Visiting a part of History – Maithon Dam

  • It was one of those hot and humid days in the state of West Bengal… in a town called Asansol, made famous by IISCO’s steel plant and various mining companies in the vicinity. Also made famous by a humorist poet called Hullar Muradabadi…

I was there on vacation, visiting in-laws and my cousins who are settled there. Having decided to take a breather from the hectic travel schedule of the past weeks, I was relaxing and decided to do the touristy bit towards the fag end of the trip. Only one outing in the entire 10-12 odd days I was there… that does not include the countless sessions in the Asansol Club’s Bar.

The decision to go to Maithon was made on a whim… we had nothing to do and it was a Sunday… usually a half day in most of the trading establishments… but due to the onslaught of the summer season, my elder brother was tied up at his showroom for longer than usual. Finally made it home by about 6 in the evening and decided to push for Maithon by about 6:30.

There are two ways to reach Maithon from Asansol. One is to pass through a town called Neeamatpur and the second is from the Ushagram side, where you hit the National Highway, a Toll Road, and take a left to go towards Chirkunda on the Bihar and West Bengal border.

Taking the toll road is a slightly expensive option with you having to pay a toll of INR 175 for a two way trip and you only travel on the highway for about 15 odd minutes as you have to take the right turn once you hit the border. There is a big signboard which shows you the way for the Dam.

Since we were closer to Neeamatpur than Ushagram, which was on the other end of the town, we decided to pass through Neeamatpur on the GT Karnal road. Enroute, we got to see the United Spirits Brewery, which produces the Signature Brand of Whiskies.

Right in its neighborhood of the brewery is a railway crossing which was closed for a train passage. And as is the norm in India, at any level crossing, you would have impatient people thronging the gates from both the sides… no respect or thoughtfulness of people from the other direction… always a “Me First” attitude… this results in a traffic jam and all movement comes to a stand still.

This logjam is cleared in about 15-20 minutes and we start rolling. Pretty soon we are on a road cluttered with traffic. Rickshaws, Cycles, Motorbikes, Pedestrians and trucks and buses and cars and throw in a whole lot of stray dogs and cattle. That pretty much sums up the roads of Neeamatpur. Took some time to get through all of that and then it was a state highway kind of road which we arrived upon after taking the left turn post Neeamatpur. You cannot miss that turn as it has a huuuuuuuuge sign board which points you to the Chitaranjan Locomotive Factory.

That turn took us into a small town, unnamed in this post as my memory fails me… that bike accident surely must have shorted the memory chip pretty good ;-)

Well that road then takes you to the Toll Road mentioned above… minus you having to pay the toll… abut 5 more minutes of travelling and we reach the border… Chirkunda in Bihar on the other side and West Bengal on this side…. Unnoticeably, we slip into Laalu Bhaiya’s State and then 5 more minutes pass, and a sign comes up announcing that for Maithon, we gotta go right… We take the right and a couple of minutes later, enter the township of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). A huge and sprawling town with all amenities like a shopping centre, hospital, school, cinema hall, club, and the DVC offices…

Another 10 minutes of driving sees us parking our car on one end of the dam. The road is lined with eating joints left and right…

Getting off the car results us in being thronged by Ice Cream vendors and Toy sellers as we had two kids along with us… The whole feel of the place was touristy, rather than a strategic point. This feeling was only betrayed by the signs which one could see, which prohibited photgraphy and the presence of the gun toting CRPF Jawans posted on the extremities of the dam.

Although, you can drive over the structure itself, we prefered to take a walk and enjoy the cool evening breeze. while walking, we encountered another jawan asking us not to click any snaps when he saw the camera slung around my nexk. showed him that we hadn’t done anything like that, he was satisfied and walked on down the dam.

Being dark, we could not see much on the reservoir side, which was brimming with water. But the other side of the dam was a totally different story altogether… huge flood lamps had been erected and the entire area after the sluice gates was lighted up. We could see small puddles of accumulated water but it was dry for the maximum part of it. However, a small opening had been created to let off some water and that was it. Nothing but a big letdown. I had expected to see a huge display of the force of water and Man’s ability to harness all that energy… but what do I get ??? A stream… that too like a dry, shrivelled up river.

After this not so impressive display, we decided to split up. My brother and the rest of the family would meet me on the other side and I would get the car to the parking lot on the other side for some refreshments. walked all the way down to get the car and drove it over the dam, parked it in the parking lot and got off. Then we came across a guy who was selling “Jhaal Muri”… Mmmm… yummy I say and order some. But again, a big let down… it was more like having a bastardized version of Mumbai Ki Bhelpuri…

After this, since it was pretty late, we decided to drive back and drove back over the dam to the other side. Here, I saw a dedication stone, which would have been done to please the minister, who decided to stop by for a visit.

I will not go into the history of the dam as the snap above conveys it in a short, succint manner. The original dedication stone, which I missed clicking, was on the other side, hidden from everyone’s view behind an ugly structure… sad but true.

Post this snap, we drove back… a not so memorable experience but good enough to refresh the memory of the past times we had come here and had a whole lot of fun…

16 Comments

  • Nandan says:

    Dude – Thanks for covering this. I have been to this place and since I was there during the day, the views were much better. It was during Monsoon so lots of water as well. There is a temple and one can take long walks and do nothing kinds.

