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Old 26th January 2008, 13:21   #1
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Default Escape to Purulia - Garhpanchkot

Nestled in one corner of the Purulia District, in close proximity with the Jharkhand border, is a nice and cosy, little known
place called Garhpanchkot. Thats the place that me and a couple of my friends and their families decided to go, in the first
week of January'08. The only staying option is a forest resort maintained by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation,
lying at the base of the Panchet hill, overlooking the Panchet Dam. Total distance from Kolkata - 290kms.
The team comprised of 6 adults and a kid. Deciding on the mode of travel was a debate of some sorts with most opting to
travel by train and then taking a trekker to the hills. For me, it was either I am driving or not going at all. It was my
second visit to this place and did not take much time to convince others. With a total head of 7 of us, we needed 2 cars.
Subhasish, the other good driver in the team, was not confident whether his M800 will be able to make it all the way. It was
at this point I decided to hand over the keys of my Zen to him, while I chose to drive my Palio.
Next hurdle, there was no accomodation available on our chosen dates. We finally decided to leave on a Sunday morning,
returning to Kolkata on the next Tuesday evening.
With everything all set, we decided to meet at 7am at Dunlop on Sunday. I left home at 6am, picked up a couple of friends
from Saltlake, took the Belgharia Exp'way and reached Dunlop by 6:50am. The early morning drive along the exp'way was
excellent. Soon subhasish arrived. He had picked up a friend from Jadavpur. After arranging the luggages, etc, we were
finally off by 7:30am. Crossed the Nivedita bridge and were soon on NH2 towards Durgapur. The highway had a thin veil of fog
and was relatively empty. The NH2 surface has always been my favourite, but, kept the Palio around 100-110. I was a bit
apprehensive about the Zen doing 100+ speeds and was slowing down occasionally for it to catch up. Subhasish also needed some
time to get used to the car.
Soon it was time for breakfast and we stopped at Shaktigarh, for the customary Kachori and Langcha. It was 8:45am. We are
doing good time. After a break of 30mins, it was time to be on the move again. It was also time for the Palio to stretch its
legs a bit. I told Subhasish that I will go ahead and wait for him somewhere down the road and he should not deviate anywhere
but stay on the NH. Started doing some spirited driving and was soon doing around 135kph. To my utter surprise, the RVM
revealed my 7 yr old Zen right behind me, catching up with the Palio.


Soon we crossed Durgapur and Asansol and reached Maithon More at 11:15am. It is at this point that we have to leave the NH2
and take a left turn. A right turn here would take you to Maithon. Instantly, the NH magic vanished and the roads seemed did
not exist. While it was not a major problem for the Palio with its high GC, I was worried about the Zen. After some cautious
driving, we reached Barakar. Since I had been there earlier, it was not a major problem finding the correct route. Followed
the road to Dishergarh and soon we were on the Panchet Dam. Driving past the huge dam and its reservoir, we entered Purulia. We could see the Panchet hill covered in mist at a distance. After driving through an adivasi village, we reached the gates of the resort. Its 12:15pm. We are late by 15 mins as per plan. Good!!
After lunch, around 3:30pm, we left for the Panchet Dam to watch the spectacular sunset. Did some offroading and reached the
banks of the reservoir. While we were chatting along its banks, the sun was setting in the horizon. We watched locals heading
home, taking the boat to the other side of the reservoir

Country boats, take me home

Next day, after breakfast, we went out for some sightseeing. Took a person from the resort, to guide us along the route. The
rest of the day was spent lazing around.
On Tuesday, we had breakfast and checked out. On our way, we stopped over at the Maithon Dam, visited the Kalyaneswari temple
and finally headed towards Kolkata by 12 noon. Tanked up the cars at a BP pump at Durgapur. The Palio returned 15kpl, while
the Zen returned 17.5kpl, both with 50% AC. The return journey was uneventful, except a front tyre puncture in the Palio.
Finally dropped my friends and reached home by 6:30pm.

2 companions
[IMG]http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/2607/dsc00156kf1.th.jpg[/I
MG]
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Old 26th January 2008, 16:51   #2
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Nice travelogue Saurabh, One suggession, Pls resize image to 800 * 600 and then choose the appropraite option so that we can experience the pics while reading.

BTW, nice pics

Abhi
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Old 26th January 2008, 17:54   #3
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Nice write up and travelogue Saurabh. Yeah, pics needs to be resized. PM to one of the mods and they will help you out.
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Old 26th January 2008, 23:11   #4
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Nice Travelogue Saurabh.
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Old 26th January 2008, 23:52   #5
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nice travelogue, and nice pics too... will take the details of this place from you :-)
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Old 26th January 2008, 23:56   #6
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Nice write up Saurabh. Had been a couple fo times to Maithon dam, but not to garhpanchkot!
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Old 29th January 2008, 12:57   #7
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Thanks for your comments. Next time, will try not to mess up with the pictures/thumbnails.

@PVS: Garhpanchkot is really a very nice place, close to Maithon, but does not get all the crowd/picnic parties.

@BP: You will need to plan in advance for this place as there are no other staying options, other than the WBFDC resort.
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Old 30th January 2008, 02:03   #8
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Good travelogue, but needed more pictures especially of the Barakar area. and the sunset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
@BP: You will need to plan in advance for this place as there are no other staying options, other than the WBFDC resort.
But he can always put up at Maithon. I gues Majumdar Niwas is exclusive to DVC, and the Rest house on the hill top is PWD (if I am not mistaken). But apart from these two theres a private hotel too. Where Acco is available.
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Old 30th January 2008, 10:36   #9
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Nice travelogue Saurabh. What was the total distance covered? How far is Garhpanchkot from Asansol?
BTW, both your cars look cute.
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Old 1st February 2008, 13:42   #10
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@abhi - Total distance covered was ~750kms. The distance from Asansol to Garhpanchkot is 35kms.

@1100D - Will try to upload more pics. You are right in that one can always put up at Maithon. Majumdar Niwas is one of the best options for staying at Maithon. The Rest House on the hilltop, most probably, belongs to WB Tourism.
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Old 1st February 2008, 22:58   #11
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[quote=Saurabh M;707870 Majumdar Niwas is one of the best options for staying at Maithon[/quote]

Yes, but parking is an issue, recently they have an arrangement with the private hotel, to have vehicles parked in their premises.

For those of who, that do not know.

Majumdar Niwas, is a DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) guest house situated on a small island in the reservoir of the Maithon dam. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge. So naturally cars cannot be taken to Majumdar Niwas.
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Old 4th February 2008, 23:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
For me, it was either I am driving or not going at all. It was my second visit to this place and did not take much time to convince others.
Any idea about these places in Purulia - Kairabera/Murguma and Kuilapal

And definitely loved the journey writeup. Purulia has always been a less travelled place due to distance.
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Old 5th February 2008, 14:22   #13
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@adc: I do not have much details about Kairabera/Murguma/Kuilapal, but you may start your search from this url : Purulia Tourist Map

There's brief information about these places in the map itself (popups). An alternative is to base your travel around Duarsini. There is decent accomodation available at Duarsini by WB Forest Dev Corp.

Agreed that Purulia is less travelled and probably that's the reason why its still unspoilt.
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