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Old 6th February 2015, 15:45   #1
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Default West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Well i am compiling this thread after the completion of my 100th self driven road trip. Yes i do maintain a log for each of my trip.

After 8 years in Bangalore when i came back to my native Kolkata it was time to explore the beauty of Bengal. One reason i left Bangalore was on those 8 years i have almost covered most of the location's in South India by road and in week ends i used to think of new location's but it was getting hard to find a new one ! After spending those years i have only one word for Karnataka and other places in South India. Its splendid!

Coming back to the topic. From Kolkata i recently traveled to many places, few out of Bengal but this travelogue is only dedicated to places i visited with in West Bengal in the past three years. My realization is Bengal has it all, Starting from snow capped mountains (Himalaya's), sea beaches, Jungle, Historical places, remote villages, posh cities, flashy festivals like Durga puja.

I have visited few places more than once but here am compiling all my different trips together to make a small list of the tourist spots in Bengal, specially for the week ends and the extended week ends. Bengal has many places, am jotting down few of them. If other Bhpians can put there inputs too, that will be great. Due to unavailability of my pics and i have not been to few of them so few nice tourist spots like Monchasa, Ayodhya Pahar, Raichak, Diamond harbor, Bakkhali and Henrys island ,Taki, Baharampur , Malda, Kalimpong, Sandakfu and few places in North Bengal & Sunderban will be skipped over here.

Am not going into the details of the trips as i don't have a very strong memory and am lazy too. So sharing the trip logs and basic details one need to know about these places.

Vehicles used for these trips- Toyota Etios, Maruti Alto K10, Hero Honda Karizma R.

1) Mandermani- Tajpur- Digha- Udaipur

Drive duration and distance- 170 kms from Dankuni. Its a 3-4 hours drive. The best place for food will be at Kolaghat, Sher e Punjab or Express food plaza. Round trip comes around 400kms.

Route- Dankuni- Kolaghat- Nandakumar- Digha.

Road condition is excellent to good.

Hotels- There are numerous hotels in this sector.

Things to look out for- Red crabs in Tajpur beach is a treat to watch, the beaches look fantastic during sunrise and sunset. My favorite time to vist here is late September, before the Durgapuja. The blue sky and the cotton clouds in this time enhances the beauty of this place.

Pictures-

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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 20:59.
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Old 6th February 2015, 15:47   #2
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2) Joypur - Bishnupur- Garbeta (Gangani)

Drive duration and distance- Joypur is 110 kms from Dankuni. Bishnupur is another 12 kms from Joypur. Bishnupur to Garbeta is 35kms. Garbeta to Dankuni via Kharagpur is approximately 180kms. Round trip comes around 380kms.

Route- Dankuni- Singur- Tarakeshwar- Arambagh- Kotulpur- Joypur- Bishnupur- Garbeta- Kharagpur- Dankuni.

Road condition is excellent to worst. Between Arambagh to Kotolpur the 27kms stretch takes nearly one hour. For the entire trip expect one way roads for not more than 150kms. Low ground clearance cars might face problem between Bishnupur to Kharagpur stretch via Garbeta due to huge road humps.

Hotels- Banalata resort at Joypur is excellent and if one prefers a stay at Bishnupur the West Bengal Government tourist lodge is good. No good place to stay near Garbeta or Gangani.

Things to look out for- The Joypur Jungle is a nice place to drive. If one is a little more adventurous, can leave the main road and enter the small roads through the jungle. Be careful of wild Elephants. These roads first goes through villages and then through forest. No tar road over here. Its composed of red soil. Very narrow at places. But road surface is more or less okay except few places. Driving through this road one can visit the abandoned air strip inside the jungle and head till Bishnupur through forest. Trust me, its worth a drive.

Bishnupur is a historical place with terracotta temples. In terms of historical importance its the Hampi of West Bengal ! Its worth a visit.

Garbeta- Near Garbeta there is a place called Gangani. Its know as the Grand Canyon of India, its due to the the erosion on the soil by Sheelabati river.

For this entire route night drive should be avoided except the Kharagpur - Dankuni stretch or the Dankuni - Singur Stretch.

Inside Joupur forest-
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The abandoned air strip inside Joypur jungle.
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The terracotta temples at Bishnupur-

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Garbeta (Gangani) The grand Canyon of Bengal.

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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 14:43.
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Old 6th February 2015, 16:21   #3
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3) Bhalkimachan- Deul- Massenjore - Tarapith

Drive duration and distance- Dankuni to Bhalkimachan is approximately 120kms, Bhalkimachan to Deul is around 60- 70kms, Deul to Massenjore via Suri will be around 80kms, Massenjore to Tarapith is approximately 90kms and Tarapith to Dankuni via Panagarh is 250kms. Round trip comes around- 600kms

Route- Dankuni- Palshit- Budbud- Take right for Bhalkimachan- Come back to Budbud- Panagarh- 11 mile take left for Deul. Come back to 11 mile head till Suri take left for Massenjore. Massenjore - Back to Suri- Take left for Rampurhart/ Tarapith.

