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Maithan

Maithan, South Bengal – A marvellous tourist spot located at the intersection of river Damodar and Barakor

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Maithan is a marvellous tourist spot located at the intersection of river Damodar and Barakor, and in the border of the two states of West Bengal and Jharkhand. The small hills and patches of jungle, and the immense water body of 66 sq km adorns Maithan. The area is naturally decorated with a number of small islands decorate the place. Nature with its utmost generosity has furnished the place to its fullest.

MaithanPlaces to see at Maithan: This colossal water body belonging to the Damodar Valley Corporation offers a huge array of places of attraction. However, prior permission is required to visit the Hydel Power Project. You can also visit the deer park and bird sanctuary, the two most notable sightseeing locations beside Hydel Power Plant. The temple of Kalyanashwari is also a must see.

Nearby attractions from Maithan: Those who want to explore further afield can visit the nearby small clusters of villages and Panchet Dam and Reservoir.

Things to do at Maithan: Boating on the lake water of Maithan while savouring the wonderful sight of migratory birds is truly an unforgettable experience. Picnics are also organized by many tourist groups in the small islands. You can also try your hand in angling in the lake water. If you intend to pass some quality leisure time with your friends or families, then seat beneath the trees and enjoy a nice tea break. Do not miss the majestic sight of Maithan in a moonlit night.

Best time to visit Maithan: Maithan is an ideal destination to enjoy your weekend holiday during the monsoon or in the winter.

How to go ?

The distance between Kolkata and Maithan is 226 km. So the best way of reaching the destination is by driving along the Durgapur Express way. You can also avail the train to Barakor and then cover the rest 8 km to Maithan by auto.

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Where to stay ?

There is a WBTDC tourist lodge at Maithon. For booking details you may contact:

MaithanWest Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
3/2, B.B.D. Bag (East), Kolkata – 700 001
Phone : +91-(033)22436440, 22488271
Website: www.wbtourism.gov.in

There are also some private hotels at Maithon.  One option is:
Hotel Barsha: +01-033-2520036, 2520033, 9333234886, 9832130409
Website: www.hotelbarsha.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

 

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Mukutmanipur

Mukutmanipur, South Bengal – A huge water body surrounded by hills and forests that changes its colour in different seasons

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Mukutmanipur is an ideal retreat of escaping to the ultimate serenity perfectly. To spend a weekend in this beautiful place for complete relaxation of souls is worth. A huge water body surrounded by hills and forests that changes its colour in different seasons is the main attraction of the place. Mukutmanipur is the right place for those people who want a combination of some Mukutmanipuradventure along with relaxation. It rests at the confluence of two beautiful rivers, Kumari and Kangsabati, in the Bankura district of the state of West Bengal. This beautiful destination is also an ideal picnic spot that attracts hoards of picnic crowds. This serene place is also renowned for housing the second largest water barrage across India that canalizes Kumari and Kangsabati Rivers into the 3 districts of West Bengal – Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura facilitating irrigation during the summer time.

A boat ride in this huge water body almost gives you the feeling of being in the middle of ocean.  Enjoy the exquisite beauty of nature along with different species of seasonal birds in the Bonpukuria Deer Park. Mukutmanipur is also equipped with proper lodging facility that makes it a perfect tourist hub.

Places to see at Mukutmanipur: Boarding on a small boat, to enjoy the serene ocean-like beauty in the middle of the water body formed by the union of Kangsabati and Kumari River is really charming. There are some tiny rocky islands in the water which gets submerged in the rainy seasons. You can hire a motor boat and a van rickshaw to visit the Bonpukuria Deer Park nearby which Mukutmanipuris often flanked by varieties of seasonal birds. The entire length of the dam is 11 km. A trekker or auto rickshaw can be hired to travel over the dam top road for 6 km to visit the confluence of River Kumari and Kansabati. This earthen dam was built with the sole purpose of providing irrigation facilities to agricultural land. The dam measures 38 meters in height with a lake spanning 86 Sq km. Thick virgin forest and verdant hillocks flanking the azure lake create a breathtaking view at the site. Owing to its splendid spectacle, the area has developed into an attractive weekend spot. This colossal dam nestles 2 km away from the Bangopalpur Reserve Forest.

