The last weekend of February begins tomorrow. It’s the perfect opportunity to run away from city life and spend some quiet time. If it sounds tempting, then you’ll be happy to know that there’s a place less than 300 km from Kolkata that will welcome you with fresh greenery, moist breeze, and complete silence – Doladanga in Purulia. In the quaint village of Doladanga in the Manbazar Tehsil sits Doladanga Backpackers’ Camp, on the bank of the Kangsabati lake. A 6-hour road trip through Bankura to Purulia will take you to this village close to Jharkhand; and, you’ll arrive in a place where sounds and time stand still, as you stay in mud huts, go boating, and walk through beach forests.
Let’s start from the beginning, i.e. booking your stay at Doladanga in Purulia.
You have to contact the organising team, IZIFISO a call, and if the cottages and tents are available, you are good to go. You can book your stay in the Doladanga mud cottages in the backpackers’ campsite, or live in tents there. The prices for the two are Rs. 1300 and Rs. 1200, respectively.
Travel to Doladanga in a private car.
Most the roads along the way are maintained by PWD, but after Manbazar, the roads become extremely difficult. These narrow, unpaved, almost undefined roads run through forests and villages and have potholes and bumps. Another option is to reach Manbazar by bus or any public transport, and then have a pickup to the campsite, arranged by IZIFISO. But having a private car will give you the freedom to travel around at your own pace. And, once you reach, you can also explore the surroundings in your car.
It will take 6 hours to reach Doladanga from Kolkata via Durgapur. Of course, you’ll need to stop for snacks and meal breaks, which will increase the time. It’s best if you have more than one person with a driving licence because driving for six or more hours alone can be tiresome. After Manbazar, stay in touch with your point of contact after Manbazar, as Google map may not be able to show you the exact location through the villages and forests.
The location offers beautiful mud huts with thatched roofs.
The huts are designed to give you the experience of a village stay, while you enjoy the comfort of electricity and a proper “English” bathroom. You’ll have to ask for water, though, and there will be a constant supply. Every hut has a king-size bed. You fall asleep caressed by the soft breeze, and wake up to the view of the jheel.
Fill up on rustic, delicious food, and homely hospitality during your stay.
You’ll be taken care of by local people in charge of the campsite and its guests. They cook you breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, and cater to your occasional need for tea. They can also arrange for a bonfire at night if you want. The people taking care of you are welcoming towards the ways of the city-people, and will not judge you for drinking and having fun. But remember that shops for food and drinks are not available nearby. So, anything fancy has to be brought by you.
The caretakers will take you around to explore Doladanga.
They will take you on boat rides to a small forested island in the middle of the lake, guide you to the nearby deer park where you can feed the deer from the other side of barricades, and show you the way to the ghat where you can take a bath in the crystal clear waters. Close to Doladanga in Purulia lies Mukutmonipur, and you can take a ferry ride there. Or, you can simply visit the ferry ghat and watch all the activities and the boats floating by. Other places to visit nearby are Mathaburu Hills of Ayodhya, Jhilimili, Bishnupur, and Garpanchkot; but, they are all more than 50 km away, except Mukutmonipur.
At Doladanga, you can simply relax and recharge.
Not every trip needs to be full of activities, nor does it have to be about luxury. Doladanga is a place that will give you the chance to have an intimate experience with Nature. You can let yourself calm down, as you breathe in fresh air and let yourself be surrounded by a kind of silence that you have never experienced in the city. You can also get to know the locals, and, if you’re lucky, you may even get to enjoy a performance by Baul singers if they are in the village.
The picturesque and secluded Doladanga is a lovely weekend getaway near Kolkata, perfect for a day in tranquillity. Away from their nine-to-nine jobs and stressful thoughts about loans, Doladanga offers the hawabodol that the busy millennials need, to unclench, sip some beer, and breathe.