History of Purulia District
Jaina Bhagavati-Sutra of circa 5th century A.D. mentions that Purulia was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas and was a part of the country known as Vajra-bhumi in ancient times. Purulia is the westernmost district of West Bengal with all-India significance because of its tropical location, its shape as well as function like a funnel. It funnels not only the tropical monsoon current from the Bay to the subtropical parts of north-west India, but also acts as a gateway between the developed industrial belts of West Bengal and the hinterlands in Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarpradesh. For its convenient location, this place has acquired an important place in the tourist map in India.
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Ayodhya (Ajodhhya) Hill Circuit
Ayodhya (Ajodhhya) Hill
Ayodhya Hill is a popular destination of the region and people come here to practice mountaineering and rock climbing. With a height of 700 m above sea level, the hill is a blend of unspoiled nature and rich mythological connections. The place is also well-known for its fresh water springs and stream. Pardi, Murguma, Burda, Ramudih, Gopalpur are few dam sites which are liked by picnic minded people and tourists. They not only represent the scenic beauty but also serves as spot for bird watching. Sirkabad is the base camp for rock climbers and trekkers who come to help rock climb courses at Gaja Buru, the top peak of Ajdohya Hill. Ayodhya Hill is 700 m high and is a perfect destination to practice mountaineering and rock climbing. With legends of Ram and Sita intertwined in the region, Ayodhya Hill is known for pristine fresh water springs and streams. There are numerous small hills in the area, especially Gorgaburu (900 m), Mayuri etc. The largest hydel power project of India has been set up at Ayodhya Hills.
A place in the thana of the same name. It has within the rajbari compound, an at.chata temple of Radha Govinda, dated sakabda 1675 (A.D. 1733), which is badly overgrown with thicket and measures about 19 feet square. The facade is decorated with lotus medallions and other floral and geometrical designs in terracotta, but has no figures. The new Radha-Govinda temple is a flat-roofed modern stracture,also tending to crumble. There is a small, octagonal rasmancha nearby with nine pinnacles, having terracotta figures on four out of the eight sides. These consist of enthroned Rama and Sita with entourage, Krishna in rasmandala with the gopis, episodses lIke the holding up of Giri Gobardhan, or the killing of Bakasur, and many secular figures and animals-all crudely modelled. There is also a plain pancharatna Siva temple. All these were built by the Rajas of Baghmundi.
Chorda / Charida
Masks of Charida village (Bagmundi Block) of Purulia used in Chau dance are internationally famous. Charida is a village of artisans who for generations have been engaged in the making of Chau mask. They are called sutradhars or wood carvers by caste. Surprisingly, these artisans know their Gods and Goddesses and their stories by heart. About 250 artisans of Charida are involved in this craft. A full sized decorated mask costs around Rs 3000-Rs 3500. These are not only used for Chau dance but also for decoration and are popular worldwide as collectibles. The craft village Charida is located in the foothills of Ayodhya Hill and it is 5 kilometers from Bagmundih and 29 kilometers from Balarampur. The nearest railway station is Balarampur which is just 16 kilometers from Charida. From Kolkata you can reach Purulia town by train, bus or car and then to Bagmundih or Balrampur from where you can plan your visit to Charida to experience and see the artisans at work.
Para is a popular tourist destination and also a village that is known to have heralded the arrival of Muslims to the east. The district is home to two pre-Muslim deuls to the east; one is in sync with the temple in Deulghat and the other belongs to a later period. Its top has fallen down along with most of the stucco, but some carved brick work still remains. The lower walls have three niches each-one on each of the projections (as at Deulghat), surmounted by tall rekha shikharas in relief, with pilasters on either side of them. The tower has a big heart-shaped chaitya in the centre on each of the four faces. It has a trefoil niche below, and the usual moldings up the pagas. The entrance is the usual tall corbelled triangle. The lower portion of the exterior walls, measuring about 5 meters square, has been given a protective brick casing, now partly fallen away. To the east there is a stone temple of about the same size, though not so tall as the brick temple originally was.
It has rich overall carving in soft sandstone, though weathered beyond recognition. Immediately to the south-west of the brick temple is a large mound, containing the carved stone fragments of another early temple, perhaps larger than the other two. Beglar mentions two pilasters with Plain Square mouldings.
