Since childhood we have heard this song, “Tu ranga Matir Dashe Jaa” meaning “Go to the land of red soil”. It was time for us to visit the land of red soil, Purulia. Even after staying in Bengal for years, it saddens me that how ignorant we are of the scenic pleasure that Bengal has to offer! We realized it, after reaching Purulia.
I was tired of noisy city life and in pursuit of break, we visited a part of Chhotonagpur Plateau called Ajodhya Hills. Don’t confuse it with Ayodhya of UP. Ajodhya Hills is in Purulia district in West Bengal.
The land of red soil is a place to get closer to nature. It’s a hilly area wrapped in forest where you’ll find pangolins, elephants, wolves and occasionally leopards. Utilities of our modern life haven’t grasped it yet causing nature to retain its pure form. Most of the people are of Santhal ethnic group. They might be poor financially but nature has treasured plenty of wealth for them.
When the clock ticked 1.45 pm, we checked in West Bengal Govt. CADC lodge, Malabika that is situated on the top of the hill. The rates are very cheap and it needs to be booked 2 months prior. Somehow, we managed to have lunch there and started our site seeing by 2.30pm. We couldn’t be late as we had plenty of places but less time. It is not suggested to drive cars with small tires in that region.
Our next destination was Khairabera.
Charida: Our next stoppage was Charida, the birthplace of Chhau Masks. Chhau is the world famous folk dance originated from Purulia and Charda is famous for making the masks used in Chhau. Chhau is a power pact dance form and how the dancers perform it wearing those heavy masks and costumes is commendable.
As we were stuck at market place because of traffic jam for 30minutes, we had to miss certain places (Example: Lahoriya mandir). When we returned, it was dark outside at 6.15 pm.
Next morning, we left the place around 9.15am to explore more.
Pakhi Pahar: Imagine an entire hillock sculpted by an artist- isn’t it astonishing? Sculptor Chitta Dey has sculpted an entire hill with his creativity. Even from far away the birds he sculpted can be seen. People go there for trekking and camping.
On the way to return back, you can visit these 2 places as well:
Here are few important informations:
- Most of the time, Mobile network will not be there. Forget about internet.
- Take a driver who knows routes of the sites. Otherwise it will be time consuming to find direction. We rented a car there that costed Rs.1600/-.
- There is no street light on the paths.
- The roads are steeply and not well-formed in Ajodhya Hills.
- If you want to enjoy, cultural program, you can request the lodge authority. They can arrange.
- Do you misbehave with the host when you visit their place? No, right? Similarly, Ajodhya Hills is the house of simple minded, poor people with lack of amenities and around wild animals. Let their lives be uninterrupted when you are their guest.
- West Bengal Government lodges: Malabika, Niharika and Bibhabari are pretty cheap yet cozy, clean and comfortable. Here are the rate cards for rooms and foods. We booked the rooms 2 months prior.