On 10th march, 2015 we four boarded the Howrah-Purulia Express at 5 pm from the Howrah station. We had planned a short trip to Bishnupur and Jhilimili. We reached Bishnupur at around 8:30pm. Although the winter had passed the nights were cold. We had booked a four bedded room in a cheap lodge near the Bishnupur bus stand in advance. Our lodge was named 'Mallabhum'.Incidentally Bishnupur is also known as 'Mallabhum' as it was ruled by the 'Malla' kings during the 17th and 18th century. Since we wanted a cheap lodge it was nothing like cozy and comfortable.
The next morning we had our breakfast early. The weather was perfect.We had first decided to take a trip to Jhilimili and then explore Bishnupur. We had read in blogs that Jhilimili is some kind of forest at the intersection of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapur. We hired a car for the round trip at Rs 2000 from the Bishnupur bus stand.We took plenty of water,packets of biscuits,cakes and chips with us as we knew nothing would be available on the way. Jhilimili is around 100km from Bishnupur bus stand.
As we left the Bishnupur town,our car was speeding through the NH60 and soon we started to get a glimpse of the dense forests on both sides of the road. The road conditions were perfectly smooth and we were speeding at nearly 70kmph. The soil here is red so the trees on the roadside were covered with red dust.Everything looked reddish-the trees,the flowers,the roads,everything! The journey was full of sharp turns and through hilly terrain. We would be moving up and down the hills everytime! On our way we passed through many tribal hamlets.In one such hamlet we saw the dance of the 'santhali' tribal people.
After a journey of 2 hours we finally reached Jhilimili. This place was located at the top of some hills. It was completely quiet.We explored the place for a while,clicked few photos. A local guy told us that there is a beautiful lake called Talberia lake, few kms down the hills. On reaching Talberia lake we got a spectacular view of the lake surrounded by hills. Later we came to know that it is a very popular picnic spot in West Bengal that not many people are aware of! It was 1pm and our driver told us to hurry as the journey back is not safe after the dark.
The next two days were reserved for exploring every nook and corner of Bishnupur.We had decided to cover everything by foot!So we started with our visit to the famous Rasmancha. Its unique pyramidal structure,the pillared corridor and the high platform over which the entire structure stands gave it a magnificent appearance.We were fascinated by the interesting stories and the history related to these beautiful creations of the 'Malla rulers'.Even as the temperatures soared our enthusiasm to explore made us more determined.At every turn one would get a temple! Bishnupur is indeed the 'temple town' of West Bengal.It felt as if we were living under the reign of some 'Malla' king,walking through the streets of the kingdom.It took us the whole day to visit the Shyamrai temple,the Ghomgarh,the Radheshyam temple,the Jor-bangla temples,the Radhalaljiu temple and the Nandhalal temple.Outside the Jor-Bangla temple there was a baul singer we listened to his soulful music.The hot,humid day made us so tired that we could no longer walk.We decided that it was enough for the day! Fortunately we managed to discover a very good hotel which served great bengali food! After the fantastic dinner at hotel Monalisha we took a stroll through the town and discovered a sweet shop which is famous for its 'pantua' and 'langcha' made of pure ghee!
The next morning we set out to cover all the remaining spots.Although most of the temples are located in close proximity but the Madanmohan temple is located far away! However we stuck to our plan of covering everything by foot! On our way we found a kid (forgot his name) we asked him if he could take us to Madanmohan temple then we would give him Rs 10 and chocolates! He agreed at once! So we followed our quiet little guide on our long walk to the Madanmohan temple! The terracotta artwork here is truly exquisite.We went to the Monalisha hotel again for our lunch.We had bhat,dal,postor bora,rui posto,papad,chatni (posto is poppy seeds)what more we could have asked for! Bishnupur made a special place in our hearts because of the various posto dishes! After the lunch we visited the Dalmadal canon site,this canon is the evidence of the high class skills of the artisans under the 'Malla' rulers.We next visited the famous Chinnamasta temple and then the Mrinmoyee temple.There were rows of small stalls selling beautiful terracotta products,Dokra artefacts,conch shell jewelleries,clay idols etc near the Chinnamasta temple.There is also the famous Baluchuri saree for which Bishnupur is so popular.Really its a shopper's paradise! We bought the famous Bankura horse idol as a memento of our trip to Bishnupur.