Which king defeated Baktiyar Khilji
East Indies: Weekend Getaways
Chandipur: calm by the sea
Chandipur, in Odisha's Balasore District, is an ideal beach destination to relax and rejuvenate your senses. When the relentless summer sun licks the parched asphalt of the city's streets, it's time to take a break and head out onto the coast. A couple of days are good enough to get there Chandipur, one of the beaches near Kolkata.
When the Dhauli Express came out of the station at six in the morning, we wiped the last traces of sleep from our eyes. Four hours later we disembarked in Balasore, the historic port city in the state of Odisha, which is now a business and tourist center. We rented a car (for INR 250) while autorickshaws charge between INR 80-100 for this 10 mile trip, depending on the time of year.
We drove to OTDC Panthanivas, where we had booked a room. As we went to the beach, the breath of humid and salty air greeted us. The breeze blew through the casuarina trees that lined the coast. We refreshed ourselves with chilled lassi and made our way to the sea, but not before sipping delicious prawns for lunch.
Luckily it was high tide and the water beckoned us as it usually receded up to five kilometers during the low tide. This bizarre phenomenon is rarely found anywhere else on the entire coastline Odisha.
Photo by Subhasisa Panigahi
The rough sand under our feet clung to our feet as the semi-transparent sea slipped over her, almost as if she were inviting us. We had to walk half a mile before the water got waist deep and we could swim. If you want to learn to swim, you can visit Chandipur Beach at high tide. In the evening the west rolled across the sea as the tired sun lit the last traces of orange before dipping below the horizon.
When we returned to Balasore to catch the evening train after KolkataSuddenly it occurred to me that Baladore, the great freedom fighter Jatindra Nath Mukhopadhyay (aka Bagha Jatin, because he had only killed a tiger with a knife) laid down his life fighting the British Empire. Somewhere a paradoxical yet equally intense pain touched our joy weekend.
Kolkata to Chandipur
The nearest airports are Kolkata (206 km) and Bhubaneswar (294 km).
The nearest train station is Balasore (16 km), which is located on the main Kolkata-Chennai thoroughfare and is well connected to all major cities.
In the street:
Chandipur is 16 km from Balasore.
Where to stay
Book your stay at OTDC Panthani-was in Kolkata at the Odisha Government Tourist Information Office (+ 91-33-22493653, 22654556). Other options are -Shanti Niwas (+ 91-67822-70018), Anandamayee (+ 91-33-23970427).
Taki: songs of the Ichhamati
Retreat to TakiThis sleepy riverside town is perfect if you're looking for a quiet getaway and some fresh river fish.
Our boat flying the Indian flag floated slowly down the river, careful to keep Indian territory and move away from the boats flying the Bangaldesh flag on the opposite bank. But the invisible chasm couldn't stop us from exchanging smiles and greetings. We waved to the people on the other bank and they waved back. Almost 100 km east of Calcutta is the calmly flowing Ichhamati river.
It is on the west bank of IchhamatiTaki, an inconspicuous but locally important trading city. So if you are looking for typical tourist attractions it is a disappointment. Taki's USP is a pollution-free, calm river landscape. It is not easy to believe that this gentlest of the rivers marks the international border between India and Bangladesh. Almost without knowing its role, the river meanders past villages and rice fields to join the Bay of Bengal. Our tourist cabin overlooked the river.
In the late afternoon we took a boat trip and the land boat glided past the rural landscape dotted with farmland, plantations, and homesteads. Most of these families, which are spread around the world today, still gather in their ancestral homes to celebrate Durga Puja. But the most appealing moment is the immersion, when the borders are opened and boats from both countries mingle along the river. "When the Indian side triumphs with their idol-laden boats, the Bangladeshi people overwhelm with their camaraderie," said the boatswain.