The famous Bangopalpur Reserve Forest is the home of different species of flora and fauna and is worth exploring. You will find the ancient town of Ambikanagar, around 4km away from the dam. In ancient time, this town was the pilgrimage centre of the Jains. Remnants are still found at the site. The place also houses the Ambika Devi Temple, where shondha-arati(evening-worship) begins at 7 p.m. Set out early, so that you can also visit the Rajbari(king’s Palace) of Ambikanagar. Ambikanagar is also famous for its exotic tribal handicraft. Local tribes make wonderful handicrafts using bamboo sticks and grass, which you can buy as gift or souvenirs.

MukutmanipurA visit to the Bonpukuria Deer Park will allow you to watch some of the rare seasonal bird species. Among the places of interest in the town, the Palace of King Raicharan is also mention worthy.

Nearby attractions from Mukutmanipur: Among some nearby places of attraction are the palace of King Raicharan, Parshwanath Tila and the Statue of Pareshnath. Pareshnath Hills have quite a number of stone statues on top of it. Another very important landmark near Mukutmanipur is Ambikanagar which is a very old centre of Jain culture. You can make a trip to Jhilimili from Mukutmanipur, another attractive tourist spot. Covered by the nature the beauty of Jhilimili offers feast for the eyes. The place attracts plenty of tourists every year.

Things to do at Mukutmanipur: The town of Mukutmanipur is like a perfect scenery providing rest to the eyes of the urbanites. A small boat ride in the river is an excellent idea to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the surrounding. Moreover, a visit to the Bonpukuria Deer Park can help you see some rarest of seasonal bird species. Savour the local Bengali cuisines served at many eateries of the place. Enjoy drinking the authentic date juice, if you are visiting Mukutmanipur in winter. The exquisite Dokra and earthen work of the place is very famous and you can always buy them at pocket-friendly price.

Best time to visit Mukutmanipur: You can visit Mukutmanipur any-time of a year. During the monsoon (July and August) the lock gates of the dam generally remain open.

How to go ?

The closest railway station of this destination is Bankura. You can board the Rupashi Bangla Express from Howrah to reach Bankura from where you can either take a bus or hire a car to reach Mukutmanipur which is only 45 km away. By car, you can take left from Durgapur to reach Beliator which is 26 km away, from where you should take the Bankura Bypass to reach Mukutmanipur via Khatra crossing. You can also take a direct bus to your destination leaving at 9 in the morning or 9 p.m from Dharamtalla in Kolkata. It takes around 7 hours from Kolkata to reach Mukutmanipur by bus.

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Where to stay ?

WBTDC runs three lodges in Mukutmanipur namely Pancha Pally Tourist Complex, Sonajhuri Prakriti Bhraman KendraThe West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Resort. For booking details you may contact:

Tourism Centre (Kolkata)
3/2, B.B.D. Bag (East), Kolkata – 700 001
Phone : +91-(033)22436440/22488271
Website: wbtourism.gov.in

There are also some private hotels and resorts available for tourists. These places of stay also offer decent dining facilities. The accommodation at Mukutmanipur is equipped with facilities like bar, dining hall, lawn, gardens, 24 hour power supply, car parking and other standard facilities. The spacious and airy rooms are facilitated with attached western bathrooms, hot water geysers, wardrobes, TV, AC. There are double bed and triple bed rooms available at Mukutmanipur hotel. Few options are:

Peerless Resort: +91 099 32 292869  ( www.peerlesshotels.com )
Hotel Aparajita:(+91)-3243-253355, +91-9434224674

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Ashanboni

Ashanboni, Jharkhand – Surrounded by green mountains, hills, rivers and streams

AshanboniAshanboni is just 17 km from Jamshedhpur at the foot of Dolma Hills. It is like a halting town. This quaint destination is surrounded by green mountains, hills, rivers and streams which are the tourist attraction. The spectacular natural beauty of the location is breath-taking. Dalma Hill which is just 9 kms away is also worth visiting. From Ashaboni, Ranchi is around 120 kms.

