Ep 6 Renukoot to Varanasi | Rihand Dam | Birla Temple | Mukkha Falls Sonbhadra District, UP Tourism
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, I am standing near the Rihand dam. We left Renukoot in the morning and we reached here after travelling for 10 KM. I am showing you the view of the dam from top of the bridge. It looks good, right? The water you see down there has come in from the monsoon-fed rivers in the area.
Rihand is the main river. And there are 10-12 smaller, monsoon-fed rivers too that make up this water reservoir. This dam was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Ji Pandit Nehru had also inaugurated a large factory of Hindalco, which is in Renukoot. Right! Really nice! Looking at the dam is a good experience, especially if you're lucky to go during monsoon. However, when the water comes in with full force, you would feel the difference here.
This water flows upto Obra, which is another huge dam. It is 40 KM away. This dam is used to generate hydel power.
This dam has 6 turbines of the capacity of 50 MW each. Obra dam is mainly used to generate thermal power. It also generates hydel power, but main is thermal. The large difference is that hydel project generates immediate electricity. Suppose you need electricity in 10 minutes, you can have it.
But in thermal power, you need to plan the generation at least a day before. The place where we are standing right now is connected to 4 states. If you go down this road, you will reach Renukoot from where you can enter 3 different states. Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
From this bridge, you can take the opposite direction too, towards Madhya Pradesh. In M.P., there is a district called Sangrauli, which is coal deposits. We are travelling in the Sonbhadra district in U.P. This district generates the most amount of electricity in the country. This is the reason why Sonbhadra is also referred to as "the energy capital of India."
Let us walk on this bridge for 5-10 minutes. Then we will go to the Birla temple in Renukoot, about 10 KM from here. We've reached Shri Renukeshwar Mahadev Mandir in Renukoot. People also call it Birla Temple because it was built by the Birla Group in 1972. Let us go inside from here.
The temple architecture is too good. With that, the temple has well-maintained lawns on its left and right side. This is the statue of Sh. G. D. Birla, who established Hindalco in Renukoot. And right opposite to that is his wife's statue. This place also has the statue of late Sh. Aditya Vikram Birla. We've reached at the last minute.
The temple is still open, let us go in. (Reciting chants) Inside the temple, we saw the idols of Lord Shiv and Mata Parvati, in "Rajrajeshwar" form. Temple timings in the morning are between 5 am and 10.30 am. Then temple is closed between 10.30 am and 4 pm. And the temple reopens from 4 pm till 9 pm.
It is 11 am and the temple has remained open for 30 minutes extra. If we'd reached here after another 10-15 minutes, we would've been too late for darshan. It feels good to be here. Since the temple is located at a height, you will get to see lot of greenery all around.
You can also look till far in each direction. Come let us leave here. We've just stopped our car to watch a beautiful viewpoint.
Here is a close-up of this beautiful view. Wonderful! The Son Eco Point is hardly a kilometer from here. I liked that spot too.
But I like this spot better. We are going to go to Robertsganj via Son. You know what is different about this place? I find this view more realistic because I can see everything in front of me. But in Son, everything was too far away. Look at the mountains, so beautiful! I saw that water body yesterday as well. It is the Ghat section where we are standing now.
This is how the cars are coming in from behind. Like this. This is how the cars go on a zig-zag route, about a KM long & reach Son Eco Point. But this isn't the road you take when you go from Son to Dala. There are different roads to go and return from there. Stopping here was a pleasant experience. I want to spend more time here before we leave.
Though another 15 minutes won't make much difference but it would still be fun. Though the sun is shining bright right now, but the fast breeze is making the air pleasant. Let us sit here for some time and then we will move on.
We've ordered 3 dishes to eat here. This is Dehati Paneer. Interesting, right? It has whole spices in it.
Mushroom and with that Kofta (cottage cheese balls in gravy)! I've already served myself Mushroom and Kofta on my plate. Let's taste first. Decent taste! I had already said the food is light on spices. These days I don't like food that is too spicy. So, they've kept spices light in my food. Overall spice quotient is low.
When we reached here, the sun was shining bright. But now, for the past 5-7 minutes, the weather is changing. It could start raining in a short while. Making Kofta curry is a skill not everybody can master. This dish is good.
It doesn't have any stuffing inside. But its gravy is good. Dehati Paneer! The name is quite unique! Mushroom is nice and so is kofta. Just like what you would expect at a dhaba. This Dehati Paneer has a very unique taste. It has whole spices in abundance. The flavor of whole spices stays on your palate for a longer time. And using so many spices changes the taste completely.
Good that we got to try a new dish here today. I will now meet you again in a short while. Once we leave here, I will show you the Robertsganj market. After that, we will head towards Mukhha Falls. We've reached near Mukhha Falls. While leaving Robertsganj, I checked the map and it was showing one hour and 5 minutes.
But it took us an hour and 40 minutes because we of a diversion through longer route. One thing that is clear since we've reached here is that a poor monsoon season has..... ....resulted in lower water levels. But the videos that I saw on YouTube made me expect a wonderful fall here.
Anyways, let us go closer to the water and see it clearly. We'd been planning our Sonbhadra trip for the past 5 months. We were specially excited about visiting here during monsoon months of July, August. Now that we are here for the waterfall, it isn't here. What is surprising is that even though it has rained well all over India.... ....U.P. has received very less rainfall. We've reached near the water.
I saw very less water from the distance but on coming closer, I can see more of it. A while ago, I walked upto that point. Standing there, I noticed that while the water flows down the hillside.... ....it looks good, especially through the aerial view & the water level also seems higher. The water is falling through various crevices, step by step, ultimately pooling together. For Sonbhadra and Mirzapur, monsoon season lasts from July to August. These are the two months when the waterfalls are active.
