After my move to Kolkata in 2007, my first road trip in West Bengal was between 23rd – 26th January, 2009. Netaji’s Birthday on the 23rd clubbed with the Republic Day holiday on 26th gave us a good 4 days for the trip to Tarapith and Shantiniketan. After taking a relaxed break on the 23rd, dad, my uncle and me started our trip on the 24th and were back on 25th night. So practically this was a 2 day trip.
Tarapith is amongst one of the 51 Shakti Pith of Goddess Kali and Shantiniketan is Kabiguru Rabindra Nath Tagore’s University and his home for many years of his life. Tarapith is in Rampurhat district while Shantiniketan is in Bolpur district. The distinct feature of this area is the red sand.
Since moved to Kolkata from Delhi in 2007, my first major long distance drive was covering Tarapith (in Rampurhat) and Shantiniketan (in Bolpur). And no wonder it was a wonderful one.
Day 1- Tarapith and Bakreshwar
Day 2-Shantiniketan and back
Day 1 Tarapith and Bakreshwar
Places to visit in Tarapith:
Major attractions in Bakreshwar are:
The various Hot water Springs such as:
Apart from them the Bakreshwar River through the town and the various Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ma Kali.
For more information, one can refer to the travel and descriptions in wiki:
What I knew before visiting Tarapith was about the well know tantric temple and its adjoining cremation grounds. The tantric Hindu temple is dedicated to goddess Tara, and also as one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, the chief temples of the goddess.
Bakreshwar as place is known for where lord Shiva used to worship. This place is again famous as one of the 51 Shakti Peeths where there is a temple dedicated to Adi Shakti. Amongst these, the place is famous for the various hot water springs present there.
We reached Tarapith around 9:00 AM in the morning. The first target was to check in to a hotel and get fresh, before we can get into the Tantrik temple. We found one, and booked in a room for just 4 hours, got fresh. We parked the vehicle in the hotel only. My uncle had already booked a purohit in advance who could perform the rituals for us. He called him up, and we had reached the temple before 12’O clock. We were on time. The Tantrik temple of Tarapith is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths across India, Bangladesh and Pakistan and is supposed to be a great pilgrimage place to worship. There is normally a huge rush in the temple and a long queue, but the purohit normally takes all the responsibilities and they will make your way through. It took around 2 hrs to complete the proceedings in the temple.
Once done we were back to the hotel had our lunch there only and took an hour of rest or so before starting for Bakreshwar.
We started for Bakreshwar around 1:30 PM in the afternoon, were well on course, but got a flat tyre somewhere in SH 7. We need to replace it with the spare tyre and then drive slowly till we found a tyre repair another 10 KM travel. We reached Bakreshwar around 4:30 PM. The roads within Bakreshwar are very narrow to drive. Luckily we got a place to park the car. From there on we started for the various places walking only. The most amazing was off course the Agni Kunda which is the natural hot water spring. It was evening and almost dark and we could clearly see the steam coming out of the water. Look around the things and there seemed to be lot of studies going on in Bakreshwar related to this hot water spring. We then moved on to cover the Bhairav Kunda, the Agni Kunda, the Khar Kunda, the Dudh kunda and the Surya kunda. All these are separate parts of the hot water spring with varied temperature. We off course could not touch and feel, but the Agni kunda is the one which prevails all with the amount of steam coming out and supposed to be the hottest (around 80 degrees). Dudh kunda is more of with dull colored hot water. After visiting the Kunda, we visited the numerous temples around. They are all good and worth visiting.
After completing the visits to various places in Bakreshwar, it was almost around 7:30 PM and we started searching for a hotel room. However because of poush mela in Shantiniketan, tourism was on peak, and we could not find one in Bakreshwar. A gentleman suggested us to go back to Siuri and there will be plenty of options available there. It’s around 23 KM through SH 6/SH 7 and we covered it in around 45 minutes. Found a good hotel. They also arranged a place to park the car. And we had a nice sleep and were prepared for Shantiniketan the next day.