Belpahari: Anecdote of a rustic journey


Exact rumination of memory certainly becomes arduous to me in most of the occasions. But, it didn’t grope to recollect the past while I paused by the hut of Kankrajhore village in a late afternoon. Definitely it was the residence of Gopinath Mahato where we five wayfarers spent three delightful days at the commencement of youth. The company of such a winsome personality like Mahato was an incredible experience to us. This time, during the weekend trip to Belpahari after a long span was the most blissful moment to me. 

The prime planning of this visit with my family was to explore some tribal settlements of the amazing terrain. Belpahari was the choice for lodging as all the basic facilities are available to a tourist. First day morning, just after leaving Belpahari, the driving approached along main road toward ‘Laljaal Cave’ (approx. 20 km from Belpahari) – an attractive sightseeing spot. 

Located on a hillock, the surrounding of the ancient cave is quite impressive. Then, the journey through thickly wooded ‘Shaal’ forest range up to Bhulaveda was outstanding and from there, our car followed the forest trail of other direction. Abundance of verdant foliage changed the landscape immediately.

On the way, crossing few dry ditches, we arrived at Phulgeria village of ‘Santhal’ and ‘Orao’ communities. Observing their typical household activities and short chatting with them were really entertaining. Interestingly, those folk were also curious as well to watch our activities. Visit to Birgi and Dangardiha villages were also remarkable to me. Whipping up red dirt, the route then led along bit uphill through mixed deciduous forest zone.

Gradually, we reached on a vantage point, from where a bluish outline of Dalma Hill appeared in distance. The car turned toward north to get another tribal colony named Daldali. The dense tree-line on both sides of the trail took us to look at a wide open mustard plot, what made an excellent contrast against dark green backdrop.

The clustered dwellings set on a side of the field with few ‘Kusum’ trees stood impeccably against deep blue sky. The maroon hue of the leaves expressed brilliantly indicates the approach of spring season. Here, the wonderful artistry of painting on mud wall of the huts made us overwhelmed. The usage of some major symbols as a part of wall painting depicts mainly their keen affection to nature. As mid January is the time of new harvesting, so the mud walls are refreshed by touch of new artwork. A stretch of up and down, crisscross  of light and shadow on wild track often covered by carpet of dry leaves followed gently down slope toward Telighana village.

We took a walking path to enter and passed a handsome time there. The cultural events, festivals, diverse rituals, lifestyle  – all these were the topic of gossiping with those simple hearted folk. It is really difficult for us  to realize their calm, unhurried life and hard struggle for livelihood. Agricultural practice is their key earning and they strive in fact to lead the simplest life as they can.

The most surprising and unexpected incident we came across on the way from Telighana village to Kankrajhore. No such interesting wildlife except Indian Peafowl was sighted throughout the safari till then.

The dirt track beyond the last settlement turned slightly left from a junction and with an utter surprise, I saw an Indian Wolf in moderate distance looked straight ahead to us. The car stopped almost silently just after the bend, I got down immediately to look for that, but my endeavor went in vain as expectation as the animal was already vanished inside the roadside jungle.

By now, it was afternoon to arrive the Kankrajhore village for what I opted this trip. We stopped there for a while and exchanged some information with local people regarding our favourite Gopinath Mahato. From there, the driving followed along concrete road crossing tribal villages and pristine landscape stretched to Chakadoba (aprox. 15 km from Kankrajhore).

By then, evening approached soon on the way while returned to Belpaharai and night safari through the dark roadside forest was enjoying too.

Second day was scheduled for other tribal settlements adjacent to Khandarani Lake.

The picturesque spot is not so far from Belpahari (arox. 9 km), but getting there through the unspoiled wilderness was pretty awesome one.

Surrounded by vibrant greenery and serene ambience, Khandarani is a worth visit to a tourist. We explored beyond the spot to Ukhuldoba and the daylong outing ended accompanied by an unexpected afternoon storm for a short spell.

The strange sound through dry ‘Shaal’ forest and random scattering of glow-worms without any direction seemed unearthly. Silently, i quoted Confucius: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”.


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