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Garpanchkot, Purulia Overview

Located in the foothills of the Panchet Hills in Purulia, Garpanchkot is ruined fort that is lately turning out to be a popular tourist attraction in the area. Boasting of utter peace and tranquility, Garpanchkot reverberates with scenic beauty in the backdrop of the mighty hills. Other than the fort, there is also a temple at the top of the hill that is another major tourist attraction. Known to be an offbeat place, the place is especially preferred by nature lovers, wanderers and photography enthusiasts, owing to its bounteous natural beauty.

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History of Garpanchkot

Garpanchkot has a significant yet chilling history. It is known that in the past, in around 1740, the Nawab of Bengal challenged Alivardi Khan to a battle. But due to inefficiency and some bad luck, he soon started losing the battle. To stay in the war, he had to seek help from the Maratha Rulers of Nagpur. 

Although the Maratha cavalry was set, they further started looting and plundering the small town. This continued on for around 10 years. It was during this time that the fort was attacked by the Maratha army and destroyed and plundered the palace. To escape the attack, 17 wives of the king jumped in the well nearby and committed suicide. The palace has been left deserted and in ruins ever since.

Architecture of Garpanchkot: The Fort

The fort at Garpanchkot was built using both natural and man made resources. For the protection of the residents and to make the fort inaccessible to trespassers, there was a wide moat built before the entrance which could only be crossed in a boat. There was no other entrance to the fort. Besides, the palace was protected by towering stone walls. 

A little higher up on the hills were the Guard’s Quarters which looked liked a miniature fort. Once inside, there are long narrow spaces with vents that flank the entrance. These were used to guard the plains outside. In the centre is the famous temple presided over by Lord Rama. There are also other structures that include a hollow lion’s head’s sculpture to signify strength.
Garpanchkot
Source

Places of Attraction at Garpanchkot

  1. Temples

    The temples in Garpanchkot are characteristically constructed depending on the God or Goddess enshrining them. The ones made in Bishnupuri style using stone blocks are dedicated to Lord Krishna. And the ones made with stones were dedicated to Goddess Kali. The most popular one is right in the centre, dedicated to Lord Rama.
  2. Guard’s Quarters

    The section allotted to the guards is built on a slightly higher region and has now become a tourist attraction. The quarters although in a ruined state now, were once a significant part of the formidable fort.
  3. Moat

    The moat that was originally used to protect the fort has now been transformed into a pond that is cut by a road. In the olden days, the moat was the only entrance to the fort that could be crossed in a boat.
    Lake at Garpanchkot
    Source
  4. Rani Mahal

    Although now, the palace lies in ruins but it was expected to be a massive structure in the past as it housed the 17 queens of the king. The Rani Mahal was built with a different material called ‘Choon Surki’. 

Best Time to Visit

Garpanchkot experiences tropical climate i.e. hot summers and cold winters. The monsoons are considered the best time to visit the place as the rains make the greenery glow brighter and fills up the pond as well. However, you should avoid the months between April and July as they are super hot and humid.

How to Reach

If you are coming from the Asansol route, take a left from Asansol towards the road leading to Raghunathpur. After you reach Satbari station, take the ‘kucha raasta’ (mud path) to reach the destination. The nearest railway station is Kumardubi before Howrah. And the nearest airport line is in Kolkata.

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