Places to see at Ashanboni: Ashaboni is admired for a number of sightseeing destinations like the Chandil Dam, Dolma Wildlife Sanctuary, Jayda Temple and the Sai Baba Temple.

AshanboniThe Chandil Dam boasting a colossal height of 220 meter is built on River Subarnarekha. The location is also ideal for boating. The Karkori River, which originates from the Hundru falls blend with the Swarnarekha River at Chandil. The ideal time for visiting the place is November to February. The dam featuring a huge water reservoir is a nice place to spend a winter afternoon enjoying boating.

You can also visit the museum located near the Chandil Dam. The museum showcases some valuable collections of 200 years old scripts, inscribed on rocks. A visit to the open air Sheesh Mahal Auditorium near the Chandil Dam should also be a part of your itinerary.

You can also organize a day trip to the Dolma Wild Life Sanctuary from Ashanboni. The sanctuary is famous as the refuge of Deer and Elephants. However, you need to acquire an entry permit to Dolma Sanctuary from the checkpost by paying a minimum Entry fee. Another popular attraction is the nearby Sai Baba Temple. This renowned religious temple of Sai Baba stands for universal brotherhood, peace and unity. The nearby Jayda Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is another popular attraction nearby. A huge fair is held every year at the site on the eve of Makar Sankranti.

Nearby attractions at Ashanboni: If you want to explore further, you can take a tour to Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand located around 130 km from Ashanboni. Visit the Dassam Falls across the Kanchi River, located some 80 km from Ashanboni and it takes around 1.5 hrs to reach the destination. Other notable nearby attractions are Jubilee Park, Dimna Lake and TISCO complexes.

Things to do at Ashanboni: You can enjoy a nature walk, while savouring the breathtaking natural beauty of the destination, enjoy boating in Chandil Dam Lake and take a nature walk in forests of Dolma Hills.

Best time to visit Ashanboni: Though you can visit Ashanboni any time of the year, the best time to visit is from November to February.

How to go ?

The nearest railway station of Ashaboni is located at Tatanagar, just 17 kms away. Moreover, Ashanboni is also connected with Ranchi, Jamshedpur and West Bengal by NH 32 and NH 33.

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Where to stay ?

Decent accommodations are provided by a number of private resorts located in Ashanboni. Dining facilities are also offered by these resorts. Some options are:

Hill View Resort:  9831095234
Tenth Mile Stone Resort:  9830203973

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Massanjore Dam

Massanjore, Bihar – The huge water body of Mayurakshi River

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The huge water body of Mayurakshi River and its colossal dam makes Massanjore a perfect tourist destination, for a weekend trip. The place really has an unpolluted environment that having a good effect on the health of the tourists.

Massanjore-3 Massanjore-1Places to see at Massanjore: The biggest attraction of Massanjore is the Massanjore Dam that was built in 1955 with assistance from Government of Canada. The dam is standing with a height of 155 ft and a length of 2170 ft. Besides, the surrounding forest areas and hills offer some great views of nature at its best.

Nearby attractions from Massanjore: Try to make a visit to Bakreshwar, highly famed for hot spring, which is easily accessible from Shiuri by road.

MassanjoreThings to do at Massanjore: The main attraction of the region is the huge dam built on the Mayurakshi River. Explore the exquisite natural surrounding of Massanjore by enjoying a leisurely walk throughout the region. You can also visit the nearby picturesque villages inhabited by the tribals. Plus, the boundary of Jharkhand is also not very far from Massanjore.

Best time to visit Massanjore: Massanjore attracts tourists all through the year.

How to go ?

