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Old 31st January 2021, 01:02   #301
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Fantastic clicks ��...thanks for sharing ����
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Old 1st February 2021, 09:27   #302
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Fantastic set of snaps - Samba , loved it You should pay a visit to Mogolajodi / Mangalajodi in Odisha, in case you are still to do so.
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Old 10th February 2021, 13:46   #303
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Purbasthali

Drive duration and distance- 130 km from Dankuni. Takes around 2.5 to 3 hours.

Route- Dankuni-Memary- Satgachia- Kusumgram- Purbasthali. Set Purbasthali Thana on GPS. Where GPS ends, drive another 3-4 km straight to reach the ferry ghat. Last 200 meter road is narrow. Proper parking is available.

Road condition is excellent to good. Till Memary, Durgapur expressway is silk smooth, after that its all single lane road. Road surface is good. But town traffic at places delay the pace.
I took the route Gurap - Bhastara - Boichi - Kalna - Dhatrigram - Somudragarh - Purbasthali route. The total distance from my house at Shyambazar came 130 km one side. But due to highly congested road, time taken almost 3:45 hrs during onward journey and 3:30 hrs during return journey.

Up to Kalna road is excellent, after that some broken roads up to Dhatrigram, then some average road up to Somudragarh, and then excellent road up to Purbasthali. But the road is broken in between the places, I mean after every 4/5 km the joints are broken and there are huge gap between the two surface level, have to be very careful at night, I faced 2/3 severe jerking during my return journey around evening.

Last edited by soumiksett : 10th February 2021 at 14:11.
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Old 10th February 2021, 13:57   #304
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Some of my collection from Purbasthali trip

Knob Billed Duck
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Purple Heron
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Purple Swamphen
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Common Kingfisher
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Wood Sandpiper
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Pheasant Tailed Jacana
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Little Grebe
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White Breasted Kingfisher
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Red Crested Pochard
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Pied Kingfisher
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Osprey
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Osprey
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Stork Billed Kingfisher
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Barn Swallow
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Old 8th March 2021, 08:32   #305
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Kolkata - 2020-21 Winter Diaries - Part 1


The pleasant weather in winter is the perfect getaway time for nearby day trips without the hassle of sweating like summers. Mentioning a few noteworthy visits made during the winter months of December 2020 to February 2021

Trip - 1: Hanseswari Temple, Imambarah, Surya Kumar Modak, Denmark Tavern



Hanseswari Temple
It was a pleasant Saturday morning of January 2021 we set out for our first destination, the Hanseswari Temple in Bansberia. It took us almost 2 hours to reach from Kolkata. The Delhi Road is in such great condition to drive on these days by taking the diversion to right from Dankuni Toll Plaza. The morning session of the temple closes by 12 noon and we still managed to reach by 11-40 inspite of a 15 minute halt at the Magra railway crossing. The overbridge is still under construction. The place has a big designated paid parking lot and to reach in the final leg make sure to ask locals rather than blindly trusting Google Maps.

The Hanseswari Temple
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Flower Bouquets for offering in Prayers and Worship
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Inside the Hanseswari Temple
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Ananta Basudeba Temple beside Hanseswari Temple
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Imambara, Hoogly
Our next stop was the Hoogly Imambara, only 20 minutes away. We skipped on our way the Bandel Church since it was still closed for outsiders. Parking is in front of Imambara only and locals are managing it (against printed bills). Among other things here, make sure to reserve your breadth for climbing the 179 steps to the top of the clock tower.

The Imambara
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Spiral stairs to the clock tower
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The Clock Tower mechanicals, taken through the glass panes
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View from top of the clock tower
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The river of the the Imambara, there is English inscription of Koran on the wall and also a Sundial
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Inscriptions on the wall of the Imambara facing the Ganges
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View of the Ganges from the back of Imambara
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Denmark Tavern
Leaving Imambara around 2 pm we drove straight to our final stop of the day, Denmark Tavern of Serampore. A 235 year old heritage building converted into a wonderful river facing hotel cum restaurant by the Park Hotel Group. We did make a stop at Surya Kumar Modak while on our way to Denmark Tavern, make sure to try their famous Jolbhora and TinKanya.

Even though we reached Denmark Tavern by 3-15 pm, we got our turn for the table only around 4-30 pm owing to the afternoon rush. Add the slow service which resulted in our lunch to be completed only by 5-45 pm. Of course if someone wants to venture outside there is ample Ganges facing parks just in front of this to make passing your waiting time a breeze.

