Ride to Biharinath Hill and Temple, Bankura

After the railway crossing, the road goes through a forest. In these areas, there are a number of small reserved forests occupying a few sq kms. These forests are known to give shelters to the Dalma Elephants who, in search of food, occasionally attack on the nearby villages. News of elephant attacks during the harvest season is common in these areas.

We headed towards the forest with full throttle. The road was smooth with minimum to no traffic.

Just when we were about let ourselves loose in the forest road, a small gathering was noticed. The ongoing 2 wheelers were being stopped for some reason. At first it appeared like a regular police checking, but then we found there were no uniformed officers!! My friend asked me if they were the notorious Maoists collecting some money! I too was thinking in the same line, but decided to see what it was all about. But what we found was a beautiful thing.

A club from a nearby village was organising a blood donation camp, and they were providing Glucose water to the people on two wheelers. Although the weather was not too hot, but the humidity was very high. In such a situation, cool Glucose water was like the elixir from heaven.

They asked us our whereabouts and where we were going, to which we didn’t have any concrete answer. One of them suggested us to visit Biharinath Temple. He gladly explained us about the route and what to expect there. We both agreed and decision was taken. An unexpectedly nice hospitality on a day not like any other. Memories are built on such small but beautiful feelings.

Now, the destination was selected, the route was inquired, only the journey was to perform. We gladly moved towards Biharinath.
The Biharinath Temple is situated at the base of the Biharinath hill. It is the highest peak of Bankura District. We were told that we would instantly recognize when we see that. We were not so sure about it though.

When we were approaching Saltora, the hill came into our view. It was clear where we needed to go, but not sure which road was to be taken. We asked for direction, and were shown a road sneaking through a forest. It would be better not to call it a road. It gave us a rare opportunity of Off-roading.

As we were off to the unknown, it was a blessing in disguise. Only I was worried about my tyre. But the thrill to venture in the forest overcame the doubt. So we proceeded towards the Biharinath.

It was the road and the stiff suspension of my ride made me regret for the first time for buying the Duke. Every pothole, every rough sent the impact directly to the spine. It was well understood that Duke was not suited for Off-roading specially with me on its back. My friend on his Fazer was feeling better.

My ride Udaan with the Biharinath Hill in the background

The Off-roading continued for another 5 kms and we found a somewhat better road winding through the forest and hills. The road gave us some thrill as it was the first time we were riding on a hilly road with curves here and there and green forest alongside. It was a surreal experience.

We reached Biharinath in no time.

It was learnt Biharinath Temple is popular among the locals as they offer their pujas and prayer to the god. People kept coming and going in small numbers while we were resting just outside the temple. The temple was a very simple one, but unlike other hindu temples clean and quite. A few locals asked us to shoot photos so that more people became aware of the temple which in turn would increase the number of visitors. We felt honoured by such request.

The gate of the temple
Biharinath Hill

Can you spot your’s truely here?
A rock naturally formed as an Ox
Ancient idol
Fun time

Ride to wilderness 

It is often said a day spent without learning a new thing is a day wasted! I say an off-day spent without riding is a day wasted too.

I wonder how many days of my life has been wasted by now. It’s not like that I spent them with a concrete routine, but regular plying between office and home has a kind of monotonous effect. It restricts from doing something unusual, from embarking to a whole new path. And then it seems a break is necessary to confront this evil monotony. 

And what’s better than a ride to wilderness for a break!!

Exactly that happened a few days ago, when we said enough is enough, let’s RIDE. And this time it was different. No destination was selected, neither was the route to be taken. Just where the path would take us. 

Just to get the attitude and atmosphere perfect, it rained the whole night. As if the rain god himself wanted to make the journey as eventful as we had wanted. As usual we started in the early morning, met at a point and decided to head west. The overcast sky indicated the humidity would be very high, even it could rain a little bit.

Eager to embark, no looking back
The early morning breeze kissed pass our chicks and time just flew away. We reached Durgapur in no time, and took left turn towards Bankura. My friend was leading this time, it was his idea to do so. Because he didn’t trust me to be a wanderer, he thought I always had some plan where to go. His assumption wasn’t baseless actually, it was a fact learned over time. But this time it was different.

At Barjora, a small industrial town, he took a right turn. This road headed towards a popular tourist spot, Susunia Hill, a place he always wanted to go on bike. This time it was my turn to get suspicious whether he had any plans!! I was about to ask him, when he signalled to a halt. 

