To people steeped in the din of modern urban life, weekend trips seem ideal. If you wish to take some time off your daily routine and want a relaxing few days in the lap of nature, then Jharkhand’s Maithon is the perfect place to be. With a beautiful lake and peace and quiet all around, this quaint town is located in the Dhanbad district of North Chotanagpur division of Jharkhand. Long trips require a lot of planning and are not always feasible, so if you can get away for a day or two to relax and re-energise yourself, then there is nothing like it! Read on to know what a weekend at this verdant place has in store for the travellers in all of us.
One of the four damns under DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation), the Maithon Dam on river Barakar is a majestic beauty to behold. The dam was designed for flood control and power generation, and once you are there, you would not be able to look away from the enormous dam and the natural beauty surrounding it. The lake created due to the dam spreads over 65 sq km and has several small islands. Boating is one of the most frequently sought-after activities here, and you can visit the islands as well. Pro tip: experience the sunset while boating on the Maithon Dam. The charming and quiet beauty around you, along with the soft rays of the sun bathing the sky in jewel-toned colours, will definitely calm your mind and body. You can visit the Maithon Dam anytime between 6 AM and 7:45 PM.
Located around 5 km downstream of the Maithon Dam, the Kalyaneshwari Temple is the place to be if you need some holy intervention. The temple is said to be around 500 years old and is a place of worship of Goddess Kalyaneshwari. Legend has it that in the olden times, human sacrifices were the norm here. However, that is not something you will see now. It will only take around 20 minutes to drive to the temple from Maithon Dam. The temple premises are quiet and beautiful, and what is more: the Goddess is known to grant wishes. So, if you have something to ask, this is the place to do that. However, the temple might see a big rush on Saturdays and Tuesdays, so plan this trip accordingly. The temple remains open for visitors from 6 AM to 8 PM.
Garh Panchkot gets its name from 'Garh' (which means 'fort') and 'panch' (which means 'five'), and 'Khunt' (which means 'clan'). The area was previously inhabited by five tribal clans years ago, and the name has been simplified to Panchkot by the British subsequently. Garh Panchkot is located at the foothills of the Panchet Hills, Purulia, West Bengal. Once there, you can see the ruins of the Panchkot Palace, a victim of the Bargi (light cavalry of the Maratha empire who plundered a part of the Bengal countryside between 1741-1751) attack in the 18th century. Garh Panchkot is absolutely magical – the ruins of the forts will give you chills. The Panchkot Fort ruins, surrounded by greens and overgrown by bushes, bears testament to its resistance against invaders and silently reminds us of its majestic past. The drive up to Garh Panchkot is also magical since there is greenery everywhere – it is soothing to the eyes and gentle on the mind. Garh Panchkot is around 30 km from Maithon Dam.
Another multi-purpose dam under the DVC, the Panchet Dam, was constructed on the Damodar River in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. Located beneath Panchet Hill, the dam is also mesmerisingly beautiful simply because of how peaceful it is. Although there are not many provisions available here, that might just be why you will enjoy Panchet Dam. You can spend time there knowing that no one and nothing will bother you – it is just you and nature. It is definitely a great way to re-energise yourself. You can visit the Panchet Dam between 10 AM and 6 PM.
You can reach Maithon via bus, train or car from Kolkata or by road from Asansol and Dhanbad. From Kolkata, you can either take a train and get down at Asansol (30 km from Maithon), Barakar (16 km from Maithon) or Kumardubi (9 km from Maithon). From all these places, you will get an auto to reach Maithon. If you are thinking of driving, then you are in for a scenic 250 km drive. The roads are great, and the bypass avoids Panagarh Bazar, which is infamous for traffic congestion. Alternatively, you can also choose to take a bus; several options are available from Kolkata to Asansol. Once in Asansol, you can get a car reasonably easily, which will drop you at Maithon.
If you genuinely want to enjoy the beauty of Maithon, then you must stay at DVC’s Mazumdar Niwas. It is located on an island and connected to the mainland with the help of a footbridge. However, booking can be a bit tricky and has to be done through DVC. So keep some time in hand to do this part and get the bookings through at least a month prior. But do not fret; other hotels are also available, so you do not have to cancel your trip if the first option does not go through.
The little town of Maithon in Jharkhand is a fuss-free, non-extravagant and verdant destination that calms your soul and brings you peace. In our everyday hustle and bustle, it is great to travel someplace that reminds us to find happiness in the simpler things in life. The people in Maithon are friendly, and the surroundings are shrouded in greenery. If happiness can be found in such simple terms over a weekend getaway, what more do you need?
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