Through this guest blog by Reza Zakaria, we shall try to highlight an unexplored place named Khirai- Valley of Flowers in West Bengal.
Khirai is a Paradise for Flowers
If you’re planning a trip to West Bengal, it will be worth your while to check out Khirai. It is known as the ‘flower Powerhouse’ of India because of the abundance of flowers that can be found here. The three rivers that feed this place are Beas, Sutlej and Karamana. You can go for bird watching, picnics, water sports, nature trekking, boat cruise or anything that strikes your fancy.
Khirai is a major hub for flower farming. There are more than 400 flowering plants, including rare varieties, in flower gardens in Khirai. They grow everywhere. From the meadows, forests and even the beaches, flowers abound in Khirai. It is a land that never sleeps. If you visit this place during monsoon, the smell of flowers will fill you with freshness.
When you visit Khirai, you’ll see a lot of flower show at the nearby churches. It is a religious site and you should not ignore it. There are also smaller places of worship here. Most of them have pictures of Jesus and Madonna hanging on their walls.
Land of contrast and variety
Khirai is a land of contrast and variety. You’ll see different varieties of flowers like the white-clover, lily of the valley, wild flowers like the crow’s feet, wildflowers among others. And it is also a place where you’ll find birds singing, hummingbirds flying around, etc. Most tourists say they enjoyed their time here just like they would any other flowerland.
Khirai has a lot of history. You may have heard of it’s role in the Second World War. You’ll see a monument that is similar to the Statue of Liberty, but it is in a different place. You will see the story of ‘Aidala’ in a documentary. It depicts how her husband saved her from being raped by the Pakistan army.
The food in Khirai is delicious too. They serve local fruits like pears and apples. Meat is available as well. You can choose from Halwa, Murg, Sabzi, and Chicken, or any other dishes you like. The locals cater to every taste.
Khirai has a big market for fresh flowers. You’ll be amazed at all the varieties of flowers and plants they sell. It’s a one-stop flower shop.
If you are bored with your daily life and want a weekend getaway from your busy life. Khirai will be a perfect place for you. A small village located along the river banks of Khirai and Kansavati (a tributaries of river Ganga) near Panskura of East Medinipur district of West Bengal. The main attraction is the acres of farmland cultivated with varieties of flowers. The beauty of the valley is more than one can assume and leave you lofty in the fields of the countryside. The lash valley is covered with varieties of different colored flowers.
The untouched countryside will mesmerize you with its beauty and good-hearted people will adore you with absolute reverence. The valley do not have hill or valley but the fertile soil of both Khirai and Kangsavati River helps the farmers to grow delicate flowers in the area. The flowers that are grown in the area are some of the best like Marigold, Pot marigold, Common marigold, Gladiolus, Chrysanthemum, and Cockscomb, cornflower etc.
As far as the eye meets the horizon, the valley is covered with different types of flowers. Since, the farmers cultivate the flowers all year round, but the best time to visit is from 1st week of January till last week of February this is the peak time. This is the ideal time because a variety of flowers bloom during this time in the valley. However, unorganized people traffic sometimes creates havoc to the farmers. Children and people destroy the cultivated flowers while taking photos or videos. So, it is advice able to show respect when you are in this area.
The main economic source in this region is flower cultivation. The flowers grown in the region are not only sold in West Bengal and Kolkata but also exported to all major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore etc. of India. If you have planned to stay overnight then you can visit any nearby market in the area to explore flowers that are being sold by farmer’s everyday early in the morning.
The place Khirai will enchant you with its magical beauty of nature with its colorful flowers. The countryside has poetic significance in the Bengali Literature as most of the poets have described about the beauty of this place in their poem.
If you visit Khirai, don’t forget to buy flowers. You will definitely be able to find what you’re looking for. And if you’re thinking of a nice flower shop, then head down to the north of Pakistan and see what all the fuss is about.
A good way to explore Khirai is on foot. It is not too difficult to get around the town. There are a few friendly Pakistani guards who will take you to all the important places. They are very helpful and you will feel at home.
Before leaving for Khirai, do visit good. It’s a famous flower market. It’s run by two men called Baba and Karan. They are very good at their business. The prices here are cheap and you’ll get a lot of flowers. This is the best place in Khirai to pick up some fresh flowers.
The Anjuna flower show happens during the carnival, which is on a Saturday. The other great flower shows that you should visit are the Teekah flower show and the Guddi flower show. All these are held weekly.
HOW TO REACH?
From Howrah station, Khirai is well connected by railways. You will get Local train from Howrah Station on an interval of 30-40 mins. All local trains either go to Medinipore, Kharagpur or Balichock via Panskura and Khirai station. If you want to make a weekend one day trip with your friends you can also train via car or bus. Khirai is well connected with roads as well. You will get bus service from Dharmatala (Esplane, Kolkata) for Medinipore / Panskura. The train takes nearly two hours from Howrah station to Panskura station.
But travelling with train is very cheap and also save travel time if you are going along or with limited friends. Panskura Junction (railway station) is the most ideal place to get down early in the morning to have a cup of tea; hire an electric rickshaw and then travel to Khirai flower farmlands. It will take 15 mins from Panskur to Khirai flower valley. Both the sides of the road you can witness flower farms and rural life of villages.
If you want to get down at Khirai station which is one station ahead of Panskura station; you have to walk 25-30 mins along the railway track to reach the main valley of attraction of lush yellow fields of Marigold.
If you want to bring your family, friends or your pets to enjoy a lovely day at the valley . It is strongly recommended to get your own food or picnic basket and enjoy along the river banks of
Travel and Don’t Stop!
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