The very mention of “Grand Canyon” brings back our childhood memories of Hollywood movies featuring the spectacular Grand Canyon of Arizona, USA. which is a nature’s marvel, the deep gorge, the river down below, the huge crate, the flora & fauna, the multi layered and multi colored walls of the gorge.
Well, right out from the Hollywood blockbuster, the Grand Canyon somehow got erupted itself here in India. Welcome to the “Grand Canyon” of West Bengal – The Gongoni. It is located in the small town of Garbeta of West Midnapore, West Bengal. Garhbeta is of historic significance as it finds reference in the popular Indian epic, The Mahabharata. This fascinating wide gorge of red soil stands on the banks of river Silabati. Also called as Gongoni Khola or Gongoni Danga, the gorge is a handiwork of Mother Nature through years of soil erosion coupled with some assistance from the river. The water body flows through the gorge during monsoon.
Just a few hours away from Kolkata, Gangani is a destination that brings together a stunning coalition of sandstone hills, fertile riverbeds and green forests. When monsoons arrive, the Silabati River can be seen flowing through the Gangani (Gongoni) Gorge, which is known to resemble the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Government authorities recently built a staircase at the highest point of Gangani that goes all the way down to the river, and when its not raining, you can even cross the river on foot as the water is not too deep.
If the canyon looked magical from above, from close quarters its myriad textures look surreal. Wind and water have collaborated over millions of years to carve and chisel a craggy ravine-filled landscape of forbidding splendour.
How to reach: Gangani is easily accessible from Kolkata by both road and rail. Travelers can either take a road trip till here or cover the distance on a scenic train ride.
Those driving their cars or wish to hire a cab can trail through NH6 from Kolkata all the way to Uluberia via Bagnan. From there one can take two different routes, either go towards Chandrakona Town via Ghatal or Salboni via NH60. Gangani is just a few kilometers from either of the towns.
And if Indian Railways is your best option, then nearest town to Gangani is Garbeta, which has its own railway station. Board the train Rupashi Bangla Express from Satragachhi Station at Howrah and get off at Garbeta Station after a few hours.
A sunny day is ideal to visit this creative land erosion by nature, which lies approximately 188km away from Kolkata, West Bengal. The erosion, in every way, is a treat to the eye- especially, for those who love calm and quiet or value art. The gorgeous Shilabati river flowing through a 70-ft gorge, marks an ideal spot for watching sunset, all year round.