It is about 31 km from Dumka in Jharkhand and is about 35 km from Siuri in West Bengal. You have to reach either of the two spots to reach Massanjore

It is on the Siuri-Dumka road. Buses ply on this road.

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Where to stay ?

The best accommodation facilities in Massanjore are offered by the government-organized guesthouse. Beside this, you will also find a number of hotels in the area. Dining facilities are available in most of the guesthouse and hotels. Some options are:

Youth Hostel :  (033) 22840626
Mayurakshi Bhavan :  (03462) 255229, Ph: (033) 23212259/5206

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Galudih

Galudih, Jharkhand – An ideal place for rejuvenating your senses

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Galudi is one of the Bengali’s favourite weekend destinations. This place is ideal for rejuvenating your senses. Galudi has really become densely populated now and the place has eternal attraction. The atmosphere of this place is like medicine for people suffering from indigestion. The cool breeze of the Rocky hills is really soothing and refreshing.

GaludihPlaces to see at Galudi: The prime attractions of the place are Galudi dam, the rocky hills, Shalpial forest and landscape surrounding River Subarnarekha.

Nearby attractions from Galudi: The places you can visit from Galudi are Ghatshila, Panchapandav Mountain, Burudi Lake, Temple of Rukminidevi, Dharagiri Falls, and the night view of the point where the river meets the sea.

Things to do at Galudi: Travelling the nearest tourist spots and taking walks near the waters of Galudi are the best things to do here. You can even take ample rest in the calm atmosphere of Galudi.

Best time to visit Galudi: Autumn is a lovely time to visit Galudi, due to the cool breeze, which will make you shiver. Though strong chilly winds play a major role in Galudi, winter is also a nice time to visit.

How to go ?

You can travel on road from Kolkata by taking the Bombay Road (NH-6) you have to cross Kharagpur, Balibhasha, Chichira and Baheragora and then you need to take NH-33. After travelling for 5hrs and 30 mins on the National Highway, you can reach Ghatshila and then arrive at Galudi. You can also take the morning Ishpat Express from Howrah and reach Ghatshila after a 3 hrs 20 mins journey. From here you can hire a car or auto-rickshaw and travel 11 km to reach Galudi.

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Where to stay ?

Many resorts and hotels are available on the way to Galudi and Ghatshila. Dining facilities are also available in these hotels and resorts of Galudi.

Galudih Resort is an option. For booking details you may contact: 09570200268 , 09199868541.
Website: www.galudihresort.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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jamshedpur

Jamshedpur, in Jharkhand, the clean & green steel city

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Situated in the southern end of the state of Jharkhand, Jamshedpur is bordered by Orissa and West Bengal. The cleanliness and greenery of the place is striking. It is said that Jamshedpur is known as the “GreenCity” first and then the “SteelCity”, thanks to its visionary founder, Jamshedji Tata. Jamshedpur is surrounded by the beautiful Dalma Hills.

Dalma Hills

The exotic Dalma Hills are located at a height of 3000 feet above sea level. It is just 13 km from the main city of Jamshedpur. The lush green forests, the swift flowing Subarnarekha River and the vast reserve of wildlife in the wildlife sanctuary represent the beautiful Dalma Hills.

The Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is an abode for several rare and endangered species of wild life like barking deer, leopards, sloth beers, elephants, porcupines and tigers.

Dalma Hills provide the tourists with a heart touching view of the surrounding areas. The Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary offers the tourists with an opportunity to explore the natural habitats of the wild creatures. The good weather along with the rich natural beauty of the Dalma Hills creates spell effect on the tourists.

Dimna Lake

Nestled at the foot of the hills is the vast Dimna Lake, about 13 km from the city. The scenic beauty is enchanting. The hills in the distance, the clear blue rippling waters and the greenery make Dimna Lake an ideal retreat for the metropolis-weary traveller. The Dimna Lake is important for the city, as it serves like a water reservoir for the steel plant and the main drinking water source. This lake is half an hour drive away from the main city and can be visited by a cab or a bus. The lake was constructed by the Tata Steel. Tourists can visit this place in winters between November and February.  The lake has facilities for boating and water sports like jet skiing and rowing.

