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Old 23rd April 2019, 04:31   #1
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Default Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas

The Urge to go on a Day Trip
The last time we went on a road trip to Taki ( (Kolkata to Taki! A memorable weekend getaway near the Bangladesh border)) it was March. Between January to March there are couple of long weekends that make it easier to plan 2-3 day trips for people like us who are in the business of serving masters ("employed people" !). On the contrary April to September is a peculiar mix of humid summer and wet monsoon in this part of the country, and the lack of long weekends leave us just enough room for only day trips.

For some time we were planning for a day's runaway in and around the city. Our great road-trip gang after due consideration and weighing in among several destinations came up with the idea of visiting Garchumuk which is around 70 KM from Kolkata, in the Howrah District of Bengal. The place has multiple attractions, the notable being the 58 Lock Gate Barrage, the Garchumuk Deer Park, the Garchumuk Children's Park and the Mohna (confluence) where river Damodar and river Hoogly meet.

The Route
The shorter route to Garchumuk is via Thakurpukur but the road usually remains congested and not in that good shape thereby taking the fun out of drive. So we decided to take the NH16 route as below as this would be easier on us and who would ever want to miss a NH drive over some shorter routes. Using Google Maps we decided to go forward via the below route :-

Dhakuria --> VidyaSagar Setu --> Andul Road --> NH 16 --> Uluberia --> Uluberia Rail Crossing --> Uluberia - Shyampur Road --> Garchumuk Deer Park

The Journey
It was late July and frequent cloud and rain were the day's order with high humidity. Our toddler, soon after completing 1 year has learned to take small steps and its getting difficult day by day to restrain him at one place. So we decided to start lazy in and around noon with a heavy breakfast and plans for a early dinner on our way, this way post his own lunch the little one will fall asleep in the car leaving us in peace for at least some time while on the roads

The road was clear and my ever dependable Getz cruised through the NH with the 6 of us on board

As soon as we took the left turn from NH16 towards Uluberia the road became more congested and it continued for a few KM until we reached the Uluberia Railway Crossing. Thereafter the road worsened due to some ongoing constructions. After some distance it did improve though.

Eventually around 3 pm we reached Garchumuk Deer Park.

The Park was surprisingly empty at this hour and we got to place our car just in front of the entrance. There are no marked parking space though nor parking any charges which was the best part. We bought some snacks from outside the Deer Park and entered it after buying tickets for a nominal charge.

The park inside was not one of the best maintained but the greenery around will bring calmness to one's soul.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-1558774602951.jpg

Our souls received an additional dose of cooling due to the sudden start of a drizzle. The umbrellas came to the rescue and could not stop us from taking the clicks
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-1558775178606.jpg

Due to regular down pour many places are slippery once you go from the main concrete walkway towards the interior.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img20190521wa0019.jpg

Its a mini zoo inside, separate places for crocodiles, birds, deers. All having secured perimeter with high nets.

We headed first towards the Bird Cage.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2655.jpg

Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2654.jpg

We waited for quite some time hoping to see if they do fan out their feathers but that did not happen
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-fb_img_1558386169003.jpg

Next we tried to find any crocodile inside the pond designated to keep them but no one showed up. So started to head towards the deers.

This is the widest perimeter inside the park, the deer ranch, but we had to be careful walking close by as the path was muddy and slippery due to regular rainfall of the season
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img20190521wa0015.jpg

Due to rain the big flock of deers were scattered, some taking shelter beneath the trees making it difficult to spot them. Using maximum zoom in the phone camera we were able to take the below snap. Can you spot them hiding between the greens?
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_20190523_224146.jpg

As it was nearing 4pm, the park was getting slowly crowded with mostly locals, so we decided to leave for the next stop.

We headed for the Mohna, its around 2 km from the deer park and on a easy route, we mostly asked locals. If anyone wants to find on Google Maps, try "Garchumuk Riverside".

We ignored getting down at the 58 gates looking at the cloud heavy skies and continued towards the Mohna.

The small droplets on the windshield indicate our erratic encounters with the rain. The road to the Mohna is a one that runs parallel to the river and its green all around.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2721.jpg

At the Mohna there is a beautiful guest house run by WBFDC (part of ecotourism initiative of forest department) and there are small tea stalls and shops outside the hotel (including Phuchka - Panipuri - Chat stalls too) facing the river. However the hotel offers food and accommodation only based on bookings and does not operate its restaurant independently like private hotels do. Booking cannot be made at the hotel, one needs to visit the WBFDC office or their website.

Its a very nice place and there is a ghat too that goes down to the river with people going down for washing or bathing.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-e46ba4717a3047cc84f2aa4ee22db2b7.jpg

From the ghat it was a wide view with water body all around and sky was actually growing more and more cloudy than ever. Remember I spoke earlier about an alternate route via Thakurpukur which is way shorter, that is on the other side of the river and that motor boat you see coming closer towards us is originating from there only. If you do want to take this route do check if you can bring your car all along via ferries.
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2722.jpg

Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2737.jpg

We found several fishing boats parked on the banks of the river and that view was scenic enough
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_20190523_224957.jpg

Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2740.jpg

Some folks were found busy in the fishing act
Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas-img_2767.jpg

Just as we were taking a tour round the perimeter of the Hotel and enjoying the scenic beauty and the nice breeze it started to rain all of a sudden and quite heavily. We hurried to the car and took shelter. Road visibility was also reduced due to rains but we decided to move head and start our return since it will become dark soon (already 5-30 pm) and we have a few hours of drive left to reach home. The heavy rain slowed us down and I had to keep the car speed under control to dodge the potholes that have unpredictable depths when filled with rain water. A few times the under-chasis grazed to the undulations of the road but I ignored and moved forward in the interest of the long route ahead.

The Return
The early start paid off as we reached Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba near kolaghat on NH-16 around 6-30 pm amidst a minor drizzle to make sure we remain honest to our promises of that early dinner. A good dinner followed soon of course preceded by tea and snacks and that brought smiles on everyone's face.

We resumed our drive back to Kolkata and only met some traffic from to the Vidyasagar Setu but still managed to reach home after dropping off everyone by 10-30 pm. A beautiful day trip thus came to an end ! In this trip we could not go anywhere without our umbrellas and hence the tagline of the Travelogue.

Some concluding thoughts
My advice to others visiting here would be to make a booking for Saturday night at the WBFDC hotel, start early morning from Kolkata, reach Garchumuk by 9-10 pm, tour the park and the barrage and then head for the hotel so as to have the lunch over there and then enjoy the rest of the evening at the Mohna standing on the hotel balcony. Checkout next morning and return to Kolkata. A visit during the monsoon time / winter is recommended.

Thank you all for reading this travelogue.

Last edited by haisaikat : 25th May 2019 at 15:32. Reason: Garchumuk under the Umbrellas
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Old 27th May 2019, 08:23   #2
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Default Re: Weekend Getaways - Garchumuk under the umbrellas

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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