The heart of Jharkhand is Ranchi, its capital. A town surrounded by waterfalls and other natural attractions, Ranchi is a must-stop on every discerning traveller’s itinerary. Let’s take a quick look at what it offers
Situated at a height of 2,392 ft, Ranchi had qualified as garrison headquarter and sort of hill station for the British for many years. Even today, it has retained some of that nostalgic charm in its sprawling cantonment area and parks that chequer it. Some even go so far as to call it the ‘Manchester of the East’, owing to the fact that as much as 18 percent of India’s mineral production is from Ranchi District. The weather at Ranchi, as most locals would swear, is something special. The summers don’t singe, the rains are pleasant, the winters are never biting and the spring is a marvellous chaste. Named after a local bird ‘Rinchi’, Jharkhand’s capital is located on the southern rim of the Chhota Nagpur plateau and is surrounded by a plethora of waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries. Ranchi is also dotted with several temples and churches and anyone who has not seen the waterfalls around the town would not know how special it is.
Here are a few must-see places in and around Ranchi;
It is located in Morabadi, 3 kms away from central Ranchi, Tagore Hill is a favourite picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. There’s a small house on top of the hill built by Jyotirindranath Tagore, elder brother of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The steps wind their way from the house to a pillared canopy made of stone, which is usually crowded on weekends with people vying for a bird’s eye view of Ranchi. The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, located a few steps away from the base of the hill, is famous for its vocational college.
The Gonda Hill on the periphery of the Kanke Dam reservoir has a huge water tank on top of it, which supplies water to a large part of Ranchi. A perfect place to watch the sun dip into the deep blue waters of the reservoir, the Rock Garden is an eclectic mix of concrete and brightly-coloured animal figurines, the gaudiness subdued in good measure by the serenity of its natural surroundings. There are wide steps all along the banks of the reservoir where people sit and chat over hot tea and pakodas.
The Birsa Deer Park is located 20 kms away from Ranchi near Hatia on the Ranchi Khoonti Road. The park is exceptionally well maintained with a healthy population of 200 deer. There’s a circular ambulatory park that takes one through the open park with bridges at regular intervals where the deer may cross over to the other side without any hindrance. There are also a couple of watchtowers that offer lovely views of the sylvan surroundings.
It is located near Taimara village, 40 km away from Ranchi on the Jamshedpur Road, is the Dassam Falls. This 140-ft high perennial waterfall over the river Kanchi, is also known as the Dassam Ghagh. During monsoon, when the river Kanchi is in full spate, it is not advisable to venture close to the base of the waterfall.
Also known as the ‘Gautamdhara’, Jonha Falls is approximately 40 km from Ranchi and is easily accessible by road and train. Here, nature seems to have carved a flight of stairs out of stone for the water to walk down. The 500-odd steps to the bottom of the falls mean that it’s a stiff climb back, but the views make it worthwhile.
For anyone looking to escape from the hullabaloo of the crowded town, a rejuvenating day trip could be Hirni Falls, about 70 km on the Chakradharpur route. Set amidst dense forest, Hirni is ideal for a lazy afternoon picnic.
Panch Ghagh takes it name from the five-fall waterfall. Located on way to Simdega via Khunti, it is 55 km from Ranchi.