JHARKHAND

JHARKHAND

Jharkhand is a relatively new mineral-rich state of was carved from Bihar in the year 2000 in an effort to bring more money to tribal peoples. A large portion of states people are tribals. They include the Santhal, Ho, Munda, Oraon, Koi, Chero, Kharia and Paharia. The Naxalite-Maoist insurgency has been active in Jharkhand. Some rebel roam the jungles and more than 6,000 people have been killed in the past decades. Jharkhand contains 40 per cent of India’s mineral wealth and ranks first in India in the production of coal and iron.

Jharkhand state covers 79,714 square kilometers (30,778 square miles), is home to about 33 million people and has a population density of 414 people per square kilometer. About 76 percent of the population live in rural areas. The capital is Ranchi with about 1 million people. The largest city is Jamshedpur with about 1.35 million people in its metro area. The main religions in Jharkhand are: Hinduism (67.8 percent); Islam (14.5 percent); Sarnaism (12.8 percent); Christianity (4.3 percent); Not stated (0.6 percent). The main languages are: Khortha (23.46 percent); Hindi (21.4 percent); Santali (9.91 percent); Bengali (9.74 percent); Nagpuri (7.23 percent); Urdu (5.96 percent); Magahi (4.14 percent); Ho (3.01 percent); Mundari (2.93 percent); Kurukh (2.89 percent); Odia (1.61 percent); Bhojpuri (2.29 percent); Others (5.41 percent).

Jarkhand in heavily forested state. Much of its sits on the Chotanagpur Plateau, which in turn is covered by forests, rivers, lakes, meadows, valleys and hills that range in elevation from 300 meters to 900 meters. Its mineral riches include (ranking in the country within bracket): iron ore (1st), coal (3rd), copper ore (1st), mica (1st), bauxite (3rd), graphite (8th), kainite (1st), chromite (2nd), asbestos (1st), thorium (3rd), manganese, limestone, china clay, fire clay, sillimanite, uranium (Jaduguda mines, Narwa Pahar) (1st) and even gold (Rakha Mines) (6th) and silver and several other minerals. Large deposits of coal and iron ore support concentration of industry, in centers like Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Ranchi. Tata Steel 500 conglomerate has its corporate office and main plant in Tatanagar, Jharkhand. Agriculture is also an important sector in the economy. The main crops are rice, wheat, maize, pulses, potatoes, and vegetables such as tomato, carrots, cabbage, brinjal, pumpkin, and papaya.

From a tourism point of view, Jharkhand is known for its waterfalls, hills and holy places. Parasnath, Baidyanath Dham and Rajrappa are major religious centers. Itkhori is a holy place for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is believed to be the place from where Gautama Buddha started his journey for Bodh Gaya. Many sculptures of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art styles were found in 2018. Among the bettter known waterfalls are Jonha Falls, Hundru Falls, Dassam Falls and Panchghagh Falls. Netarhat is a hill station in the state. Betla National Park and Dalma Wildlife are the primary wildlife viewing places in the state. Jharkhand also has exquisite handicrafts, classical and folk dances and music and interesting tribal groups.

Jharkhand Forests

According to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests: “The state of Jharkhand has a unique relation with forest since ancient times. The word ‘Jharkhand’ connotes ‘area of land covered with forests’. Therefore, literally as well as symbolically, Jharkhand is associated with forests. Various ethnic groups such as Munda, Oraon, Ho, Santhal, Paharia, Chero, Birjea, Asura and other have influenced their ecosystems by varying practices of agro-pastoralism over the years. Traditionally, these indigenous people have symbiotic relations with forests. Local festivals like Sarhul and Karma are customarily related with worshipping of trees. [Source: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India]

“The total recorded forest area of the state is 23,605 square kilometers which is 29.61 percent of the geographical area of the state. Of the total recorded forest area, Reserved Forests constitute 18.58 percent, Protected Forests 81.28 percent, and Unclassed Forests 0.14 percent. As per India State of Forest Report, 2017 published by Forest Survey of India, forest cover in the state is 23, 553 square kilometers which is 29.54 percent of the state’s geographical area. The total forest and tree cover put together, it constitutes about 33.21 percent of the geographical area of the state.

