After returning home from a tough day at work, I turned on WhatsApp and a message popped up in one of our group “Ei Baranti bole jaygata dekh. Khub sundor” (Hey check out a destination named Baranti, it’s fab!) from Sushmita. It was around a year ago and that was the first time I heard the name of Baranti. A quick google search revealed few blogs which made me fell in love immediately with Baranti. From then onwards, I had this urge of mine to explore this destination somewhere in the back of my mind. From then onwards, I had search a lot about Baranti, and came to know that Garpanchkot, another heritage destination is nearby and generally people club these two destination on a long weekend plan with 1N at each destination.
However, for some unknown reasons, we could never turn this plan into reality last year. Dilip Da was continuously nagging me for making a weekend plan from last few weeks. However I turned him down every time due to shortage of cash and other prominent issues. But situation turned bitter last week, when Dilip Da was transferred to a different facility which is a distant one for him, due to change of his project. It made him very upset and he started nagging me more and more 😛
Finally his continuous nagging showed some prominent result and I agreed with a condition to sponsor my cost and that I’d return the same after October. Both Dilip Da and Avik agreed in a witty manner!! And guess what? The first name that came in my mind was Baranti. All of us agreed happily. Although we couldn’t devote 2N with 1N each at Baranti and Garpanchkot, we planned to stay at Baranti and explore Garpanchkot as a sightseeing.
A quick look at my bookmarks of the blogs I found about Baranti, revealed, there are 5-6 stay options as per one’s choice. I initially thought of fixing on Akashmoni, as the same having lots of positive reviews and being right beside the lake. I got same positive reviews about Akashmoni from one of my neighbour too. However the thread I was referring was bit old, and scanning through it’s comments revealed a new accommodation named Lake Hill Resort have came up in front of Akashmoni, blocking the view, and now Lake Hill Resort offers the best view. Luckily, a colleague of my dad confirmed the same, as he went last year during winter.
The pictures in Google revealed that Lake Hill Resort indeed offers the best view as of today. I shared these finding within our group and all of them were excited to check out this relatively new accommodation instead of well known and proven Akashmoni. Next morning, I called up Lake Hill Resort, to enquire the details and booked two 1st Floor Rooms as the colleague of my dad informed that the 1st floor rooms offers best views.
Nearest Railway station to Baranti is Muradi which is well connected by local trains from both Asansol and Adra. As Asansol have more options than Adra, we planned to take Black Diamond Express upto Asansol and from there we asked our hotel to arrange a pickup, as we didn’t wanted to loose more time doing several break journeys and cut off our day short at Baranti instead.
A new member, my supervisor at workplace, Sudipta Da and his family joined up in this trip of ours after continuously pulling his leg about when did he went for a vacation last time, which he could never answer! Although he was more afraid with his 2 year old small kid, however we all assured that nothing can go wrong in such a short trip!
Finally after all the bookings were made and advances transferred, we all were waiting for the D Day with lots of excitement in our heart. And right on the last evening before commencing our journey, Sushmita called up and said she have some bad news and we have made a huge blunder! My heart literally skipped a beat hearing this and she revealed that the train Agniveena Express, that we booked for our return journey commences at 5:30 AM in the morning.
Hahaha!! We were 5 pax there when Avik was booking the tickets and we all forgot that the train timings are on 24 hour format!! A near miss I’d say, that also after such long experience of booking tickets through IRCTC!! Anyway, by that time, all the trains were in to WL from Asansol. Having no other way, Sudipta Da suggested to book Bus to Esplanade. However luckily, at the last moment, it strike my mind to check availability from Adra. Bingo!! We found a lot of availability on Rupashi Bangla Express!! However the same train commences from Santragachi while going to Adra, but for the down journey the same train goes upto Howrah. It really saved us a lot of hassle. Without giving it a second thought, we booked it without any further delays.
Day 1 – 8th July : Our day began at around 3:30 AM with the alarms we set off last night on 3 different mobiles to avoid feeling lazy or missing the alarm. We quickly went over with our regular morning chores and booked a Uber. All of us reached Howrah by 5:30 – 5:45. The onward journey to Asansol was very exciting with our newly joined youngest member! He being an ardent cow lover, kept on spotting cows throughout the journey. After crossing Waria, I called up the Mr. Rabin, our driver to check his whereabouts. Details of our car was already shared by Mr. Birbal, caretaker cum manager of Lake Hill Resort last night. He asked us to call him up after reaching Asansol.
The train was on time, which Black Diamond is generally known for “being on time“. Soon we began our journey towards Baranti and in no time we crossed through hustling bustling town of Asansol and took up speed through the buttery smooth highway. We were carrying our poison back from Kolkata, in order to avoid last minute hassles like we had in our Trip To Salboni. But we took a break in between for some snacks and a smoke. Soon we crossed the highway and drove through meandering red mud path which gave us a feel of real village life. The journey from Asansol to Baranti takes around 2 hours.
