Ayodhya Hills in the district of Purulia, West Bengal is an amazing tourist destination known for its natural beauty. Ayodhya hills are an extension of the Dalma range in Jharkhand. Each year hundreds of tourists visit the hills to witness the scenic beauty of the forests in and around Ayodhya hills. The hills are covered with dense forests with a variety of flora and fauna. The dense forests are a home to different species of wild animals. Gorshabru is the highest peak in Ayodhya and stands tall at an altitude of 610 meters. The presence of numerous waterfalls amidst the forests makes them even more beautiful.

Reaching the Forests of Ayodhya Hills


Ayodhya Hills are located at a distance of 42 kilometers from the Purulia town. From Kolkata Purulia Sadar town is only 260 kilometers. Everyday buses from Kolkata will take you to Purulia. There are several trains connecting Howrah and Purulia.

The Forests


The forests cover the undulating hills as a green blanket. The forests of Matha Hill are known for their scenic beauty and the place gives you a feel as if it has been painted on canvas. Small tribal villages are nestled in these forests. Visit these small villages to feel the lifestyle of tribal people. The tribes are known for their friendly nature and hospitality. They welcome all tourists and even offer them tea and talk to them.

pakhi pahar

Hill of Birds

Pakhi Hill which means the ‘Hill of Birds’ is one of best tourist attractions. Bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts can spot different species of migratory birds and wild animals such as Pangolin, Leopards and Madras Tree Shrew. Elephants can also be spotted occasionally when the elephant herds cross the forests seasonally.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Akash Balaka

 

Mayur Hill

Mayur Hill

If you do not want to miss the panoramic hilltop views a trip to Mayur Hill is a must. From the top of the mountain the view below is just amazing. Trekking and rock climbing are popular outdoor activities enjoyed by the visitors.
Photo Courtesy: https://myspace012.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/down-a-hill/

Trekking in purulia

Trekking in purulia

Trekking trails are interesting as they walk the trekkers through beautiful sal and palash forests. Palash is also known as Flame of Forests. When in full bloom you can see the whole forest transform into a riot of colors.

 

 

Rock climbing in purulia

Rock climbing in purulia

Purulia Ayodhya Hills with the surrounding forests is also a favorite among rock climbers. Baghmundi a small block is the base camp for the rock climbers from where they start. Dams have been built to harness power from the waterfalls. Dam sites have been into exotic locales for picnic. It is relaxing to spend a day with your family and friends just loitering in the forests and soaking up the natural beauty.

Where to Stay?


 Since Ayodhya Hill and Purulia is fast developing as an important weekend destination. Wide range of accommodation has come up in this area suiting the needs and the budget of the travelers. The Tourism Department of West Bengal Government run many guest houses such as Niharika, Malancha, Bihabari, Anamika and Upekhita. There is a Forest Rest House in Ayodhya Hill that can be booked.

 

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an abode of natural beauty. Some of best tourist destinations of Bengal are located here. These are great places to unwind for the weekend. The crimson red soil and the varied landscape have much to offer to the tourists. Beautiful water bodies, dense green forests with colorful blooms, historical sites all these things make it the most sought after weekend destination for nearby cities.

Purulia has many water bodies. Purulia Lake is the biggest and most famous among them. It is also known as Saheb Bandh. The huge water body spanning an area of almost 83 acres adds to the aesthetic beauty of the district. Visitors and locals enjoy fishing and boating in this lake. This beautiful lake is located 1 kilometer from the main town.

History


According to history, the process of digging this water pond started in the year 1843 under the supervision of Colnel Trickle. It was a mammoth task undertaken by the freedom fighters who were convicts. The purpose was to search for a permanent water source for the British.  Even after so many years of independence this vast expanse of water body serves as the only water source for the residents of Purulia Sadar Town.

Attractions


This lake is also a haven for bird watchers. It is a home to many migratory birds. These birds travel long distances from Baluchistan and different parts of Europe to spend some time here. The mornings are beautiful. The feel of fresh air and the rising sun is a thrilling experience. Mornings and evenings are perfect time to spot migratory birds. This is a perfect place for family outing where you can enjoy boating.

Saheb bandh has been playing a crucial role in the lives of the residents of Purulia. However, in recent years due to neglect and lack of maintenance the condition of the lake is deteriorating and the water level is receding. This is a serious concern and attempts of restoration are on by the local civic bodies. The lake is filled with water hyacinth and also needs some cleaning up. The water level in the district is receding and the authorities were unable to identify any alternative sources of water other than this lake.

Other Attractions


Near the lake there are two parks – Subhas Park and the District Science Park which is an educational park. An island in the middle of the park is a site for migratory birds. The park is clean and beautifully landscaped. This patch of green the park turns into a riot of colors when the seasonal flowers are in full bloom. The District Science Park was created in order to inculcate scientific awareness among the residents and students. Various exhibits in the four popular science galleries allow students to learn science in a fun way through discovery and interactivity.

If you are planning to visit Purulia for the weekend make sure you explore the surrounding areas of Ayodhya Hills. People here are known for their hospitality.

