Garpanchkot - A forgotten history amidst abundant natural beauty
Panchet hill located in Purulia district of West Bengal, bordering the state of Jharkhand, happens to be one of my favourite destinations to escape the maddening city life and unwind.
Every time, I visited this place on a day's trip and return back to my hometown, Durgapur, in the evening, this awe-inspiring landscape, with its vast expanse of forested land and rolling hills(all belonging to the same Panchet hill), has unfolded many surprises.
On one such occasion I decided to spent the entire day at Panchet hill, instead of doing a hasty one day's trip.
So on a February morning of 2011, we headed for the 'Garpanchkot'('gar'meaning fortress and 'panckot' is the local name of Panchet hill) resort of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation, right at the foot of the Panchet hill. We were lucky enough to actually get a room booked for us there, given the fact that this resort is one of the most heavily booked weekend destinations in the entire southern part of West Bengal.
Almost an hour's drive from Durgapur finally brought us, to the gate of the resort and after freshening up, we had our lunch at the spacious dining hall, which was a circular one storey glass building located at the middle of the campus, surrounded by the garden. While my wife opted for taking rest after lunch, in coziness of our room at the resort, I thought of heading for the main road that runs along the foot of the hill and connects the resort and many other small tribal(mostly ‘Santhal' people) villages with the nearest city of Asansol.
The long walk took me through winding roads that had serpentine curves every now and then, leaving the Panchet hill and its forest on one side and some small hamlets on the other. After clicking a few snaps of the landscape and its flora, I called my wife to bring the car and join me for the ‘gar' or the old fortress at the other side of the hill.
By the time we reached the ‘gar' the sun had already gone down in the horizon and its last rays of the day falling on the ruins of the old palace and its temples, created a silhouette that made those facades look like some ghostly figures standing and hiding some untold mysteries related to this land. I captured the moment in the camera and as darkness engulfed the entire area we decided to leave the place for the resort.
We spend that night in the resort, which was an experience in itself as this was located right in the heart of the forest, with the Panchet hill, looming large like a shadow in the backdrop. The next morning we left for Durgapur, carrying back with us lots of memories of the wild beauty of Panchet hill, its forest and particularly, its almost forgotten ruins of fortress and temples.