Road condition is excellent to good. Inside Deul and Bhalkimachan there are no tar roads but road surface is okay. Suri to Massenjore road has some good and bad stretches.

Hotels- Stay option at Bhalkimachan is poor. There is proper stay option's at Deul, Massenjore and Tarapith.

Things to look out for- Bhalkimachan is an over rated place. Nothing to lose if avoided. Deul is okay for a drive inside forest. The dam in Massenjore is serene. Tarapith is a religious spot. The road to Tarapith from Suri is nice with good landscape.

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Road from Suri to Tarapith and the deity of Ma Kali inside Tarapith temple. (Please take special permission before clicking the pic of the deity.)

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Massenjore-
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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 02:36.
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Old 6th February 2015, 16:49   #4
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4) Burdwan (108 Shiva temple)- The tomb at Satdeul near Palshit.

Drive duration and distance- Dankuni to Burdwan is around 100kms. On the way back one can see the tomb at Sat deul. Its hardly a 200kms drive from Dankuni to Dankuni.

Route- Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan and back. For Sat deul while returning take the first left from the first signal/crossing on Durgapur expressway. Its 6kms from Palshit toll booth.

Road condition is excellent through out.

Hotels- Its hardly a half day trip!

Things to look out for- Burdwan 108 mandir is a nice place to spend some time. Sat Deul is an excellent place. Its so near to Kolkata but most of the people are not aware of it. Its worth a visit.

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108 Shiva temple
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Sat Deul

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Old 6th February 2015, 17:09   #5
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5) Santiniketan

Drive duration and distance- Dankuni to Santiniketan has two routes. One is via Guskara and Bhedia and the other is via Panagarg. Via Guskar its around 145kms from Dankuni and takes around 3 hours. Via panagarh its around 170 kms from Dankuni and takes around 3.5 hours. Round trip comes around 400kms.

Route- Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan - Guskara- Bhedia - Bolpur.
Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan-Panagarh- Illambazar- Bolpur.

Road condition is excellent through out except a few kilometers at Panagarh and the underpass at Bhedia.

Hotels- There are many stay option's at Santiniketan. I prefer the West Bengal Government tourist lodge.

Things to look out for- Apart from the regular sightseeing places which includes the house of poet Rabindranath Tagore there are few other place worth a visit. They are with in 30-40 kms reach from Santiniketan. A drive through the Sonajhuri is must too.

1) Kankalitola. (9kms)
2) Nanur. ( For a well architect-ed temple + one can see the great writer Kali Das's house.) (27kms)
3) Phullora and Hasulibak. Bongs will know Hasulibak for the book written by Tarasankar Bandopadhyay (Hasulibaker Upakatha.) I never read that book but i go here for the beauty, this place offers. (35kms)

The drive to the above 3 places are really scenic and not to be missed if one wants the essence of rural Bengal.

My preferable time to visit Santiniketan is during the monsoons. During Durga puja, Surul Rajbari puja and Badhan Das's puja are not to be missed.

Scenic beauty of January.
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Scenic beauty of October.
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Scenic beauty during monsoons.

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Few other pics of this place.

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Nanur Temple-
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Phullora and Hasulibak
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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 14:49.
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Old 6th February 2015, 17:32   #6
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6 Garpanchkot- Panchet- Boronti- Mython.

Drive duration and distance- Dankuni to Garpanchkot is 230kms. Takes around 4 hours. Garpanchkot to Boronti is 10kms and Panchet is 5kms. Ganranchkot to Mython is 40kms. Mython to Dankuni - 205kms. Total Trip comes around 580-600kms.

Route- Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan - Durgapur- Asansol- Take left- Nituria- Panchet.

Road condition is excellent to good through out.

Hotels- Stay at Garpanchkot is limited. Best stay is at West Bengal Forest rest house. At Boronti there is only one rest house. Its just okay to stay for a night. In Mython there are many budget hotels, Majumdar niwas is better among them.

Things to look out for- The drive over the Panchet Dam is good and one can drive till the Damodar river bed.

The jungle road drive surrounding Garpanchkot is scenic.

Boronti is over rated. A day visit is more than fine!

Mython is a nice place to stay for a night.

Garpanchkot

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Panchet

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Boronti

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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 02:34.
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Old 6th February 2015, 17:47   #7
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7 Mukutmanipur- jhilimili

Drive duration and distance- Dankuni to Mukutmanipur is 4.5 to 5 hours drive. Distance is 250 kms. Mukutmanipur to Jhilimili and back is 80kms. Round trip comes around 600kms.

Route- Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan - Durgapur- Bankura - Mukutmanipur. (250kms)

Dankuni- Palshit- Burdwan - Durgapur- Ranigaunge - Bankura - Mukutmanipur. (270kms)

Dankuni -Arambagh- Bishnupur- Bankura - Mukutmanipur. (210kms)

I prefer the firs 2 routes.

Road condition is excellent through out.

Hotels- Best place to stay is hotel peerless at Mukutmanipur.

