Jharkhand; Sahibganj - Deogarh - Has anyone been there.

#1 Jun 25th, 2014, 15:04
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For our upcoming trip in next November we consider to visit Northern part of Jharkhand.
Searching on the net gives some good ideas about about places as Sahibganj, Rajmahal, Deogarh and the Udhwa Bird Sanctuary.

We are very grateful with some first-hand information about this area.

Our plan is to spend a week in this area travelling by bus or car. Afterwards we continue to Ranchi and surroundings.
#2 Jun 25th, 2014, 18:48
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I have spent a year near Sahibganj. There are hardly any tourists coming there. Ask me anything about that city. What do you want to know? How long will you be there?
#3 Jun 25th, 2014, 20:50
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I know it is not a tourist part of the country so it is hard to get some reliable information.
I found this site and it gives me the impression it may be worth to spend a day or three.

Do you know if these destinations are worth a visit, with the following rough idea.
Day 1 - Around Sahibganj
Day 2 - Around Rajmahal
Day 3 - Udhwa Lake and around.

This site about Sahibganj mentions also some hotels. Do you have any idea about them. We don't expect much luxury, just a clean and safe place to stay.
#4 Jun 25th, 2014, 22:18
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I stayed in the tribal area near Sahibganj for one year and have stayed in Sahibganj for several weeks. I have returned twice for short visits, last time last October. I have not done any siteseeing in the area when I was there. I dont know Rajmahal, but I guess the historic sites there must be worth a visit. I definitly want to go there next time I go back.

Sahibganj itself has not much to offer from a touristic point of view, in my opinion. It is a small indian city, rather dirty and chaotic. Non of the buildings should make you go there. But as in any city, you can do some activities,and since it is a place really untouched by tourism, it could also be fun. It can also be a hassle, to be honest, since few people know enough english to be comfortable to speak to you and you will get curious attention for being a real novelty. On the other hand, no one will hassle you or try to cheat you, because they are really not used to foreigners.

Activities:
I would recommend doing the ferry-trip to Manihari. A car/truck and peoples-ferry crosses the ganges several times a day, since the next bridge is quite far at farraca. It costs only a few rupees. you spend around 2 hours on the water, which is nice and chill. I have seen dolphins twice. Its nice scenery, people bathing their cattle, people digging for stones and sand, fishing-boats. The people on the ferry are mostly nice and since everybody is stuck on this boat for an hour, they like to talk. There are snacks-vendors. There is no need to get off at manihari, there is nothing there, just stay on the ferry to go back.

Twice a week there is a big market, where lots of tribals also visit. Those are Santhal and Paharia, who sell liquor, firewood, leaf-plates and cattle. I think its on thursdays and Saturdays, but I will have to check my diary.
I guess those would be the highlights.

If you are really adventurous, and not alone, you could probably visit one of the tribal markets in the surrounding villages, for example Borio. But dont be suprised if you are followed by a curious crowd like Michael Jackson.
You can go by bus (REALLY crowded) or by car. on the way you will see some forest/jungle and tribal villages. They are building a new road. It destroyed lots of landscape and villages, but will safe a lot of time. Dont know how far they have got in the last year.

Other places to see:
-railway-colony: Big, parklike area with bungalows from the Raj-Era. Nice and calm in opposite to everywhere else.
-Sati-Temple and burning-ghat: its a rather nice temple on the banks of the ganges right next to the ferry. Ask someone if they are ok before you enter. Mostly they are happy.
-There is another temple next to the railway-station. Never been in.
-St. Xaviers college: big building next to the river, if you find the right time and are lucky the students or staff will talk to you and show you around. Its the biggest school in sahibganj, they have English and hindi Medium.
-There is a park, everybody will point you there, but its a pity.
-Chandi Chowk/Bazaar: There is a bigger shopping area, its quite nice with some old/colonial buildings. There is a rather hidden area where they sell clothes which is really nice, (because no cars can enter) with big old banyan trees and a small temple.

I dont know about the lake, but if its the one right in the middle of town, right across from St. Xaviers, there is not much to see. There is a big green open area, surounded by a slum and a big parking space for trucks waiting for the ferry. It smells. Birds are there alright, but I never had the idea to go find a way nearer or to stay there to enjoy it.

You see, its nothing extraordinary, but I think you could probably enjoy a day or two there. People are really nice there, I think it will be the same for you too.

There are two hotels that I am aware of that are nice enough from the outside. One is next to the railway station on the crossing to collage road. this one looks really clean and well kept. the other one is near the bazaar, but I cant remember right now. I will try to dig up the names of those hotels.

So much for today: please feel free to ask more: its my time to shine! I know a place nobody else ever wanted to visit! You really made my day.
#5 Jun 25th, 2014, 23:24
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Great post Hembrom! And thank you vonkla for asking the question which brought out all this information!
#6 Jun 26th, 2014, 00:23
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Originally Posted by Hembrom View Post So much for today: please feel free to ask more: its my time to shine! I know a place nobody else ever wanted to visit! You really made my day.
Thanks Hembrom for this elaborate answer. You made my day too.
#7 Jun 26th, 2014, 00:31
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Something about Rajmahal:

http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlin...u00012000.html


There's much less visible now than on this painting. I can't tell you much more as my personal knowledge of this area is more than half-a-century old.

