Month ends had always made me happy and you know why. Friday was one of those days when my bank balance was balanced again. So we left office early, went to Spencer to get some food and wine.
We reached home, packed very light and waited for 1am. The plan was to drive the entire night and reach Ayodhya early morning. Ajodhya Hills is located in the Purulia district of the state West Bengal, India. It is a part of the Dalma Hills and extended part of Eastern Ghats range. Highest peak of Ajodhya Hills is Gorgaburu. The nearby populated town area is Bagmundi. There is a myth which is related to Ramayana, but that is not the reason why its name is Ayodhya. According to Hindu mythology, Rama and Sita had come to Ayodhya Hills and stayed during their exile. Sita was thirsty and Ram pierced an arrow through the Earth's soil crust and through that water gushed out. Sita quenched her thirst. The place is known as Sita-kunda. During the full moon day in Baisakh (Baisakh is a bengali month, which starts from mid April) every year tribal of nearby areas come and join in the game of hunting wild animals. However we didn't find any wild animals other than few foxes.
Ayodhya is around 350 kms from Kolkata, so ideally it would take around 7-8 hours, including breaks. We started around 2am and the first stop was Saktigarh for some tea at 4am. 4am is bit colder than the rest of the day due to winter. Saktigarh is famous for its Langcha (a kind of sweet in Bengal, check this) and other sweets. We had tea and took some sweets for our journey.
One can go to Ayodhya using different routes, the one we took was from Asansol, where we had to take a left turn and bypas the main city. This route took us to Raghunathpur and then to Purulia town. Few shots from early morning.
Roads till Raghunathpur was not so good, bad patches and bumpy. When we reached there it was already 7 am. After Raghunathpur the road condition started increasing, may be due to the fact that there were many tourists places and before Raghunathpur it was only small villages. From Raghunathpur it took us 2-3 hours to reach Ayodhya Hill, While going up and deep in the forest we got a beautiful view of the region
The next task was to find a place to stay. Ayodhya hill has very few hotels/hostels, so finding a good one was a difficult task. We started visiting each of them and at the end we couldn't find any good one. Even the Lions club in that area had few staying places but had shabby rooms. Eventually one of the locals suggested to check Bharat Sevashram. For those who doesn't have any knowldge of Bharat Sevashram please read here. We spoke to the person in charge there and he offered us 3 rooms. Rooms were clean and better than any other hotels over there. And damn cheap, only 300 per room. The only downside was there was no food available and we couldn't consume any non-veg item there. The ashram had a large compound where we could keep our car easily.
It was almost 11, half of the day was gone and by this time we could only find a place to stay. We had many places to visit that day, but we were too hungry and we didnt even had our breakfast. So the first thing we did was freshened up and had our lunch in a nearby hotel.
Ayodhya hills has many waterfalls, deep forests, tribal villages, water dams and wild animals. After lunch we started with Brahmi falls, local calls it Bamni falls. It was the nearest one and the only fall one we visited. One has to get down from the road and walk 10-15 minutes downwards to see the actual fall. The fall is quite nice and covered within stones. We also got an awesome view of the nearby dam from the walk.
It took us almost an hour here at the waterfall. The locals advised there were few more falls down the road and few barrage and villages. We took the only road available to us which took us to the below places.
The road let us to a water reserve in Baghmundi. We went to the top of the reserve.
We wanted to stay there for long, but there were other places to see and the sun was coming down very quickly. We came down from there and started looking for a petrol pump. Both the cars had very little gas and we didnt see any petrol pump since yesterday. We asked few locals and they showed us the direction to a pump, they also mentioned the same route will take us to Mukhosgram.
Mukhosgram is a name given by the locals of a specific area beside Ayodhya hills because they had many mask making workshops. The actual name of the place is Charida. The masks were made of clay and newspaper. These masks were used mostly in decorating house, in few cases in Chow Dance. The masks were pretty cheap as well.
Though we didn't buy anything, the owners were very eager to sell something. We took few pictures and returned. The next and the last place to visit for that day was another Barage. This time we took a different route from which we came to Baghmundi, that route took us this last dam of the day. It was a pretty empty place and no one else beside us. We spent few minutes over there knowing that it was the last thing to do for the day, because there isnt much to do where we were staying. It was also not a advised to roam around Purulia during night.
At night we had our dinner at a hotel nearby to Sevashram. Local chickens are very famous over there, so one should definitely try them. The rest of the night was spent talking politics and what not.
We started at 8am next day for Kolkata. There was another dam at Murguma, 17 km from Sevashram. The road to murguma was completely within small remote villages where people have never seen a Thar or a EcoSport, so wherever we went people turned their head to look at our cars.
Ayodhya is very scenic and beautiful, every year lots of tourists come to this place and Ayodhya. But I felt tourism here was ignored by local people and Govt.. They should focus on building new and better staying places and public transport. Purulia is one of the few districts of West Bengal which has lots of natural beauties. My last trip to Garpanchkot and this one gave me the impression that any weekend trip to Purulia is still far better than South Bengal.
While returning we had our lunch at Durgapur Sher-a-Bengal restaurant at around 4pm and then non-stop back home. A very well spent weekend came to an end.
Road Trip Stats -
Total distance covered - 731 km
Total fuel consumed - 46 L Diesel
Route - Kolkata > Durgapur > Raghunathpur > Purulia > Ayodhya Hill > Murguma > Purulia > Bankura > Durgapur > Kolkata.
Sevashram overnight cost - Rs. 300
Foods and Extra - Rs. 2000
Weekend Drive to Ayodhya Hills