Things to look out for- The dam at Mukutmanipur is beautiful. To drive over the dam one has to obtain pass for it. I have heard on Sunday's driving over the dam road is not allowed. The winding forest road drive to Jhilimili from Mukutmanipur is really awesome. This should be avoided at night due to safety concerns. The Bankura - Ranigaunge road is scenic too. I prefer to visit in March as at that time this stretch is almost red by Palash tree.

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The famous Ghagurpuri Temple near Asansol/Raniguange.

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Old 6th February 2015, 18:06   #8
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8) Darjeeling- Holong/Jaldapara

Drive duration and distance- There are two routs one is around 585kms and take around 15 hours the other is 620 kms takes around 14-16 hours.

Route- Dankuni- Burdwan- Bolpur- Suri- Massenjore- Dumka- Bhagalpur- Purnea- Dalkhola - Siliguri. 620kms

Dankuni - Burdwan- Sh7- Moregram- Farakkha- Malda- Dalkhola- Siliguri. 585kms.

Road condition via Bhagalpur is good except 60kms. Heavy traffic is expected around Bhagalpur.

Via Nh34 roads are good to worst. One has to cross the dreaded traffic jam of Kaliachowck and Dalkhola level crossing in this route.

Siliguri to Darjeeling is 70kms fuss free road through Rohini road. Darjeeling to Holong can be done by Darjeeling- Peshok road- Melli Bazar- take left at Coronation bridge and drive till Holong. Its a 5 hrs drive.

Hotels- There are numerous hotels in Siliguri. For break journey to Siliguri Hotel Golden park at Malda is good and on the other hand hotel Vaivabh inn at Bhagalpur is good.

Darjeeling has plenty of options.

Booking the forest guest house at Holong can be tricky. So book it atleast 6 months prior to the trip.


Things to look out for- The mighty Kanchanjungha from Darjeeling is always breath taking to look at. Those who have 4x4 or want to rent one should definitely visit Sandakfu. I prefer to stay at Jalapahar in Darjeeling. My favorite time to visit is March/April or November. Chances of seeing the Kanchanjungha is most high during this time.

Holong is over all an awesome experience to stay at. One should not miss this opportunity!

Darjeeling.

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Holong

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Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 02:43.
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Old 6th February 2015, 18:12   #9
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9) Matla (One of the gateway to Sunderban)

Drive duration and distance- 100 kms from Dankuni. Takes around 2.5 hours. Round trip comes around 200kms.

Route- Dankuni- Science city- Garia - Sonarpur- Jaynagar- Nimpith- Piyali- Matla

Road condition is good with high traffic congestion.

Hotels- One has to prebook the Nimpith Asram from Jaynagar to stay at Matla. Its the only stay option. This place is more suited for a day trip.

Things to look out for- While going visiting the Piyali island is worth. The Matla river is super wide. If you have time in hand, hire a boat for 4-5 hours and you can have a nice sight seeing of Sunderban. The opposite side of this river is Sunderban forest. This place is worth a visit.

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Old 6th February 2015, 18:21   #10
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10) The Durga Puja!

How can a thread on West Bengal be complete without Durga Puja ?
The whole state and the city Kolkata gets a festive mood. Every hour of a day is filled with people on roads ready for pandel hopping. These four days has no day or night..! Its time for celebration!

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Signing off as of now, will update this thread with new trips & request other Bhpians for there valuable inputs too.

Last edited by Samba : 7th February 2015 at 20:57.
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Old 8th February 2015, 09:21   #11
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Default Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Note from Moderator: Thread moved to Travelogues from Assembly Line section. Thanks for sharing the thread with us

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 8th February 2015 at 09:41. Reason: typo
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Old 8th February 2015, 10:38   #12
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Default Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Fantastic, fantastic initiative. Not only have you collated the essential information to travel to these (mostly unknown) places, your amazing pics have added desirability to travel. The Durga Puja post is only the icing on the cake. I have been to 7 of the 9 places you have mentioned. But there is no information I can add, and my (bad quality) pics will only spoil this thread .

Please keep it up brother. We (non resident) Bongs will be hooked on to this thread.
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Old 8th February 2015, 10:41   #13
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A brilliant and well-executed compilation of the lesser-known tourist places in West Bengal. Tempting pictures too, that make me want to visit a number of these places all over again. Rated 5 stars. You are hereby appointed Team-BHP's honorary representative to the Tourism Department of WB!

One place that I long to go back to (been there once >30 years ago), is Murshidabad.

Edit: And you ought to cover the Jagaddhatri Puja of Chandannagar - would be great to see your pics from there.

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Old 8th February 2015, 11:13   #14
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Default Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Just fantastic and what was missing - a brilliant compilation of some of the best driving destinations around bengal... The pictures as usual are great and makes me want to visit these places soon. Surul and boner pukur makes me long for the durga puja once again. Great work
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Old 8th February 2015, 14:33   #15
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Default Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Just one word - "SUPERB". I am really out of words to describe your effort. A great initiative and fantastic pics and narration. Rated 5 stars. As Predator has mentioned, with the standard that you have set, it is very difficult for us lesser mortals to add any value to this thread. So the onus is upon you to continue the good work and cover the rest of the paces
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