But that was not the case this year because of poor monsoon. Ok, no problem. We shall be leaving for Benaras soon.
The distance to Benaras is roughly 96 KM. Driving non-stop would take us about 3 hours to reach there. Now, if we come across something interesting, we will share it with you. Otherwise, I will join you in Benaras directly.
Right now, we've come to Shri Ram Bhandar in Cantonment area, for something sweet. Let's go into the shop. I've ordered 3 sweets for myself.
First of all, I am having "Kheer Mohan." A rasgulla is usually spongy and soft. Kheer Mohan belongs to the same family, but it is sweeter.
Kheer Mohan is good for those who like their sweets to be really sweet. In comparison, rasgulla is less sweet. When you'll visit Benaras, you'll get to eat Kheer Mohan at several places.
Locals like this sweet a lot. I woke up at 5 am today. Imagine, after waking up that early, we had already left for sightseeing by 7.30 am. And it is 9.45 pm now. Such a long day! And the last journey of this day took us about 3 to 3.15 hours from Mukkha Falls to Benaras.
First I thought we should go straight to our hotel. I wanted to end the day there but then I thought if I would do that, I would be missing this sweet. Tomorrow, I want to visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple and then leave for Delhi.
So, I wouldn't be able to shoot anything tomorrow. Thus, I came here to eat something sweet before ending the day. The second sweet is "Malai Gillori." Last time, I ate it in Lucknow. There, a shop is particularly famous for this Malai Gillori.
And today I am having it here. Basically, I liked this Malai Gillori very much. The outer layer is that of malai and inside, it is stuffed with pistachios and khoya. Wow! Amazing! This third sweet that I am eating is "Tiranga Burfi." This burfi needs no introduction in Benaras. It is quite famous here.
And I've come to know here that this burfi was first made in this shop. When the revolt of 1942 happened against the British, flags were being put up at places. To curb the movement, the British banned tricolor from everywhere. That was when the owner of this shop invented Tiranga Burfi. He did this to encourage patriotism in every household.
This is the background history of this burfi. Nice! I mean the overall concept is interesting because you can enjoy 2-3 different flavors at once! However, given a choice, I would go for one more Malai Gillori, which I liked more! For eating paan, we've come to Krishna Paan store. I asked them for a paan made with Magahi leaf. The shopkeeper said I should eat one paan wrapped in Kolkata leaf.... ...and the next paan in Magahi leaf. He said then I will come to know the difference.
So, my paan is ready. I saw them making this paan. They've added a lot to it like chutney, kesar (saffron), and gulkand, of course, and a lot more. Let me take out this laung (clove), it will be good. I end up eating paan at least 5 or 6 times a year. But even I can realise that this paan is something you won't get everywhere.
Here, I've been watching since past few days that people eat 5, 10, even 15 paan in a day. If someone's going out of station for some days, for tour or official trip, they pack paan with them. They know they won't get this paan anywhere else. Now Bhaiya, give me one with Magahi leaf, the one you had prepared earlier. Right now, I have in my hand this Jagannathi patta (leaf), & Magahi leaf in this hand.
This Jagannathi leaf comes from Odisha. And this one comes from Gaya in Bihar. Now, these leaves are 'cooked.' What they do is that they place the leaves inside baskets inside a room. They place one, two or three heaters inside that room and seal it completely.
The 'cooking' process is 5-8 days long, during which they bring out the baskets..... ...and then put them back inside for more heating. Every paan leaf goes through this process. And this process happens in bulk, after which the green paan leaves change their colour. This is the colour of paan leaf after the process. Though it is difficult to say since when has this system been in place in Benaras but....
..it would be safe to say that this has been the practice since past 150-200 years. Alright! Now I am going to eat a meetha (sweet) paan made with Magahi leaf. Please make one for me on this leaf. All the ingredients that go into making a paan are brought in from outside. None of the ingredients are locally-produced. Despite that, the Benaras paan is so popular and a brand in itself. Benarasi paan! Totally unique! Oh God! There is no comparison between the paan that I ate earlier and this one.
This taste is by far the best! This paan starts melting in your mouth right after you put it there. So tasty! Impressive! It was a good decision to eat Magahi as well. I enjoyed it. Really good! Now let me make the payment and leave here. Take a look at the night scene in Benaras. A lot of cities come to standstill by this time of night, but Benaras is still going on.
Especially since the past 4-5 years, as the Banaras Tourism started expanding.... ...the influx of tourists has grown so much that you won't feel it is midnight even at 12 am. The level of hustle-bustle has gone up really. See today's episode is going to finish here. With that, the Benaras and Sonbhadra series also comes to an end. Before I say bye to you, let me tell you when you are planning your Sonbhadra tour.... ...there are several destinations where we couldn't go but you should. Like Lakhaniyadari, where we couldn't go but if you are coming in July-Aug, you must go there.
Then there is Panchmukhi Mahadev Mandir, Vijaygarh Fort, Naugarh Fort. I will make a list of all such destinations and put them in the video description. You can use that list to plan your itinerary. The best time to visit Sonbhadra district is in July-Aug when waterfalls become active.
Rest, you can plan accordingly. Tomorrow, we will go back home. At present, Varanasi has four railway stations. Junction, where Vande Bharat train arrives. City, Kashi and Benaras! These four are within the city limits. And these are located 4-5 KM away from each other.
I mean within a radius of 5 KM. Then there is Mughal Sarai station, 15 KM from the city. Some trains arrive at Mughal Sarai, so tourists deboard their and take an auto into the city. That railway station is officially known as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay station. This was to add to your knowledge of Benaras.
Now I'll say bye-bye to you. The time is 10.30 pm. Alright! I hope you would have enjoyed this whole series.
That is it! Thanks for your time!