At the opposite end of the village there is another temple of a later period. It is built of stone, with a plain square shrine, about 6 meters square, preceded by a slightly smaller sporch. The temple of Radharaman is now in complete ruins, on which no terracotta panels remain; nor are any to be seen on any other temple. Beglar was told that the Radharaman an temple was built by one Purushottam Das from Brindavan, during the viceroyalty of Man Singh, to whom the later stone temple was attributed. The tomb or Chhatri of Purushottam Das stands opposite the temple. Also in the village is a small mound with a ling, some pillars, and makara waterspouts. Both of them prove to be good examples of the architecture and artistry of their ages. Explore the grand architecture and fine cravings. The inheritance buildings remind one of the bygone eras.
Deulghat is considered as a land of temples. The place is home to approximately 15 temples that are close to the Kansai river. This region is known for the architecture and the intricacy in carvings and decorations in its temples. Among the temples and sculptures that date back to the Pal and Sen dynasties few stand intact in Deulghata, located on the bank of Kansabati river. A place near Boram in Arsha PS. It has ruins of some 15 temples and small shrines near the Kansai River about 6 kms from Joypur. Among them are 3 tall brick deuls with stucco decoration. The largest of which is to the south. All the trees have triangular corbelled entrances with towers built up by interior corbelling. The corbelled entrance of the southern temple is high and graceful with a delicate carve. All of them have rich curved brickwork with stucco application. They depict chaityas and miniature rekha motifs. The stucco application includes scrollwork with geese and foliation, dwarfs familiar from Pala-Sena art. The stucco is fine and would appear to date from the same period as that on the Bahulara and Satdeulia temples. The hunched supporting figures on the middle temple recall those on the 15th century temples of Barakar. But there is nothing else significant in common between these temples. Deulghat figure are much livelier and more rhythmical. All these temples have lost the tops of their towers, together with the amalakas and kalasas, m but the western and southern ones still stand to a height of 50 feet or more, the Western one specially, on a base about 16 feet square, seems to have been slender and graceful, the southern one, 24feet square, is about the same size as the Bahulara temple. As on of of the rekha temples in Purulia district, the panks are basically tri-ratha (single central projection). Complicated by many decorative recesses or subsidiary rathas.
At least the central and Western temples seem to have originally had stone door-frames on a slightly projecting porch or antarala (entrance passage) to judge by the curved stumps still in situ. Each temple has a carved stone maker water outlet on the northern side. The other temples at Deulghat which are mostly of stone have all fallen down. The largest stands at the head of a flight of steps leading up from the river – a low mount in Begler’s Day on which he found a slab inscribed in characters which may belong to the 9th or the 10th century. The establishment seems to have been Savite, for besides the lingas in situ, all then images relate to this cult. An image of Uma- Maheshvar has been removed to the State Archeological Galley. The oldest temples may be the bricked-temples, to judge by superiority of the workmanship, they had the large tile-like bricks typical of the Pala period.
There are two big temples of burnt brick. Beautifully carved stone figures of Durga, Parvati, ganesh etc. are found here. Deulghat, keeping up to its name, is the land of temples. The place is home to about 15 temples near the Kansai River. The awe-striking architecture of the temple, coupled with graceful carvings, is one of the prime reasons why Deulghat is one of the favorite spots to visit in Purulia. The temple reflects the traditional culture of the contemporary people. Though there is nothing but ruins left in the temple, Deulghat still continues to be an important tourist center.
Matha Buru (Matha hills) is commonly known for its esthetic beauty. Annual ‘Mela’ is originated on the hill by tribal community. Many nature camp and Rock Climbing courses are conducted by different organization mostly during winter season. Last year number of such camps was 31 and more than 2000 school &college students participated. Local Forest Protection Committee members are engaged for providing catering facilities for camp and some of them also act as local guides. First time in South Bengal to provide tourist a feeling of staying above a tree. Under construction at Matha Range shortly to be completed.
Is another tourist attraction with vicinity along with scenic beauty of Pardi Dam. Pakhipahar or Murraburu which has some beautiful rock paintings of birds. Incidentally, Pakhi Pahar is a great spot for birdwatching and is the natural habitat of peacocks.
Originating place of Sobha River, a tributary of Subarnarekha. Known for its natural beauty and a favourite camping place for adventure tourist.