Jubilee Park

Within the city, there are many places of interest. Jubilee Park is a favourite haunt of the local people and tourists are also enraptured by the sheer beauty of the park spread over 237.75 acres. The Moghul Garden of Jubilee Park has been modelled on the lines of the Brindavan Garden of Mysore which displays about thousand rare kinds of roses of different colours and sizes. The most attractive feature of Jubilee Park is the colourful fountains, which is situated at the middle of the Park. In the evening the spectacular musical fountains and a laser show attract many tourists.

The other prominent tourist attractions within the Jubilee Park are Jayanti Sarovar, Foliage Park, Tata Steel Zoological Park and Smriti Udyan. The Upvan of Jubilee Park is an ideal spot to spend some time with family and friends.The Jubilee Park is decorated on the birth anniversary of the founder of Jamshedpur, Shri Jamshedji Tata. The place is designed by the famous architects, Mr. B.S. Nirody and Mr. G. H. Krumbiegel.

Hudco Lake

Situated in the midst of enchanting landscape of Telco Colony, Hudco Lake is another prominent tourist attraction in Jamshedpur. The spot is accessible from all parts of the city, and draws several tourists who are mesmerized by the captivating sight of the place.

Far from the hustle bustle of the busy streets of Jamshedpur, the calm and pleasant ambience of the beautiful lake relieves the tourists from the stress and strains of routine life.

The beautiful Hudco Lake and the Sumant Mulgaonkar Park is a perfect place for nature lovers. The tourists can explore the natural scenic beauty of the place by boating in the crystal clear water of the Hudco Lake. The luxuriant garden of the Sumant Mulgaonkar Park is an ideal place for organizing picnics.

There are also many devout places in Jamshedpur.

Bhuvaneshwari Temple

Bhuvaneshwari Temple is popularly known as Telco Bhuvaneshwari Temple because of its location on Telco hill top. The temple name can be spilt into two, Bhuvanam meaning the universe and Easwari depicting the ruler. Thus, Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is called as the ruler of the universe. There is a famous Guruvayur Temple inside the Bhuvaneshwari Temple complex.

The temple is situated on a mountain at about 500 ft. The location at the backdrop of a flowing river gives a scenic view of the city including the TELCO factory. The officials of the temple have also launched a Vedic learning project which includes informal classes.

Sai Baba Temple

The Sri Sai Baba Temple is built on 0.75 acre at a cost of around Rs 3 crore. The temple is open to all devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba irrespective of his religion. This legendary saint is held as the incarnation of Krishna by some and a pir by others. A multi-religion 13-member managing committee is looking after the centre.

Architecturally, the centre is soothing to the eyes. Designed by acclaimed New Delhi architect Chandrashekhar for free and built by Tarapore and Co for three years, it uses space and natural light effectively. The design of the main building has 60ft arches. The roof above Sai Baba’s idol is of glass to let in sunlight. There is a meditating hub, lecture halls, administrative blocks, landscaped garden and parking area.

Rankini Mandir

The temple is located in the Kadma area of Jamshedpur. This temple is an old Hindu temple and is dedicated to the Goddess Rankini. Though located amidst the busy Sakchi-Kadma road this temple is a sacred pilgrimage spot and one of the popular tourist destinations in the city.

Gol Pahari Mandir

Located just outside the city, Gol Pahari is famous for the Pahari Mandir, where Pahari Maa is the reigning deity. The temple is built on a hill near the Tatanagar Railway Station. An annual festival is organized at the Railway Loco Colony to worship Pahari Maa.

Parsee Fire Temple

The Parsee Fire Temple in Jamshedpur was constructed in the year 1960 and is situated at one corner of the Jubilee Park with lovely flowering bushes, creeps, rose and seasonal plants. It is here where the Parsees worship the holy fire.

