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Maithon, a rare combination of technology and natural beauty

7 September, 2020 22:58:33
Maithon, a rare combination of technology and natural beauty

The bare facts about Maithon are that it is a town on the West Bengal-Jharkhand border, and that it is literally split in two between the two states, across Dhanbad and Bardhaman districts, to be precise. While the township and reservoir are largely in Jharkhand, the hydel power project is in West Bengal. The other unique aspect of Maithon is that it is one of the rare locations to accommodate a hydel plant, a thermal plant, and a gas plant.

A view of Sabuj Dweep

As always, however, in order to truly appreciate the beauty of a particular destination, you need to step beyond the bare facts. 

The reservoir created by the Damodar Valley Corporation’s hydel power project is one of the largest in India, and its breath-taking beauty has made Maithon an extremely popular picnic spot and weekend getaway. There are also a couple of Flower Parks nearby, justifiably famed for their magnificent display of numerous floral species.

Calmness

According to one school of thought, Maithon got its name from ‘Maikasthan’ or ‘maayersthan’ in Bengali,a phrase that translates into ‘mother’s abode’in honour of the centuries-old Kalyaneshwari temple, built by the king of Barakar in the 16th century. The temple is a little over 2 km from the dam, in the West Bengal part of Maithon, and is very crowded at certain times of the year. As a rule, it is best visited very early in the morning or very late at night if you wish to avoid crowds, particularly during weekends.

Kalyaneshwari Temple

 

Of course, there are many other attractions in the area apart from the temple. The good news is that the limited radius within which these attractions are situated makes it possible to view most of them on foot. The slightly less good news is that owing to security reasons, many of these spots prohibit photography, a rule that is fairly strictly enforced.

Once you have had your fill of the dam, take in the Deer Park, bang on the border of the two states, and surrounded by streams flowing from the dam, and the dam itself. 

Maithon Dam

 

Then there is the famous Chammach Pahar or Spoon Island, called Sabuj Dweep in Bengali. Situated on the reservoir itself, the island literally looks like an inverted spoon, and is accessible courtesy government-operated boating services. Completely free of human habitation, the island is home to several animal species, which is why visitors are advised not to go in too deep.

Nature at its best

Of course, for those who can obtain permission, the Maithon Hydel Power Plant, which was independent India’s first, is a must visit. Also described as Asia’s first underground hydel power plant, the spot is normally off-limits to casual visitors.  

WBTDCL's Muktadhara Tourism Property at Maithon

Similarly, the thermal power plant nearby, built by the Tatas, is also closed to visitors, but you may try and get permission from the management.

 How to get there 
Honestly, it is best to drive down to Asansol from Kolkata, a distance of roughly 220 km, and from there a further 30 km to Maithon. You could also take a bus from Kolkata to Dhanbad and get off en route at the Maithon bypass, from where you can take an auto to the dam area. There are no major bus stations in Maithon, but there are regular bus services from Asansol, including a minibus service. 

You could also, of course, take a train to Asansol from Kolkata. The nearest airport is Bhagwan Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, approximately 190 km from Maithon. However, from all accounts, it is best to make your way to Maithon from Kolkata. 

 Where to stay 
There are quite a few places to stay, including guest houses run by the Damodar Valley Corporation
The West Bengal government runs the WBTDC MUKTADHARA TOURISM PROPERTY earlier Maithon Tourist Lodge, located between Mazumdar Nivas and Left Bank Colony. Address: WBTDC Maithan Tourist Lodge, P.O. Kalyaneswari, Dist: Bardhaman, Pin 713369. The Tourism property has been thoroughly sanitised as per Government protocol and all safety measures are being taken for the guests. 

For further details contact 
West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
Udayachal Tourist Lodge
DG Block (1st floor), Sec II, Salt Lake,Kolkata700091
Phone: 033 2358 5189
Email: visitwestbengal@yahoo.co.in, mdwbtdc@gmail.com, dgmrwbtdc@gmail.com

Story Tag:
  • Maithon, West Bengal, Tourism

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