Purulia Pump Storage Project (PPSP)
900 M.W. capacity hydro-electric project. Upper dam surrounded by lash green Sal forest is a potential place for tourist destination.
Turga Falls and Bramni Falls
To perennial streams near Bagmundi favourite for day visitors and picnic party in winter.
Situated North of Village Begunkodor, on the nature’s lap, surrounded by pristine forests and gentle sloped hillocks, Murguma is a very nice and ideal weekend tourist spot of Bengal, lying just under the Ayodhya (Ajodhhya) Hills. This area is comprised of small tribal villages as Leva, Bamni, Mamudi, Lakhipur, Garubera etc amidst a virgin natural environment and a picturesque landscape. The main attraction for Murguma visitor is the Dam area on Saharjor River with the neighboring green.
Travelers can enjoy hiking the hillocks, trail round the dam, explore the cultural heritages, visit local tribal villages, fishing in the lake and many more according to their requirement. This unspoilt beautiful place is for all sort of tourists / travelers. Worth visit for both School excurtion/campers, Adventure Enthusiasts, Offbeat Explorers to the Leisure loving people. Explore Murguma – it is wonderful!
Nearest railway stations are Jhalda, Muri and Purulia. The road ways are also quite ok for self driving. From Kolkata there are two ways for destination Murguma. One is via Tarakeshwar – Bankura – Purulia and another one is via Asansol – Niamatpur. The second option is better according to road condition.
Cultural dance forms (Cho, Natua, Saontali, etc) can be arranged with actual cost. As per the choice the venue can be selected both over at the campus, any tribal village or Dam area. This area is also a photographers paradise. In fact, Murguma has everything which makes it a perfect place for spending a few days of one’s holidays in serene and sylvan surroundings. A gateway for both of them who have a purpose of vacation or who have not any purpose at all.
Community operated nice accommodation is available very near to Murguma Dam. Hot & hygenic food available. You can pitch tents also with a nominal cost and prior permission from the management. For reservation or tours in packaged format, please mail us at email@example.com or call at 9477476376. However one can stay at Purulia, Baghmundi, Ayodhya Top, Jhalda and other places and can visit Murguma.
Khorlo Tours & Travels (P) Ltd is specialized on theme based customized packaged tours. Visit http://www.khorlo.com for more details.
Khoyerbera / Khairabera
Khairabera Lake is arranged in Purulia District, West Bengal, India. Street Distance or driving separation from Purulia to Khairabera Dam is 67 kms. This is an Irrigation Dam in the midst of slopes and woods at Baghmundi. It is a delightful and charming spot with high possibility to be produced as an appealing visitor spot. This spot goes about as an enchanting preoccupation for sightseers with its serenity, uneven geology, falls, streams, differing vegetation, thick vegetation and so forth. So, it is an outright enjoyment for nature beaus. So a trek to West Bengal for all intents and purposes stays fragmented without a visit to this wondrous heaven of pleasant excellence and appeal. Bamni Falls stays one of the significant attractions of this spot. Bamni is most likely justified regardless of a visit (that is in case you’re wandering out to Purulia at any point in the near future) just attributable to its sheer normal magnificence and scene. Try not to commit the error of barring this one from your schedule.
Panchakot (Raghunathpur) Circuit
Jaichandi / Joychondi Hill
Shooting for the famous Hirak Rajar Deshe took place here. Situated very near to Raghunathpur town, these 4 rocky hill namely “Joychandi Pahar” is in Raghunathpur sub division. (Around 30 KM from Garpanchkot and 3.5 KM from Raghunathpur Town). After riding around 500 steps, one gets to see a magnificent view from the hilltop. There’s a temple of Chandimata and Bajrangbali on one of the hilltop. The fresh air of Jaichandi is excellent beside the unnamed hills and water bodies surrounding. This place is very famous for mountaineering training in winter.
Garh Panchakot was the seat of the Panchakot Raj during the 18th century. The palace now in ruins was destroyed by Maratha army under Bhaskar Pandit. Garh Panchakot is surrounded by Panchakot hill which is situated in the north eastern part of Purulia. It is 2200 ft high and is covered with dense forests of mahua, palash and sal trees. The ruins of the Panchakot Palace are a silent testimony to the Bargi attack during the 18th century. Two temples exist in this area. The one on the western side is in a broken state. The other which is centrally located still stands with its intricate terracota designs of duck, creepers, dancing lady etc. Garh Panchakot is gaining popularity as a weekend getaway. You can visit Biharinath Hill, Temple, Maithon, Panchet and Susunia from here.