This Parsee temple was built on 3rd March, the birthday of Jamshedji Tata. The fire has an interesting history. It has been burning in the Cursetjee Manockjee Shroff Agairy of the khades Parsee in Bombay since 1790. The trustee of the agairy, who had been facing the difficult days was finding it hard to keep the holy fire burning and approached the Parsees of Jamshedpur to establish the Cursetjee Manockjee Shroff Agairy here. The offer was accepted and the setting up of the agiary fulfilled the dream of the Parsees of Jamshedpur to have their place of worship in the Steel city.

Sakchi Gurudwara

Among the Gurudwaras, the most respected and visited is the Gurudwara Sahib located in Sakchi. The Gurudwara is crowded with people at any part of the day. The pure white structure of the Gurudwara gives a sense of peace and serenity.

Bishtupur Gurudwara

During the times of the early Gurus, Sikh places of worship were referred to as dharamshalas. They were a place where Sikhs could gather to hear the Guru speak or sing hymns. With the continuous growing of the Sikh population Guru Hargobind introduced the word Gurdwara, meaning the gateway through which the Guru could be reached. Since then the Sikh places of worship came to be known as Gurdwaras. Though there is no historical gurudwara in Jamshedpur, yet their magnificient structure attracts a large number of people of all communities.

Sakchi Masjid

Among all the mosques of Jamshedpur, the Sakchi Masjid is spectacular. The dominating white stone building speaks about the grandeurs of the mighty Mughal. The multi-domed structure with sky kissing minarets is free for visitors apart from prayer times.

Kalibari Temple

The temple of Kalibari was established way back in 1932 on December 2nd by a priest named Jaga Basishta Dev. This temple was established at the time of the construction of Steel Plant in the dense forests of Sakchi.

This temple is said to be one of the holiest place at Jamshedpur and people throng to pay their respects to the Goddess Kali for every auspicious occasion. Kali puja in the temple has been organized for the past 27 years. It is believed that Subhas Chandra Bose s mother was the first non-Brahmin to perform a yagna at the temple in the early 1940s. It is located near the LoyolaSchool, just opposite Beldih Club and attracts many devotees all over the world.

St. Mary Church

St. Mary Church located in the heart of Bistupur is one of the most visited churches of Jamshedpur. It is the oldest church in Jamshedpur. Hundreds of devotees visit the shrine. Though simple in structure, the interior of the Church has some exclusive art designs.

Apart from this devout places the other visiting spots include:

Centre for Excellence

Located near to attractive Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur, Russi Modi Center for Excellence is a complex enclosing many professional organizations in Jamshedpur. This building structure is famous for its architectural style and beauty. This was constructed under the leadership of renowned architect Hafeez Contractor.

This impressive structure was designed as the formal entrance to the Jubilee Park and presently this center houses the Archives of Tata Steel, a worthy collection of origin and evolution of one of the largest industries in the world. This is a favourite place for management students to understand the management practices required to bring up a spectacular industry and continue to be in the high echelons.

Sir Dorabji Tata Park

Lying near the Keenan Stadium of the city, SriDorabjiTataPark is one of the notable places of Jamshedpur tourist attractions. The Park draws several tourists who are enchanted with its captivating beauty.

The sprawling gardens, colourful flowers and artificial fountains represent the beautiful park of Sri Dorabji Tata. This well known park of Jamshedpur derived its name from Sri Dorabji Tata, who was one of the pioneers of the Tata Iron and Steel Company.

The local population of Jamshedpur visit SriDorabjiTataPark on weekends to refresh their mind from the stress and tensions of regular life. The illuminated fountains of the park are an added attraction for the tourists. The park is an ideal place to unwind with family and friends.

River’s Meet

Domohani or River’s Meet in Jamshedpur offers the nature lovers with a unique opportunity to experience the convergence of two swift flowing rivers of Subarnarekha and Kharkhai. Situated at the north western corner of Jamshedpur, Domohani or River’s Meet draws numerous tourists from far and wide who are fascinated and enchanted with the bewitching natural scenic beauty of the place. Encircled by luxuriant green fields, the tall trees of Eucalyptus add to the charm of the beautiful place of Domohani.