“Jharkhand Forest Department is one of the important administrative departments of the State with its Headquarters at Ranchi. The department is entrusted with all matters pertaining to forests and forestry; including protecting and conserving forest & wildlife resources of the state through scientific forest management practices within the ambit of policies, acts and rules in vogue.

“Most of the forests of Jharkhand, as much as 79 percent, were privately owned until the Zamindari system was abolished under the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950. Before acquisition of these Zamindari forests, their wanton destruction was the order of the day. However, the things took a turn for better thereafter. At present, the State is having 29.61 percent of its total landmass under forest area.

Saranda Forests is Asia's largest sal forest. Extending over the Jharkhand-Odisha border, it is home to a large number of animal, bird and reptile species. The word saranda means elephants and the forest gets its name due to the large number of elephants that call it home. Flying lizards are often seen here. While the forest is famous for its sal trees, it also hosts a large number of herbs and other trees. Saranda is often referred to as the land of seven hundred hills and is blessed with picturesque waterfalls. The forest trails to the Jhikra Waterfalls is a delight for nature lovers and trekkers. Tourists can visit the twin cities of Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu, which are famous for their iron ore mines, governed by the Steel Authority of India Limited.

Tribals in Jharkhand

There are 32 recognized tribes inhabiting Jharkhand state. According to the Jharkhand Police: The tribes in Jharkhand were originally classified on the basis of their cultural types by the Indian anthropologist, Lalita Prasad Vidyarthi. His classification was as follows:
Hunter-gatherer type — Birhor, Korwa, Hill Kharia
Shifting Agriculture — Sauria Paharia
Simple artisans — Mahli, Lohra, Karmali, Chik Baraik
Settled agriculturists — Santhal, Munda, Oraon, Ho, Bhumij, etc.
Santhals — Santhal People

“The Scheduled Tribe (ST) population of Jharkhand State is as per 2001 census 7,087,068 constituting 26.3 per cent of the total population (26,945,829) of the State. The Scheduled Tribes are primarily rural as 91.7per cent of them reside in villages. District wise distribution of ST population shows that Gumla district has the highest proportion of STs (68.4per cent). The STs constitute more than half of the total population in Lohardaga and Pashchimi Singhbhum districts whereas Ranchi and Pakaur districts have 41.8 – 44.6 per cent tribal population. Kodarma district (0.8 percent) preceded by Chatra (3.8 per cent) has the lowest proportion of the STs Population.

The 32 Jharkhand tribal groups are : 1) Munda; 2) Santhal; 3) Oraon; 4) Kharia; 5) Gond; 6) Kol; 7) Kanwar; 8) Savar; 9) Asur; 10) Baiga; 11) Banjara; 12) Bathudi; 13) Bedia; 14) Binjhia; 15) Birhor; 16) Birjia; 17) Chero; 18) Chick-Baraik; 19) Gorait; 20) Ho; 21) Karmali; 22) Kharwar; 23) Khond; 24) Kisan; 25) Kora; 26) Korwa; 27) Lohra; 28)Mahli; 29) Mal-Paharia; 30) Parhaiya; 31) Sauria-Paharia; 32) Bhumij

Tribal Jewelry and Crafts from Jharkhand

The tribal communities of Jharkhand are known for their eclectic jewelry, which is mostly made from materials like beads, precious stones, bell-metal and brass. Some of the most attractive ornaments worn by tribal communities include necklaces, earrings, anklets, bracelets and bangles with beautiful design and patterns. Most of these ornaments feature motifs of berries, flowers and leaves. The Santhal women of Bihar and Jharkhand wear subtle ear rings, a waist belt called kardhani and bangles known as chudha. Their foreheads are adorned with the attractive tikuli. The tribal communities also use wild grass to design ethnic jewelry items like necklaces. Sometimes, the ornaments are made with Germal Silver that gives them a permanent shine. Tourists can buy a fine selection of tribal jewelry from various stores in Ranchi or try their luck at the bustling street markets.

