Treasures in South 24 Parganas - Jatar Deul, Nimpith, Kaikhali

#1 Mar 25th, 2012, 12:20
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We boarded the 6 o’clock Lakshmikantapur local at Dhakuria station. Generally a journey by a local train in the Sealdah section is an experience in itself. We know a person who lost his first pay packet which was tucked into a hidden pocket in the trousers. Another person’s suitcase vanished in a crowded train. A commuter’s side bag was once ripped off so that the wallet could be taken out. Nothing of this sort happened to us. Almost all the passengers got a seat, which was also a rare phenomenon. But this was the reason we chose the early morning train.

It was a little cloudy here in Kolkata, but as we’re approaching Baruipur, it started becoming foggy. The landscape in this region is a bit different from other parts of Bengal. There are large areas of guava orchards on both sides of the railway track. In fact, Baruipur is famous for its guavas and lichis.

Through the dense fog, we could manage to have glimpses of village life. Earthen roads meandered below large banyan trees. Women were washing utensils sitting on a ghat of the pond as some people were busy taking the morning bath. Young boys were practising football on a playground beside a railway station. Many a kingfisher were sitting on telephone cable as rural Bengal were stretching lazily with a lame attempt to spring to its life on this Saturday morning.

We got down at Mathurapur Road station where Somnath, the driver, had been waiting for us with his car. There are some shops that offer food although the option is limited. We chose one of them – Satyanarayan Mishtanna Bhandar – to have a breakfast of hot paraths, curry and sweets. Finally after fuelling ourselves with tea, we started our journey hoping that the fog would be cleared soon.
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Last edited by mousourik; Mar 27th, 2012 at 12:11..
#2 Mar 25th, 2012, 14:29
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There was a road blockade just after Krishnachandrapur as a result of conflict of interest between drivers of buses and auto rickshaws. However the road was open when we reached there. Condition of road was not very good, but the green paddy fields with little cormorants spreading their wings, drongos, doves and kingfishers were enough to soothe the trouble. We reached Raidighi which is a commercial town and then took the bridge over the river Mani. This is a part of the Sunderban area and the road condition was excellent here, which was made by Ramkrishna Ashram of Nimpith.

An interesting method of agriculture is practised here. Generally paddy or vegetables like cabbages, tomatoes, and pulses, are the main crop here. The embankments between two fields – known as Aal in Bengali – is also utilized for farming tomatoes and chilies. This is done by putting bamboo sticks on both sides of the aal. Thus an elevated platform is created beneath which an easy passage of movement is provided. There were many Babla (Acacia) trees also, which are used for making boats as they don’t rot in water. The scarecrows in some of the fields were waving at us as we sped past them.

After an hour’s drive from Mathurapur, we could see the peak of a towering structure above the trees. Jatar Deul – the temple of the matted hair, or Shiva – is a 60 feet high structure made of bricks in the Eleventh century by a ruler of the Pal dynasty. Some calendars bearing pictures of various gods and some small idols are put inside the sanctum by some local people. The temple has a very impressive presence amidst lush green fields.

We proceeded further for a few kilometers till the road ended near the Dhaki river. It is said that when water used to enter into the river due to high tide, it created a sound of many dhaks, or drums, being beaten – hence it got its name. Here we had a glimpse of the eco-system of the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans. High tide had just started and the river water was entering through the breathing roots of the small trees. A bridge was being built across the river. We walked along the embankment to reach the ferry ghat where we saw crabs, living shells and very small red crabs. The mangrove forest on the other side reminded us of the famous elusive of the Sunderbans – the Royal Bengal Tiger.

While coming back, we stopped by a field to have a good look at the sunflowers, fearlessly holding their faces high in pride.
Last edited by mousourik; Mar 27th, 2012 at 12:11..
#3 Mar 25th, 2012, 14:34
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Photo 1 : Local public transport
Photo 2 : View along the road
Photos 3,4 : Views of the river Mani at Raidighi
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#4 Mar 25th, 2012, 14:38
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Photos of Jatar Deul

Photo 5 : Upward view inside the sanctum
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#5 Mar 25th, 2012, 14:44
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Photos of the Dhaki river

Photo 3 : Breathing roots of mangrove trees
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#6 Mar 25th, 2012, 14:47
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Photo 1 : Babla tree
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#7 Mar 25th, 2012, 18:40
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Nimpith Ramkrishna Ashram

At Krishnachandrapur, we took a detour and through this short-cut road, we reached Nimpith very quickly. The Ramkrishna Ashram there has no connection with any other organization – it’s a separate body. There is a beautiful temple of Sri Ramkrishna inside. The area is spic and span and has been beautified with so many flowering plants. There is a bel (wood apple) tree just beside the temple which has a branch at the base and it has been made to encircle the trunk in an innovative way.