As we crossed the gate of Lake Hill Resort, it left us spellbound with its magnificent views. We literally wanted to go and just jump into the lake!! Mr. Birbal, the caretaker cum manager of the resort came forward and showed us our rooms. We quickly got fresh and grabbed a chair in the balcony to enjoy the view. In no time, he came up to go ahead with the formal proceedings. As already discussed with him over phone, he informed us that our driver would be here by 2 PM for our trip to Susunia Hill and Biharinath Temple and that we’d be served lunch by 1:30.
It was still remaining more than 1 hours and we were starving to death. Though we sat down for a small chit chat, while Avik went ahead to take a power nap followed by Dilip Da! In the meanwhile we were called downstairs for Lunch. We were served Rice, Dal, Bhaji, Salad, Sabji, Fish Curry, Chutney & Papad. I really don’t know, whether it was because of the hunger or something else, the food seemed heavenly to us. Each and every dish was made with perfection.
Soon after taking rest for few minutes, we started for our day trip to Susunia Hill and Biharinath Temple at around 2:30 PM. The drive to Susunia Hill through the village roads with mud houses on both the sides gave us a feel of ground reality of real life there. It took us around one hour to reach there. Few peoples were out there for picnic. First of all we were very confused on where to head or what to see there as we could only notice a temple nearby with lots of shops selling various accessories throughout the way on both side of the road. Upon asking a person there, he showed us the way. However we still were not very sure. But a 2 min uphill walk at such scorching heat of sun made us feel very reluctant to go further up. Most of us started gasping while I being in the state of worst condition. I could never realise that a small 2 min uphill walk would made me feel out of breathe. A person up there was selling lime juice and litchi drinks. Noticing us he offered us seats and litchi drinks as per our choice. He further informed us that there’s some temple or viewpoint up there and it’d take another 15 minutes walk. We still being gasping, decided to return back.
My condition being deteriorating, we stopped on the way for grabbing few bottles of Cold Water, Glucon D and ORS. Though everyone suggested to return back to hotel in case to avoid further issues, but the same being not much serious issue, I requested them to continue as per our plan. Believe me the Glucon D was vanished on a blink of an eye!
Finally we reached Biharinath Temple at around 5:30 PM. The weather out there was very nice and the best thing was the drive to picturesque route to Biharinath. We spent some time over there clicking a lots of pictures and visiting the temple. There was some ongoing preparation for some festival and lots of shops had been set up for the same. One of such shop was preparing a lots of sweets for which they had taken order. Thanks to the organisers, they let us had few of them. Ummmm!! I must say it was heavenly!! Only a true bong knows the feeling of putting up a hot Rasogolla and Pantua and the same being melting in your mouth!! This was one of the best experience of this trip of ours!!
Finally we headed back to to our hotel. Soon we were served Tea with puffed rice and Pakodas. We all gathered in a room to enjoy the evening. The cold breeze blowing through the south facing rooms took the feeling to a different extent!! Rest of the evening was very fun-filled with various kinds of stories, specially with our new members pouring in!!
At around 10 o’ clock we were called up for Dinner and we were served Rice / Roti as per our choice, Dal, Salad, Sabji and Chicken. Again, the preparation was really great! One can’t expect more than this at such a exotic location. After having our dinner we ventured out to rooftop for sometime and then headed back to our rooms and went asleep.
Day 2 – 9th July : While me and my wife felt lazy, others went ahead for a morning walk through the village streets. After some time, I joined them too! The weather out there was cloudy and we enjoyed the walk through red pathway of village. Later after coming back, Mr. Birbal came up and served morning Tea and asked us to get ready as he’d be serving breakfast by 9 o’ Clock.
Today being our checkout, we already had planned to explore the sightseeings around such as Kalyaneswari Temple, Maithon Dam, Panchet Dam, Garpanchkot, Joychandi Hills etc. Our train being at 4:20 PM, Mr. Birbal informed us to start by 9 AM to avoid last minute rush.
Finally after having our breakfast, paying up all the bills and bidding Goodbye to Mr. Birbal and other staffs, we started for our first destination of the day – Kalyaneswari Temple. Truly speaking, it seemed more of a Business Hub instead of a Temple. At every step there’s one person asking for money (so called donation) to allow us proceed further. Although we skipped through them and finally went inside for Darshan. The business is more strong in there, and they would demand more money (more donation) for offering your prayers. Believe me, this is the only reason, I avoid going to temples and putting in money to these Businesses out there.
Anyway, after Kalyaneswari Mandir, we proceeded towards Maithon Dam. Interested tourists can opt for boating, but we were not at all interested for such, and thus we skipped the same.