    My sister stays at Dhanbad so we went there. That was in 2004.

  • Nandan says:

    And I think this should be in ‘Jharkhand’ and not WB.

  • bikerdude says:

    Nandan,

    The trip started in WB, and then proceeded to Bihar… that why the start is from WB… but we do enter Bihar… once we cross the border.

  • backpakker says:

    interesting ..to have a dedication to a dam..:) never been that side of india except of course north east..have always been put off by kolkatta

    Lakshmi

  • manish khamesra says:

    Thanks for introducing Maithon dam to us, that seems more like a picnic spot from the post.

  • bikerdude says:

    Manish, it has been made into one… Indian entrepreneurship at its best I guess ;-)

    The whole place is one big picnic spot… food stalls lining up 300 mtrs on both the sides…the only area left alone is the dam structure…

    Backpakker – Kolkatta, with its sultry weather, narrow streets, throngs of people and the lackadaisical attitude is not everyone’s cup of tea… but once you get beneath the surface, the place has its own charm… but that is my opinion and perception…

  • Arnab Mukherjee says:

    I have been to Maithon Dam during my childhood days (Grade 8th) for a picnic session. Smoked my first cig. there however that CISF jawan told me not to smoke because its addictive. You brought my childhood memories back. We spent the whole day and on our way back to Sindri, our bus stopped by a Kali Temple (dont remember where it was…)

  • bikerdude says:

    Arnab, glad to have been able to jog your memory cells… good ones I hope.

    There is a Kali temple about 5-10 kms away on the way back… through a mountainish kind of road… I also don’t remember the name of the place but it sure was in the middle of the road…

  • Parikshit Sinha says:

    good to read your experiences. but must say summers are the worst time to go there. I have grown up in that place, spent 15 years of my life there and feel that winters are the best time to go to Maithon. there is only a slight nip in the air, the gardens around the dam are in full bloom (you might have missed the DVC Dam division gardens since you went there after dark). the sun in dec-jan is just right and a boating in the river is heavenly.

    Those near maithon- in Dhanbad, Durgapur or kolkata can even plan a picnic. :)

  • Parikshit Sinha says:

    Oh by the way- the right bank of Maithon is in Jahrkhand, while the left bank is in WB. The Kali temple that you guys are referring is the Kalyaneshwari temple, located on the left banks of Maithon, approx. 5 kms from the DVC township and 10-15 kms from Asansol.

    The temple, now maintained by the WB govt and DVC jointly, dates back to the era of Nawab sirajudullah-the Nawab of Bengal (circa 1750 AD)

    All you guys who want any info on Maithon can write back to me at: psinha1983@gmail.com

  • krishan singh says:

    I am associated with this place since childhood…..in initail days of school we use to go for picnics , it was all fun. Today also whenever i visit my parents we go to Kalyaniswari Temple which is 4-5 kms from the dam.

    Good place to visit …Today when i am working at Indore we always look for such place where we can go and relax with friends..Maithin is sizzling in that case.

  • Siddhartha says:

    Need to know the name and contact address of the rest house located in an island belonging to the Maithan Dam.

  • KOUSTUV says:

    wanna know more about Maithon…….plz contact me i m a local citizen of maithon……….dis is ma birthplace…………..
    cutylovesjil25@gmail.com

  • Hello This is Bishnu From Sudamdih Dhanbad,
    Humlogon ka Favourite Picnic Spot Maithan hi tha, aur wahan pe up Budhe baba ka Panipuri subsey famous hai, main abhi Assam me rehta hoon, Par Dhanbad ki bahut Yaad satati hai…………

    Ek din tha, jub doston ke saath milna hansna-khelna, party manane me hi time bitta tha,
    aur aaj time bitta hai kagaj ke chand tukde kamane me……….

    If anyone from Dhanbad and nearby location please be in touch yaar, my email id is : bishnu_dhn@rediffmail.com

  • The main tourist spot in maithon is maithon dam and famous maa kalyaneswari mandir is just walking distance. Maithon dam situated on barakar river. This dam was specially designed for flood control and generates electric power. There is an underground power station. Panchet dam is around 20km from maa kalyaneswari lodge.Now a days there is a sanke park just go down from panchet dam.
    Maa kalyaneswari temple is one of the most holly sights near maithon. Located at the bank of barakar river .This temple is often known for its legends.while the original temple existed from a time which is unknown,but the recent structure was built near 500 B.C old of Shakti worship. According to legend, human sacrifices were offered at the Kalyaneshwari temple. It is believed by the local people that Goddess Kalyaneshwari fulfils the wishes of childless women.maa kalyaneswari mainly kali mandir. Its a good place to travel with friends. The silent river says its all. You can do little bit of boating also in the river.

  • Maithon dam is a very popular picnic spot and tourist place. Many of tourist come here and spend there two or three days here.many other place to see like baranti dam, Panchet dam,Ramnagar colliery.
    Panchet dam is built across the Damodar River in Dhanbad Districts Panchet area in Jharkhand. Inaugurated in 1959, Panchet dam is the fourth of the 4 multi-purpose dams that fall under the first phase of Damodar Valley Corporation.

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