A cottage in the woods

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After a train journey of 4 ½ hr we reached Bankura station. We booked a car to Mukutmanipur from the station at 600/- (50 KM). The Ambassador was old, seats were uncomfortable, shockers were at their last stage and the road was not at its best condition but the terrain was beautiful and we were enjoying the fresh air and clean wind gushing through the windows of the car. Most of the road was covered by forest at either side and we crossed a bridge upon river Dwarakeswar too.

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We reached Sonajhuri Nature Resort (accommodation at Mukutmanipur by forest dept.) in due time (one n half hr) and headed to the reception. The manager asked us to wait at the office as he arranged for the room; he offered us tea which were utterly needed after that long journey. 

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The property itself was at the lap of a small hill. There were ample greenery and the whole place was filled with such serenity that one feels refreshed instantly.

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By 11 am we were in our room. The weather was soothing but the room was cold, quite big with a specious bathroom too. The only flaw, it was damp. There were windows at 3 sides of the bed but sunlight was barely coming.

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There were sonajhuri plantations in front of our room as well as at the right side. Behind our room  the hill had formed a wall of stones and rubble.

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our cottage seen from above 

We freshened up and rushed to the dining room for lunch. Mostly thali system was followed there but they sometimes cook you some other items if the raw materials are available. Basically the food was fresh, homely Bengali meal at low price. Their chef was quiet good and I was amazed to learn that he is so young, hardly 19 years.

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One must try the Postor bora (poppy seeds tikka) over there as it is Bankura’s specialty. Dal fry was also very well prepared. During our lunch we spoke to Mr. Banamali (a hotel staff 09547775888) and he arranged a boat ride for us over Kangshabati river.

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We started from the forest bungalow just after 2 pm and after a 15 mins walk (1 KM) we reached the noukar ghat (jetty for the boats) and sailed at the river. We sailed towards the reservoir while the Mukutmanipur bridge dam over Kangshabati, at our right. After 30 mins of ride we reached Bonpukuria at the other bank of the river.

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There is a deer park on a distance of around 3KM from the bank. The lonely road to the deer park is covered by dense forest; there was a village and a school on the way. It was nice to have a glimpse of a little village of Bengal in the heart of a jungle. We came back from the park and floated back on the river.

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A boat ride to the middle of the huge water body almost gave us the feeling of being in the middle of ocean. We enjoyed the serene ocean-like beauty in the middle of the water body formed by the union of Kangsabati and Kumari River. There are some tiny rocky islands in the water which gets submerged during the rainy seasons.

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the dam is in the background

The entire length of the dam is 11 KM and we mostly covered the same length by our boat. This second largest earth dam of India was built with the sole purpose of providing irrigation facilities to agricultural land. The dam measures 38 meters in height with a lake spanning 86 Sq km. Thick virgin forest and verdant hillocks flanking the azure lake created a breathtaking view.

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The sun was setting down and we headed back to Sonajhuri. By the time we reached our room, the entire property was under the curtain of darkness. We didn’t turn on the lights, instead we took out the chairs and sat in the veranda. There were some dim lights inside the property showing the roads and stairs.

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darkness in front of our cottage

As time passed, mystic fog covered the whole area and the darkness became denser. It was a winter night and cold breeze were blowing through the trees and creating a fade, constant background music. The sky full of stars, crickets and fireflies accounted well their presence while I felt like a cave-man spending my night in an open jungle..

DSC01377.JPGNext morning after breakfast we decided to explore the large premises owned by the Forest Dept. We climbed the stairs in between the jungle to reach the hill top.

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The dam and the lake was seen from the hill top so was the whole green terrain surrounding us. Owing to its splendid spectacle we enjoyed the views of ethereal beauty of nature along with different species of trees, plants, flowers, butterflies and seasonal birds.

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We could listen to the insects & birds chirping in the silence. We sat there as thought of returning to our hectic city life faded and wishing never to return…

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