Travelogue - About dams and hillocks (GPK, maithon, panchet)

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At one golden stage of my life, I used to think that only school- colleges are a daily affair and the office life is all about earning money and spending as you wish. So wrong I was !. Ever since I took admission in a B school in hyderabad I got myself separated from my beloved little car. The chance to get back to it came just a few days before when I was selected to work for a company as an intern for three months in Kolkata.

Spicejet SG871 landed in NSCB airport exactly at 1:20pm and within 2 I reached home to find my car washed and ready to roll. For the last 1 year of my absence it ran just about 2000km. So, the very happy ME took it for a spin with tire pressure and engine checked. All oils topped and a layer of Formula1 polish was done on the same day.

30th morning was gloomy with light rain and dark clouds all over. I woke up around 8am and still felt lazy. Mom and Dad was discussing about how the last night's rain and dark clouds helped in lowering the heat level of Kolkata which was till day before some 38 degress or so and the discussion went ahead with past experiences of our tours where we experienced such weather. Soon my phone rang with a good news. No office on Monday !! So I had 30th 31st and 1st as holiday.

"Should we leave?"

Dad : "where?"

Mom : " I am not ready!! The house maid is late and cooking not yet done ........ and so on"

Dad : " But where . We wont get bookings online anywhere on weekends, that too at 9:30 am"

and the search began. BCM touring and Team BHP search ended up with two likely place that we can reach by today even if we leave at 12pm max. Both Mom and Dad sounded happy if the place is good enough and we get to stay somewhere. The excited me started making phone calls. Chandipur in Orissa is a sea beach, and Maithon-Panchet dam in the state of Jharkhand is a half hill with hydel projects having beautiful lakes and scerenity. Bookings in the govt tourist bunglow is full at Chandipur, which is about 270kms from my home. One call in Hotel Shantinivas in maithon dam turned out positive. Distance was around 250kms.

Suddenly all of us at home became super active and the necessary packing started. The house maid who arrived a bit late was asked to rush at things, lunch was light with some omission in items and we got ready for the sudden trip. The HP mini notebook and relinace netconnect plus was taken for assistance in road queries.

and so we leave :)

The map for Chandipur.

To be continued ...

Edited by sb-alto

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This was our final destination, with most of the drive on the GQ(Golden Quadrilateral). NH2 to Delhi is one of the best highways around and I was expecting some superior FE again from my car, which on previous occasions have delivered around 24-25kmpl on the same route.

The Indian Oil COCO pump was five kms away and we headed that way to fill up our

We stopped by a place called Shaktigarh which is famous for its sweets called "Langcha"

Our start had some more delay as we stopped by some shops to pick up some snacks and some time was wasted in an ATM which failed to deliver cash after some attempts. The next ATM had a big queue and Dad had to wait for 20mins before his turn. With some delay we reached Shaktigarh at around 2:30pm.

Within an hour of drive more we were greeted by super heavy rainfall with zero visibility all around. The rain was so heavy that all cars and buses travelling via that road had to stop aside with both indicators blinking. So did we.

The rain stopped after some 40-45 mins but light drizzle continued till sunset.

The sunset from my car.

Golden drops of water as sunset fell on the windscreen

We continued with slight rainfall. The breeze was cool and I was driving slowly to enjoy the breeze.

We reached Maithon dam around 6:30pm in the evening, by the time it was dark and we had to move in to the hotel which we booked. There are only three hotels in Maithon, one private (where we stayed) called Hotel Shantinivas (Room Rent : Rs 1200/- for a double bed room and Rs200 extra for extra bed), one run by WBTDC which one needs to book one week before (same room rent) and the third is run by DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) which can be booked from DVC office Ultadanga, Kolkata. The last two was packed, so we moved into the private one.

Edited by sb-alto

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Day 2:

We had a good dinner followed by a good sleep last night. The place was dark and the sound of silence amazed us. The morning was greeted with a bright sun and the sound of so many different kinds of birds. We had bread-omlete for breakfast at around 7am and left for our first destination called "Garhpanchakot" (GPK) which is ruins of a very old fort with five temples. The place is at the base of a hillock which is around 30kms from Maithon hotel. It is inside a forest and only two temples stand today. Since this place was threatened by Maoist so people do not visit this place now. When we went there, we were the only family there and the road was untouched by any other car.

One important thing I always maintain during tours is the FE. Forum members who read about my previous travelogues might remember about FE my car returned. Some glimpse are shared here too.

Tank was filled at 5.4kms from 0km odo. Refer to the first pic.

The early morning start

The first view of GPK

The road to the hillock is a small one with dry leaves and almost no locality. Rarely one can find tribals on the way whose primary occupation is cutting logs or grazing cow heards. Some glimpse of the road to hillock.

My car on the way to the hillock

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Some pictures of the GPK temples as we reach there.

GPK is a forest area, and like most forest area, it also has it forest trail which reaches a lonely forest department bunglow. We decided to visit the bunglow for lunch. The road to the forest bunglow.

After some time we headed towards Panchet dam, which is just 4 kms away from the GPK area. There is nothing much to see in Panchet other than the dam and the drive on the dam is a must do. Taking pictures is restricted from the gates, but one can take snap on the road and surroundings.

Around 3:30pm we headed back to Maithon dam to view sunset. The lake is bigger with lots of island inside and the water is blue green coloured which looks nice during daytime. The road to Maithon from panchet was almost non existing before (as I read in other forums and travelogues) but we were surprised to find freshly laid tarmac and beautiful roads.

Two strokes autos are abundant in Bihar and Jharkhand. They have POWER BRECKS too :P

The roads back to maithon has some unruly traffic with trucks coming from all the wrong sides possible. We encountered some jams because of that.

We enter maithon dam.

Since it was Sunday afternoon, we decided to check the WBTDC hotel which is superbly located on a hill facing the lake. We got vacant room as most people left for Monday's work. So we shifted to the WBTDC hotel within half an hour.

The way to WBTDC hotel

The building

View from the balcony

Mom and Dad sitting in the balcony enjoying the view

Around 6pm we decided to head towards the lake to see the sunset. Although there was some cloud formation by that time, still I got some sunset shots.

A lone street lamp having a normal 100watt bulb hangs down the twisted road. Just one out of 10 such lamps glow today.

Monday morning we headed back to kolkata.

Edited by sb-alto

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Wonderfully written and fabulous pictures to go with the write up. That hotel looks very unique. Havent seen a building like that for a hotel. More details on that?

Looking forward to more travelogues from you

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Thanks everyone for the appreciation. Two more travel lined up, one is Chandipur and the other is Farakka. Planning is on for both.

@Prancing Horse :

This is the west bengal state tourism hotel. Kind of a bunglow converted into a hotel. The location is very good compared to the private one. The DVC guest house is also well located facing lake but car park is a problem. This one had its own car park inside the premises.

View of the hotel from the lake

The view of the lake from the balcony

The car parked inside the hotel

The car on the lake front

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