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Old 26th August 2008, 19:28   #1
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Default Garpanchakot for a quiet weekend out of Kolkata

On Saturday 23rd August me and a friend of mine went to Garpanchakot in our own cars with our family to spend the weekend. They have a very nice forest resort near a forested hill in Purulia district very close to the Panchet dam of Damodar Valley Corporation. The resort is absolutely brilliantly maintained and we had difficulty believing it is actually owned by the government of West Bengal. I have stayed in many five star hotels, this resort is in no way inferior to any. It is unbelievable.
The route is fairly straight forward and mostly involves GQ driving. The last few kilometers can be quite a pain - the road almost does not exist, but it is not a serious threat to your oil sump. I hope you enjoy the pictures. If anyone needs help with the precise turn by turn direction please do let me know.

The first view of Garpanchakot from the Asansol-Raghunathpur road and the same hill from up close.
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Garpanchakot for a quiet weekend out of Kolkata-100_1771.jpg  

Garpanchakot for a quiet weekend out of Kolkata-100_1789.jpg  


Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 26th August 2008 at 19:31. Reason: changed the caption
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Old 26th August 2008, 20:13   #2
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@Sudipto, that looks like a nice place to visit. Could you please give more details like the distance from Kolkata, what are the places of interest, etc.
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Old 26th August 2008, 20:17   #3
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Hi Supdipto ,

Thanks for description.

What I precisely wants to know is .

1. Exit point from NH2 (what More etc.)
2. Road Towards Garpanchkot.
3. Via Which all Major Places ?
4. Overall Road Condition from Exit of NH2 Till Garpanchkoat .
5. Time Taken Exit NH2 - Garpanchkot.

Cheers
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Old 26th August 2008, 20:19   #4
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That's a couple of good pics. But pls upload all the pics you have taken also pls iclude other details about road conditions/distance/what car/FE etc. etc.
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Old 26th August 2008, 20:47   #5
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Default The other pics

Here are the other pics.
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Old 26th August 2008, 21:07   #6
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Sorry that I goofed up with the captions of the photographs. They are as follows

1. A view of the hill from the window of the resort where we stayed.
2. A view of the ruined temples of Garpanchakot - about 12 km from the resort.
3. My Esteem parked near the ruined temple.
4. A view from up the mountain. This is the typical topography of Purulia district.
5. Yet another view from the same point but in another direction.
6. My wife and child outside the resort
7. Panchet river.
8. Panchet dam.
9. The India explorer in the making.
10. The brand ambassador of Exide (not as famous as Dhoni)
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Old 26th August 2008, 21:28   #7
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Good that you made it safely. Seeing the dam in action is a sight in itself. Hope you enjoyed the lush greenery in the middle of monsoon. Nice pics.
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Old 26th August 2008, 23:42   #8
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Looks like a great place!! How long does it take from Kolkata to reach there? And where did you book the resort from?

Wim
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Old 26th August 2008, 23:45   #9
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Since some of you want to know the details of the route to Garpanchakot here is as much detail as I can give about the route we took. I must clarify that there are more than one route. We chose the most hassle free one.

There is another post by Saurabh that you can consider as well but I think he went from Maithon (via Chirkunda), which I took while coming back (thanks Saurabh for the email directions). If you are going only to GP Kot from Kolkata then you need not go via Chirkunda.

We had crossed the Dankuni toll plaza at 7.45 am and Asansol Morh came at around 11 am (distance of around 185 km), including a half an hour break near Shaktigarh and about ten minutes wasted at Panagarh due to jam.

From the Asansol exit (that is, the point where you see the sign board on your left hand side saying “Welcome to Asansol Municipality”) the toll plaza on GQ is exactly 9 km. Exactly 7.5 km ahead of the toll plaza (Rs 50 for car) take the left turn entry into Sitarampur. This is where you leave GQ (basically 16.5 km from Asansol exit). This turn is called Chowringhee and this point is very non-descript. You will miss this unless you are very careful and watch out for it. Drive on straight for another 4 km to hit a T junction. Turn left here. You are now in Niyamatpur. After proceeding for about half a kilometer there is a traffic police point where there is a road going right. You should take this right turn. The straight road goes into the city of Asansol.

(Some people try to save the Rs 50 toll and go through the city of Asansol to reach Niyamatpur. I think paying Rs 50 to avoid the confusion of Asansol city is worth it.)

It seemed this part of Niyamatpur is under a perpetual traffic jam. On a bad day clearing this half km can take more than half an hour. The lone policeman looked like was fighting a losing battle against the plethora of minibuses, trucks, motorcycles, cycles and rickshaws. Somehow we made it through this chaos. After all I negotiate the Tolly tram depot and Karunamoyee jams every evening!

After turning right from Niyamatpur your next big town is Sanctoria which comes after 7 km from Niyamatpur Morh. Dishergarh Ghat comes right after Sanctoria. Here you cross the river to enter Purulia district. Exactly 14 km or so from Niyamatpur Morh comes Sharbari Morh where you turn right towards a small village called Puwa Para. The straight road goes to Raghunathpur (another important town of Purulia). From Sharbari Morh to Puwapara is about 8 km on reasonably bad road! If you drive carefully you won’t hit the road with your oil sump. Take the final left turn towards GP Kot resort from Puwa Para. From Puwa Para Morh to the resort it is a 1.5 km road through the horrendous village road. If you go straight you reach Panchet dam in another 1.5 km from PP Morh.