The waiting room at the Denmark Tavern
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At the Dining area
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Ganges view, from one of the river facing parks in front of Denmark Tavern, you can sit and relax with pastries from the Flury's outlet beside Denmark Tavern
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From the road beside Denmark Tavern, cars are parked here, limited car parking
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Our Crysta parked beside Denmark Tavern
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The Chinsurah and ChandanNagar belt is a historical chain from the Mughal, Dutch and French colonization era. One can hence also cover the Armenian Church, Tomb of Susanna Anna Maria (based on whom the bollywood movie Saat Khoon Maaf was inspired), Zafar Khan Ghazi Mosque, Chandan Nagar Strand, Mayurpankhi Ghat, Chinsurah Ghorir More (Clock Tower). In fact recently a floating restaurant named Jalasree has also been inaugurated at Chandannagar.

Trip 2: Khirai Valley of Flowers


We visited this place around mid December 2020, being only 85 KM from Kolkata, located along both banks of river Congsawati, below the Railway Bridge is the massive Khirai flower cultivation area. There is limited parking and the actual full bloom season is early January. Yet highly enjoyable area and a photographer's heaven. We found the owner cum gardeners protecting their own cultivation from unwanted damages by visitors and they are also helpful in explaining variations along with how they are nurtured should you be interested in buying a few saplings, prices can vary, from cheap to being quite pricey. One more advice, there is a tricky diversion from NH-6 near Panskura which we missed and Google took us to a very scary road, so better to ask locals when approaching Panskura.

At Khirai Flower Valley
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The Railway Bridge is just adjacent, so acts as a good landmark
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We bought some saplings from them, they duly explained to us the directions to plant and nurture, some price negotiation is possible
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Trip - 3: Shyam Sundar Mistanna Bhander, Baharu for the famous Nolen Gur & Joynogor Moa



An ideal Bengali does not consider the winter to be complete without tantalizing their sweet tooth over nolen gur (Date jaggery) and the products that come based on it. I still recall from my childhood days how abundant was the use of Gur in everything as the regular sweetener and never was sugar used, even while making tea.

This winter we visited one of the most notable shops named Shyam Sundar Mistanna Bhander at Baharu, easily spotted on GMaps and its dead accurate location wise. It is around 42 KM from Kolkata and takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach based on traffic, taking EM Bypass and then Kamalgazi Flyover and Baruipur Bypass is recommended. There is ample parking on the road in front opposite to the playing ground. Their most famous offerings are Moa (the ever original, Joynagar er Moa), Gur and Murki.

This January we were here during a visit to our ancestral house which is a few KM from there. The Moa was preordered for them to make special ones with higher concentration of Gur than the ones on regular sale. We also got a few sealed bowls of their famous Nolen Gur.

The Famous ShyamSundar Mistanna Bhander
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Moa is still traditionally shaped with bare hands
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Specially ordered Moa by us, being readied for delivery
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. . to be continued

Last edited by Aditya : 11th March 2021 at 05:29. Reason: As requested
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Old 11th March 2021, 05:34   #306
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. . continued from Part 1 (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists)

Kolkata - 2020-21 Winter Diaries - Part 2



Trip - 4: 108 Shib Mandir & Rajbari Complex at Ambika Kalna of Burdwan



108 Shiv Mandir
We visited the 108 Shiv Mandir in February 2021 on a pleasant evening, they close at 12 pm in the morning session and open again at 4 pm in the evening. The temples were built in early 1800. It is on GMaps and make sure not to confuse with the other 108 Shiv Temple on Suri Road (Nabab Hat). It is around 110 KM from Kolkata and we took the detour from Gurap after a sumptous lunch at the Hindusthan Hotel. However we returned using the Delhi Road and its in excellent condition which meets at the Dankuni Toll Plaza.

Owing to the pandemic the maintenance of the garden has taken a hit and so has the evening lights inside the premises which no longer work. The parking is a problem and people park wherever they want, opposite to the Toto stand. It is recommended to visit in the morning hours and then make a tour of all the temples in Kalna (called City of Temples) using a hired Toto.

Entering the 108 Shiv Mandir premises, shoes need to be left here, no one watching, but a person expects token Pranami, note its not mandatory
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Along the Dhaniyakhali Road on our way to Kalna
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At Kalna
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The children's corner at the Hindusthan Hotel
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Kalna Rajbari Complex
This is located just opposite to the 108 Shiv Mandir and is another archaeological site with garden and multiple temples.