After spending some time there we proceeded towards Panchet Dam.
Don’t get me wrong, but personally neither of these actually seemed attractive to us. Yes the view was nice, but nothing special.
Anyway after spending some time over there we proceeded towards our most awaiting destination, Garpanchkot (actually spelled as Garh Panchkot). I really wish we all could have managed one more day, as I always had this urge to stay at WBFDC Lodge at Garpanchkot for a night. The place is actually the ruins of Panchkot Palace resulting in from Bargi attack. The way to Garpanchkot was splendid!
The first thing we did after reaching Garpanchkot was ordering our lunch. 2-3 shops are there which serves lunch and might prepare the same after your order. Our driver informed us this beforehand. Then we proceeded towards exploring the area. Two aged grandmothers approached us for helping us explore the place and being guiding us. Though we well understood their intention, but didn’t resist keeping in mind their age and scope of employment at such region. Not only that, the positive side is their enthusiasm at such age and believe me, Bong Grandmothers are an expert on telling stories.
They really walked us through each and every spot around the ruins and explained things in details. The simplicity and personal touch in them really fascinated us. We happily handed over a note of Rs. 50/- to each of them, although we never discussed any amount beforehand. You see, I personally feel, paying them (whatever the amount is), is much worthy over paying the same amount at such temples like Kalyaneswari. One can definitely argue, temples too put the money for good cause or betterment of the needy, but by their attitude it doesn’t seems so. And if that’s the case, the priests would not have behaved as such greedy. There’s a huge difference between asking for donation and asking for money and it means a lot.
Anyway, we decided to skip further destinations, as it was like rushing through them and instead we made ourselves seat under a Banyan tree enjoying the cool breeze, the so called natural air-conditioner of Indian Villages. Finally after some time, we were served lunch. Not each and every item, but one of the vegetables was so tasty that he failed to serve us! Overall it was good and we were hungry too!!
Finally Mr. Lakkhikanta, our driver drove us to Adra railway station as per our plan. We went ahead towards the platform after bidding him goodbye.
The return journey was mostly uneventful, except that, we were not aware that Rupashi Bangla Express takes 5 hours from Adra to Howrah which made us bore throughout the latter part of our journey. However we enjoyed chit-chatting among ourselves and enjoyed the rain on the way. After reaching Howrah, we booked Uber for ourselves over a smoke and went back to our daily life with memories of Baranti and Garpanchkot.
Review – Lake Hill Resort, Baranti : Well, I’d give it a 5* eyes closed. Out of all the options available, this is the best considering the location and view it offers. But if you are looking for more service oriented ones, you may take a look at Akashmoni, Baranti Wildlife and Nature Study Hut or even Ankhaibari. Lake Hill Resort do not have any for AC Rooms, and thus you might have to look at other available options if you are looking for AC. The place itself is very clean and well maintained. Needless to say, one can spend whole day sitting in the balcony, gazing at the breathtaking view. Service wise, Mr. Birbal and all other staffs are very well mannered, humble and friendly as well. But sometimes, you may have to trade off with few things such as bringing a pillow or mosquito coil yourselves when all of them are busy. I hope such small things won’t matter much. As of today’s date, 1st Floor Rooms costs Rs. 1000/- and Ground Floor Rooms are charged Rs. 850/-. All the rooms can easily accommodate 3 pax. It’s worth mentioning that, they do not have any charge for extra person.
Lake Hill Resort, Baranti : Mr. Pulak (For Booking) – +91-94322-96178. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org | Mr. Birbal (Manager cum Caretaker) – +91-99325-42601 / +91-8372-875617 | Website : Lake Hill Resort – Baranti
Rabin (Driver who picked us up from Asansol, arranged by Lake Hill Resort) : -91-83487-29426
Lakkhikanta (Driver who took us for Sightseeings on both days, arranged by Lake Hill Resort) : +91-86702-64149
Both of them were driving a white Bolero with registration number WB 82A 7905.
Howrah – Asansol : Rs. 880/-
Adra – Howrah : Rs. 1040/-
Accommodation : (Rs. 1000/- x 2) + (Rs. 850/- x 1) = 2850/-
Pickup From Asansol : Rs. 900/-
Day Trip To Susunia Hill and Biharinath : Rs. 1600/-
Meals : Rs 300 x 8 = Rs. 2400/-
Day Trip To Kalyaneswari Temple, Maithon, Panchet, Garpanchkot, Joychandi Hills followed by drop to Adra : Rs. 2400/-
Lunch @ Garpanchkot : Rs 620/-
Misc. (Snacks, Cold Drinks, Water throughout the Journey and on the way) : Rs. 1694/-
So Total is around : 14384/- which comes to around Rs. 3596/- per family
Resources : Well while planning, I came around the below two links which are one of the best resource if one is planning for Baranti.