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Next weekend you can be at ... Bangriposi

Bangriposi, a tribal hamlet nestled in the Thakurani range of hills in Orissa, offers the perfect marriage of scenery and serenity. Situated 228km from Calcutta, this quaint destination off NH6 is far from the cityís frenzy and a welcome abode in the solace of nature. Those who long for hills, jungles and waterfalls cannot afford to miss the beautiful daughter of the hills (thatís what Bangriposi means in Oriya).

Bangriposi can be easily reached by road or rail. There are buses from Esplanade to Keonjhar in the afternoons and late evenings that cross Bangriposi around five hours after departure. One can also hop on to buses heading for Baripada, which take a turn at Bombay Chowki, 14km from Bangriposi. Trekkers are available from here to Bangriposi.

If you are travelling by train, get off at Balasore and take a trekker to Bangriposi, 110km away. By road, take Bombay Road (NH6) and drive straight, past Kolaghat, Kharagpur, the Baharagora checkpost and Jamsola. The drive is pleasant, especially on a winter morning, with stopovers at roadside dhabas selling mouth-watering fare.

The main attraction of Bangriposi is its serenity. For the more adventurous, thereís rock-climbing, a picnic by the fabled Buribalam waterfall (Bagha Jatin fought the British alongside this river) and a visit to the Kanak Devi shrine in the hills. A dayís trip to the Kuliana village 7km away promises a satisfying encounter with the traditional folk-art, dhokra.

There are a number of picturesque trekking and walking trails in the vicinity, especially those that start at the foothills of the Thakurani hills. One can also stroll midway up the hill and enjoy a panoramic view of the rocky terrain.

For staying, Hotel Bangriposi is a good option. It is an earthy cottage, the last resort before the hills start. Savour their chicken curry and dimpora and enjoy a moonlit night on the portico amid the distant drumming of the madol and the heady fragrance of mahua (local brew).

Plan your trip over a weekend to visit the local haat and get a taste of haariya (fermented local rice wine). The place is also well-known for its honey brought down by woodcutters from the forest in the hills.

Various migratory birds visit Bangriposi in winter, making it an ideal destination for birdwatchers and those interested in wildlife photography. Shutterbugs can delight in the hilly landscape, the trickling waterfall, the Buribalam river and the local Santhals.

Tourist destinations like Puri, Chandipur, Gopalpur-on-sea and Chilika are easily accessible from Bangriposi.


Going

Buses leave from Press Club (on Red Road) in the afternoon for Baripada and from Babughat in the evenings for Keonjhar. The former will take you till Bombay Chowki, from where you can take a trekker to Bangriposi (14 km). The latter will drop you in front of Hotel Bangriposi and OTDCís Panthasala. By train, get down at Balasore and take a trekker to Bangriposi. By road, keep to NH6 without taking any turns.

Staying

Hotel Bangriposi is a good option. Booking at 4B Pratapaditya Road, Rashbehari, Sonia Apartment, Flat-4A, 4th floor, Calcutta-26. Phone: 9831309512. Orissa Tourism Development Corporationís Panthasala is another option.

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