It was Sunday 9th December, 2012 and Rolling Wheels Biker’s Club was ready to burn rubber after a long time since we completed our trip to Gurdongmar Lake @ 17,380 ft. in North Sikkim. It was me (Arup), who gave the idea of this One Day Trip to this pretty much untouched town Garhbeta / Garbeta of West MidnaporeWest Bengal, especially for Gangani – Grand Canyon of West Bengal. Soon, I found many club members interested on the ride and it seemed that a great trip is in store for Rolling Wheels Biker’s Club.

So, many phone conferences and meetings were held. Everyone was curious to know what kind of experience it is going to be, as this place was politically very disturbed for the last couple of years. After a few meetings in RW Clubroom it was found that some of our Senior (Experienced) riders, who always work as our guardian & guide, will not be able to join this ride as they have some family functions to attend. However, they encouraged us a lot to complete the trip  & to find out the hidden treasures of our own state West Bengal.

Gangani 1

It was 6:30 am and RW members were ready to Vrrrrrroooooooooommmmmmmmm!!! We bid Goodbye to Krish Da and Tirtho and started for Garhbeta / Garbeta. Altogether we were 11 riders and 2 more members will be joining us from Midnapore.

History:

Garhbeta (Bengali: গড়বেতা) is a town in Medinipur Sadar subdivision of Paschim Medinipur district in West BengalIndia. It is on the bank of the ShilabatiGar in Bengali means a nullah since the boundary of the earlier town was surrounded by a small nullah so the place was named Garhbeta. Garhbeta can also be spelled as Garbeta.

In the era of Mahabharat this Bakadwip was under the jurisdiction of Bakasur. Its kingdom was BetrabatiBhimsen killed BakasurSrikrishna came from Dwaraka to congratulate Bhim. In memory of this Yudhisthir set up an image of Krishna. At present the image of God Krishna Rai Jew in the village of Krishnanagar is that very image set up by Yudhisthir. There are also other opinions about the nomenclature of Garhbeta. A vast area was called Baghratati. Once Siharuddin Bugrasah, the son of Samaduddiin Firoj Sah, the ruler of Bengal occupied this area. The place is named Bagri after the name of Siharuddin Bugrasah.

Gangani 2

Route:

1.     Kolkata – NH6 – Bagnan – Uluberia – Kolaghat – Mecho Gram – Ghatal – Chandrakona –  Garhbeta

2.      Kolkata – NH6 – Bagnan – Uluberia – Kolaghat – Karagpur – NH60 – Godapiasal – Salboni– Garhbeta

 

The Ride:

Weeks back when I first visited this place with Rajdeep (My Brother in Law) and my wife Atreyi, following route 2, we came across with the view of river Kangsabati / Kansai.

Driving through route 2 is always a mesmerizing experience as the whole route is through core jungle area which makes the ride interesting but this time it was not a good idea as it is through core forest and on some stretches you hardly can drive at 20 km speed. So, this time we preferred the first route.

It was around 6:30 am. Headlights are ON and we started our journey. We stopped at Bally Station as one of my friends will be joining (as a pillion) and coming from Santragachi. We got late and reached NH6 around 7:30 am. We drove pretty well (with many halts because everyone was busy enjoying the morning ride & attending natures call every now & then) and reached Kolaghat around 8: 45 am.

Gangani 3

It took 1 hour to complete our heavy breakfast with different kinds of dishes. In between I took a few calls from the folks at Midnapore and a call from Debdutta, one of our members, who was in Krishnanagar last night; he would be reaching Kolkata around 8 am today and then will kick off for the same destination.

After finishing the superb breakfast and checking our digital snap guns, we finally started for Garhbeta at 9: 45 am. It was getting late and was time for pack up & continue the ride.

We drove fast, as much as we could, keeping  in mind that RWBC always rides in a Group. Road condition was bad inside Ghatal, especially in Chandrakona Town. So, it took time and we meet with other 2 riders around 11 am.

Gangani 4

Finally we came to the Rasakunja Crossing of NH60 and Chandrakona Road and stopped at the 20 yrs old famous Kali Temple. It was time for some snaps and information gathering as usual.

Gangani 5

Locals informed, earlier the political & social condition of the place was so bad that everyday there was some socially hazardous activity going on. So, the locals thought that building a temple for Goddess Kali could only stop these unprecedented activities. They claim, since the opening of the temple, peace does reign in the locality.

After spending around 10 – 15 minutes in the Temple, we all started for Gangani – referred to as The Grand Canyon of West Bengal. We reached there within minutes through the help of locals. We all got stunned with the beauty of this place. Way down river Silavati is flowing like a cool breeze, probably reminding us about its history and telling us in disguise, it is dying. 

Gangani 6

Another beauty of this place is that, in the horizon one could see the hills of Purulia and Bankura district of West Bengal, as there is nothing blocking the view between Gangani and the hills.

We spent ample amount of time enjoying the natural beauty, taking snaps of this beautiful place and its canyons, enjoying the Silavati river bed. Soon, we all found Debdutta was arriving with his White Hero Honda ZMR. He also spent time taking snaps & enjoying the beauty of the amazing but non-highlighted Travel spot. We really wish that the State Govt. Takes this place seriously and converts it to a popular tourist spot.

Gangani 7

It was 1:45 pm and we all geared up for our next destination, the thousands of years old Sarbamangala Temple. We checked with locals and reached the Temple very soon.

It was another historical beauty waiting for us probably to describe its history. History tells that during the reign of King Vikramaditya a Yogi (Sage) came to the kingdom of Bagri. He was charmed to see the beauties of nature and in order to display his religious devotion, he built the temple of Sarbamangala. Hearing stories of the miraculous power of the Goddess Sarbamangala the then King Vikramaditya came to Garhbeta and devoted himself to meditation on the corpses (Sabsadhana). Being pleased with him the Goddess Sarbamangala blessed him with the power to dominate over Tal Betal, so called supernatural figures. To prove the success of goddess’s blessing showered upon him Vikramaditya ordered Tal Betal to turn the face of the temple from the south to the north. The order was instantly carried out. The name of the place was given Beta after the name of Betal.

Gangani 8

It was almost 3 pm and we all were feeling very hungry. So, once again we approached the locals to find out a good hotel / dhaba and came across one on NH60 itself. Everyone took whatever they wanted, Rice – Roti – Chicken etc. and with a full belly there are all Happy Smiling Faces around.

As soon as we finished our lunch we headed for Kolkata at 3:45 pm.

Gangani 9

Our next stop was at Sher e Punjab restaurant, Kolaghat at 6:30 pm. We knew that having food in this restaurant is a pathetic experience nowadays  since the quality of food is degrading day by day, thus we avoided the popular restaurant while going to Garbeta, but we thought to take a last try & as usual it did not prove to be  a good experience. Anyways we left around 7:30 pm from Kolaghat and finally reached home at 8:45 pm.

West Bengal is like a hidden treasure depicting different moods of nature along with variety of landscapes and it was our approach to reveal some of them to travel hungry people who does not know much about the beautiful place & its friendly Locals. Hope to come up with some more such destinations.

 Hooray

Travelogue by Arup Bhattacharya

Edited By: Tirthendu Dey