My trip to the forgotten land of Garh Panchkot is engraved in my heart as if it was yesterday. Garh Panchkot is a ruined fort located at the foothills of Panchet Hill in the district of Purulia, West Bengal. The remnants of the Garh (fortress) bear a silent testimony of the Bargi attack during the 18th century. To give recognition to the main five (panch) clans (khunt) of the local, the kingdom established by Damoder Sekhar assumed the name of Panchkot.
A journey of 252 km from Kolkata to Garh Panchkot by road via Asansol is the best option as you can have as many halts as you like on the way.
The nearest railway stations from Garh Panchkot are at Asansol, Adra, Kumardubi and Barakar from Hawrah station. You can than take an auto from the station to your hotel or Garh Panchkot
The way to Garh Panchkot by bus can be started from Esplanade (Kolkata). There are VOLVO Bus services from Esplanade to Asansol. After reaching to Asansol you can hire a local cab or avail the pick services of your hotel/resort.
The nearest airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata. After landing, you can directly take a cab to Garh Panchkot.
We started our journey from Kolkata early morning and reached the location by noon. The drive was smooth and we had a fun time playing anthakshari in car.
Day 1: Reaching Garh Panchkot
Upon reaching the West Bengal Forest Developmental Corporation Ltd (WBFDC) nature resort, I was amazed by the lush green surroundings, bird’s chirping and purity in the air. I instantly felt calm and cheerful in that surrounding. After quickly having lunch, we headed out towards the Snake park and made our final stop to view the sunset at the famous Panchet dam. After heading back to the resort, we just rested for a while as the exhaustion from the long drive was catching up with us.
Day 2: Whole-day sightseeing
Next day, we were up and ready for our whole-day sightseeing. We spent quite some time roaming around the ruins of Garh Panchkot fort, listening to the popular local believes from our driver.
History of Garh Panchkot
From a historical perspective, when Alivardi Khan become the Nawab of Bengal in April 1740, after defeating Sarfiraz Khan, Rustam Jung, Sarfiraz’s brother-in-law, challenged Alivardi Khan into battle. But his failure prompted him to seek the help of the Maratha Rulers of Nagpur, Raghoji Bhonsle.
A Maratha cavalry was sent by Bhosle who entered Bengal through Panchet and rampaged the village, who later started to be known as Bargi’s. For about a decade, they raided and pillaged Bengal, instilling a fear in the hearts of the villagers. It all came to an end in the year 1751, after a settlement was reached between the Nawab of Bengal and Maratha King.
During one such encounters, Bargi’s attacked Garh Panchkot, plundered and destroyed the palace. As per a popular village tale, it is believed that all the 17 wives of the king committed suicide in a nearby well during the attack. Garh Panchkot has lain in ruin ever since.
After visiting the fort, we went to visit Baba Birinchinath temple and a waterfall nearby it. We came back to the resort for a quick lunch after which, we went out for a stroll. Soon it was time for us to return to our resort and pack our bags for tomorrow. Time sure flies sooner than expected.
Day 3: Biding goodbye to Garh Panchkot
While coming back to Kolkata, we made a stop at the Maithon dam, to admire its beauty. 48 km from Dhanbad, Maithon means mother’s abode. It has the biggest reservoir in DVC. This dam with the first of its kind underground power station, is built upon the river Barakar.
Garh Panchkot is an ideal weekend spot year round but winters are the best time to be here. A cozy winter picnic with your friends and family will be etched in your heart for a long time.
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