Baranti (Boronti) & Muradi Dam
The tropical forest of Baranti hill and surroundings are made of Bamboo shrubs’, Sal, Piyal, Amloki, Bahra, Haritoki, Neem and other tropical trees. Palash tree is found everywhere. The local habitants collect dry firewood and leaves for their daily needs from this jungle. You will get refreshed with the savour and flavour of those trees. The forest, hill and lake looks mysterious in a full moon day. Sitting in the resort balcony you may hear many unknown sounds of the wilds. The morning is very pleasant in Baranti when thousands of crippling birds welcomes the day. In rainy season the aroma of wet earth mixed with many other flavours will recharge the day with a new freshness of life. The Baranti dam inhabitants are all kinds of sweet water fishes including king of fishes Rohu and Katla. Many other small and big fish spices are also found in the Muradi Dam.
Kashipur is situated seven kilometers from Adra. The famous story told is about migration of people from UP to Kashipur on request of the Maharajas of Kashipur. It is said that Kashipur had a thin population. Since the soil was not fertile, the population was thin and so the Maharaja of Kashipur gave lucrative incentives like Zamindari etc, to the people of UP to migrate and settle at Kashipur. Maharaja Neelmoni Singh Deo was the first ruler of Kashipur (now as small block of Purulia district) who was abandoned child of some nearby kingdom and was brought up by local tribals. Later on, he acquired a lot of fame and created his own kingdom which mainly confined to Purulia district and extended up to Ramgarh and Bishnupur. It is said that Maharaja Neelmoni Singh Deo fought with Britishers and made Panchkoot area free from Britishers. Later, he was arrested and put in Alipore Central Jail at Calcutta. He had built a huge palace which was reconstructed by his grandson, Maharaja Jyoti Prasad Singdeo. The last ruler was Maharaja Bhuvaneswari Prasad Singhdeo.
Due to this rich and continuous habitation, the landscape is full of antiquity. The structures which still survive are mostly temples and these are in a very bad shape. The remains of a royal palace also survives in the foothills and it is popularly known as Rani Mahal. The ridge of the Panchakot or Panchet hills are full of past structural remains, which include remains of temples as well as a fort entrance and a probable watch tower. Although the landscape presents ample promise to archaeologists, not much systematic and scientific work has yet been carried away after it was surveyed by J.D. Beglar in late 19th Century and a brief study by David McCutchion in 1960s. The surviving structures are very weak and could easily be taken down at the face of a strong natural calamity. Some immediate positive work needs to be done to salvage important historical and archaeological information about the site. Also it has a strong potential to be developed as a tourist attraction.
A village also called Deulghera in Raghunathpur II P.S. about 1 km from Cheliama. It has a solitary temple in “rekha” style with broken amalaka still in place. The plan is tri-ratha, about 13’ square with much simplified base moldings and plain squared pilasters on either side of a niche in each wall. The tower has bhumi-amalakasupto the corners; the central projection is decorated with interconnected chaityas and foliated scrolls and two vertical rows of separate projecting chaityas between this and the corners. The central projection on the south side has large interweaving leafy stem with lattice like designs below, suggestive of Middle Eastern Islamic influence. The door frame has curving of boys blowing horns by climbing up a wavy stem, a band of foliated scrolls and two bands of floral lozenges. The single cell measuring 6.6’ square has a shelf projecting 3/1/3 ft. there is however no idol in the temple which faces north, with a water outlet (makara head) on the east. It is preceded by a mandapa which has largely collapsed, although eight pillars still stand supporting crossbeams.
