I was in love the first time I was here back in 2001. Since then I was hooked and I came back here quite a few times till 2005. After 2005 the whole area was literally ravaged with severe insurgency problem making it inaccessible to the tourists. But Jhargram was always in my mind. Every time I was travelling to a the train would pass Jhargram station I would vow to come back here soon.
This is the view from the balcony of our room on the first floor. Our bikes parked. The last few times I was here I was always worried about wild elephants breaking in the compound and try some football with our parked car.
Sadly the river looked almost like a dirty nullah. With stagnant dirty water in which people and cattle bathing it was hardly a great sight. However post winter and the summer setting in, the river doesn't get much water and thus this situation. Dulung is at it's best during monsoons when there is a angry rush of water from the heights of Dalma range.
About 200 meters from the bridge the main entrance of the Chilkigarh palace loomed large.
The Royal family of Chilkigarh was a great patron of ‘Chilkigarh Chou dance’. This was unique and quite different from the Chou form as can be seen in Purulia or Seraikela. This particular dance form is also includes mimicking various gods & goddesses, animals and common people. It was something like role play and was often performed with wooden dolls in hand. This Chou dance form had use of masks but not on all types of dance recitals and the masks were nowhere near to the elaborate head gear of the dancers which is normally associated with Purulia or Seraikela Chou. It was more simplistic and did not have the aggressive war like stepping and movements. Rather it found it roots in the simplistic way of life of the tribals who still dominate this area. The dances played 'Ganesha' the elephant god, 'Ravana' or the demon king, or mimicked human charecters like 'Babu' (a affluent gentleman known for his exuberant ways)or 'Tanti', the weaver etc. This art form had made it’s distinct identity as a specific branch of Chou dance called ‘Chilkigarh Chou’. The biggest event of Chou dance used to be held during the 'Gazan' a festival linked to lord Shiva and widely celebrated all across Bengal on the last day of Bengali new near in the month of 'Chaitra'. Sadly with the fall of the Dhavaldevas, this dance form did not find many patrons and is now almost extinct.
This is the front view of the palace. I was told that the members of the Royal family now stay in Kolkata.
The next stop was the Kanak Durga Temple, and the deity was also worshipped by the Royal Family of Chilkigarh.
The photo above is the front view of the temple.
At the back ground the main temple can be seen. However this is not the original temple and was built at a later date. The ruins of the original temple can be seen on the left side of the new temple.
Kanak Durga Means Golden Durga. The small idol of Durga or Mahamaya is essentially in stone but now layered in gold and worshipped daily. I could not find much history of this temple but it is believed that this temple was built by King Gopinath, the descendant of King Jagatdeo who was forced in exile at this place after a rivalry.
The old temple in a dilapidated condition can be found standing on the left side of the new temple. This is about 30 ft high and built in the ‘Pancharatna style’. A huge crack is clearly visible right in the middle running from the top to the base which the locals say is the result of temple being struck by lightning. We took photos of it to document the present state as we are not sure how long it’s going to last given its present condition.
Sadly there is no effort from ASI to maintain & preserve the temple.
This is the ancient banyan tree. Typical to many temple sites in India here also people come make a wish before the Goddess and tie strings on the branches of the tree hoping it will be fulfilled.
Once done we started our way back to the resort. It was green all around and we were thoroughly enjoying the ride amidst the tranquil forest.
On our way back we came across this unique creation of nature.
While riding back we decided to take a detour. There were so many trails leading out from the metaled road and disappearing into thick forest. I always wanted to traverse these trails but could never do so due to paucity of time and the fact it could not be explored in a car. Motorcycles are perfect tools to explore these trails and we did not let go the opportunity.
This trail seemed to be perfect and rode deep into the forest. We did have some off-roading experience negotiating the rugged earth but it was sure hell of fun.
I noticed a largish ant hill and I parked beside it.
It was green cover all around, preventing the rays of fierce midday sun and casting a soft glow on the forest floor. We shut off the bike’s engines and just stood there, soaking in the sights and sounds of the forest.
It was so peaceful we felt that as if we have been transported to a different world altogether. The half an hour we spent there was almost therapeutic.
Ghoradhara, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, W.B.
Phone: 096144 69131 / 03221-255909
Natundihi (Near Local Board), Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, W.B.
Mob: +91-9733736372, 9232772761, 8016103128
Central Bus Stand, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, W.B.
Garh Salboni, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, W.B.