My Travel Diaries - An Obscure Bengal!

I was supposed to write about this account of family escapade, a long time back. But in my defense, I got caught up in the routine. The rushy routine of the last academic semester in the University.

But before all that, dad planned another get-away! A road trip to 'Garhpanchkot' - a hilly place covered in forest, with historical ruins and a haunted temple in the middle of tribal haven. All this in one place! Dad had booked rooms at the forest lodge, owned the forest department. Located at the foothills and almost entirely encroached by the surrounding forest, the boundary wall was the only protection we had against elephants, porcupine, quite a few types of monkeys and wild cats. Few years ago, there used to be sloth bears too.

The place is located near the Panchet Hill Dam, that comes under DVC. One of the mega-projects that rocketed an independent India to its current 'mildly developed' position in the world. A massive 4.8km long pass over the river Damodar (previously, Sorrow of Bengal) that shelters the hydel power plant, also bridging the two states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. Garhpanchkot lies a little bit farther from the Bengal side of the pass. 

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Anyway, the night time and the rainy experience was totally worth it! Something weird was going on among the giant snails however. Or perhaps they always do - will any malacologist stand up, please? The huge-sized snails were gathering at various places at night-fall. Feeding on each other? Eating their own poo? Let's not wander there..

There was one instance, where the trees on top of the hill started moving. King Kong style! My two cousins ran inside. Me and my mum witnessed a mass migration of a group of Langurs. Black-faced monkeys with ultra-long tail. They passed right from on top of us - from the terrace and the balcony. Few stopped and glared at us from distant trees. It was all so primeval!

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The ruins were on the other side of the hills. The main building was a double-storied terracotta fortress in its heyday. An annual recluse for the Nawab of Bengal, Alivardi Khan, who lost it all to the Maratha raiders in the 18th century. A temple, the architecture of which hints Vaishnavism, stood exactly opposite to the fort. Slightly leaning on one side, its a mystery how it still stands. Lots of haunted stories are attached to them among the tribal living nearby, but with the beautiful hill as a backdrop, its hard to believe.

I had read stories about a moat and a well. All have been consumed by ruins with the moat being reduced to a pond. And what about the well? After being the 'suicide-point-of-choice' for the 17 wives of the Nawab, I guess it just got clogged..!


Standing Tall

Peek-a-Boo! Notice the small arthropod hiding among the poisonous Datura flowers

The Fortress lies desolate

Just find the monkey in this picture!

Earthly colors..

The temple of Doom?

The Long and Winding Road

Thorns and Pointy blocking our way..