Sandwiched between the Purulia hills and the Damodar River, in the region of West Bengal, lies the Hills of Biharinath. Towering amidst charming tribal villages, sparkling water bodies and an expansive stretch of flora and grasslands, the Biharinath Hill is the tallest hill in the sub-Himalayan region in the state. The hill is the perfect and serene weekend getaway trek and has a plethora of natural attractions for hikers.
With the charm of the countryside coming into full bloom during the winter and spring months, with the trekking trail accentuated with traditional tribal mud huts, the Biharinath Hill Trek is definitely one of the more unique and scenic hikes in the country. Along with the scenery and the beautiful culture that the trek offers, the beauty of the nearby villages and the magnificent view of the surrounding ranges is a definite box you’d need to check off on your travel bucket list.
Read on to know
- The Biharinath Trek: A Sneak Peek
- Biharinath - A perfect destination for Beginners
- History Has It
- Best Time to Visit
- The Best Routes To The Biharinath Hill Trek
- A Full Breakdown of the Trek
- Other Attractions Near the Biharinath Hill Trek
- Trekking Essentials
- Summing Up
The hill range boasts of an altitude of 451 metres and has deservingly earned the title of a popular tourist and trekking destination in the recent years. With the trail lined with the local culture and indigenous flora, you can receive an ideal opportunity to get away from the noise and tension of the city and truly connect with the nature around you.
The Biharinath Trek: A Sneak Peek
- Where it is Located: West Bengal
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
- Trekking Grade: Easy
- Max Altitude: 451 metres
- Trekking Distance: 7 km (approx.)
- Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast
Biharinath - A perfect destination for Beginners
The Biharinath Hill is the tallest hill in the Bankura district and is located in the quaint and famous Joychandi hill range. The Biharinath Hill is infixed between the Purulia and the Damodar River on each side and stands proudly at an altitude of 451 metres. In the past few years, the Biharinath Hill has received great amounts of recognition as a well-renowned eco-tourism destination.
The trail is covered by thick forests and is a true riot of colours and fragrance, especially during the spring season where flowers such as the Kash Phool and Palash are found in full bloom. Located on the north-western side of the district, the Biharinath Hill is also a part of the Chotanagpur Plateau. Apart from the lush spread of flora, the hill is also often visited for the famous Shiva Temple, better known as the Biharinath Dham. The trail is a relatively easy and leisurely trek that winds around the hill and through its forests and trekkers can even take a boat ride along the lake situated near the Biharinath Dham.
History Has It
Historically, the Biharinath Hill was regarded as the regional centre of Jainism during ancient times. Along with this finding and its Palaeolithic origins, the Biharinath Hill is also, very often, recognised for its archaeological significance and relevance, amongst many historians.
Best Time to Visit
The best seasons for the trek are during winter and spring, as the region comes alive with indigenous Shimul and Palash flowers.
The spring season brings about the Hill's utmost beauty and vividness, through the lush bloom of the flora in the area. Also, if you arrive during the festive season, you will be able to witness the liveliness of the local villages during the Shivaratri Puja and Saraswati Puja.
- Spring: 27 to 33 degree Celsius (day); 13 to 17 degree Celsius (night)
- Summer: 34 to 39 degree Celsius (day); 25 to 30 degree Celsius (night)
- Winter: 24 to 29 degree Celsius (day); 13 to 17 degree Celsius (night)
The Best Routes to the Biharinath Hill Trek
The Biharinath village is the base camp or starting point of the Biharinath Hill Trek. To get there, you can choose any of these means of transportation:
The best way to reach Biharinath is by rail. You can directly catch a train to Asansol Railway Station and from the station, hire a cab to the hill, which is located at a distance of 46 kilometres from there. You can also travel by the Shatabdi Express to Raniganj and hire a cab from the Raniganj railway station to the Biharinath Hill, located 22 kilometres away.
You can drive along the Durgapur Expressway and bypass Panagarh, Durgapur and Raniganj. After crossing over the Damodar River Bridge, you can drive straight towards Madhukunda and another 16 km forward to Biharinath.
Remember to always negotiate the prices with the cab drivers. You never know when you may get a good bargain!
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, the nearest airport, is well-connected by flights to and from major cities in India. From there, you can take a bus or cab to cover the 230 km distance to Biharinath.
Biharinath: A Full Breakdown of the Trek
There isn’t any accommodation as such near Biharinath, but there are a few hotels you can rest at in the Bankura district. Once you’re rested, you can start your trek from the Shiva temple in Biharinath called Biharinath Dham.
Shiva Temple (Biharinath Dham) to Biharinath Hill Summit and back
Upon arriving at the Shiva temple or the Biharinath Dham, trekkers can easily spot the trail flanked by white Kash Phool that will lead you upward towards the hilltop. You will also see a small lake near the temple which can be used as a landmark.