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Baghmundi is a small community development block located in the administrative division of Purulia. Every year thousands of tourists visit this place to witness the natural beauty of the magnificent Ayodhya Hills and the many dams. The picturesque landscape here consists of undulating hills, cascading waterfalls, lush green forests with rich variety of flora and fauna. Travelers can get a variety of experience from historical and archeological sites to eco tourism.

Ayodhya Hill, not very far from Baghmundi, is of immense mythological significance to the Hindus. It is believed that Lord Ram with his wife Sita had come to Ayodhya Hill during their exile. Lord Ram had pierced the earth with his arrow to bring out a gush of water to quench Sita’s thirst. From then, this place has been named Sita-kunda. On a Baisakhi full moon day, tribals from surrounding villages assemble here to join the game of hunting animals. They hunt small animals like rabbits and jungle hen.

Bagmundi Rajbari is a heritage building which dates back to 1733. Tourists visit this Rajbari mainly to see the Radha Govinda Temple housed inside the palace. This temple has been built in the form of ‘atchala’ or eight domed. One noticeable feature about this temple is that it is adorned by the geometrical and floral designs. A relatively new temple has terracotta figurines of Ram and Sita with their entourage placed on a podium or the ‘rasmancha’. Other terracotta figures represent the different episodes of Krishna like Krishna upholding the Gobardhan Parbat, the killing of Bakasur and Krishna surrounded by his Gopikas.

Purulia is famous for Chau dance. The exclusivity of Chau dance are the elaborate masks that the dancers have to wear. The masks used in the dance are made in the Charida village in Bagmundi area. The deft artisans known a sutradharas have been engaged in making Chau masks for generations. The elaborate mask speaks about their skills. Visit to this village is a must.

Travelers who are interested to know and learn about how tribals live and eat can visit the small tribal hamlets scattered around Baghmundi area. The tribals will welcome you to their home and even offer a cup of tea.

Tugga and Bramni falls near Baghmundi are favorite picnic spots. These dams are set in picturesque locales. The area is covered by tall Sal trees which bear testimony to the history of the place. The rich flora is the home to many varieties of birds. This is a perfect place to enjoy a lazy day with family and friends.

The Purulia Pump Storage Project is a 900 MW capacity hydro-electric project in this area. This mega project is set up in Ayodhya Hills near Bagmundi police station with assistance from Japan bank for International Cooperation. The project has been a major source of employment in this region.

Bagmundi with its surrounding areas in Purulia is definitely worth a visit and a great weekend escapade from the city hum drum. It is a tranquil and a serene place where you can replenish your energy and bounce back to the hectic city life.

Getting there and accommodation


To reach Baghmundi, one has to get down at Birbhum station and then by road to Baghmundi Bazaar. Tourists have to find accommodation in Purulia or nearby Ayodhya Hills.

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Chau dance is a famous folk dance performed by the tribals of Purulia. It belongs to a genre of martial dance. A chau dancer wears colorful masks and these ‘Chau Masks’ are masterpieces created by the skilled artisans of Charida Village. Snuggled in a corner Charida is quaint little village and is an arty nook worth visiting in Purulia.

Purulia is culturally the richest district in West Bengal. The Chau dance still remains the main attraction of the Spring Festival also known as the Chaitra Porob held here. Though the festival lasts for about 13 days the tribal dancers practice it throughout the year. Chau dancers mostly come from the families of traditional artists and local communities. A lot of physical strength and agility is required for this form of dancing. Dancers are trained in this form from a very young age.

Chau dance is an inseparable part of the rites and rituals in this part of Bengal. Subject of Chau dance has changed with time. Earlier it used to be mythological stories from the Ramayana but today the dances are based on themes like the Santhal revolt or the Kargil war. It is generally performed at night in an open space colloquially known as ‘akhadas’. Traditional musical instruments like ‘mohuri’ and ‘shehnai’ are generally used during this performance. This folk art form enjoys a global audience.

This genre of dance is famous for colorful dress and the mask. Some of the villages in Purulia district are fully dedicated to this dance form and they earn their livelihood from doing this. 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 artisan families in Charida are involved in this art of mask making. It requires deft hands to create these large masks that are not only used for dance but have demand as collectibles. A full-size mask may cost something about Rs.3000-3,500.

Reaching Charida


The craft village of Charida is located in the foothills of Ayodhya 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.

Staying there


Charida is a small village and as such has no accommodation for travelers. You have to either stay in Balarampur which has two or three decent hotels or book the government guest houses or the forest rest house in Ayodhya Hills.

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Not very far from Kolkata, is Ayodhya Hills in Purulia district of Kolkata fast gaining popularity as a weekend tourist destination. Standing at an altitude of 610 meters, the beautiful Ayodhya Hills is a part of Dalma hills in Jharkhand and extended part of the Eastern Ghats. The natural beauty of the hills lies in its lush green forests, roaring waterfalls and different species of flora and fauna found here. Visitors come here to enjoy a weekend of tranquility and serenity in the lap of nature.

According to Hindu mythology Ram along with Sita had stayed in Ayodhya Hills during their exile. During their stay, Ram is said to have pierced the earth’s crust with his arrow to bring out water to quench Sita’s thirst. The place is known as Sita-kunda.

