I had heard about this interesting place before; decided to search it out on my RE Himalayan, Shwet-Agni today … The place where the erstwhile Maharajahs of Bardhaman massacred the Bear population of Bengal by indiscriminate hunting.
As one rides from Kolkata on NH2, one needs to turn left after crossing Galsi, cross Mankar and head beyond Ausgram and Jamtara, then turn left to Bhalki and continue straight till one reaches the Saal Piyal jungle of BHALKI-MACHAN.
One the route, the sudden appearance of Terracotta Brick temples; ruins of ancient raja’s palace, sudden mazhars of pir faqirs are awe inspiring. Extraction of juice from date-palm trees for making mouth watering gur in progress.
As one reaches the destination of Bhalki-Machan … A huge tall brick structure greets the stranger amidst thick saal jungle .. I was told that was the Machan for the past Maharajah hunters of Bear. A small watering hole with a statue of bear is what remains today … With the sunlight playing hide and seek amidst the thick forest canopy and undergrowth. The narrow forest trails provide an excellent opportunity for easy offroading into the thick of the forest. The view, sight sound is mesmerising.
And lo … I find three picnic parties again with blaring music from microphone laden vehicles and plastic strewn all over the forest floor.
Though marred by thoughtless acts by some city bred idiots of marring the serenity with loud music and trash … but the love and happiness of being with a piece of history and Nature was all mine. With less than 100 km turnaround, we can find heaven close to our home.
Remembering Jibonanda Das …
“Abar asibo fire,
ei Banglay …”
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