West Bengal (PART-XV)
Garh Panchakot was the seat of the Panchakot Raj during the 18th century. The palace now in ruins was destroyed by Maratha army under Bhaskar Pandit. Garh Panchakot is surrounded by Panchakot hill which is situated in the north eastern part of Purulia. It is 2200 ft high and is covered with dense forests of mahua, palash and sal trees. The ruins of the Panchakot Palace are a silent testimony to the Bargi attack during the 18th century. Two temples exist in this area. The one on the western side is in a broken state. The other which is centrally located still stands with its intricate terracota designs of duck, creepers, dancing lady etc. Garh Panchakot is gaining popularity as a weekend getaway.
The Rekh Deul or Temple at Telkupi is the lone survivor of a group of 22 temples. The temples built by the Jains between 9th-11th centuries are of Rekh style. Mostly unknown to the outside world these temples are made up of stone or terracota bricks.
Joychandi Hill is a hill near Raghunathpur. It is a dormant volcano and is ideal for rock climbing training. Internationally acclaimed film maker Satyajit Ray shot parts of his famous film "Hirak Rajar Deshe" in this region.
Cheliama is considered as one of the most popular destinations in Purulia. It has a rich history and is also known as a paradise for historians and archaeologists. The village has remnants of civilization in the region dating to the 17th century. Temples around the village are good example of the architecture, artistry and culture of their eras; and this is seen in the figurines and carvings in these temples. Apart from this, the renowned Radha-Govinda Temple in Cheliama attracts many tourists.
Saheb Bandh is a 50 acre lake in Purulia, that is known to have been constructed in the mid of 19th century. It is said this water body was dug by convicts, at the instigation of Colonel Tikley, during the British Raj. This process was started in the year 1843 and took five years for it to be completed. Now, Saheb Bandh is also considered as a home for migratory birds. During the migratory season, birds fly from Baluchistan, Siberia and several places in Europe, to this place. Thus, for local birdwatchers, Saheb Bandh is a popular retreat.
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