kaliachak, it took me around 35 minutes. There was some traffic snarls, but I was lucky that it was a minor one.
I reached Farakka around 11 am and it took me ~1.5 hours to reach Malda Town (32 Kms). The NH34 is in pathetic state in that stretch and I didn't go beyond 35-40 kmph max.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I am planning to go to Kaliachak for some lichu this summer, if the road is reasonable.
Don't forget the mangoes and "Amsatta" (original ones).
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:42   #10
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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From Farakka to Kaliachak, it took me around 35 minutes. There was some traffic snarls, but I was lucky that it was a minor one.
I reached Farakka around 11 am and it took me ~1.5 hours to reach Malda Town (32 Kms). The NH34 is in pathetic state in that stretch and I didn't go beyond 35-40 kmph max.

Don't forget the mangoes and "Amsatta" (original ones).
Thanks for the very detailed description about Gaur and the route update on Kaliachak. Actually Kaliachak has a fresh fruit market where lichus are auctioned by cart loads. There are some lose sellers also. Once we bought some from there. They were cheap and tasted supremely tasty. Every time I think about that lichu my mouth waters. I have never tasted such quality in Calcutta.

The amsatta being less perishable and with much longer shelf life is available almost throughout the year and in many places. But lichu of Malda is something special :-)

Thanks once again.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:56   #11
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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The amsatta being less perishable and with much longer shelf life is available almost throughout the year and in many places. But lichu of Malda is something special :-)
Thanks once again.
Have you tasted the original Amsatta of Malda? Its not the sticky one's wrapped in plastic , it is the factory cut flat one's (worth around INR 800/kg).
It is worth every penny. And I believe , it is not available everywhere.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:25   #12
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

A great travelogue, thanks for sharing with us. I had been to Gaur several times, last was before the 2009 general elections. It seems that NH 34 is slowly getting transformed into a real national highway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Don't forget the mangoes and "Amsatta" (original ones).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
The amsatta being less perishable and with much longer shelf life is available almost throughout the year and in many places. But lichu of Malda is something special :-)
I dont remember to have tasted lichu of Malda, but I always thought the mango of Malda is very special. When I last visited, I was amazed to know that they cultivate at least 30 varieties of mango in the district and some varieties have real exotic names and taste. Begumbhog for instance is small in size (smaller than the Gulabkhas, also a Malda product and readily available in Kolkata) has very thin skin and is insanely tasty. The mango producers will tell you that Begumbhog, once upon a time, was the first choice of some Begum and hence the name.

Also, getting "real" Amsatta in Kolkata market is not that easy. I am told that other fruit pulps often go in mixed with mangoes in the Amsattas that you get to buy in most places. Malda Amsattas are genuine and you can get different varieties, created from different specis of Mango.

I am glad to see the trees full of mangoes in your photographs. I was wondering about this season's fate because of the terrible heat wave.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 13:53   #13
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

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I am glad to see the trees full of mangoes in your photographs. I was wondering about this season's fate because of the terrible heat wave.
The trees are indeed full of mangoes. We can expect a positive vibe in the market for mango in the coming months.

And Gaur is indeed rarely visited, and has the potential of attracting tourists. But it is the failure to promote the tourism, that is pushing many Bengal attractions back.
Many more ruins are being excavated by Archaeological Survey of India, most recent being a dockyard in the Gaur region. It is being assumed now that Gaur had the river Ganges in the vicinity, before she diverted its path.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 15:50   #14
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

Nice post. I am thrilled to see NH 34 in revamped condition (at the streches you have mentioned).
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Old 23rd July 2014, 16:06   #15
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Default Re: Trip: The historic ruins of Gaur (near Malda)

For BHPians travelling in this route - A summary of the route from Burdwan to Moregram via SH7 (via google map).

The whole route:

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The turn from Durgapur Expressway:

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Crossing the Rail gate:

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A diversion to avoid Burdwan-Katwa road:

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A diversion after crossing Ajay River:

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Last edited by gearhead_mait : 23rd July 2014 at 16:21.
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