He had found a small roadside dhaba for breakfast. Also my bike felt like losing power, it was like not as ready to act on my command. It was found that the tyre pressure was not adequate. May be a puncture, but I have never had any experience of a punctured tyre. After the breakfast, we asked a nearby mechanic to take a look and he said he was not equipped enough to repair a puncture on tubeless tyre!!! So, he poured some air and we started. The puncture? We would take care, if it bothers later. Fortunately it never did.

My friend checking his bike for any problems

I was kind of sceptical about my friend’s plans, I wanted to see if he wanted to go to Susunia Hills. I was surprised how cool he looked while executing his plans.  Normally it was me planning the route, itinerary and other things making me aware of the different routes to the popular destinations nearby. But the way he was riding, with such a calm posture, I was sure. But I refrained myself from asking,  I wanted to see how easily he could manage it without my intervention. Then we reached a level crossing at Durlovour, after a few kms from there, the roads are divided. One goes to Susunia, the other to further unknown. It was that level crossing, where he asked me what was next!

Ahhh, at last!! 

I replied “you are leading, I am supposed to follow you.”

To this he promptly asked me to lead as he had no idea WHAT LIES AHEAD!!!

Dil ko mila sukoon aur kalize me ayi thandahat!!

Upon asking it was learnt that he was not aware of the proximity of Susunia Hills. Now it was my turn to regret as I have doubted him.

We decided not to go to Susunia as there were no suitable parking space, rather we would take the other route. The route I was not familiar with. 

To be continued….. 

Photography, Travelling

A Travelogue: Ajanta Caves (part 4)

Quite a few people think the caves of Ajanta and Ellora are situated nearby as their names are pronunciated in single breath. But the fact is just the opposite. They are located at a distance of around 100 kms, though coverable in a day.

But for a careful traveller who seeks to get drenched in the vast show of art, covering both Ajanta and Ellora in a single day is not advisable at all.
Both of them showcase striking similarities in their appearance yet there are differences. While Ellora is known for its rock-cut caves and carvings therein, Ajanta is famous for the paintings found in the caves. Yes, you read it right, PAINTINGS!!

Thousands years ago some unknown artists took this mamoth task of cutting solid rocks of these mountains to form caves and carving them with beautiful decoration and colourful paintings. The paintings are everywhere, from walls to ceilings to the pillars. And the subjects vary too. It’s like the whole cave is covered with colourful carpet.

The microscopic attention towards finer details of the paintings as well as the carvings are unimaginable.

Our journey started at early morning according to our plan. We had booked MTDC Resort at Fardapur last night and the plan was to take some rest before starting our exploration. 😉
The journey was mostly uneventful. We reached Fardapur, took some rest, got freshed up, ate something and took a cab to Ajanta. It’s just a 5 min ride to the Ajanta Complex from Fardapur.

The Ajanta tourist complex has a small market place consisting of mostly curio shops. They have fairly similar collection of various stone and other handcrafted items with varying sizes and colours. But the asking prices are way too high to consider.
After a zigzag trail through the market there is the busstand from where you have to catch a bus to reach the caves. It’s a 10 min journey through the hills and jungles. The journey, not a very scenic one, but the excitement was extremely high. Afterall, we were going to visit the world famous Ajanta Caves.

Once there, the ticket counter was easily noticable. It had a adjacent restaurant.

Then there’s a steep climb of stairs, although a pathway for wheelchair access was also there. Then the caves arranged in a horseshoe shape presented itself in front of us.

The Ajanta Caves constitute ancient monasteries and worship halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250 feet wall of rock. The caves also present paintings depicting the past lives and rebirths of the Buddha, pictorial tales from Aryasura’s Jatakamala, as well as rock-cut sculptures of Buddhist deities in vogue between the 2nd century BCE and 5th century CE. These caves also served as monsoon retreats for the Buddhist monks.

 There are total 36 numbers of caves. It took us around 6 hours to cover all of them. Climbing up and down, removing shoes, managing the children, taking rests in between it was a hectic experience nonetheless.

But the Caves!!! They are magnificent. From sculptures, to carvings to thik paintings on the ceiling, pillars, walls it was a sight to behold. There’s plenty of artificial light arranged inside the caves, but they were not sufficient to do justice to the quality of paintings. It felt amazing as well as amusing seeing the different colours, intricate details and the sustainability of these paintings. It’s unimaginable how these artworks are still available despite being forgotten for about 500 years!!

The ASI did very good job in preserving the Caves with good approach roads and drinking water supply.

The restaurant near the ticket counter was also a good one, with various type cuisine available. The staffs were well behaved and service was quick.
After the mill, we took the return bus to Ajanta tourist complex and then to our hotel. A memorable journey came to an end but the effect remains forever.