Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Text and Photograph
Subhra is a software developer by profession and always keen to visit places for a rendezvous with nature. As his early days were spent in living across India, from northeast to east and south sharing classrooms with his both rural and urban friends , hence multicultural environments are his preferences.
It was end of August, rains were over except few unalarmed shower at any moment, we decided to visit Panchet Dam to celebrate annual day of our company We all set out for Panchet Dam, most of us had their families with them, managers were not managers rather a free soul and that’s it, a perfect start for a nice well deserved trip. Objective was to be close to nature, relax and of course, go as you like. I had my camera with me waiting to capture whatever come across from the nature.
To save the day and reach the spot at the earliest we chose “Black Diamond” express from Howrah station (few including me got it from Bandel station). The journey was enjoyable too with all friends around and snacks served, our office assistant Ajit da had taken all the pain to prepare the snacks last night himself.
After getting down at ‘Barakar” station at around 10:10 AM, we were picked up by the prearranged cabs, and taken straight to Panchet Residency, a mere 5 Km away from Panchet Dam, to stay for 1night and two days. The arrangement was exciting as we would stay in Purulia but would visit Panchet Dam in Jharkhand. On the way we kept asking for the Panchet Dam. I have seen a dam before but most are known for their technicalities and constructional features, reservoir capacity etc. but Panchet dam appeared to me quite different towards its not being in the limelight as compared to other dam around and of course for the flavour of rich vegetation with Garhpanchkot hill at its back drop, and the wide long stretch of River Damodar upon which the Dam is built were promising.
At the Residency we were served with beverages and breakfast, it was a warm welcome.Everything there right from the cottages, the dining area, the 15 acres land upon which the residency is built is unique and classy, but the name of the cottage seemed unmatched with its classy arrangements. It was named “Telkupi” cottage.
For us a comfortable stay with everything organised with a constant view of Garhpanchkot Hills with smoky white clouds often engulfing its top was enough. There were options to walk through the jungle and visit “Bhairavnath” temple also which we certainly did. This residency is built in such a fashion as to maintain the raw natural sanctity as far as possible.
We freshened ourselves and quickly left for the Dam, just a mere 5 km. Some of us in a different vehicle moved little farther over the dam and stopped, a long wide road that goes over the dam offers pleasant view, turn your head and see the Damodar flowing underneath is a picturesque moment. Kids loved it all and the ladies too had a good time with views all around open and as far as possible the naked eye could go. It dripped also for a while which caused the flowing wind breezier. There were people passing by riding bikes. I missed my bike too!! Who wouldn’t? After all it could be a soothing ride over the dam leaving river Damodar flow beneath you. Some opted to take the steep stairs somewhere at the middle of the dam and go down to half its level to a park built for visitors to have some good time. There was a moment when somebody unintentionally sparked a technical discussion of how power is generated from the dam, but was soon taken over and ousted by the know how’s of photography and a discussion on how there be a river like Damodar only based on rain water and no other sources from any mountain. The discussion remained inconclusive. In the park downstairs we had a small session of packed snacks as well.
During all these discussions our local driver told us that the construction of the dam has destroyed a village called “Telkupi”, its way back in early fifties when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had inaugurated the dam. That’s how our cottage was named “Telkupi” it appeared unmatched with the residency but completely in connection with the Dam.
There was another story which has a reference to it in the internet media as well that the girl who garlanded Pt. Nehru then Prime minister of India on his visit to inaugurate the dam was out casted from the Santali society and was never taken back, for them doing such an activity symbolises marriage and is hence unrecognised by their society.
4 -5 hours had passed by in between when our driver alerted us towards the accumulating dark clouds over head the well-known sunset of Panchet Dam was all gradually unleashing. Predicting the rain and kids around we left for our vehicles parked nearby and left for the hotel. Our stay at the Dam was bit shortened by unforeseen rain. There is also an option to ferry a boat and have some time to enjoy a sail in the river Damodar.
That night Panchet Residency had arranged Santhali folk dance for us as a part of package. It was a pleasure dancing hand in hand, beating drums with them and matching our toes with theirs. Later I called it a good display of team work. With a hot dinner and stroll around the forest in the following morning with lots of activities around we left for the Barakar station sometime in the evening to catch “Black Diamond” to travel back to the hustle and bustle of city that we call our life.
We all have one thing in common to repeat the trip with a day more added. Its truly a place worth visiting. Advice is to skip the summers as Purulia would be both humid and hot. Rainy days will turn Damodar mightier and the vegetation around drenched, clean and greener whereas autumn and winter will offer you a more soothing weather.
Going: It is just 245 km away from Kolkata towards Asansol near the border with Jharkhand. It falls in Jharkhand actually. One can reach there either straight from Asansol by road or by train as all trains stop there. The second option is to get down at Barakar station and hire a vehicle to the hotel .
Stay: The top class arrangements costs for 2 nights 3 days would charge around Rs. 10000 per couple including food, (there website would reveal more appropriate and current rates).However there are more low budget places at the foothills of “Baranti Hills”. Someone suggested a more promising sunset view there.