Entrance of the Rajbari Complex
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Intricate Terracotta work
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We took a Toto from the Kalna Rajbari and visited the Kalna Ferry Ghat. There is a car transfer ferry service too. Thereafter we had some sweets which are local delights and headed back home.

Kalna Ferry
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Sweets, Kalna
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Miscellaneous



Floatel
It has once been the only Floating Hotel of India, established and opened since 2004, a 4 star property located directly over the water of the Ganges, Floatel still continues to be popular choice for business travellers and social gatherings. Reaching is easy based on Google Map location and inside there is limited parking for 8/10 vehicle overlooking the Ganges. Once parked we need to walk to the reception and then cross a small walkway to the actual hotel building floating on the Ganges.

The 4 deck hotel is stationary on the water and has rooms and 2 excellent open deck restaurants. One of them was closed for rennovation so we found place in the other one and inspite of having in door options we chose the open deck. There is 180 degree view of the Ganges available from here and one can enjoy the view of both of the Vidyasagar Setu and the old Howrah Bridge from the same point.

Food is a bit priced in terms of the quantity and taste but you need to consider that as a location premium. We enjoyed the evening breeze (it was cold, so wrapped in warmers and hoodies) in the ambient sunlight of the setting sun and the slow transition to dusk, both states offered enjoyable sights of the Ganges. For those interested, they also serve buffent breakfast from 8 am to 10 am on the open decks. Service was a bit slow.

The connecting walkway between the reception and the hotel decks
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The Vidyasagar Setu from the deck
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The Howrah Bridge from the deck
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180 degree pan shot of the Ganges


The food
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It's enjoyable as the dusk infolds
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One more thing, just on the opposite bank of the river (Howrah side) is the famous Ramkrishnapur Ghat (West Bengal - A treasure for tourists) where Ganga Arati happens, so if you visit on relevant days, you can catch a glimpse of that too, although for photography you may need good amount of zoom.

A mini TBHP meet at Maharani, near DeshaPriya Park
A winter is not complete without a TBHP meet, while I missed the Mega Winter Meet of Kolkata, we happened to finally meets in a smaller group over Hot Kachori and Jalebi of Maharani, near Deshapriya Park. Parking is either in front on the road or in the adjacent streets.

From left to right, the black beauty BMW of BHPian dip27in, SamitMukherjee, haisaikat, turboNath, Shourya_Lahiri, ABHI_1512, dip27in. The red car peeking in the background is the fine Santro Xing of BHPian SamitMukherjee
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Bahon, the mighty Ecosport of BHPian ABHI_1512 in the backdrop, and the Newton (Ford Figo) of BHPian shourya_lahiri
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Last edited by Aditya : 11th March 2021 at 18:19. Reason: As requested
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Old 13th March 2021, 12:36   #307
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Republic Day ride to Hatibari

Hatibari is a beautiful place near the border of Bengal and Orissa. It is surrounded by dense forest and Subarnorekha river flowing just beside the forest. But the staying option is only West Bengal Forest Development Corporation cottage, that too only 4 rooms are there.

In January 2021, we decided to have a bike trip to that place for one night. 26th January was the journey date, but as usual we made the plan for this ride in last moment, as a result we found no staying option, as all the 4 cottages were booked. But on 25th January morning one of our senior member searched out an alternate staying option at Hatibari, The Friends Retreat, a small 2 storied building, which consists of 2 big rooms with four separate beds in each room, one double room, two toilets, one dinning and one kitchen with ample open space within the premises. Immediately we inquired and got vacant on our scheduled date, so booked the entire property.

This time our team consists of 9 including friends and family, and 6 bikes. We did all food marketing including fish, chicken and mutton, only egg purchased locally.

We assembled at Santragachi and started at 7 am, took breakfast at Kolaghat,given a short break at Lodhasuli forest and reached Hatibari at 11:30 am. Total distance from my home came around 190 km.

The homestay was very basic though natural beauty was awesome, just inside the dense forest, ample open space, decorated by various flowers inside the compound, and the river Subarnarekha just beside. We loved the ambience.