When we returned from the drive, the fresh air, besides rejuvenating the body and mind, had piqued our appetites. And the chai pakora at a small stand on the river bank was helpful. During the night we ate some fresh river fish, which were served in different avatars - fried in curry. When we retired for the day and the river sang us a lullaby from afar, we could no longer agree with Rabindranath Tagore, who was convinced of the river's charm: If I ever had the strength to change at will, I would love to its the Ichhamati River
Taki, nearly 100 km east of Kolkata, is best reached by car. Depending on the volume of traffic, the journey takes two to three hours.
Where to stay
Accommodation is limited. There are a few private lodges along the river bank, but the municipal guest house (Nripendra Atithishala) is the best place to stay. Reservations (+ 91-3217-233328) must be made well in advance on weekends and long public holidays. It is also possible to return to Kolkata on the same day.
Travel tip: Wear mosquito / insect repellent and a strong flashlight.
Kolkata to Taki
Garchumuk: The river song
Garchumuk, at the confluence of Damodar and Hugli, is just being discovered by tourists.
Most of the people staying in and around Kolkata have their respective lists of there-made-there-destinations. This is beyond rigor and therefore probably not part of many of these lists. Due to its proximity to Kolkata (only 60 km away), it is quickly becoming a popular meeting place. Welcome to Garchumuk - a paradise at the confluence of the Damodar and Hugli Flow.
The drive of about 60 km from Calcutta was pleasant as the highway was well maintained. The route isn't too complicated either. Just cross Vidyasagar Setu and take the Kona Expressway. Drive to Salap and turn left to get on NH 6. Beyond Dhulogarh and Uluberia lies Shyampur. Another hour's drive takes you to the sluice gate bridge over the river Damodar.
The bank of the river is surrounded by a dense treetop and is an ideal picnic destination, especially in winter. The barrage on the river consists of 58 lock gates (also called Atanna gate), which give the almost stagnant water a bluish-green color. There is a wildlife park nearby. Tourists also have the option to take CSTC buses from Esplanade in Kolkata and get off here. Pedaled vans are easily accessible and the drive to the bungalow is short. The bungalow has holiday homes in the middle of a spacious garden and park. The entire complex is located at the confluence of the Damodar and Hugli rivers. Arrangements here are humble and fulfilling, but in no way wasteful.
Be sure to cross the river in a small boat, especially if it is drizzling. The experience is magical. It's also a good idea to lounge by the riverside and watch the ocean liners (to and from Kolkata port). Although it is usually the subtle waves of the river that tend to occupy the senses.
If not the monsoons, this paradise should be visited during one of the winter months.
Kolkata to Garchumuk
By Air: Kolkata, 60 km away, is the closest airport. By Rail: Take a train from Howrah to Uluberia and rent a car. By car: At the Esplanade, take a CSTC bus towards Gadiara.
Where to stay
The best option is to stay at the Howrah Zilla Parishad Bungalow. (+ 91-33-26384633 / 34 Ext: 147). Download the application form from www.howrahzilaparishad.in/ and apply to the secretary, Howrah Zilla Parishad or contact WBCADC (+ 91-33-22377041-43)
Massanjore: Break by the Sea
Before the sultry summer begins, it's the best time to explore new weekend destinations. Massanjore may be one of them where the main attraction is the Canadian Dam (built by the Canadian government in 1956) on the Mayurakshi River.
Massanjore (Photo by seaview99)
The untouched, green-blue water surface, which extends over an area of 67 square kilometers, is lined with small hills and is a real feast for the eyes. The calm that floats around merges with the mist over the surface of the water to create an intoxicating feeling of being lifted up on a white, fluffy cloud as you sit on the lawns of the irrigation bungal.
Massanjore falls on the main road between Suri (West Bengal) and Dumka (Jharkhand). We took a taxi from Bolpur 75km away and traveled through Dubrajpur and thick forests to reach Massanjore. As soon as we reached the spot, we treated ourselves to light refreshments at the tea shops on the side of the road and immediately made our way to the dam. As we walked the 668 m long dam, hundreds of green parrots greeted us. Some sat on the iron girders of the bays or dangled vertically from the small furrows in the 47 m high dam.
