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Old 15th December 2008, 22:33   #1
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Default Maithan - A weekend getaway from Calcutta

Last weekend I went to Maithan with my family and a few friends. Those who don’t know, there is a very pretty lake in Maithan which is the source of the river Barakar. It also has a dam and DVC runs a hydel power station there. What follows is not much of a travelogue. Just my impressions of the place and a trip log so that if some other member wants to go in future he finds it easy. The place is ideal if you are a new comer to the world of self drive tours in eastern India.
Our trip to Maithan was planned a few months in advance. It was in my mind since we went to GP Kot in August and the final decision was taken after one of my friends actually went there a few weeks ago and said glorious things about the sunset on Maithan lake.
We went there on Saturday (12th December, 2008) and came back on Sunday. Two cars. Six adults and three children. It’s a straight forward four hour journey from Calcutta and involves only highway driving.
While the lake itself (river Barakar’s source) is very pretty with small, green hillocks surrounding it, the main activity centre (I can’t call it town because it has just one hotel where we stayed) of Maithan is fairly ugly. When we went there, there were a number of buses that had come down from the nearby industrial towns with loud picnickers. There was plastic waste stewn all around. Streetside stalls selling everything from achaar to nimki. In one word it’s pretty ugly.
Juxtaposed against very serene natural beauty of the surrounding hills and the lake, the man made ugliness of the place becomes even more stark.
The hotel that we stayed in is perhaps the only decent hotel after Mazumdar Niwas. But the rooms are cramped even with just a small double bed. There is no intercom and no other mod-cons in the rooms. But the bathrooms are clean and the lights are proper high powered ones and not those headache inducing low watt CFL ones that you find in the small hotels of the small towns. The hotel had 100 per cent occupancy and the staff at the dining room wasn’t really capable of handling the crowd, resulting in hungry guests making a lot of noise in the dining room. But I must say the staff is pretty friendly and were trying to manage things with a smiling face.
Overall the experience of Maithan wasn’t a very pleasant one. However, the Rs 100 boat ride in the lake was worth it. We went out boating for about half an hour. Once you travel by boat for about five minutes the view opens up to the right and you get to see around the hill on your right side over a long distance. The lake, I must repeat once again, is very pretty and is worth the drive from Kolkata. I suppose if one goes to Maithon after the winter tourist season is over one will like it.
For the life of me, I couldn’t crack the mystery of booking Mazumdar Niwas even after the trip to Maithon. However, I realised that if you stay in that hotel owned by DVC your car will have to be parked on the main road. Although CISF is supposed to be guarding it I would doubt their sincerity. When we were entering the Maithon area the CISF sentry stopped our vehicle. I thought it was for some routine security checks. But he demanded Rs 30. The moment I realised it was just a fake extortion racket I sped out. They never tried to catch me again.
On the way back we stopped at the famous Kalyaneshwari temple. It looked pretty ancient. But entering the main temple seemed a lengthy affair with a lot of devotees standing in a patient queue. So we skipped seeing the idol and came back home. Kalyaneshwari is obviously pretty famous, given the number of pandas we saw there.
Here are a few pics of the lake and a pic of the hotel where we stayed.
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File Type: xls Maithon.xls (18.0 KB, 2800 views)

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 15th December 2008 at 22:35.
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Old 16th December 2008, 02:37   #2
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Was expecting this. Is this the WBTDC hotel over the hillock that overlooks the lake? I like that portion of the road which winds down from the dam towards Kalyaneswari.

Nice pics of the lake. No sunset pics?
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:12   #3
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Nice one Sudipto da, the lake pics reminds me of a miniature version of Ooty lake. Look much similar.
Keep some more pics coming. What is exact turn off for Maithon from NH2?

Abhi
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:29   #4
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Sorry Saurabh no sunset pics with me. We were busy chatting over Smirnoff around that time !! .
AK - there is no specific landmark for the right turn towards Maithan. It's precisely 15 km from the famous Jubilee Pump of Asansol (the huge IOC pump on your left hand side). There is a green NHAI sign board on the left hand side showing Barakar to the left and Maithan to the right. That's quite prominent.
Actually that area is always chock-a-block full of trucks for entry formalities. It's just the Bengal-Jharkhand border. Even if there was some landmark I couldn't have seen it. The trucks don't jam the road for small vehicles though.
The lake and the surrounding hills are very beautiful and pretty. The water is emerald green. The hills are full of trees. No sign of any deforestation. But in winter there is just too much of local picnicers - like our zoo or Victoria in winter. I hope you get the picture.
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:55   #5
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Hi Sudipto,
It seems that you have not enjoyed the stay at hotel. Looking at pics, the lake is beautiful.
I wonder if Kolkata has any good destination for picnic within 200 km radius.
Almost all metros has good picnic spots with good facilities within 3/4 hours drive.
Hope, we will read more travelogues from you.
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Old 16th December 2008, 10:09   #6
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Asish
Kolkata does have a few so called picnic spots around it but by picnic we mean hiring or organising a farm house for a day and spending the day there - like we did during our last team-bhp meet. Otherwise the public picnic spots like Diamond Harbour, Digha etc are too crowded with people who play extremely loud music, drink openly and generally make a nuisence of themselves. I find that horrendous and an assault to my sensibilities.
Although the lake of Maithan is beautiful, the surroundings around this time of the year is too full of loud picnicers. And that was indeed a major dampner.
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Old 17th December 2008, 00:09   #7
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Booking thw Mazumdar Niwas is a tedious process and almost impossible if you dont have someone in DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation).