The initial portion of the trek traverses through a tribal village and quickly progresses into a dense canopy of forests. A predominant section of the pathway to the Biharinath hilltop meanders through this patch of forestry. Because of the thick density of the jungle, it’s nearly impossible to get a clear view of the summit from the path.
The gradient progresses in a steady and subtle incline, with a series of switchbacks. Thirty minutes into the trek, the path takes a very sharp bend from where the real climb begins. This section of the trek becomes a little trickier and riskier, as the trail gets steeper and narrower.
For first time trekkers, it is a thumb rule to avoid the forested trail towards the west side of the hill and always be accompanied by a guide or a local villager through the more practical route to the hilltop.
In the monsoon season, the trail becomes extremely slippery, especially over the rocky sections. It is best advised to trek around these risky spots in the path. An hour into the trek, hikers can spot the Susunia and Joychandi hills in the distance (both of which are approachable by foot). The final section of the trek leads to the tabletop of the peak. Once trekkers arrive at a levelled forested field, is when they’ll know that they’ve reached the hilltop.
After finding an open spot in the periphery of the peak, trekkers can be rewarded with a magnificent and spectacular view of the sunset or sunrise over the adjacent Sharpahari and Ledhi hills. The trek downwards can be achieved by taking the same trail and the descent takes around fifty minutes to return to the Biharinath Dham.
Other Attractions near the Biharinath Hill Trek
A short walk from the Biharinath Hill would take you to the famous Ureshwari Temple situated to the west of the hill. Another famous spot near the hill is the Joychandi Hill and the Binodpur Dam, which has also been a sought after tourist destination for trekkers and even filmmakers.
The Boranti Lake is another picturesque and tranquil eco-tourism destination located 15 kilometres away from the Biharinath Hill. The Bodai River is also famous for the twin villages of Hadal and Narayanpur, famously known for the Mandal Family Terracotta Temples. The temples are located 50 kilometres from Bishnupur.
Other attractions in the nearby area include Maithon, Shaltora and Panchet. The Biharinath Hill is also situated at a 66 km scenic drive away from the Durgapur. The tourist village of Joyrambati, situated in the Bankura district, is another popular and well-frequented destination as legend has it that it was once the birthplace of the Hindu Goddess, Sree Sarada Devi.
Another tourist village, Mukutmonipur is a must visit for all trekkers for its earthen dam which happens to be the second largest dam in India.
Wildlife along the Biharinath Trek
Across the trail, it is very common for trekkers to view the mesmerizing flowers of the Palash trees, adding immense colour and life to the hike. One can also see notice the tropical Shimul or silk cotton trees punctuating each and every turn of the path. If you keep a look out for the wildlife here, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a fox, hare, wild boar, pangolin, hyena, rhacophorus, or chameleon. Besides that, the sweet twittering of the colourful birds will keep you company all along the trail.
- A small and sturdy backpack with a capacity of 20 Litres to carry all your essentials.
- Normal sports shoes don’t provide the grip needed for trekking. So, wear good quality, comfortable trekking shoes.
- Water is available at the start of the trek, and as it is a short trek, it’s not necessary to burden yourself with too many bottles. Two 1 litre water bottles will be more than sufficient.
- No matter how easy a trek is, it is always a possibility of getting lost or separated from the group. So always carry a compass and a map of the area.
- This trek leads you through thick forests, so it is important that you carry a good, reliable flashlight or a headlamp and extra batteries, even if you’re trekking in broad daylight.
- As this is a short trek, clothes are not a requirement, but it is better to keep a pair or two of shirts and trekking pants for emergencies.
- A waterproof jacket, umbrella or a poncho in case of rain.
- Combiflam as a general painkiller
- Crocin for fever
- Digene for acidity
- Avil for allergies
- A small roll of cotton and gauze
- Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches and sprains
- Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
- Snacks (dry fruits and energy bars) to keep your energy up.
- Documents like a drivers licence, Aadhar card. These are not compulsory, but it is always a good idea to carry them with you.
- You can carry your favourite book, so you can read amidst the calm of nature once you reach the top. But make sure it’s a light book to avoid making your bag heavier than necessary.
The Biharinath Hill Trek is a true abode of peace and nature’s tranquillity. The spectacular beauty of the encompassing flora and fauna mesmerises every single trekker that ventures into the trail. The Biharinath Hill is of religious and archaeological importance and is one of the country’s most well-renowned eco-tourism destinations.
While the vibrancy of the morning treks is a sought after experience, it is the silence and chill of the nights that are even more beautiful and breathtaking, with the illuminated IISCO at the northern horizon. It can be said that without a doubt, the memories of the trek are those which every trekking and nature enthusiast will hold dear to them.