The place provides the tourists with a unique scope to experience the sunrise on the river side of Domohani. A delight for the nature lovers, the place of River’s Meet rejuvenates the mind, body and soul of the visitors with a fresh bout of renewed energy and vigour. River’s Meet is flocked by local tourists during weekends. The place is ideal for spending some time with family and friends in the midst of nature.

There are also some short stops like the Keenan Stadium, XLRI, etc.

How to go?

Jamshedpur is 251 km from Calcutta. There are many trains like Janashatabdi Express, Tata Steel Express. Bus services are also available.

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Where to stay?

There are many hotels to suit all budgets.  Some options are:

Hotel Siddhartha( government-approved)
Phone: 0657 232 0535, 2425435, 2433008.
Hotel Asian Inn
Phone- 0657 2220291, 2222170, 2226376
Hotel Ginger
Phone: +91 657 666 3333.

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Baranti

Baranti, on the border of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha

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One of the most significant geographical characteristics of places situated on the border of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa is the abrupt growth of hills. Scattered all over the plains, these hills seem to have shot up virtually from nowhere, giving them a rather unassuming look. Both rocky and green, the hills, however, make the landscape much more picturesque.

BarantiAn ideal example of such topography is Baranti, a small village in the district of Purulia, right in the lap of a hilly range with a huge water reservoir and a dam on the other side. The dam takes off from the foot of Gorongi Hill, which is famous in this area for a short trek. Hills and jungles, for that matter, are hardly scarce in Baranti and its adjacent areas. One would be rather surprised to discover how they have remained undisturbed.

People with commercial ventures in mind rue the lack of a communication system in Baranti and other nearby villages, but that has in fact helped save the natural beauty and freshness of these places from an extra load of incoming pollution.

While in Baranti, tourists may want to move around on foot from one village to another, either through the jungles or long winding roads with green paddy fields on both sides. For further adventure, it may be ideal to choose the nearest hill and climb to its top Barantiand getting a magnificent view of the plains and the sprawling lake. One may also chance upon deer, wild boars and even wolves, which live in the denser parts of the jungle.

Sunset is particularly special in Baranti. The lake keeps changing colour from time to time. It’s a real treat for the eyes to sit and watch the various shades of yellow and red reflected on the water and quietly spreading out on to the paddy fields.

The best time to visit Baranti is between October and March. The huge water body around the dam attracts a lot of migratory birds every winter.

How to go ?

The nearest railway station is Muradi, about 4km from Baranti. Take a train from Howrah and reach Asansol or Adra. Then take a local train to Muradi, which is 20km from either town. The lone resort at Baranti, Akashmoni Resort, makes arrangements for pick-ups by car from Muradi station. There is a caretaker at the resort who arranges the food. Tourists have to pay for the raw materials and the charge for cooking.

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Where to stay ?

The resort has has two cottages within a compound, right beside the lake. There is no electricity. Contact: Nikhil Roy in Baranti (9732038397), S.N. Chatterjee in SaltLake (9831429956).

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debrigarh wildlife sanctuary

Debrigarh, 40km from Sambalpur in Odisha

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Debrigarh means “The abode of the goddess”. Located around 40km from Sambalpur in Orissa, it is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, thanks to the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary amid the famous Barapahad hills.

Asia’s longest earthen dam, the Hirakud, 24km in length across the Mahanadi, appears on your way to Debrigarh. As your car drives along the vast water stretch, train your eyes on the greens that run riot all around. Nature trails, trekking, boat rides, wildlife — Debrigarh offers all this, and more.

The approach road to the sanctuary borders the reservoir. The sanctuary harvests rainwater in its mini-catchments that drains off into the reservoir. The symbiosis forms a safe haven for wild animals and the fresh water offers a breeding ground for a wide variety of aquatic lives. The soil type supports Sal forests with abundant bamboo clumps, which is sufficient to support an entire food web.

