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Old 22nd September 2008, 18:56   #1
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Default Kolkata to Mukutmanipur & Back

It was 3 months since I have returned to Kolkata from Bangalore. Since my return I was trying to plan a road trip with my friends and was eyeing the 15th August extended weekend, destination was Puri… but that failed. So when my friend Abhijeet came up with the proposal to visit Durgapur to pick up his luggage as he is relocating to Kolkata, I annexed it with a 2 day one night road trip to Mukutmanipur. Booked a six bed cottage at the WBFDC Sonajhuri resort for Rs900, filled up the tank on 12th Sept evening, checked tyre pressure, burned some CDs to listen to and went into bed with plan to wake up at 5am in the next morning.

13th September 2008
Woke up around 515am and quickly bathed & packed to leave around 6am. Washed the wind screen & rear screen of the car and hit the road at Maniktala around 615am. Picked up Suvajit from Maniktala crossing and moved on to pick Tathagata from Khanna Cinema hall bus stop around 635am. Then we moved on quickly through Shyambazar to Dunlop and took the Bally Bridge to avoid paying toll.

It was 710am when we paid the toll at Dankuni and Tathagata took the mantle of driving. He drove at moderate speeds of 80-90kmph as we covered the Singur Tata Plant and diversion to Tarakeshwar. Then it was fun time for Suvajit on the fine road towards Palsit. A moderate driving crossed us Palsit around 815am and I took charge again towards Shaktigarh where we had our breakfast with Kachori & sabji.
While we were having breakfast, Abhijeet called and we told him to be there at Muchipara Crossing of Durgapur on NH2 GQ around 930am. When we started again it was 830am and with the goal to cover 85km in an hour I pressed hard on throttle. Except for a 3-4km stretch at Panagarh where 4 lane Bypass is still on papers, we cruised at 100-120kmph. The Panagarh stretch was in worse condition than when we had crossed it in May this year, with broken and potholed road lining up the truck & cars as all of them were moving very slow.

Anyway, we reached Durgapur (Muchipara) at 925am and met Abhijeet. He guided us to his den and we refreshed ourselves for an hour or so. We left Abhijeet’s place around 1045 and went to Muchipara again to buy some essentials and then drove towards the Durgapur Barrage. The barrage road crosses mighty Damodar River and goes towards Bankura to intersect NH60. The Durgapur Bankura road was moderately good 2 lane driveway with patches of bad roads after every 500m or so. So our speed was restricted to 60-80kmph as I tried to go as fast as I could is the scorching sun. The 47km drive took almost an hour and at Bankura we asked the locals to get to the road which leads to Khatara.

We took a tea break at a junction where the south-west path goes to Khatara, the south direction goes to Shalbani and the path due east is the NH60 which goes to Medinipur and Kharagpur via Bishnupur. Abhijeet got the first chance to drive here as we speeded in this better stretch. The surface was almost void of potholes but the drive was bumpy as and when he was crossing 80kmph, due to poor rolled surface. From Khatara we turned right towards Mukutmanipur on a road that is in between one & two lane in width. But the surface was good as well as the scenery.
We reached Mukutmanipur at 130pm…just what we have predicted earlier in Durgapur when we called the resort canteen to ensure that we get the lunch on arrival. After entry formalities at the reception we were escorted to our cottage which was too hot to be comfortable and at that point I thought that I have made a mistake by not booking an AC cottage. (We booked this as all AC cottages are 2 bed and we were 4). Anyway, after splashing some water on our tired and sunburned faces we wend for the lunch we turned out to be fantastic with rice, dal, bhaji & chicken (cost Rs.55 per meal). Then we went up the hill on which the resort is based to find some cooler places with a view of the dam below. We spent 2hours gossiping and then went ahead with our car to see the dam by having a drive over the long paved wall. But at the gates we were informed of the necessity of having a pass from the barrage authority to enter the barrage way with a car. So we went to the office and found it closed. The leaving staff told that they only issue passes from 8am to 12am in the morning and 2pm to 4pm in the afternoon.