The tribal communities of Jharkhand follow the age-old tradition of stone carving, which involves etching beautiful designs and patterns on stones. Stone carving is one of the most popular crafts of Jharkhand and the artefacts thus made are proud representatives of the rich cultural heritage of the state and speak volumes about the lifestyle of the tribal communities of the region.

Jharkhand's Tentri and Malhar communities are known for being experts in metal craft and creating a wide range of articles. From weapons and hunting gear to agricultural equipment and decorative items, these talented craftsmen make ethnic articles that represent the rich tribal heritage of the state. The metal artefacts are an amazing blend of style and local designs. While precious metals like gold and silver are used to create exquisite jewelry items, iron is used to make weapons for defensive purposes. Tourists visiting Ranchi will find a variety of metal products in the city's handicraft emporiums which they must carry back as souvenirs from their Jharkhand trip.

Being a natural reservoir of bamboo, Jharkhand is famed for its unique bamboo products. The Chhota Nagpur Plateau is home to densely populated forests lined with bamboo groves. The tribal people of Jharkhand have been using bamboo to make daily use products like baskets, vases, fishing equipment and other decorative items since ancient times. The tribes of the state have mastered the art of making exquisite items using bamboo and cane. The thicker bamboo stems are used for crafting stronger products and decorating buildings while cut bamboo is used to make water containers and other useful products. Tourists can also shop for beautifully woven bamboo floor mats.

Thanks to a rich forest cover,Jharkhand has an abundance of wood, which is used by people of various tribal groups to make household articles. Some of the exquisite items tourists can buy include wall hangings, key hangers, fruit baskets, utensils, candle stands, flower vases, pen stands and toys. The locals also use wood to make windows, doors, boxes and wooden spoons. The intricately carved designs and patterns of the articles represent the rich tribal heritage of Jharkhand that makes them a great choice for home decor. The tribal communities have a great respect for trees, which is why they use only the branches to create artefacts rather than cutting down the entire tree.

One of the most ancient schools in the country, Paitkar paintings are a creative expression of the states folk art. Popularly known as the scroll paintings of the east, Paitkar paintings are mostly based on themes drawn from Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. These traditional paintings tell the stories of the miracles performed by various gods and goddesses like Shiva and Durga. Paitkar painters usually make use of only primary colors like red, yellow and blue with palm leaves acting as a base. The brushes used to paint are made from the hair of squirrels and goats. Most of the painted space in Paitkar paintings is occupied by human characters with elongated eyes, a prime characteristic of the Indian painting style. Located in the eastern part of Jharkhand, Amadubi Village is home to families of talented Paitkar artists. The village is also known as the village of Paitkars and the art form is said to have originated here. The Santhal tribe of the state believes that Paitkar paintings can send wandering souls of dead people to heaven.

Ranchi

Ranchi (400 kilometers west of Calcutta and 300 kilometers south of Patna) is the capital of Jharkhand and home to about 1 million people. Located at an elevation of 651 meters, it used to be the summer coital of Bihar and was regarded as a picturesque hill station. Modern Ranchi is a bustling commercial hub that acts as a gateway to some of the most picturesque regions of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau. Ranchi Hill and Tagore Hill, which flank Ranchi, offer amazing panoramas of the city. The age-old Shiva temple at the Ranchi Hill is one of the most visited spots of the city and devotees need to climb 500 steps to make it to the temple. Tagore Hill also offers views of the entire city.