The road through the forest is narrow and flanked by trees like Asana, Bija and Dhaura. Silence reigns everywhere; you can hear the river murmur ever so often. Visitors are advised to maintain silence as bisons and deer are scared at the slightest disturbance. The sound of your vehicle can make a herd of wild pigs scamper off.

There are cottages in the middle of the jungle. Staying there amid the chirping birds, glimpses of wild animals, the whistling forest breeze and the fragrance of wild flowers is  the experience you will cherish forever.

How to go?

Take the Koraput Express from Howrah and get off at Sambalpur. Hire a private car for the 40km ride to Debrigarh.

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Where to stay?

You can book Orissa tourism’s Panthaniwas. Address:  Utkal Bhawan, 55 Lenin Sarani, Kolkata
Tel: (033) 2244653/22164556.
There are also many private hotels in Sambalpur.

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Randiha – A picturesque town on the banks of the Damodar

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Randiha is a homely tourist spot in the Durgapur subdivision of Burdwan district, about 10km from Panagarh on NH2 and about 19km downstream the Durgapur barrage.

A picturesque town on the banks of the Damodar, Randiha offers a beautiful mix of greenery and water.

You can spend the mornings with endless cups of tea, listening to the chirping of birds there. The tranquility of the place will make us aware of the sounds of nature. Trees are found laden with fruits taken over by flocks of woodpeckers, parrots, bulbuls and kingfishers.

The expansive Randiha dam is spectacular. It is amazing to see the fishermen feel their way around in the treacherous waves of the water with their home made nets and bundle them up their thrashing catch, a collection of silver carp, rohu and tilapia fishes.

In 1932, the Anderson weir was constructed at Randiha. With this, irrigation facilities reached the lower Damodar basin. This was even before the construction of dams by means of the diversion weir on the Damodar and Eden canal to the extent of 890 sq km in the districts of Burdwan and Hooghly.

At night, the sleepy town turns even quieter and we get to hear the nightbirds. The crickets accentuate the silence.

You have to leave the place with a resolve of coming back.

How to go?

You can take a train or bus to Burdwan and then reach Randiha by hiring a vehicle. You have to cross Panagarh Bazaar More.

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Where to stay?

The bungalow of the West Bengal government’s irrigation and waterways department is the only place with proper facilities. Booking can be made at the department’s regional office in Burdwan town.

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A weekend at Godhahada, Orissa

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Nestled among the hills and forests of the Ramgarh range, Godhahada gets its name from the river on which the irrigation department has built a dam. Gushing out of the hills at a height of 3,000 metres, the river suddenly becomes wide before flowing downhill. It is at this spot that the dam was built.

The waves lapping on the banks, the quiet murmur of the current and the occasional gurgling streams through the dam gates accentuate the serene and tranquil atmosphere.

The happy togetherness of flora and fauna, hills and the woods makes Godhahada a nature lover’s favourite. The comfortable accommodation in the bungalow on top of the hill puts the final touches to this idyllic retreat.

The primary activity here is to chill out in the lap of nature. If in a mood of adventure, jungle safari is ideal. Birdwatchers can spend the day along the riverside or walk into the woods.

The old Shiva temple, locally popular as the Ujjaleswar temple is a place to visit. Villagers from Jayanarda, Gobarbaraha, Seripur, Gurubadha and Khamari Gaon in Orissa’s Ganjam district come here to worship.

Gopalpur-on-sea, Rambha and the Taratarini temple are some of the popular tourist spots nearby.

Godhahada’s charming atmosphere will force anyone to come back.

How to go?

By train: A train from Howrah to Berhampur in Orissa.

By road:  NH 55 to Berhampur and proceed from there.

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Where to Stay?

There are many hotels in Berhampur and Gopalpur.  The irrigation bungalow can also be booked by writing to the sub-divisional engineer, Godhahada, Digapahandi.

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