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Old 9th February 2009, 20:32   #1
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Default Purbasthali for a day trip out of Kolkata

Purbasthali is a non-descript small town in Burdwan district between Nabadwip and Katwa. Its claim to fame is a small oxbow lake by the river Ganga where a lot of migratory birds arrive every winter. More than enthusiastic bird lovers come here for birding trips in winter. You have to be more than enthusiastic because the town is obscure and reaching Purbasthali is not easy. It also does not have any tourism infrastructure whatsoever, except for a small guest house with basic amenities run by the local Panchayat Samiti.

I am not really a birder but I thought I would enjoy the boat ride in the crystal clear water of the lake. The water is so clear and transparent that you can see the underwater vegetation for mile after mile. It’s quite unique in that sense.

On my way back from my in-laws’ place in Katwa I went to Purbasthali last Sunday and really enjoyed the boat ride for more than two hours. We started our journey on Ganga (where there is a real flow) and then went round an island to finally enter the oxbow lake. It’s all hand operated boat with real oarsmen and not the noisy mechanized country boats that we are otherwise used to.

It’s quite a unique experience for me and I intend to go there next winter again, better armed with knowledge about birds and a pair of binoculars (I forgot to take them this time !!).

Let me post some pictures. I am not much of a birder and therefore I didn’t try to write anything about the bird population there. But it does have lots of birds. Taking bird photographs from a boat without tele is yet another impossibility and therefore I have refrained from any such silly effort.

The boatman pulled the oar almost non-stop for more than two hours and charged Rs 250 for the service.

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The sun rays made the splash of the water very special.

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The road to Purbasthali after you come off the state highway near Parulia

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Some black cormorants

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Purbasthali looks like an impoverished little town. But the villages around are literally littered with such old Zamindar palaces.

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Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 9th February 2009 at 20:49.
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Old 9th February 2009, 21:54   #2
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Nice pics. Don't forget to let me know when you visit this place next winter. I would like to come along with you, if thats not a problem.

Did you get a chance to enter the Zamindar house? Would have been a good subject for B&W photography, I feel.
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Old 9th February 2009, 23:55   #3
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Nice Boat ride This remember me my school time when I used use this kind of Boat to cross the Ganga river in Raghunathgang.
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Old 10th February 2009, 00:05   #4
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You will be more than welcome to come along with us. However, you need not worry about the route and depend on anyone. It's very simple. You go to Burdwan, go to a place called Dewandighi on the Katwa road, turn right towards Kusumgram, turn right again towards Nadanghat, turn left towards Parulia, turn right towards Purbasthali railway station. From Burdwan station it will be a total of 60 km or so.
It may sound a bit complicated but it really is not. And the road is absolutely billiard top.
Of course there are other alternative routes via Bansberia, Tribeni and Kalna etc.

Meanwhile here are some man made structures on the route

Curzon Gate - GT Road, Burdwan

Purbasthali for a day trip out of Kolkata-curzon.jpg

Parijayee Abas - A guest house being run by the local panchayat with some basic facilities

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I parked the car inside this complex but didn't check the facilities in the building
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Old 10th February 2009, 00:54   #5
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Wow, Thats a lovely gate. Have never been to Burdwan town.

The staying arrangement does not look promising though, and there's nothing wrong with the way it is. There would anyway be very few people opting to stay there.
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Old 10th February 2009, 08:19   #6
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Sudipto da, here you go again, another new place totally off beat from our knowledge. Nice pics.
looks like there are many small places like this to explore around kolkata.

Abhi
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Old 10th February 2009, 11:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Did you get a chance to enter the Zamindar house? Would have been a good subject for B&W photography, I feel.
No I didn't enter the house because we were pressed for time. But yes, it will be a great subject for b&w photography. In fact your ancestral village of Balagarh also has some fantastic palaces like that but now crumbling. Mrinal Sen's Akaler Sandhane was shot there and he uses one such building in the film to great artistic effect.

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Originally Posted by Sowmya View Post
Nice Boat ride This remember me my school time when I used use this kind of Boat to cross the Ganga river in Raghunathgang.
Thanks that you liked the boat ride pics. But strictly speaking that's not quite the river. It's the ox bow lake. The first picture shows the actual colour of the water and has not been photoshopped. The second picture is a bit underexposed. The colour of the water in the actual river is greyish - a colour that's more familiar to us when it comes to rivers.

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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Wow, Thats a lovely gate. Have never been to Burdwan town.

The staying arrangement does not look promising though, and there's nothing wrong with the way it is. There would anyway be very few people opting to stay there.
That's indeed a lovely gate to commemorate the visit of Lord Curzon to Burdwan. Apparently Burdwan is where the actual handing over of Gobindapur, Kolikata and Sutanuti happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Sudipto da, here you go again, another new place totally off beat from our knowledge. Nice pics.
looks like there are many small places like this to explore around kolkata.

Abhi
Purbasthali is not so offbeat any more, particularly among Kolkata birders whose number is increasing fast. With a large number of popular tourist spots around Kolkata becoming out of bounds due to either militancy (Jhargram belt) or bad roads (north Bengal) etc, people are being forced to seek out newer places and destinations for short outings.

A few years ago loud sound systems of picnicers became an environmental issue in Purbasthali resulting in less number of birds coming in !!! That has thankfully been stopped now.

Those who are keen to know more about the birds of Purbasthali (and also birds of India in general) here is a link
Birds of India: Purbasthali Oxbow Lake, Burdwan, West Bengal

Sudipto

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Old 10th February 2009, 11:33   #8
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Lake seems quite serene and water also looks to be clean. Looks like you enjoyed your trip to this quaint old town.

Boat rides in clean water is a luxury these days considering the fact that you hardly get to see any clean lakes.
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Old 13th February 2009, 16:39   #9
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Lovely short holiday Sudipta. Shots look really nice. Nice to see your brand new Canon at work.
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Old 13th February 2009, 23:54   #10
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Sudipt-da, when did you get your new Canon? Which model is it?
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Old 14th February 2009, 23:46   #11
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Nice pics and nice tour Sudipto da.Wish I could tag along with you.

My Puri trip was fantastic thanks to you,ADC da and inputs from AKRoy and HVKumar.

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Old 15th February 2009, 18:18   #12
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Rudrada I am glad that you liked the pics. I am still learning the basics of the camera. Ulty I am glad that your Puri trip went off well.
Mobike - indeed it's a luxury these days to find such pristine water anywhere so close to locality as Purbasthali is. However, one great thing going for the lake is the lack of industrial activity in that region which keeps the water clean. In terms of noise it's often fairly polluted with shallow irrigation pumps and motorised boats making a lot of noise. But we found a whole lot of more than 50 Asian Openbill Storks in close proximity to a fairly loud agriculture pump. I am afraid I don't have pictures of those sights that I saw from a distance.
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Old 16th February 2009, 02:01   #13
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Thats a fine place and still quite near Kolkata, just heard about the name and thanks for sharing - will be going over sometime later.

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My Puri trip was fantastic
Good to hear that, and of course what was the story at the Orissa/WB border?
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Old 21st February 2009, 15:27   #14
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Good to hear that, and of course what was the story at the Orissa/WB border?
Same story ADC da.
Dished out Rs 800 at Jaleshwar,for a crappy receipt in Oriya.Its valid for 6 months allegedly.Don't worry dada,pura wasul karega paisa

PS:Sorry for hijacking your thread Sudipto da,will update in this thread shortly

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ce-please.html (Kolkata to Puri mid november,guidance please)
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