I went out for an early morning stroll along the earthen dam.
Some kids were making some items for home decor with date leaves. They asked me to buy some, but I could not as I was not carrying my wallet.
After I came back to the hotel, they followed me and knocked at the doors of our room and the adjacent one. Before we could take out money, a person from the next room opened the door thinking that bed tea was being served. He took all from them, paid only five rupees and literally closed the door on them. Seeing disappointment on their faces, we asked them to make something for us also. Then we went out again.
The kids at work
Men at work
After some time, they kids approached us with their craft – at first two, then the rest of them.
We wanted to take one, but upon insistence from them, we took all for fifty rupees – thinking that we buy transfat and cholesterol knowingly at a much higher price.
Spring was over, but we could find a few Krishnachura still blossoming.
Items bought from the kids
We had a tasty breakfast of luchi-sabji, and it was time for packing bags.
We took an early lunch and checked out to explore a few places nearby. So we went beside the dam and though villages.
And it appeared that we were mot the only guests there.
Asian Open Billed Stork
We also saw a pond where lotus flowers had bloomed.
First view of Gar Pachkot hill
Gar Pachkot was a fort of local ruler. It was destroyed by Bargi (Maratha) attack in the 18th century. The ruins, in the backdrop of the hill, is a popular tourist destination. There is also a state government property here for accommodation.
The Ras mancha, a five pinnacle temple of Radha-Krishna.
We saw a few signboards where some lines of Jhumur songs were written. The language is Kurmali, although Bengali script is used. Jhumur is a form of folk song of Bengal. Some videos from Youtube are posted here to give an essence of Jhumur.
Our next destination was the Jai Chandi hill, where Satyajit Ray shot some parts of the movie Hirok Rajar Deshe.
There are approximately 470-480 steps to go to the top. Everybody we had spoken to earlier, discouraged us, saying that it would be a tough climb. The weather was very hot and sultry, besides, we’d have to board an afternoon train. So we fixed a time limit after which we’d have to come down even if we were not able to reach the top.
Jaichandi railway station
The steps were not steep, but the heat was too much to bear with. Somehow we managed to reach the top, and the effort was rewarded. The views from the top were breathtaking.
The temple at top, although it was closed.
A train was leaving the station right then and it was really a nice opportunity to capture it in one frame from top.
We came down, and found that it was an easily doable trek, except for the heat.
An open air auditorium has been built in the name of Satyajit Ray. Many cultural programmes are arranged there in winter.
A closer look at the Jaichandi railway station
We reached Adra railway station which was not far away. The Rupasi Bangla express was not late, and we had the opportunity of enjoying the company of an award winning writer on our return journey.
This hotel provides the best view perhaps in Baranti. The room was comfortable, the food was excellent and cost Rs.375 per head per day. The caretaker Birbal is very courteous and helpful.
Pick-up from Asansol railway station by Alto : Rs.900, distance 37 km, time taken 1 hour 30 minutes
Biharinath hill by Alto : Rs. 1000, distance 16 km one way, time taken 45 minutes
Gar Panchkot - 13 km, Jai Chandi hill - farther 19 km, Adra railway station - another 3 km : Rs.1200 by Alto, time taken 3 hrs 15 min
We wanted to see it raining over the lake, but it didn’t rain. We didn’t expect to see any flowers for which Baranti is famous, although we saw a few. We wanted to watch a memorable sunset, but saw a mere glimpse which was was enough for a realisation that the real show would definitely be mesmerizing. We went there in search of solitude, and Baranti did not disappoint us.
Baranti hai toh… aur kya chahiye! If Baranti is there, what else is required!