I hope the above paragraph isn’t too complicated. The road from Niyamatpur to Sharbari is fairly decent. You might find trucks carrying slushy iron ore on this stretch. Keep a safe distance from them, as they spill out the red slush on the road and often on unsuspecting pedestrians near the railway crossings. On this road watch very carefully for the Sharbari Morh. Otherwise you might miss it (as we did).

We finally reached GP Kot at around 1 pm. I drive really slow, as I enjoy the drive more when I have time to look around.

In terms of things to see around GP Kot – apart from the brilliant greenery, you have the Panchet dam which was awesome, in terms of the sheer force of the water that was gushing out through the gates. However, I wonder if that would quite be the case during winter or summer lean months.

You can also consider going to this ruin on the other face of the hill. A distance of around 12 km from the resort. You basically circumambulate the hill. Go in the direction opposite to Puwa Para with the hill on your left hand side It is a fairly simple narrow forest road upto Gobagh (8km from resort) where you meet the Asansol-Raghunathpur road. From Gobagh turn left and drive for another 1.5 km on the state highway. Turn left towards the hill again here and drive for 2.5 km on this road towards the hill. The road just ends here. I hope you can locate this left exit from the main road. If you come to a single rail line on the main road you should know you over shot and go back. Needless to say I learnt this the hard way!!

Apparently there was a king who lived here with his 17 queens. He was attacked by the Portuguese and fled leaving his queens to commit suicide in a well in the palace. The fort was subsequently abandoned. The ruins are really ruins and there is no ASI protection or any other such government effort to preserve anything there. The place only has a few shepherds and their goats and cows. Apparently there is also a perennial waterfall somewhere up in the hill. We walked for about 45 minutes up the mountain trail with a shepherd trying to reach the fall. Since we were not carrying any water we abandoned this quest and came down very thirsty. The shepherd is totally clueless about time and distance and we couldn’t understand from his words if it was ten more minutes or an hour away.

The view of the district from high up on the hill is very nice. It’s all green all around.

The town of Raghunathpur is another place you might want to go to if you want to buy some Tasser silk. There is a place called Tanti Para inside Raghunathpur where they have quite a few silk cooperative shops. Whether the prices are reasonable, I have no clue.

Those who are interested for the other mundane details – I went in my Esteem and my friend went in his Accent. None of us kept any FE record. We quite enjoyed the trip.

One other word of caution. Please book your accommodation in advance. Don’t just land up there. First of all the resort staff there are not authorized to take in any guest, even if rooms are empty. Second, the resort is virtually full all the time. Third and perhaps most importantly – there is nothing else in that locality, except a small lodge in Panchet and a few shoddy lodges in Raghunathpur. I wouldn’t go all the way from Kolkata to spend my time in those lodges.
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Old 27th August 2008, 00:09   #10
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Hi Wimwian
The resort is owned by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. Their website is West Bengal Forest Development Corporation-786 . Their office is near Hind Cinema. You can check availability of rooms from the website and then go there personally to book it by paying the full amount. I must tell you this is one of the most efficient state government undertakings I have ever dealt with in this country. The facilities at the resort are superb (bathrooms have Jaquar fittings and rooms have LG 2 tonne split AC, for example and all furniture Zuari branded). Food is simple. Nothing fancy, which is fine with me. Above all, everything is very reasonably priced. I almost sound like their agent. But honestly I am floored.
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Old 27th August 2008, 00:16   #11
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ooof dada ki lagche guru :P.
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Old 27th August 2008, 01:51   #12
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Thats a lot of water there. Great pics.Thanks for sharing
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Old 27th August 2008, 06:59   #13
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Quote:
I must tell you this is one of the most efficient state government undertakings I have ever dealt with in this country.
Sudipto, I cant agree more to this statement. WBFDC is my favourite when I travel to the forests of WB. I have stayed in their Forest Bungalows at :
1. Garpachkot (Purulia) - Stayed twice
2. Murti (Dooars) - Stayed twice
3. Mongpong (Dooars) - Stayed twice
4. Lepchajagat
5. Loleygaon
6. Buxa Jungle Lodge (Jayanti - Eastern Dooars)
7. Suntalekhola
8. Jaldhaka
9. Mukutmanipur
and I must say, all are fabulous. All are very well maintained with good service and friendly staff. The bungalow at Murti is by far the best forest bungalow in Dooars open to public. IMHO, I feel, its better than the one at Holong (Jaldapara). You need to stay at Murti on a full moon night and be awe-struct by the view at night over Murti river. Simply mind-blowing.
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Old 27th August 2008, 09:37   #14
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One advantage of WBFDC is that their resorts are deep inside the forest and there is no other commercial resorts of the private sector around those places and hence no cheapo crowd. Therefore there is a lot of peace. However, for the same reasons it is also frustrating to find all the time that their resorts are full. You have to book way in advance and no amount of VIP string pulling works.
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Old 27th August 2008, 10:34   #15
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Nice pictures and nice writeup. Thanks for sharing sir. Can a Civic make this trip? Are there good petrol bunks on the way? (after exiting the GQ that is)
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