Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend at GarhPanchkot (Garh Panchokot)

To enjoy a week end in a calm and quiet place with a sprinkle of history amidst abundant natural beauty, Garh Panchkot (or Gar panchkot) should be the option.

Located in the foot hill of Panchkot (i.e., Panchet), Garpanchkot is the boundary of Bengal (Burdwan District) and Jharkhand, can be reached by car from Asansole (86 km), Durgapur (133 km), Kolkata (295 km). The nearest city is Asansol.

This picturesque place, surrounded by small forest and hills, carries the rich history of ancient Bengali architecture ruined by Maratha ‘Bargi’.

Panchkot was a part of an ancient East Indian kingdom known as Rajchakla Panchkot, locally known as Panchet. Panchkot Giri has its references in the Puranas also. The place was then known as Sekhar bhum from which the founder king of Singh Deo Dynasty Damodar Sekhar derived his name. Damodar Sekhar, established Panchkot Raj probably during early 90 AD with the help of Sardars of Jhalda and expanded his kingdom over several other parganas. To give recognition to the main five (panch) clans (khunt) of the locals the kingdom assumed the name Panchkot.

The kingdom was probably a part of old ‘Tilakampa’ Kingdom. The ruins of Telkupi, the said capital of Tilakampa (submerged) went under water after the construction of Panchet Dam.

A Maratha cavalry was sent by Bhosle who entered Bengal through Panchet and started looting the countryside. These Maratha men came to be known as “Bargi’s”. For about 10 years they looted and plundered Bengal. It ended in the year 1751 after a settlement was reached between the Nawab of Bengal and Maratha King. During one of these encounters Garh Panckot was attacked by the “Bargi” and having defeated the King’s guards they destroyed it after looting and plundering the palace. It is believed that all the 17 wives of the king committed suicide in a nearby well during the attack. Since then this place lies in ruins.