Eric Newby passed through Rajmahal on his trip down the Ganga:

http://www.indiamike.com/india/off-t...2/#post1764401

The pandas at Deoghar (as elsewhere) are a nuisance. The temple can be quite a crush on certain days. I can't tell if they have any entry restrictions there. Deoghar (Baidynathdham) is a centre for Ayurvedic products.
#8 Jun 26th, 2014, 02:58
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Since your are from the Netherlands, there is a chance you do speak German. "An den inneren Ufern des Ganges" is a book by Illia Trojanow, who traveled the Ganges from Gaumuk to Gangasagar, partly by paddeling his own inflatable boat, partly walking, partly train,etc. He visited Sahibganj and its a chapter in the book, but in my opinion the whole book is worth reading, he is a fantastic writer.
#9 Jun 26th, 2014, 11:31
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Originally Posted by Hembrom View Post He visited Sahibganj and its a chapter in the book, but in my opinion the whole book is worth reading, he is a fantastic writer.
I had forgotten about that. I just took the book out of my bookshelf and read the chapter again.

Apparently Uncle Sam disapproves of the author.

http://www.dw.de/us-denies-entry-to-...now/a-17131039

http://openhumanitiespress.org/feedb...ties/trojanow/

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013.../germ-o03.html

And many many more links.
#10 Jun 27th, 2014, 05:32
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I found this website:
http://sahibganj.nic.in/en/Tourism.html
It seems that Udhwa lake is something different from what I was thinking. I have no idea where it is.

When I am talking to my friends there, I will ask them. If you have any other questions a local could probably answer you could let me know.

From that list on that site, I have been to Bhoganadih and Panchkatiya because its of huge importance for the Santhals when they remember their heros Sidu and Kanhu from the Santhal uprising (Hul) from 1855. Bhognadi is a village where those two were born, their house is still there with a statue inside- I dont know if you can manage to enter the house, their family is actually still living there. And there is a big field where in 1855 the villagers met to decide to go to war. Today there is a big statue of those two freedom-fighters. In Panchkatiya is a big banyan tree where Sidu (and otheres) where hanged. You see it on the foto. There is nothing else there.
Going there is a real pain and takes a whole day, because of very bad roads. For a trip like that, you would have to find a driver/guide.
#11 Jun 27th, 2014, 16:47
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Originally Posted by Hembrom View Post I found this website:
http://sahibganj.nic.in/en/Tourism.html
It seems that Udhwa lake is something different from what I was thinking. I have no idea where it is.
Thanks for the link. According to something I found Udhwa is situated about 15 km from Rajmahal.
#12 Jul 5th, 2014, 01:51
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I am still fascinated by this thread. Is Sahibganj attractive for tourists? I would like to find out, one reason being that I might return next year with a friend, and that time I hope to have more time for touristy stuff. As it is, I have visited the town mostly as part of my work with the poorer and rural people there and I am discovering (again) that my point of view was very limited.

For example I found one Hotel online "Hotel White House" which looks really nice. I have never been in that street, and have not seen it. From the photos I could at first not believe that something that nice exists in a town like that. But I think I might be wrong. Just because I never looded into the rather wealthy or more "well to do" society of India does not mean it does not exist. Its a trap I still find hard to avoid: Because poverty, dirt and problems are very visible its sometimes hard to remember that the exact opposit exists too.

But after reading some of your journals, I think you will do very well, vonkla. I guess you are not expecting too much just because the tourist-websites tells you so. I think you know how to organize yourself even when the town is not expecting any tourists. And I think you will enjoy the small beautyfull places and moments and the unexpected meetings with nice people more than historical buildings or famous temples. I like Sahibganj very much. Prehaps you will too?
#13 Dec 27th, 2014, 22:56
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I am new to this forum but being a roadie who is a die-hard motorist, I like to go on a trip every now and then.
Planning a road trip from my base at Bolpur, West Bengal to Rajmahal-Sahibganj.
Planning to take the NH 60 to Moregram and there on to NH34 till it meets NH 80 near Farakka. Going to Rajmahal and then to Sahibganj. Planning ti have a two-day stay there for local site-seeing and want to come back via Dumka.
Suggestions on road condition, climate, words of caution are most welcome
#14 Dec 28th, 2014, 00:26
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Good luck for your trip, I would love to hear your experience once you are back. The road from Sahibganj to Dumka used to be really, really bad some years ago, but road construction has been very busy recently, so I cant tell.
#15 Dec 28th, 2014, 22:16
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Originally Posted by sobdo View Post Going to Rajmahal and then to Sahibganj. Planning ti have a two-day stay there for local site-seeing and want to come back via Dumka.
Suggestions on road condition, climate, words of caution are most welcome
We visited the region of Sahibganj a month ago. We arrive from Munger and the last part of that road is very bad.
In Rajmahal we stay in Hotel White, a very nice hotel situated in a quiet road near the station. For 1200 rs we have this room.
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They have some tourist information and with their help we make an itinerary for one of these days. Since the driver does not speak English and we no Hindi the tell him the places we want to cover. First we go the direction of Rajmahal. En route we visit a waterfall, the remainders of a fort an an old mosque. It is a pleasant ride not far from the Ganges. We pass several small villages and als drive along the river.
In Rajmahl we visit the pavilion all that remains from a larger palace. On the way to a chai stall I spot the tombs that are mentioned in the tourist information but we don't stop there.
Next we go inland to the Bindudham temple near Barhawa. We intend to go to the bird sanctuary from here but due to a misunderstanding we go to another temple near Barhait.
To reach this we take the new road that Hembron mentions. It starts as a broad 2-lane road but large parts are not finished, especially through the villages. Near Sahibganj the road lead through the woods, here it is still one lane. The trees are just chopped down for the broaden of the road.
It was a nice day, the trip lasted seven hours.

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