Home > Family Tour, Family Weekend Tour, General, Weekend Family Tour, Weekend Tour from Kolkata (Calcutta) > Gangani, a scaled down version of the Grand Canyon

Gangani, a scaled down version of the Grand Canyon

Gangani

A scaled down version of the Grand Canyon

See also: Kurumbera, Moghalmari, Gangani and Pathra, Weekend Family Tour

The wind and water have carved and chiselled the landscape for millions of years creating a unique landscape. The layers of colourful mud and rocks exposes a records of millions of years.

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Gangani Canyon

It is not the Grand Canyon but a scale down version of it is located just four hours drive from Kolkata. Gangani or Gongoni, located in the outskirts of the Garhbeta town in West Medinipur district of West Bengal, houses a canyon loving known as the Grand Canyon of West Bengal.

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A flight of stairs leading down to the Gangani Canyon with Shilabati River in background

Chiseled out by the meandering Shilabati River the canyon locally known as Gangani Danga or Gangani Khola is a popular day or weekend tour from Kolkata. It also attracts a lot of local tourist especially during the winter months.

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Gangani Canyon

According to geologists the steep cliffs along the south bank of the Shilabati River is intensively eroded by the swift flowing waters channels. A million years of erosion of water and wind have  developed this unique landscape.

But the locals have a different version of the story regarding the origin of the unique land form. They believe the story goes back to the days of the great Indian epic Mahabharata.

According to the local this land was absolutely flat and was the abode the demon Bakasur. Bakasur forced the local king to send him a large quantity of provisions every week, which he devoured along with the person who brought it along.

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Gangoni Canyon

The Pandavas during the period of exile visited the area. Maintaining a low profile to conceal their identities, they decided to spent a few days with a local brahmin family.

During their stay it was the turn of the head of the family to offer himself to the Bakasur.

Kunti came into rescue and decided to send his second son Bhim instead. Although the host protested but Bhim was more than happy to carry out his mother’s order.

No wonder the demon was vanquished by Bhim but the earth shaking battle lasted several days and turned the level ground into a undulating landscape that we see today.

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A cave like structure in Gangani Canyon

For years Gongoni has been a favourite picnic spot for the locals. Come winter the entire region was converted into an open air kitchen and dinning area. With no proper planning the fragile natural wonder was loosing its beauty.

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Human creativity on nature’s canvas, Gangani

It was about an decade and half ago Gangani started attracting tourist beyond its local periphery.

With more awareness and government involvement the place is being turned into an organized tourist spot.

Today the area has been enclosed and a winding stairs leads to the bottom of the canyon.

Picnic has been banned within the canyon but picnickers are provided with enclosed space a little away from the canyon.

The staircase leads to the bottom of the canyon but this is only the beginning the rest of the canyon is explored through natural dirt trails.

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Gangoni Canyon

A series of water channels acts as walkways providing access to the interior of the canyon.

The bigger channels are called gullies and the smaller ones are called rills and together they from a complex network of passageways into the interiors of the canyon.

For millions of years the wind and water have cut through the layers of clay and rocks forming strange structures with different shades of colours.

A walk way through the water channels of Gangani is a must to admire the natural structures like the caves and hole in the wall. There are also tower like structure creating a dramatic contrast against the lush green backdrop. A local artist have carved a human figure on the natural canvas creating an interesting mix of nature and human art.

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Shilabati River with Gangani Canyon on left

Almost all the major water channels or gullies leads to the Shilabati River follow one of them to reach the river bank. Strangely the other bank of the river is absolutely flat and is used for agriculture. Apart from the monsoon months the river contains very little water and villagers can be seen wading across it.

Necessary Travel Tips:

  • Gangoni can be covered in a day trip in car or train from Kolkata. Salboni is the nearest railhead.
  • For weekend tours Garbeta, the nearest town, has basic hotel. However the tour can also be done from larger towns like Midnapore or Kharagpur.
  • From Salboni / Garbeta / Kharagpur / Midnapore a car is essential to explore Gangani. One can also visit the nearby temple town of Pathra.

Note: My trip to Gangoni was part of a family weekend tour. which also covered Pathra, Kurumbera and Mughalmari.

  1. April 29, 2020 at 9:42 PM

    Very nice

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