Ganga Villages tour, TuTA ghAT : Apr 18, 2010

saumyen and i set off at 05:50, with the goal of exploring some of the villages on the ganga upstream from bithoor.

with the advent of summer though, bicycling comes under a tight time bind. the heat becomes fierce after 9AM, and this route would be more than 50km, so our goal was to keep riding steadily.

TuTA ghAT (broken stairs)

from bithoor chungi, we took the fattepur road (fattepur is on the chaubepur-bandimAtA road). turning right at rAmpur, we reached a broken bridge. carrying our bikes across, we were in paTkApur, where you could see the gangA in the distance.

patkapur: sunrise over the ganga (click any picture to enlarge)

saumyen under a barkat tree at paTkapur

the village is on a mud cliff; in the rainy season, the river fills up and flows by the banks, but in this season you have to go down and trek through the sand to reach the water. so we continued on to chintApurwa, the next village on the ganga. here we were told that we could be access the river at TuTA ghAT, a bit further up. avoiding some barking dogs that sounded fiercer than their actions, we pedalled on over more country roads and reached TuTA ghAT. here, there was a metalled road.

at the ghat, you could see the eponymous ruins (TuTA=broken). an impressive flight of stairs had been sheared off over the centuries by the river, and was lying angled across the sandy bank.

one of the towers that used to stand guard over TuTA ghAT, eroded by wind and water. a boat waits to unload its harvest on the broken stairs.

some egrets were lined up on the sand banks near the other shore.

it was harvest season on the seasonal fields that crop up along the riverbed in the dry season. boats were coming in with gourds and squashes and watermelons, which would be loaded onto trucks for dispatch to mandis and distant markets.

boat with vegetables being towed in. they were coming from a village many kms away, and had started very early. the kaddus (huge squashes, bigger than a basketball) and lauki (club gourd) would now go to the manDi in chaubepur.

kids gather around our bicycles.

after a final visit to the temple at the ghat, we moved on to the next village at Balhipur, from where there was a metalled road going to Chaubepur. Although we were very late already, having come this far, we couldn't resist a visit to the mud cliffs at Balhipur.

downstream view from balhipur mud cliffs; you can see tuta ghat at the bend.

slow boats working upstream. boatmen need to know the river and its sandbanks well.

Beyond Balhipur, we took the road to Chaubepur, and then back via the canal.

On the way back. Saumyen on the Bandimata-Chaubepur road.

By now it was past nine and the heat was building up, so we stopped for a lassi and some maaza at chaubpur before taking a shortcut to Raigopalpur that I'd explored recently. But this was perhaps a mistake - saumyen had a fall on some treacherous roads, and later we got lost and had to cycle for a bit along an aal - the thin mud boundary between fields. We passed through the villages of Bajra Purwa, Malau, Maharajpur and Pachor before reaching Raigopalpur.

Saumyen on the canal path.

The heat was building up and village kids were cooling off in the canal, along with the buffaloes.

List of villages upstream from Bithoor

All in all, we had ridden 62km by the time we got back into IIT around quarter to 10. As we were approaching IIT, the canal waters looked rather inviting and I wished i could jump in with these kids - but there was a full workday ahead... Another day!

kids splashing around in the summer morning

amit mukerjee Apr 30 2010