They are engaged in a lot of community service and are well respected in that area. They have set up schools for boys and girls. We also visited the Sarada temple which is situated a little bit away. The two complexes are nicely maintained – they are delightfully peaceful.

We took lunch at the temple. The food was very simple, but served with warmth. Many poor people from nearby areas come here to take the food, and all are welcome. The two Maharajs – Sadanand Maharaj who heads the organization, and Ashis Maharaj who looks after the administration – are always smiling and very caring. A hymn is chanted before one starts taking food. A fortnight ago we had visited IISKCON temple at Mayapur. Nimpith Ashram is very small compared to the former, but they win with their simplicity which touches the heart.
#8 Mar 25th, 2012, 18:48
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Photos 1-4 : Ramkrishna temple
Photo 5 : Bel (wod apple) tree beside the temple
Photos 6-8 : Sarada temple
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#9 Mar 25th, 2012, 18:52
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Photo 6 : Conference hall
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#10 Mar 25th, 2012, 19:41
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Kaikhali

After lunch, we started for Kaikhali where there is another ashram set up by Nimpith Ashram. The road beyond Jamtala was built solely by Nimpith Ashram. This area bears the signs of the devastating cyclone Aila even now. Large fields remain barren as no crop can be cultivated because of salinity in the soil. The ashram is helping the local people in their fight for survival.

At Kaikhali, there is a confluence of a rivulet with the mighty Matla. A change in the colour of water is distinctly visible. The water near the banks is muddy, but the water in the middle of the Matla has an identifiable greenish tinge. There is a ferry ghat near the confluence, and the ashram is located right there.

The ashram lodge is located on the other side of the road. The river embankment is separating it from the Matla. We saw a couple of fisherwomen wading through chest deep river water with a net for collecting prawn larva, which are sold later on to businessmen. For selling 200 larva, they get 100 rupees. While the men are away for soil excavation work at the brick kilns, or for digging ponds, the women also contribute to the family’s economy this way.

There is not much to see or do at Kaikhali. We felt that sunrise as well as sunset would look very beautiful there, although we couldn’t watch any. The Matla is flowing so imposingly here that the human ego is bound to get subdued before her. If you are seeking blissful solitude, for rediscovering yourself, for re-exploring relationships, then Kaikhali is the place. It’s stunningly beautiful, albeit very simple. And beauty in simplicity can always be found only by the searching soul.
#11 Mar 25th, 2012, 19:45
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Photo 1 : Road to Kaikhali
Photo 2 : Kaikhali ashram
Photos 3,4 : the Matla river
Photo 5 : Fisherwoman collecting prawn larva
Photo 6 : a couple searching food
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#12 Mar 25th, 2012, 19:49
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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@ mousourik

wonderful topic and excellent write up ............ thanks buddy
.


Totaly confused how to explore the beautiful earth when one life is too short to complete my great India


Photo-Story: HARI-SILA or HARSIL Deoriatal-Chopta,
#13 Mar 25th, 2012, 20:10
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Thanks PKanti.
#14 Mar 25th, 2012, 20:15
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On the return journey, we took a right turn at Jamtala and went to see Piali island. There is a sluice gate which has separated saline water from rain water. Piali is very popular as a picnic spot in the winter, and so is Kaikhali. But Piali lacks in the vastness offered by Kaikhali and is no match for the latter. We’re mesmerized by the charms of Kaikhali that would remain unmatched.

We came to Jainagar railway station via Nimpith to board an evening train for Kolkata. The setting sun bid adieu to us as we’re savouring onion pakoras on the platform.

Photos 1-4 : Piali island
Photo 5 : Chhilo beral, hoye gelo rumal (there was a cat, but it transformed into a handkerchief) - there was a fortress here, but it has been flattened here, literally
Photo 6 : rice granary
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#15 Mar 25th, 2012, 20:16
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#15

Logistics

We travelled around 150km starting from Mathurapur Road station to Jainagar Majilpur station.

We booked a sumo and it cost us 1500 rupees for the entire tour.

We whole heartedly recommend Mr. Somnath Mandal as a driver who is a resident of this area and has a nice personality. He acted as our guide throughout the journey. His phone no. is : 09564356794.

Ramkrishna ashram, Nimpith : 03218-226001.

From Kolkata, one can come by road also. One has to go to Baruipur first, then take the Baruipur-Kulpi road and at South Bishnupur, take a turn towards Raidighi.
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