Reaching Ayodhya Hills


 Ayodhya hills can be reached from Kolkata very easily. Several buses are available. You can also take a train from Howrah and reach Purulia town. From there Ayodhya Hills is just 42 kilometers. Durgapur Expressway connects Kolkata to Ayodhya. Regular buses ply from the main town to the top of Ayodhya hill.

Attractions & Activities


Adventure enthusiasts can come to Ayodhya Hill and try out mountaineering and rock climbing. Gangabaru is the highest peak of Ayodhya towering at a height of 2,220 ft above the sea level. The place is surrounded by rocky cliffs and to climb them one must really be adept in rock climbing. Trekkers can enjoy hiking from Sirkabad to Ayodhya. The 13 kilometer trail cuts through the dense jungle of Shimul and Palash. When the flowers are in full bloom it seems that the forest is in flame. It is a sight to behold.

Early morning is the perfect time to take a brisk walk to the Bamni Falls. After spending the morning you can then return for lunch. Then there is Mayur Pahar or the Peacock Hills. You can get a beautiful view of the Ayodhdhya Hills and the lush forests below. Watching the sun set from this point is a memorable experience. The nearby Pakhi Hill is a perfect spot for bird watchers. The dense forests are home to many wild animals like leopards, pangolin and Madras Tree Shrew. Herds of elephants form adjoining jungles also migrate to these forests seasonally.

Spending a day just loitering in the forests amongst the mahua trees can be a good experience. You can even wander to the small tribal villages spread over the area. Tribals in this area are known for their hospitality. They invite visitors to their house and offer a cup of tea. Tribal villages are fascinating. They are small picturesque mud huts cuddled together in an area.  The mud hut walls are decorated with simple yet beautiful paintings

 Accommodation


 Finding an accommodation is easy. With the growing popularity of Ayodhya hills as a tourist destination many new places have come up suiting all tastes and budget. West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation has guest houses. Forest rest house is also available. Most of the hotels have dining facilities. Roadside eateries are also available.

Kumari Kannan, at its foothills, Run by WBCADC
Tamalika DAB: Rs. 300, Dormitory: Rs. 100
Kolkata Booking: 22377041-43

The best time to visit Ayodhya Hills is between March to September. So get your backpacks ready as your next weekend destination maybe the exotic Ayodhya Hills.

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an excellent weekend getaway for people who want to enjoy a few days in the lap of nature. There are many tourist attractions in Purulia. Sirkabad is one of them. It is a small village in the Arsha block in Purulia. It is located in Burdwan district in West Bengal.

Attractions


There are different tourist destinations in and around Sirkabad. Travelers come here to enjoy the beautiful forests, spectacular waterfalls, undulating hills, the variety of flora and fauna. Beautiful dams, exotic picnic spots and heritage buildings are scattered in and around Sirkabad.

To reach the famous Ayodhya Hills, you have to travel via Sirkabad. Ayodhya Hills have always been an attraction for rock climbers and mountaineers who love adventure sports. Sirkabad is the base camp for rock climbing. The village is surrounded by steep cliffs and to conquer them is an adrenalin rushing experience for most adventure enthusiasts. One has to be adept in rock climbing to climb Gajabaru, the highest mountain peak of Ayodhya Hills. The starting point of this challenging rock climb starts from Sirkabad.

Dams surrounding Ayodhya hills are potential places tourist destinations with picturesque views. These are not very far from Sirkabad. Murguma, Pardi, Ramudah, Gopalpur are a few dam sites frequented by tourists. These are places where you can spend your day leisurely without any worry. Pakhi Pahar is another tourist hotspot in the vicinity of Parda Dam. It is a paradise for bird watchers. Different species of seasonal birds can be seen here. The water body with lush green forests surrounding it makes an ideal stop for migratory birds.

Activities


Trekking is a popular outdoor activity enjoyed by tourists in Purulia. Most of the trekking trails are via Sirkabad. The trails cut through the Shimul and Palash forests. It is a sight to behold when these trees are in full bloom.

While in Purulia, one can also visit the small tribal villages scattered in and around Ayodhya Hills and Sirkabad. Tribals living in these villages are known for their hospitality to the tourists.  If by any chance you happen to wander to near their house they will welcome you and greet you and offer you tea. These small villages look like picture postcard.

There is a Nature Interpretation Center at Ayodhya Hills. This was a project undertaken by the Forest Department which aims in representing the Ayodhya Eco System and the tribal culture.

How to Reach


Regular buses from Kolkata ply to Sirkabad. Several trains connect Sealdah and Purulia station. From there, Sirkabad can be reached by road. The driving distance from Purulia to Sirkabad is 27 kilometers and it takes around 40 minutes to reach. Bokaro and Jamshedpur railway station are also nearby.

There are many budget hotels along the highway for accommodation. A forest rest house is also available in Ayodhya Hills. These hotels also serve food for their guests. Small eateries along the road also serve hot and fresh food.

Adjoining areas of Sirkabad are known for their natural beauty and is definitely work spending a quiet weekend with family or friends.

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