Cheliama / Chelyama
Cheliama is considered as one of the most popular destinations in Purulia. It has a rich history and is also known as a paradise for historians and archaeologists. The village has remnants of civilization in the region dating to the 17th century. Temples aroud the village are good example of the architecture, artistry and culture of their eras; and this is seen in the figurines and carvings in these temples. Apart from this, the renowned Radha-Govinda Temple in Cheliama attracts many tourists. One of the famous tourist spots in Purulia, Cheliama is a paradise for historians and archeologists, thanks to its rich history. The village has remnants of the contemporary civilization of the 17th century. The terracotta figurines and exclusive carvings around the temples of the region vouch for the fact that the village had been an important landmark during the yesteryears. Apart from this, the well-known Radha-Govinda Temple in Cheliama attracts mass of tourists and is a focal place, depicting the Bengali culture prevalent in the contemporary era.
The Rekh temple at Telkupi is the lone survivor of a group of 22 temples. The temples built by the Jains between 9th-11th century are of Rekh style. Mostly unknown to the outside world these temples are made up of stone or terracota bricks. A village at Raghunathpur P.S., and about 8 kms. north-east of Cheliama, it was earlier visited by Beglar who described this place as ‘containing, perhaps, the finest and largest number of temples within a small space that is to be found in the Chutia Nagpur Circle in Bengal’. He listed over twenty temples and referred to several others and to ‘numerous mounds, both of brick and stone, but more of brick !’
Bloch visited the place in 1902, when the number of the well-preserved temples had diminished considerably, as he found ten, more or less complete temples. Out those only two stand today and one more is visible half-submerged in the Damodar reservoir at the Panchet Dam. The site was on the south bank of the Damodar –the crossing of the former trade route between Bihar and Orissa -subject to erosion from floods and has now been permanently submerged after the construction of the Panchet Dam.
The one that is half under water towards the other side of the lake is the No. 10 of Beglar’s list-a late structure, probably of the time of Man Singh, with an ugly shikhara divided up by horizontal ridges and two mandapas with pyramidal roofs in these sections.
Beglar’s No. 10 is one of his first group of thirteen, all of which must have been submerged. The two temples that are standing now on the very edge of the river seem to belong to Beglar’s second group, although one of them contains a linga, whereas Beglar’s second group contains only Vaishnava temples. Both these temples are almost similar in design to the Banda temples. Between these two temples are the mounds of two more, with carved fragments indicating that they were of the same style as the two others. One has a lingam ; the other has a fragment of a doorframe with five carved bends, including a series of figures in the niches.
A village, in Puruliya Muffasil thana, situated at north-east of Puruliya town. Until recently, there were two small stone built rekhadeuls in this village. The one which still stands has plain tri-ratha wall with only rudimentary mouldings at the base, but the tower is extensively carved with square bhumiamalakas, large chaityas on the central projection, and small chaityas on the sections. The ornamentation of the shikhara suggests an earlier stage than that of the Telkupi temples. Its amalaka is still in position. The other temple, which has fallen down, was entirely plain; it was pancharatha in plan, with no base mouldings. This temple faced south and the other one east. Both were empty, but it may be that they were originally Jaina temples as there are many loose Jaina sculptures strewn around the village. According to local tradition, some large tanks in the vicinity were sunk by Sarak-jains.
Near Mandandi, in Neturia police station, on the southern lower slopes of the Panchet hill, it is the site of an old temple which has now disappeared. Asunken linga is approached by steps into a pit with a modern superstructure. Many stone fragments with architectural mouldings and incisions are lying about; some have been reused for making the steps up the hill. Fragments of amalaka and finial suggest the former existence of a rekha-deul here.There is a modern mandapa on old columns. a Nandi bull near another ancient linga and the pedestal of an old image. Apart from Birinchinath, modern painted clay-imagesof Radha-Krishna and Sarabhuja Jagaddhatri are worshipped in the modern structures.
Central Purulia Circuit
A 50-acre lake, Saheb Bandh poses as one of the enigmatic locations in Purulia. Talking about the history of the place, it is believed to have been built during the mid-19th century. It is believed that convicts, at the instigation of Colonel Tikley, dug this water body. They started the process in the year 1843. It took five years for the water body to be constructed. Today a beautiful and mesmeric location, Saheb Bandh also acts as a temporary home for migratory birds. During the migratory season, birds fly from Baluchistan, Siberia and various places in Europe, to the place. So, for birdwatchers, Saheb Bandh is an ideal retreat.
Other Sight Seeing Points are : District Science Centre, Subhash Park, Kumari Dam, Aghorpur, Surulia Deer Park
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