There is a WB Tourist rest house on top of the hill though, quite calm and serene and you get views that overlook the lake. Not to mention the small meandering path up the hill.

The problem of loud picnicers is everywhere. The first time I remember visiting Maithon, we were the only outsiders there. Maithan being my fathers college survey camp location has special place in his heart. But then I bet, even he is not liking it there anymore inspite of the nostalgia he associates.

About 200km radius there are a lot of places, but this time of the year, Bengali's being fun loving, would not spare any possible scenic place for a picnic opportunity.

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Old 17th December 2008, 09:32   #8
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Anirban
No one ever told me about the WB Tourist rest house there before we went. We booked Shanti Niwas from an agent in Calcutta.
Regarding Mazumdar Niwas and DVC - the people in DVC Tower here are absolutely uncouth. They shout and bark at you for calling them up, in the first place. Then they say it's booked and you know the fellow is lying. Then you ring up the DVC control room in Maithon itself - even they have no clue as to how it is booked. You think you will find out once you are in Maithon. The CISF sentry stops you and says you can't go in unless you have booking. He doesn't even care to tell you where the DVC office is!!
You find out a contact who was pally with the chairman of DVC Asim Barman but he tells you Mr Barman has just retired and he doesn't know who the new fellow is. You give up. And wish them well.
Apparently - someone told me - the ground floor can be booked from Calcutta DVC Towers and the first floor can be booked only from Maithon !!
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Old 17th December 2008, 12:01   #9
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Gents,

I am off to GPKot on Christmas, any advise on Route Please ?
Specially the exit one from GQ/NH2 till WBFDC
Cottages .

Cheers
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Old 17th December 2008, 13:00   #10
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Sudipto, Your travelogue cherished my memory of my visit to Maithan Dam during early nineties. It is an excellent picnic spot for WB as well as Jharkhand nearby residents.

I would certain like to visit again but I do not know when it will fulfill.

Don't you have some more pictures? Certainly, We would like to see more.
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Old 17th December 2008, 13:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captdey View Post
Gents,

I am off to GPKot on Christmas, any advise on Route Please ?
Specially the exit one from GQ/NH2 till WBFDC
Cottages .

Cheers
Congratulations dada. You will like it.
You can check my trip log and report for a turn by turn instruction. We turned left from a place called Chowringhee (just after the Asansol toll plaza). This is a very non-descript crossing and unless you are careful might miss it as well. Right turn goes to Madhupur.
You can also take the left turn immediately after Jubilee Petrol pump (huge 24x7 IOC pump on your left). This way you avoid paying Rs 50 toll.
Other than the jam of Niyamatpur there is nothing else to worry about on this entire road.
I wouldn't recommend left turn from Kulti or Barakar or Kumardhubi etc (these are much further up) because that would involve driving through these congested small towns.

@ Anuj & AK Roy - I do have other pictures of the place but those are all of the same lake. So the pics are repeatitive. I will be going to Deoghar via Massanjore/Dumka in January. I promise to post a lot of pics from that trip. I am sure that will tickle your nostalgic sentiments even more

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 17th December 2008 at 13:47.
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Old 17th December 2008, 16:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captdey View Post
Gents,

I am off to GPKot on Christmas, any advise on Route Please ?
Specially the exit one from GQ/NH2 till WBFDC
Cottages .

Cheers
Yes Sudipto da's GP kot travelogue has all the directions and the excel log is there on the 2nd page.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...t-kolkata.html (Garpanchakot for a quiet weekend out of Kolkata)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I will be going to Deoghar via Massanjore/Dumka in January. I promise to post a lot of pics from that trip. I am sure that will tickle your nostalgic sentiments even more
Will be looking forward to this travelogue, travel date?

Last edited by adc : 17th December 2008 at 16:58.
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Old 17th December 2008, 17:19   #13
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We will be going out on 23rd January and coming back on 26th. Four days of straight holidays for all three of us. This is something rare and hence we want to make full use of it.
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Old 17th December 2008, 23:53   #14
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Sorry Sudipto-da for not mentioning about the WBTDC lodge. I assumed that you had already sorted out the lodging part, when I came to know about your trip. The WBTDC lodge is in high demand and needs to be booked atleast one month prior to traveling (especially during peak tourist seasons). As an offbeat option, you may spend a couple of nights in that lodge during next monsoon. The rain and the dark clouds on the lake should look fabulous.
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Old 18th December 2008, 00:19   #15
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I have been to Maithon so many times but have not stayed overnight there. But there are very few places where one cab have decent food. I remember the hotel you had stayed by the statues in front of them. We had lunch once and it was a very bad experience. I go there only for the boat ride and the scenery and come back after spendinga a few hours there. But staying in Majumdar Niwas will be better I hope if the booking problem gets sorted out.
Looking forward to your Deoghar trip. Meanwhile I will try to post a few pics of Maithon that I have taken if I can find them.
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