Dejected, we roamed around the dam for some time and then hit the path towards Ambikanagar to see the ruins of an old broken palace of local king (Raj bari) but saw nothing worth mentioning and experienced typically bad village roads where broken patches were large enough to engulf my small Alto. However some hillocks at the background of lush green paddy fields soothed our eyes as dusk presented itself with fine colours all around. On returning, we parked the car and entered the dam, walking, to savor the sunset. After 30mins of rambling and low light photography a sudden rain made us scamper to our car which in turn dashed to the safety of the resort.

Coming back to the resort we had snacks with tea and pakora and then played cards for an hour when the resort staff knocked and called us for dinner. After dinner we enjoyed till midnight before going to bed. At 10pm we drove the car out of resort to the barrage gate and then walked in, moonlit night with sparkling dam waters was as romantic as it can get with four boys. We sat on the dam wall after walking about 500m and kept on chatting till a local shouted and signaled with torch light that we were disturbing his much needed sleep. We apologized and walked back. Some time later around 11pm we drove the car into the resort and prepared to sleep after some mirth. We slept comfortably as the evening shower eased the heat. It was cold enough in the late night to have a wrapper to avoid shivering.

14th September 2008
In the morning we woke up around 730am and readily went for a breakfast with bread & eggs. After a cup of tea & sweets we went to the barrage authority office to get the pass to enter the dam. We noted the odometer reading as we passed the gate and drove at 15-20kmph, with intermittent stops to enjoy the view and to capture them for eternity. It took more than half an hour to cross the 8km long barrage way, at the end of which we turned the car and speeded back to the starting point in 10minutes. With twists & sharp turns, the solitary barrage way is a nice place to enjoy driving although the surface quality was not silk smooth. Created blocking the flow of Kangsavati River, reportedly it is the longest earthen dam in the World.

The check out time from the resort was 11am so we quickly had tea in a roadside stall and went to our resort to have a bath. We vacated around 1110am and at the reception asked for a shortcut road to Bishnupur through Chenchuria eco park. We returned on the same path to Khatara & then drove towards Bankura for some 15km when we again asked local people and took the narrow road that shortens the distance to Bishnupur by 30-40km. The road surface was initially good with some broken patches and I left the driving to Abhijeet. We were not cruising fast but enjoying the unspoiled beauty of paddy fields, villages and forests. Later on Tathagata drove for some 10kms as we entered Bishnupur at 2pm by crossing a rail gate (Bishnupur Bankura Purulia line) and stopped at a decent hotel to have our lunch.

Our short stay at Bishnupur was to savor the beauty and architectural elegance of the famous Terracotta Temples and to buy the renowned handloom Baluchari Sarees for our mothers. We started with Rasmancha and after seeing a few more went near Dalmadal Cannon to buy Baluchari Sarees direct from the house of manufacturers. It rained outside as we were busy choosing the best suitable ones from the eye catching lot shown. When we came out around 4pm rain had stopped and after a tea break we drove towards Arambag on state highway. Road was fantastic, 2 lane with smooth surface & moderate traffic, capable of speeding up to 90-100kmph. In anticipation of bad road ahead, I sacrificed the pleasure and left driving to Abhijeet. He drove well till 6pm and then switched on the headlights. From the outskirts of Arambag the roads became worse and I chose to drive.

