It hadn’t rained since morning, and the sun was dissipating the clouds. The weather was getting hotter. We were resting under a tree outside the temple and searching for nearby attractions in the google map. Then a small reservoir caught my attention. Baranti Reservoir.
Google maps showed the distance to be around 25 kms, but we found traces of some ridable way leading towards the reservoir. It was going through a small forest on the side if some unknown hill, connecting a village to the reservoir.
We asked a local shopkeeper, he confirmed our guess. He informed us that the road is used by the villagers and it was in good condition for a bike ride. But we needed to be careful in the jungle part. We agreed and moved.
The road to Baranti was more or less in good shape with occasional patch of rough patches. But the jungle part was thrilling. Although the road could be easily identified, few sharp turns and blind angles along with sandy surface made it a tricky ride. (Un)fortunately no trace of elephant horde was visible.
Baranti is an artificially constructed reservoir under the Baranti hill on the river Baranti. It was built to supply water to a large portion of this area where scarcity of water is common. Although the river Damodar crosses the area nearby, due to uneven landscape and higher altitude it was impossible to bring the water of Damodar river through DVC canal. Hence the need to construct a local reservoir. There is a guest house near the reservoir. People looking to spend a day in serenity amidst the forest, hill and water body would surely like this place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.