Ranchi also boasts well-manicured parks with serene walking trails, colorful fountains and rich biodiversity. Places like the Rock Garden and the Nakshatra Van are worth a visit. Ranchi is a great place to shop for exquisite handicrafts made by the tribal communities of Jharkhand. Tussar silk, bamboo crafts, dokra art and jewelry in Ranchi, including necklaces, rings, bangles, bracelets and anklets made in beautiful design and patterns. are sought after products. The Indian Government's Ministry of Tribal Affairs runs a store called Tribes India, which is located in Sainik Market on Ranchi's Mahatama Gandhi main road. The store offers a wide range of products exclusively crafted by local tribals of Jharkhand. The Gandhi Khadi Bhandar located in Ranchi's upper bazaar is also a must-visit store if you wish to shop for genuine handicrafts made by local artisans. The Jharkhand State Co-operative Lac Marketing and Procurement Federation Ltd has also set up a store known as Kusum Emporium, which is one of the best places to shop for tribal artefacts.

Getting There: By Air: The city is well-connected by flights with several important Indian cities. By Road: Good roads and national highways connect the city with other towns and cities. By Train: Ranchi railway junction connects major India cities.

Sights in Ranchi

Ranchi Hill is 652 meters (2,140 feet) high and offers panoramic views of the city. The main attraction is an age-old temple, which is locally known as Pahari Mandir. Devotees reach the temple of 'Pahari Baba' or Lord Shiva, who is worshipped here in the form of a lingam, after walking up a flight of 468 steps.

Ranchi Lake lies at the base of Ranchi Hill. A popular place to relax, it provides visitors boating opportunities that allow visitors to explore the more natural parts of the city. The lake was built in 1842 by a British national, named Colonel Onsely. Tourists can also hike to Ranchi Hill.

Tagore Hill stands about 100 meters above the city and is popular places to watch sunrises and sunsets. The beauty of the hill is such that it is said that Rabindranath Tagore's elder brother, Jyotindranath Tagore, who visited the hill in 1908, was left smitten with the scenery. Soon, he set up his camp home at the hill after which it came to be known as Tagore Hill. Tourists can also visit the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, located at the base of a hill, which is the center of Agrarian Vocational Institute and Divyayan.

Rock Garden at Ranchi's Gonda Hills is a popular picnic spot where tourists can engage in a number of recreational activities like boating and space riding. An ideal place to go with kids, the beautiful park has been carved out of a single rock and offers splendid views of the surrounding Kanke Dam Lake. The park is home to a small hanging bridge and a man-made waterfall. The park has a special playground for children, numerous joy rides and a food parlour as well. The most lot of fun tourists can take in the park is entering the Bhoot Bangla or Horror House, which has been set up under an Egyptian pyramid-like structure.

State Museum at Hotwar was established in 2009 with an aim to preserve and display the centuries-old cultural, historical and archaeological heritage of Jharkhand and India. The museum was set up on the premises of the Tribal Research Institute in 1974 but was later shifted to Hotwar. The Ethnological Gallery of the museum introduces visitors with the tribal lifestyle through life-sized models. From their physical features and houses to costumes and musical instruments used by them, you will come across everything that displays the lifestyle of the tribal communities. The Sculptural Gallery at the museum displays sculptural pieces belonging to the early medieval period. The museum also exhibits a rare collection of pottery artefacts belonging to Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilisations. Tourists can also visit the paintings gallery, which displays collections from renowned artists of the region.

Tribal Research Institute and Museum is one of the finest ethnographic museums in India that deals exclusively with culture as well as ethnography of all 32 of tribal groups of Jharkhand, including the Asurs, the Khondas and the Mundas. The museum houses a rare collection of stone sculptures and terracotta artefacts. The various arms and ethnological objects displayed at the museum introduce visitors to the history and lifestyle of the tribal communities who inhabit the state. The museum serves as an important center of learning for students pursuing tribal studies. It is situated right next to the Morabadi stadium and is open between 10.30am and 5:00pm.

