Jhalda - A tete a tete with the city :
Location : Eastern India, Purulia district, West Bengal
Best time to visit : Winter months
Local Transport : Rickshaws, buses, private cars
Places to see : Ajodhya hills, Balarampur temples, Muruguma
Souvenirs : Terracotta articles
Jhalda - The Tale of the city :
Jhalda is a part of the Purulia district. History has it that the district of Purulia was amongst the 16 Mahajanapadas of the Jains. It was known as Vajra Bhumi in ancient times. The British East India Company occupied this region, by getting the Diwani of the Bengal, Bihar and Orissa Subahs in the year 1765. Earlier Purulia was part of the Jungle Mahals district of the 23 Parganas. One of them was Purulia. IN the year 1838 the headquarters came to Purulia. In 1956, the district got divided into Bihar and West Bengal and Purulia took birth in the year 1956. Jhalda was one main subdivision in Purulia district.
Jhalda - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Jhalda is a city in the district of Purulia, and is a major municipality. In the year 2009, it was declared as a sub division. Jhalda today has two development blocks located at Mosina and Kotshila. Having had a historical past going down to ancient times, Jhalda, the Purulia protégé dates back to centuries back and is today a developing town with many monuments of the past still proof of its tradition.
Jhalda - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with Jhalda reveals that it is today a town with a population of around more than 30,000. The literacy rate is not really high but the city is slowly progressing. There are small institutions which impart education to the children and thus the literacy rate is being maintained. The tourist coming here would see a small town surrounded by small hills. With such kind of scenic background, the temples around and the historical monuments make this place worth a visit. Jhalda today is very near the State of Jharkand (9kms).
Jhalda - Travel kitty :
Purulia district in West Bengal is a very ancient district and Jhalda a subdivision of Purulia is also equally old. The handicrafts here are basically of terracotta and lac. This is the perfect travel kitty for a tourist. It is therefore natural that a person coming here is ready for all the rural articles that are available around. So a person could take in the ambience and inhale the surroundings. This is the perfect travel kitty.
Jhalda - Joie de vivre in the city :
The joie de vivre of coming to Jhalda, the subdivision of Purulia, is to see the lovely forests and the huge expanse of water bodies. Nature in full flow and a small paradise in a small town. One who comes here would see the following:
Muruguma : This is a village in the district of Purulia near Jhalda, where the tourist can come for a weekend break. A train from Howrah brings you here. The nearest station to get down to come to Muruguma would be Barabhum. Then a bus to Baghmundi and then to Koreng More. One can also sit in an open truck and enjoy the scenery around. In and around Muruguma one could visit Kairabera where there is reservoir and then Chintoo Hill which is very near the lake. One can have a view around from atop the hill. There are many tribal villages in and around like Loya, Mamudi, Jering Sering etc. There are lovely mud huts and vast expanses of fields. The locals are simple, nice and friendly people. Muruguma lake is around 5 or 6 hours trek from here. The fresh air here is enough to ease a tired tourist and the serene calm atmosphere coupled with the pristine look makes one want to come back here. One could also go to Begun Kodor another small town nearby which has a magnificent palace and a ruined temple.
Muruguma has an irrigation bungalow for lodging and also a camping site. The misty dawn, the curt winter and the lovely nights full of stars makes this a closer encounter with Nature and the vegetation and the weather here are like we are in paradise. The small streams gurgling along and the simple tribal villages add to the beauty. There is a dam next to the River Saharjor nearby and the area is surrounded by hills and dense jungles. Cormorants are found in these regions and there is also a beautiful island in the centre of the lake. The River Girigiri breaks the undulating rocky terrain here and it is an ideal spot for a tourist who wants to completely be away from the humdrum of daily life.
Muruguma also has the Aranyak Eco-Camping Retreat where one can have treks in the jungle, and also participate in sky watching. Sometimes one gets to see the programmes performed by the tribes. The unique feature of this is that there is no electricity here. Solar energy is used as lighting here.
There are other places like Deulghata temple, and the Pakhi hill which are good spots to visit. Besides, the state of Jharkand nearby can be visited and one can see the Hudru and the Jona falls, the Ayodha Pahar, Rajrappa temple , Koyrabera Dam and the Charida village. This village is famous for creating masks for the chhau dancers.
Sirkabad : This is a lovely tourist locale which is siturated in the state of West Bengal and lies around 26km from Purulia . At a height of 304m it is a major halt for all the tourists who go the Ajodhya Hill. It lies around 12km from this place. Sirkabad, is popular for its lovely natural surroundings and is surrounded by Baghmundi (17km)in the western side, Suklara ( 18km) in the eastern side, and Balarampur(17km) in the southern side and Sindri ( 15km) in the northern side. Sirkabad is connected to Purulia by bus. One can reach here by the Purulia Railway Junction by rail .
Chelliama : This is a village in the Purulia district near Jhalda. The Radha Benoda Temple here is very famous. One can visit the Balarampur temples from here.
Balarampur : This is near Jhalda in the district of Purulia. It is the lowest rung of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. The lovely terrain is dotted with innumerable hills. It lies to the south of the Hills of Ajodhya. One can visit the lac industry here and see the picturesque beauty around. The Palma Balrampur temple is very famous for its Jain images. Most of them are images of the Jain Tirthankaras. There is a stone inscription which is found on a pillar. This was removed many years back and has been fixed at the roadside in the court compound in Purulia. The Palma Balrampur temple lies on the banks of the Kasai River.
Ajodhya Hills : this is 600m high and is a part of the Hill Ranges of Dolma. It lies in border of the districts of Purulia and the State of Bihar. The landscape varies here and the region is dotted with big and small peaks. Mr. Gorga-buru is the highest peak. It is around 855m high. There are lot of wild animals like the cheetahs, wild boars,wolves,deer and the elephants here. The forest expanse is around 34,517 acres. There is a hill, the Mayuri Hill which offers the best view of the forests surrounding the area. It is said that Lord Rama visited the hills of Ajodhya with Goddess Sita, when they were in their exile. It is believed that Sita felt thirsty and Lord Rama created a fountain by piercing the muddy terrain with an arrow. This is the place called the Sita Kund. There is a hunting festival where the tribals from many places come to drink water in the Sita Kund.
Thus Jhalda, the beautiful town, is a place to reckon with and an ideal tourist retreat.
As one leaves this place, one thinks “Let past be past, let the present unveil at Jhalda.”