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Shri Ramakrishna Ashram, Neempith - Jamtola - Kaikhali - Jhorkhali

 

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Travelogue South Bengal, India @ Content Writer

Tour Of Neempith & Kaikhali

By Mr. Debashis Bose, Contributing Traveller

We, a group of seven senior citizens visited Neempith & Kaikhali in South Bengal. Here is a short description. We left Uttarpara by a local train on 28th November 07 at 07.08am for Bally. We went to Bally Halt to avail the next train for Sealdah. Then we moved to Sealdah South to avail the next train for Joynagar-Majilpur on the Laxmikantapur route. Just outside the Joynagar - Majilpur railway station, there were van rickshaws and we boarded two of them - reached Shri Ramakrishna Ashram, Neempith, at about 11.15 am.

Shri Ramakrishna Ashram, Neempith

Previously, we had spoken to the Secretary Maharajji over the telephone. We received a very warm welcome, almost as if we were well known to them. We were given a room to take rest and get fresh, offered tea and biscuit. After a while we were asked to have Prosad (lunch). At 2.30 pm, Secretary Maharajji was going for an official business to Jamtola by a Tata Sumo and asked us to accompany him. Maharajji got down at Jamtola after 17 km and the driver took us to Kaikhali, for another 14 km and reached there at 3.20 pm.

At Kaikhali, there is a
Tourist Lodge (Paryatakaabaas), made by the Tourism Deptt. of West Bengal Govt., but somehow, it is maintained and looked after by Shri Ramakrishna Ashram, Neempith. The caretaker Shri Joydeb Gayen, a thorough gentleman had instructions from Maharajji and was waiting for us. Four double-bed rooms were allotted to us.

 

About the lodge - it has been built on marshy land with the ground floor having many concrete pillars and may be used as a garage. The connecting road is about 8/10 feet high from the surrounding area, and as such, it is on the same level as the first floor. The entrance to the building is in the center of the first floor - there is a wide passage which ends up in the dining room and adjacent kitchen. There are five double bed rooms with attached bath on either side of the entrance with corridors on both in the front as well as in the rear. On the first floor, there is an open terrace, just on top of the dining room and kitchen. On the second floor, there are similar 10 rooms and finally one may go to the roof of the second floor, to have a wide view of Mother Nature - one river in front flows to the left to join another (river Matla), coming from rear and flowing to the south. Other than the rivers, there are ponds, trees, bushes, wetlands etc., no human habitat is visible, except a very little part of the nearby temple could be seen through the trees. The whole lodge including the rooms etc. are well maintained, clean and tidy. There is no electricity, but there are generators for lights from 5.30 to 9.30 pm. and thereafter hurricanes kept lighted in the inside corridor.

We had snacks and tea and then left for sightseeing. Here, also there is a  Shri Ramakrishna Ashram and close to it is a small 'kutia' where Swami Budhanandaji, founder of both the Shri Ramakrishna Ashrams at Neempith and Kaikhali, lived and meditated. Nearby, there is a school and a hostel for children from far away villages, students from nearby villages attend the school as day scholars. On the banks of the rivers, there are good paths made and maintained by the Ashram. There is a Research Center of Jadavpur University for research on electricity from unusual sources. Then we met three teachers and a few students and we exchanged good wishes etc.

Shri Ramakrishna Ashram, Kaikhali

We had a good meal and enjoyed calm & quiet surroundings with clear sky full of bright stars which seemed to be at a very close range. 29th Nov : We had bed-tea and then after morning duties, there was breakfast and tea.

We left by a small motor-boat, better known as 'Bhutbhuti', at 09.30 hrs, and after 50 minutes reached Jhorkhali, which is also connected with a road from Kolkata via Canning. Here, there is a Watch-tower approx. 50/60 feet high and provides an all round view of beautiful nature.

Watch tower, Jhorhkhali

Close by, there is Childrens' Park and a lodge maintained by the Sunderban Development Authority, for which booking is done at the Mayukh Bhaban, Salt Lake, Kolkata. This lodge is built on a number of wooden beams. We returned to Kaikhali lodge by 1200 hrs. and had a nice meal. In the afternoon, as usual, there was snacks and tea. We went on a stroll to enjoy nature. All our meals were served on time. This was our second and last night at Kaikhali.

30th Nov : Once again, we enjoyed the sun-rise. Bed tea and breakfast were in time. The same driver came with the same vehicle, with large bags of potatoes, cabbages, papayas and other green vegetables and kerosene for the generator, as 60 persons from Barddhamaan were expected that day as guests. We left for Neempith at 09.55 hrs with sweet memories.

Shri Shri Saroda Ashram, Neempith

On arrival at Neempith, swamiji instructed the driver to take us to a few places to see some of the activities of the Ashram. We saw a school for boys, school and ashram for girls, soil testing center, cultivation and training center of fancy colored fishes for aquariums, training center for handicrafts etc. Here, at Neempith, Swamiji had made arrangements for a  Bank, Post office etc. The activities of the ashram are huge and manifold. We had prosad, met the Swamijis and others to bid good-bye and left by van-rickshaws for the railway station. Just outside the station, there are a few sweetmeat shops, and each of us purchased a special sweet of this locality, known as 'Joynagar-er moya'. So, that was the end of our trip and we headed to our respective "Homes, Sweet Homes".

Here is the address for contact and booking :-

Rev. Swami Sodanandaji Maharaj, Secretary, Shri Ramakrishna Ashram,
Post Office NEEMPITH ASHRAM, Dist.:- South 24 paraganas, West Bengal. PIN 743 338. Phone 0321 8226001

About Contributing Traveller: Mr. Debashis Bose is a 72 year old retired Railway employee whose hobbies include travelling & tourism, photography and amateur radio. He is a nature lover and prefers to visit little known places as opposed to big cities with the aim of enjoying nature in abundance. Before going on his regular tours with family and friends, Debashis spends time in studying different places and collecting information about them. On returning from the visit, he prepares a travelogue, with sketch map & photos, so that he can inspire others to visit these places and enjoy nature. vu2dba@gmail.com

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