After a heavy lunch with mutton, we took some power nap. Evening spent by great ADDA, followed by delicious dinner with chicken. The night was very beautiful here, no sound at all, dense forest surrounded with no light, only the long trees sway by the breeze, it was a moonlit night, we spend up to 12 am beside the river, awesome environment that was.
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Old 13th March 2021, 12:38   #308
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Republic Day ride to Hatibari

Next day morning we roam inside the jungle. No body was ready to return so early, hence we decided to visit Lulung, inside Simlipal National Park. For bike, the permission is given only up to Lulung. But after entering the park we did not ride through the so called route, we rode inside the forest trail with no road, and seen some beautiful spots which normally not seen by tourists. But Lulung itself did not attract me more, it is a picnic spot and heavy rush was there. Then we visited Sitakund, again same case repeated. We left the place at around 4 pm, after crossing Baripada we took late lunch with tarka and roti, and reached Baheragora at 6 pm, took some tea there and started journey, reached Kolaghat at 9 am, and reached home at 12 pm, significantly crossing huge traffic jam from Kona Truck Terminal to Vidyasagar bridge.
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Old 11th April 2021, 13:05   #309
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Hello Soumik,

Revisited this wonderful thread by Samba(was searching for some overnighters) and found some excellent new contributions from you. Simlipal National Park is a nature lover's delight and whereas we didn't sight any animals, its the feel of the forest that appeals to the nature lover. The numerous falls and the tasty food too adds to the experience.


Quote:
Originally Posted by soumiksett View Post
Republic Day ride to Hatibari

Next day morning we roam inside the jungle. No body was ready to return so early, hence we decided to visit Lulung, inside Simlipal National Park. For bike, the permission is given only up to Lulung. But after entering the park we did not ride through the so called route, we rode inside the forest trail with no road, and seen some beautiful spots which normally not seen by tourists.
Looks like you had a very engaging winter. Infact, we too love to visit the weekend spots around Calcutta, though not as frequent as you!

Your Hooghly/Chinsurah blog reminds me of a similar trip we made when I was studying in college. A relative of mine used to stay in Hooghly so during the winter break, I visited their place for a couple of days. Took a local train from Howrah and reached Hooghly quite soon. The next day we visited the Church, Imambara - on bicycles with my cousin. It was a long excursion. My uncle, had a small pond too and we had some fish curry - fished from the pond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haisaikat View Post

Kolkata - 2020-21 Winter Diaries - Part 1


The pleasant weather in winter is the perfect getaway time for nearby day trips without the hassle of sweating like summers. Mentioning a few noteworthy visits made during the winter months of December 2020 to February 2021
The meet up looks wonderful with some mighty, powerful vehicles. We usually visit the 'spouse' shop Maharaja (a stone's throw from Maharani). Whereas we love to gorge on food, I have been trying to cut down on the kochuris and singaras . These summer evenings, we visit in the evenings for tea. Do give me a shoutout if you plan to have a meet up in the near future. Will ping you my phone number.

Best Regards,
Sayak

Quote:
Originally Posted by haisaikat View Post
Bahon, the mighty Ecosport of BHPian ABHI_1512 in the backdrop, and the Newton (Ford Figo) of BHPian shourya_lahiri
Attachment 2124240

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Old 13th April 2021, 15:22   #310
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Bike trip to Nedabohora and Ghritokham

It was 1891, the house where Mr Gordon used to stay, that old house has been converted to a home stay "Aronyo Kuheli" presently. It is inside Garsalboni Forest. I was having a power nap in a room after a heavy lunch. Suddenly one of my friend entered the room and shouted "Elephant Elephant". Woke up then and there and jumped to the balcony. Took the keys of our bikes from the table and started our bikes immediately. Owner of the homestay shouted at us " Please do not enter deep inside the forest, 2 big tuskers are there, they run very fast". But we were almost intoxicated then, anyhow we want to see the elephants, started to ride deep inside the forest roads.

2 persons were coming from opposite direction, advised us not to go further, both the elephants are angry, but we did not listen to him, moved further, now another person came in front of us and stopped us, and shouted at us, warned us about the chasing speed of elephant, now we got feared and restrained ourselves from moving further. Returned back to home stay.

Evening was very beautiful there, long long trees like Shal, Piyal, Simul, Jarul, Mohua surrounded the 26 bigha compound of the home stay. We were roaming inside the premises, but that too is not safe after dark, because the premises itself is situated on the elephant corridor and is very favorite place of them, boundary wall are broken at places by the elephants.

We had two cars and six bikes parked inside the premises, but the guard told us to move these vehicles at a safer place, so that these do not cause obstacles on the movement of elephants, other wise they will destroy them. After dinner we enjoyed some long adda outside in spite of strong objection of the home stay owner. Dark night, dense forest surrounded, pin drop silence everywhere, it was the day of Dol Purnima, a moonlit forest with a fear of Elephant sighting and the smell of Mohua trees really made us intoxicated that night.