Around 615pm we left Arambag for Champadanga after a small break with tea and ‘chop’. Roads were not as good as earlier but drivable. From Champadanga the path due right goes to Dankuni to meet NH2-GQ via Sheakhala (Bally Bridge is 52km). The left path goes to Tarakeshwar and then meets NH2-GQ further away near Singur (bally bridge around 85km). We tried the shorter one and fall into the biggest mess of this trip. The road was all bad and pothole ridden, broken patches were wide and deep enough to scratch the bottom of small cars. With truck lining up it was very difficult to drive at more than 20kmph. At the beginning I tried to overtake trucks but fell into trouble and put immense pressure on the suspensions. Then after some 20km we took another break and estimated that a sedate driving would land us in Kolkata at 1030pm.
Conveyed the same to our homes and drove slow and steady up to Dankuni and reached the Rail Gate around 930pm. Had to wait there for 15mins as two trains passed and then we hit the GQ and cruised through Nivedita Setu (New toll bridge adjacent to Bally Bridge), albeit waiting at the toll gates for some time due to lining of trucks too keen to enter Kolkata. After the bridge we took the Belghoria expressway which landed us straight to Dumdum Airport at a cruising speed of 80-90kmph. Then after dropping my friends one by one when I parked the car in garage it was 1040pm.

It was a challenging drive with most of the road driven was SH & even roads made on Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojna. More over it was a nice outing out into the pollution less green nature into the Lap of the Valley of Kangsavati River. It was an experience with friends that we will talk & relish in future as well.
Some facts of the trip
1. Total road traveled 521km
a. traveled on NH2-GQ : 170km – 32.63%
b. traveled on 2 lane SH : 302km – 57.97%
c. traveled on 1 lane village road – 49km – 9.40%
2. Total fuel consumed 27.35liters – avg FE : 19.05kmpl
3. Drive time (excluding breaks)
a. while going : 5hr 30mins
b. while returning : 8hr 15mins
4. Average speed : 37.8kmpl
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Old 22nd September 2008, 20:36   #2
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Nice writeup but where are the pics? Whats a travelogue without pics, post them !!

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Old 22nd September 2008, 21:52   #3
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Good write up. A lengthy one. Post pics.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:14   #4
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Nice writeup, but a bit detailed. Would have loved to see some pics.

Since you travelled to Bishnupur from Mukutmanipur, you could have continued on NH60 to Kharagpur and take NH6 to Kolkata.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:17   #5
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Nice writeup.. please post some pics of your alto and also of Mukutmanipur. This is one place that I have missed out even though it had been on my list for quite long. What is the best time to go there?
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:30   #6
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IMO, the best season in between Nov - Mar. Another nice place to stay is the Peerless Resort. Nothing beats a cottage along the reservoir and an eneving boat ride on the lake, as the sun sets in the horizon.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:25   #7
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Wow. Welcome to TBhp!

We belong to the same class of uprooted-territory bongs
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Old 23rd September 2008, 11:38   #8
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Nice one. But would have been more interesting and readable if it had pictures in the logs.

So, you intro yourself with this nice Travelogue. Great!

Welcome on board.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 15:02   #9
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@babu - Nice detailed write up! You crossed mighty Damodar river, visited a dam, saw hillocks at the background of lush green paddy fields, even viewed the sunset, but still you didn't take any pictures or are you intending to post them on a later date? Post the pictures ASAP

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Old 14th September 2009, 15:10   #10
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I have done this route in 2007.I was traveling back from Gangtok and wanted to avoid Kolkatta on my way back.Durgapur to Bishnupur via Bankura.My best streatch was between Bankura and Bishnupur through the narrow road amazing paddy feilds and river flowing by the side of the road. Bishnupur to Kharagpur heavy lorry traffic and lot of railway line intersections along the road.Road was not that great only could do 60-70kms speed.After Kharagpur I speeded off to Konark temple near Puri for my night halt.
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Old 25th July 2013, 21:10   #11
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Default Re: Kolkata to Mukutmanipur & Back

Want to travel to Mukutmanipur from Kolkata on 2nd August and back on 4th. 2 cars - Swift and WagonR. Only worry is my younger daughter is 6 months old - any warnings/advise?

Also, would it be best to take the longer route via Durgapur - how is the SH to Bankura behaving nowadays? Advise
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