Whenever we think or say about the word “Canyon”, first, the name of Arizona, USA comes in our mind. Even in the geography book, we read the name of Arizona as an example of canyon. Some wanderlust also knows the name of Mahabaleswar.
But as I always say that our state – West Bengal is so blessed by the nature, it has a lot of hidden treasure in its natural treasury. Gangani (or Gongoni) is one of them. Where the Shilabati River flowing through a 70ft-deep gorge and the adjoining places taking the form of different shapes and figures because of erosion.
Located at Garhbeda village of Medinipur district, Gangani can be reached by various ways:
- Train to Garhbeta followed by cycle rickshaw
- Kolkata – NH6 – Bagnan – Uluberia – Kolaghat – Karagpur – NH60 – Godapiasal – Salboni– Garhbeta
- Kolkata – NH2 – Tarakeswar – Arambagh – Chandrakona Road – Garhbeta
I took the option 3. One fine morning, my friend Sumanta drove us to Gangani. It was a hot and humid sunny day of August but the sky was a bit dusky and due to the blow of scorching sun, almost nobody was there.
There is a local folklore that during the exile of Pandavas, Pandava prince Bheema slayed here the demon Bakasura who lived in this Canyon. Even a cave like structure is there but I could not understand how a big demon could live inside the small cave!!! May be this is a criteria to be demon that they can increase and decrease the size of their body whenever required!
Let’s keep the folklore aside and enjoy the natural beauty. Believe it or not, looking astonishingly my friend Shipra said “It is something similar to the sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora”. She was absolutely right. While we were looking at the “ruins” from far we notices the shapes of different animals created by the erosion. Suddenly we noticed that there is a stair case (constructed by the State Government) to go inside the canyon. We took the stair case.
We walked down and went inside the lanes-bi lanes of the “ruins”. As we were approaching, more structures were coming into view.
Suddenly we noticed a pagoda. “It is hard to believe that this is created by nature!!!” said by my friend Avra. It is really hard to believe that that the pagoda is a natural rock formation and not a man-made shrine.
The gorge was comprised of red soil but turns to yellow as it slopped down to bottom. The mellow sunlight made it golden. Jaisalmeer fort of Rajasthan is known as the “Golden Fort” after a Bengali novel and film “Sonar Kella” by the Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray, keeping that in mind I must say the canyon becomes “Golden Canyon” in mellow sunlight.
We stayed there for few more hours and went back as it is not safe to stay in Garhbeta after sunset because that place is a bit politically disturbed. But I can suggest that Gangani is a nice option for a perfect day out.