To our right was the reservoir, with its immaculate dispersion of crystal clear water, dotted with bright yellow boats that attract tourists. Migratory birds danced in unison over the water as if following an unknown orchestra. To our left was the rocky terrain where the river meanders and hides from our view. The water was scarce as in winter, the lock gates were barely open, just enough to feed the river. As we tried to follow its winding path, we saw a picnic area where groups basked in the gentle December sun. We crossed them and went down the rocky steps for boating. The experience of paddling in the cool water and being surrounded by birds was pure bliss. We went back to the Irrigation Bungalow for lunch. In the evening we sat on the terrace with the setting sun and collected her red-brown cloak just as the moon grew bolder and glittered on the tiny waves.
Take a train to Rampurhat, Suri or Bolpur. From there rent a car to Massanjore. There are also regular bus connections from Suri to Dumka on the way to Massanjore.
Where to stay
Mayurakshi Bhavan from the Irrigation Department, Govt. from West Bengal. A double room costs Rs 300 per night. To book, contact: Assistant Secretary, Irrigation Department, Water Resources, Development Buildings, Salt Lake City, Kolkata or call 033 23 212 259.
Rambha: lake, boat and the turtle
Rain lashed the A / C window as our train whizzed past inconspicuous stations on the Howrah-Chennai Railway, actually heading to a lesser-known town south of Puri and the gateway to Chilika, Asia's largest saltwater lagoon on the Bay of Bengal. The next morning we dismounted in Balugaon and drove to the OTDC Panthanivas in Rambha. Bundled in the city, our soul longs for space. So we didn't spend much time in the hotel and went straight to the jetty, which was connected by a straight road in the lake. The jetty is a makeshift fishing port from where you can rent a boat for a short excursion. However, for sightseeing tours, it is advisable to opt for the OTDC packages. The next morning we made our way to Kalijai Island. It has the famous Kalijai Temple where thousands of devotees crowd during Makar Shankranti. OTDC arranges a boat when there are 10 or more heads and they charge a total of 300 for Kalijai and back which takes six hours. One can see Bird Island, Nalbana, Breakfast Island, Honeymoon Island, Ghantashila Hill Island on the way. These places are a bird paradise where Siberian birds flock in winter. But the most attractive part of this tour is a visit to Rishikulya Beach, 11 miles away, where Olive Ridley visits turtles for nesting and hatching. The turtles come to nest in February and hatch in April and May. You have to get there at midnight to see the nesting when the turtles are drilling holes with their fins to lay their eggs and float back. During harvest time, one must visit Rishikulya early in the morning during harvest time. It is better to have accurate information about the timing of the turtle visit in Rishikulya, as the window is narrow, for a week at most. The evenings are pleasant and you can walk in the resort grounds, which have a large garden. It's also time for a cup of tea with pakodas or a bottle of beer to relax.
By Air: The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, from where Rambha is approximately 130 km away. By Train: Take a train from Howrah to Balugaon and then by car or car to Rambha.
Where to stay
OTDC Panthnivas Tel: 06810-278346, E-Mail: [email protected] Bookings at: Utkal Bhavan, 55 Lenin Sarani, Kolkata Tel.: + 91-33-22651195 / 22654556
Shantiniketan Tourist Center - The Place of Peace
Sometimes a small change in routine can bring immense joy and freshness to your life. And a little distance can take you away from all things more monotonous and predictable. From Bolpur Station (Kolkata) we rented a taxi and drove north. We drove straight at the intersection to our destination - that Shantiniketan tourist center, a resort owned by WBTDC. Fresh breezes from Bhubandanga and Melar Math greeted us, and the lush freshness of the landscape was overwhelming. Over the undulating laterite soil, lush green fields with rice fields, mango plantations and grooves from Sal, Shimul and Jamun, an atmosphere was created in which every weary traveler could take a break.
Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, the father of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, liked the place as soon as he saw it from a boat on the way to Raipur, and built an ashram here, which he called.Shantiniketan"Or" Abode of Peace. "After refreshing ourselves at the lodge, we made our way to the campus of Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. As we entered the main gate, we saw the Hindi Bhavan (Department of Hindi Languages), China Bhavan (Center for Chinese Studies), Vidya Bhavan (School of Humanities), Sangit Bhavan (School of Music) and Siksha Bhavan (School of Science) ... Nearby was Gurudev's house, Dehali, where he lived with his wife Mrinalini Devi Soon we came to the famous Chatim-Tola where Devendranath meditated, the famous Samabartan Utsav - the annual drafting ceremony is held here.
Shanti Niketan University
To the north of the campus is the famous Uttarayan Complex, which consists of several buildings where the poet lived and worked. You can visit the Kankalitala Temple on the Kopai River, four kilometers away. The journey along the river will be etched in your memory forever, so that the green landscape will captivate you. Three kilometers away is Sriniketan, where traditional handicrafts, kantha embroidery, dhokra handicrafts and batik painting are made and sold. Shantiniketan is best visited during Pous Mela in December or Basanta Utsav (Holi) in March.
The nearest airport is Kolkata (181 km). The Bolpur train station is two kilometers away. The train is the best option to get to Shantiniketan - take the Shantinıtan Express, Bolpur Express, or Intercity Express from Howrah or Kolkata. Shantiniketan is 214 km from Kolkata.
Where to stay:
The Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge of the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation in Bolpur (Tel.: + 91-3463-52699), Camellia (Tel.: + 91-3463-262043), Mark Meadows (Tel.: + 91-3463-264870) and Chhuti (Tel. + 91-3463-264870: + 91-3463-252692) are some of the hotels.
Gour-Pandua: Ancient Seat of Power
Gour and Pandua were important trading and trading cities for the Mauryas. Their rule was followed by the Guptas, the Karnasuvarna king Sasanka, the Palas (Buddhists), the Senas (Hindu) and finally the Muslim rulers when the last Sena king Lakshmaniya was followed by Bakhtiyar Khilji, the general of the slave emperor Qutb- ud, was defeated -din Aibak. Various monuments erected during this reign were destroyed when the city of Pandua was built by the Afghan kings in the 14th century.
Photo by Gaur and Padua
Taking a taxi from Malda town will allow you to visit Gour's historical sites in one day. All over this city are lakes built by ancient rulers - Piyasbari Dighi, Sanatan Sagar and Rupsagar are the most famous. Built in the 12th century, Sagar Dighi attracts thousands of migratory birds from Siberia in winter. The Madanmohan Mandir and Vaishnava Akhara are very popular with pilgrims and visitors, as is the small temple where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's traces are preserved in Ramkeli village.
The Barasona Masjid, built by Nasrat Shah in 1526, is the largest mosque in Gour. Dakhil Darwaza is the remains of the gate of a lost fortress. One kilometer away is another monument, the Feroz Minar. The Kadam Rasul Dargah is nearby and contains preserved traces of the Prophet Mohammed. The Chika Masjid, Lotan Masjid and the Luka-Chori (hide and seek) Darwaza are other attractions.
The next day you can visit Pandua, 16 km north of Malda. Here, the Adina Mosque, built in the 14th century by Sultan Shikandar Shah, was considered the largest mosque on the subcontinent. The Eklakhi Mosque and the Chhotho Sona (Qutb-Shahi) Masjid are other attractions where burnt brick facades represent the story. An idol of Ganesha can be found in the Eklakhi Mosque, highlighting the religious flexibility in its builder. Finally, don't forget to try the variety of mangoes grown in Malda.
Kolkata / Howrah is a major hub and gateway. By road, take the NH 34 which connects Siliguri to Kolkata, but a more pleasant but longer route is to Dankuni, then take the Durgapur Expressway and then go to Pandua. After stopping in Pandua, take the road to Saktigarh (stop by to try the famous sweet Saktigarh, Lengcha - a giant gulab jamun made from chhena, khoya and flours of various grains weighing at least half a kilogram), Moregram, Bardhaman , Panagarh and to Gour in Malda.
Where to stay:
The only good option is WBTDC Malda (Tel: + 91-3512-220123)
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