Purulia district is one of the twenty-three districts of West Bengal state in Eastern India. Purulia is the administrative headquarters of the district. Some of the other important towns of Purulia district are Raghunathpur-Adra, Jhalida and Balarampur. This district is bordered on the east by Bankura, Paschim Medinipur districts, on the north by Bardhaman district of West Bengal state and Dhanbad district of Jharkhand state, on the west by Bokaro and Ranchi districts of Jharkhand state and on the south by West Singhbhum and East Singhbhum districts of Jharkhand state. Purulia is the westernmost district of West Bengal with an all-India significance because of its tropical location, its shape as well as function as 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 Uttar Pradesh. The green undulating landscape comprises of forest and hills, intercepted by many rivers. The well-known rivers are Kangsabati, Kumari, Silabati, Dwarakeswar, Subarnarekha and Damodar. Although several rivers flow across the district, 50% of the water runoff due to the undulated topography. There are also several Small dams like Murguma, Pardi, Burda, Gopalpur, which are mainly used for irrigation of agriculture field.
The industrial sector is the backbone of the economy in this district. Steel, cement and power sectors, sponge iron, lac industry and sericulture industry are the major among them. Though the widespread sponge iron and cement industry are said to create an ecological imbalance disturbing the air quality and causing many other pollutions.
History: The territory of present Purulia district was a part of Banga, one of the 16 Mahajanapadas according to Jaina Bhagavati Sutra (c. 5th century CE) and was also a part of the country known as Vajra-bhumi in the ancient period. During the medieval period, this territory was regarded as part of the Jharkhand region. Little is known about Purulia before the British East India Company acquired this territory by obtaining the grant of Diwani of the subahs of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa in 1765. After independence in 1956 Manbhum district was partitioned between Bihar and West Bengal under the States Reorganization Act and the Bihar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act 1956 and the present Purulia district was born on 1 November 1956.
*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)
Airport: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata is the nearest airport located at a distance of 292 km.
Rail: The District is served by three Rail connections provided by the South Eastern Railways. One line runs from Jharkhand in the South through the district up to Asansol passing through Adra division. Another line runs between Bankura and Dhanbad also via the Adra Division. The third line connects Purulia with Jharkhand. Major cities and towns like Ranchi, Tatanagar, Patna, Howrah, Dhanbad, Lucknow, Asansol, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Durgapur, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi are now well connected with this district by railways. The Railway Divisional Headquarter Adra railway division, which is one of the major rail division of South Eastern Railway, is situated on the North – East part of Purulia district.
Road: NH 18 (NH 32) connects this district with Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Chas and Dhanbad. National Highway 60A connects Purulia with State Highway 9 at Bankura and subsequently to NH2 at Durgapur. State Highway 5 also plays an important role in the district’s transport network as it connects the towns like Raghunathpur, Adra, Santaldih and Neturia to NH2 at Neamatpur and Asansol.
Local: Auto Rickshaws, taxis and vehicles on rent are available for moving within and outside the city.
Tourism in Purulia can be done by territorial segregation of the district into three sectors – Ajoddha Circuit, Panchakot Circuit and Purulia Circuit.
The Ajoddha Circuit comprises of the areas of the Ajoddha Hills and the surrounding area with the main attractions of:
Durga Bera: This is an artificial reservoir constructed with the purpose of generating hydroelectricity. The blue waters and the beautiful natural surrounding is a serene place to visit.
Deulghata: Deulghata meaning the land of temples in Bengali is a place where ruins of many ancient temples are found. The architectural evidence suggests the temple from the Sen or Pal dynasty.
Bamni Falls: The beautiful perennial waterfalls (though the volume of water varies as per the season) set amidst the green surrounding of local trees is a beautiful sight to behold.
Turga Falls: Located very close to the Bamni falls the Turga falls is a cascading waterfall with the magnificent view of the greenery and the lake below.
Charida Village: Charida is a small village housing more than 250 artisans making the famous Chhau masks that are worn during the martial dance form of Chhau.
Pakhi Pahar: A small hillock that has been beautifully transformed to an artistic hill by the veteran artist Chitta Dey who sculpted images of birds on this barren rocky hill.
Other places of interest in Ajoddha Circuit are the Sita Kund, Khoerabera Dam, Muruguma Dam, Upper Dam and Lower Dam.
It comprises of the places around Panchakot hill and Baranti.
Garpanchakot: Garh Panchkot is a ruined fort located in the foothills of Panchet Hill. The ruins of the Panchkot Palace are a silent testimony to the Bargi attack during the 18th century. The fort was built during 1600 AD by the Panchakot kings. This day the site has the ruins of the fort and the temple within the backdrop of the beautiful Panchet hills.
Jaychandi Hill: The small hillock provides a beautiful trekking destination with the panoramic view of the surrounding area and the beautiful building of the Jaychandi railway station.
The other places of attraction here are the Panchet Hill and Dam, Mython Dam, Bero Hill, Telkupi, Muradi Dam and Baranti and the Rakab Forest.
Read about my experience in Baranti.
The places of attraction here are the Saheb Bandh, Kumari Dam, Aghorpur, Surulia Deer park and Subash Park.
The other places of attraction in Purulia district are the Cheliama, Para, Duarsini and Matha.
This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip. Choosing a place in Purulia as the base to stay and move around the circuits is one option or one can change their night halt location along with their travel.
Day 1: Reach Purulia early in the morning or the previous day and start with any of the circuits. For Panchakot Circuit a stay in Baranti is preferable.
Day 2: Go for the Ajoddha Pahar circuit staying at any hotel near Ajoddha Hill.
Day 3: Tour the Purulia circuit staying at Ajoddha Pahar area.
Hotels: There are ample of hotels in Baranti, Ajoddha Pahar area and Purulia city. Online booking facilities are available for a handful of hotels. With my personal experience, the Youth Hostel in Ajoddha Pahar has accommodation facilities of different category which requires prior booking and has all infrastructural amenities for a good stay but sadly is in a bad condition with no restaurant nor a good amount of employees to meet guests’ need. It is located in an isolated area far from the locality with no mode of transport nor any food joint in the surrounding.