Nature is at the core of Indian mythology and many believe Hinduism to have a deep animist essence. One school of thought says Agni, the Fire God was once born on earth and he took the shape of a flower. That flower is called “Palash” and when in full bloom, is of a fiery vermillion shade. Palash blooms in the first week of March and at that time, the flowering trees look as if they are on fire. The beauty of blooming Palash trees is mesmerizing and this brief, yet astonishing flowering has enamoured many eminent writers and poets. Palash is popularly believed to be the harbinger of spring and can be found all over India. Although it is the official state flower of Jharkhand, Palash grows abundantly in West Bengal too. Purulia in spring is of a deep shade of red and this is due to the mass blooming of Palash trees.

Palash blooming near Muruguma Lake

The stunning natural beauty of Purulia gets lovelier in spring

In the first week of March, thousands of square kilometers of the Chotanagpur resemble a beautiful wildfire. The blooming is exceptionally beautiful in Purulia in spring and so, we decided to experience this alluring sight last year. Purulia is among the most unexplored travel destinations of West Bengal. Think interesting indigenous culture, mind-blowing greenery, astounding hills, and the Shal-Palash-Mahua forests. It is a great combination, one that we looked forward to a lot when we left Kolkata on a Friday evening. It took 5 hours, including a dinner break, to reach Purulia town by car and we made it our base.

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The red earth country of Purulia

Purulia in spring means Palash flowering and folk dances

The next morning, after an early breakfast we left to explore the hinterland of Purulia in spring. It took around one and a half hour to reach Muruguma Lake, our first point. It was a gorgeous spot, which simply took our breaths away and we left from there, feeling re-energized. Here’s a personal tip – once you arrive there, just stand by the blue lake and enjoy the cool breeze, the murmuring of the Mahua leaves, and the surrounding greenery. Then explore the nearby tribal village, spend some time with the locals, and listen to some really really interesting stories about their lifestyle and mythology. You can take a dip in the lake if you feel tempted, but be aware that the dam is very deep and should be ventured only by experienced swimmers.

You can feel the spring delight.

The Palash hot-spot of Purulia in spring

Thereafter proceed for Chorida. Drive through the winding roads and forests of Ajodhya Hills. On the way, don’t miss Sita Kund, upper and lower dams. The popular destinations for mountaineering enthusiasts like “Pakhi Pahar” & “Gorgaburu” are also located in surrounding areas. Palash trees grow abundantly on the foothills of these mounds and during full bloom, this area becomes heavenly. That was the last stop of our Purulia in spring itinerary and we fell in love with the land of Palash.

How to experience Palash flowering in Purulia in spring

How to Reach: Puluria has a good network of roadways and railways. It connects all the major cities of West Bengal and Jharkhand by train and road. Transportation within Purulia district is not much difficult. There are many modes of local conveyance. This place can be easily explored by those not having his/her own vehicle. Most of the hotels and lodges of Purulia are equipped with their own vehicles which can be hired for day trips.

Note: Though Purulia was once labeled as a politically disturbed region for a reason, this is not the case anymore. I have not faced any such issue during my visit.

When to Visit: The first two weeks of March.

Where to Stay: There are very limited options to stay in Ayodhya Hills, where Palash blooms. Two private properties and one West Bengal Government youth hostel cater to the travelers. All these accommodations provide only basic amenities. But staying midst virgin nature can be a very different experience for city dwellers who have not seen the Milky Way in ages.

Extra Tips: – In case you decide to stay at the Ayodhya Hills, don’t forget to carry some essential medicines. Try to get your bookings done in advance. Please don’t miss the sunrise & sunset from Ayodhya Hills. To make Ayodhya hills stay backpacker friendly – Book your stay at youth hostel run by West Bengal Government online. Thereafter you can hire a bike from surrounding villages (Contact – 9732171395, 9434540392). Four wheelers are also available (Manoj- 8347839447, 7478269478). For more information, check out the official Purulia tourism website.Author’s Bio – This wonderful post with all the images is courtesy Debanjan Bagchi, an avid traveler, and photographer from Kolkata, India. I am lucky to call him my friend and he is always seeking something interesting in places, people, and history. When not taking beautiful photographs or traveling with his lovely wife, Debanjan is soaking up history like a sponge. To enjoy more of his beautiful photographs check out his facebook page. All photos and words are credited to Debanjan Bagchi. Any reproduction of his work, without permission is strictly prohibited.