THE urge to move away from the hustle and bustle of city life to a quiet and serene place took us to Deulti, at the far end of Howrah district, the last winter. About 63 km from Kolkata off National Highway-6, Deulti stands on the banks of Roopnarayan river.
Driving along the Vidyasagar Setu, in the early hours of morning, we took the Kona Expressway. A few minutes’ drive and we reached NH-6 and passed by Panchla, Uluberia, Kulgachia, Chandpur, Bagnan and finally we were at our destination.
It took us about an hour and 40 minutes to reach Deulti. It can also be accessed via Bally.
The moment you enter Deulti, the greenery and chirping of birds usher you in the rural setting. A walk along the village offers a glimpse of rural Bengal. Semi-concrete houses, vegetation and paddy fields breathe fresh air into the soul tormented by city-chaos.
Once a sleepy rural part of Bengal, Deulti is now emerging as a tourist destination. Several resorts and budget hotels have come up in the village in the recent years. We made ourselves comfortable in a resort, where we were served luchi and aloo dum in breakfast.
After lazing for a while, we took a stroll around the resort which has a huge play-zone for children and a swimming pool. Beautiful seasonal flowers, that adorn the resort gardens, are a treat to the eyes.
Time flew by like a butterfly and it was soon time for lunch. Indulging ourselves with tempting chicken curry and rosogulla served along with other delicious spread at lunch, we decided to visit the adjacent Samtaber village.
It is in this village where once lived noted Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the creator of Srikanta, Devdas, Parineeta and Dutta.
A 10 minutes’ drive from Deulti took us to Samtaber and to a bi-storied Burmese-styled house. The author had built this house after return from Burma, now Myanmar, and the influence of the neighbouring country is evident from the architecture of the house.
During his stay in this house from 1926-1938, the author wrote several short stories and novels. It was here he wrote his last novel Bipradash.
The house was also a safe refuge for revolutionaries during the freedom struggle. Although the house was declared a heritage by Bengal government in 2007, the laxity of the administration in safeguarding it is evident from the poor upkeep.
As the sun was setting in the horizon, we took to a narrow road that moved cutting across the paddy fields and towards Roopnarayan. The mesmerising view of the river and the setting sun gives a picture perfect view of rural Bengal. Sitting on the banks of the river we were relieved by the cool evening breeze.
Midnapore town is located across the other bank of the river. We came across several fishermen who were out on fishing and village boys trying their skills on football on the river bank.
We drove back to Kolkata after dusk, rejoicing a day well spent!
(Debapriya Bhattacharjee is an assistant editor at Newsmen)