Next day we had a short jungle tour by our bikes, visited Amlachoti Vesoj Udyan, then after breakfast we started towards Kolkata.
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Old 13th May 2021, 12:38   #311
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Day trip to Bakkhali

Last Monday (10.05.2021) we three friends started our bikes sharp at 6 am, target was a breakfast ride, and come back home within 10 am, and then go to office. We met at Behala Chowrasta at 6:30 am. But one of our friend, he was on leave that day, proposed a full day ride to Gangasagar. Another friend agreed and left no option of being disagree for me.

We started riding towards Diamond Harbour, reach there at 7:15 am, wanted to have breakfast at Sagarika, but as usual restaurant closed, and all the local shops closed. Further we moved to Kakdwip and reached Lot No 8. But only one vessel was operating and that too an interval of 2.5/3 hrs, could not take risk, so we moved towards Bakkhali.

Took a room at Hotel Balaka, got a discount, as there were not a single tourist there. All the shops were closed, restaurants were closed, no public on road, it was like a desert. We visited beach in the evening. Started return journey at 6:30 pm, reached Diamond at 8 pm, and home at 9:15 pm.
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Old 17th July 2021, 18:42   #312
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Yesterday I went to Joychandi pahar with my family. This is my 3 rd visit on this place.

I took the usual route which I took previously. But near to the hill I found the road is blocked, after enquiry I found the land owner blocked the road since last December 2020. From there locals told me to take left and reach the bottom of hill. But its a very narrow road, hardly one car can pass. Some how I reach Joy chandi Hill resort. There I parked and walk around 700 meter.

Currently there is no access to reach the bottom of the hill, which is the parking place also. ( Google map name- Upardaha play ground)

The option to reach that place, follow the route as per below map, park your car outside Joy chandi Hill resort and then walk.

Below is the screenshot of map-

1. First one to follow.
2. Do not follow this.
Attached Thumbnails
West Bengal - A treasure for tourists-screenshot_20210717183257_maps.jpg  

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Old 26th July 2021, 14:04   #313
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Bardi Hill Trip

Last Saturday we visited a place in remote Bankura, in Sarenga Block, called Bardi Hill. A beautifully decorated resort has been come up recently Bardi Hill Eco Resort.

The place is extremely remote, plateau type area, surrounded by dense forest all around. A narrow road goes uphill from the resort, a nice watch tower is there, from where the view of river Kangsabati is very nice. The river is flowing inside deep gorge. Now the river is full of water. There are narrow roads in all sides of the jungle. No animals inside the forest but variety of birds and butterflies are seen frequently. Some day visitors comes during daytime but after 5 pm the place becomes calm and quiet. Night is very beautiful here.

The resort is a government property leased to a private owner. There are three numbers double rooms in a unit, and four numbers four bedded rooms in another unit. Attached kitchen serves delicious food. Caretaker and the service boys are good and helpful. Room fare ranges form 1500 - 3000.

We took the route Kolkata - Kolaghat - Midnapore - Goaltore - Sarenga - P More - Bardi, Goaltore - Sarenga stretch is not in good shape. After Sarenga there is village roads, of mud, stonechips, and concrete.

Some attached images :

Breakfast break at Kolaghat

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Mode of Transport

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Photosession

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Yours truely

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The Resort

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Kitchen Unit and car parking

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Uphill road towards forest

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Double Bed Cottages

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Enjoying forest trek

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My son

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River Kangsabati

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Sunset

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The Gorge and forest

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Last photo session with all members

West Bengal - A treasure for tourists-14.jpg

Last edited by soumiksett : 26th July 2021 at 14:07.
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Old 3rd August 2021, 16:45   #314
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
8) Darjeeling- Holong/Jaldapara
Superb travelogue, @samba!! Touches my Bengali heart. This portion of your travelogue is special to me because I was born right in these foothills. Missed your travelogue of the Siliguri (born here)-Jalpaiguri-Dooars-Ghum, found it! Wonderful! Please keep it up.

Last edited by allinbalance : 3rd August 2021 at 16:53.
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Old 20th August 2021, 02:33   #315
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Re: West Bengal - A treasure for tourists

Kolkata is home to India's first floating market: Patuli Floating Market.

https://www.whatshot.in/kolkata/patu...lkata-v-157010

Went there last week and its quite an unique experience within the city.

West Bengal - A treasure for tourists-20210815_184708.jpg

West Bengal - A treasure for tourists-20210815_184741.jpg

West Bengal - A treasure for tourists-20210815_185409.jpg
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