Near Ranchi

Scenic waterfalls, gushing rivers, lush green forests, verdant hills and a rich variety of flora and fauna can all be found in the Ranchi area. Nestled in the Chhota Nagpur Plateau, one of the oldest land formations in the world, the area is the abode of a number of indigenous tribes and and attracts visitors with its cultural and natural spots heritage. Places of interest include Hazaribagh, a small hill resort; Tilaiya dam, a popular picnic spot; Netarhat, a small hill station; Angrabari (Amreshwar Dham); McCluskieganj, a scenic town situated between lush forests and lofty hills; Surya Mandir, designed in the form of a large chariot with elaborately decorated; and Deori Temple (60 kilometers from Ranchi).

Netarhat (150 kilometers from Ranchi) is a pleasant hill station popularly known as the queen of Chota Nagpur Plateau. Netarhat is the highest point of the plateau. The drive there from Rnachi is itself an amazing experience as one comes across seven different hills. Tourists can trek through the lush pine forests of Netarhat. The Netarhat area is home to a number of tribes.

Itkhori (125 kilometers north of Ranchi) is an ancient Buddhist center known for its temples and archaeological sites. Various Buddhist relics dated between 200 B.C. and A.D. 1200 have been found here. The most popular attraction in Itkhori is the spectacular Maa Bhadrakali temple complex that dates back to the 9th century. The temple adjacent to the Maa Bhadrakali Temple is known for its grand lingam, which is adorned with the carvings of as many as 1,008 lingams. Another important attraction is an ancient stupa that has 104 images of Bodhisattvas and four principal Buddhas sculpted on its either side. There is also a stone slab that is believed to have the foot impression of the 10th tirthankara of Jainism, Sheetalnath. Legend has it that the aunt of Lord Buddha, who failed in her efforts to distract him from meditation, gave up here. As she lost at this place, it was named 'Itkhori', with 'it' meaning this place and 'khoyi' meaning lost.

Hazaribagh (95 kilometers north of Ranchi) has nice climate and is best known for the beautiful Hazaribagh Lake. Surrounded by tall trees, the lake offers visitors a chance to witness unspoilt natural beauty. Boating facility is also available at the lake. Another popular attraction in the town is the Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a wide variety of animal species. Some of the common sightings here include cheetal, sambar, wild boar, nilgai and sloth bear. Hazaribagh is also home to numerous temples and the most visited of them all is the Rajrappa Temple. One of the 51 shaktipeethas (devotional shrines where the severed body parts of Goddess Shakti fell) in India, the temple draws devotees from all parts of the country. The grand and colorful shikhara of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings of various Hindu deities.

Wildlife Area and Nature Places Near Ranchi

Palamau Tiger Reserve (200 kilometers northwest of Ranchi) is one of the nine original tiger reserves in India and the only one in Jharkhand. Covering 872 square kilometers, it forms part of Betla National Park and .was once the home of the now extinct Indian cheetah. Part of the ecologically rich Chotanagpur plateau, Palamau is made up of undulating hills covered with dry deciduous forest. Most of the animals are seen around man-made water holes. Among the species seen here are elephant, gaur, chital, sambar, nilgali, Indian wolf, tiger, leopard, mouse deer, ratel, sloth bear, hornbbill and peafowl.

Betla National Park (embracing Palamau Tiger Reserve) is home to animals such leopards, chital, sloths, tigers, wild bear, sambar, mouse deer and langurs. Spread over a hilly area of 250 square kilometers, the park is dotted with pristine waterfalls, natural hot springs and a smattering of monuments. The best way to explore the park is on an elephant ride, which generally starts at 5:00am. The park is open throughout the year but the ideal time to visit is between the months of November and March. The park has a museum and library at the Nature Interpretation Center. Videos and films about the Another unmissable experience is attending the screening of video films and 16mm films that are shown at the park providing tourists with an amazing insight into wildlife.

Nakshatra Van (near Jharkhand Raj Bhawan) is a one-of-its-kind park. Built by the Jharkhand Forest Department, the park is divided into various sections, each representing a nakshatra or star. Each nakshatra is related with a zodiac as in Hindu astrology. The most striking feature of the park is the sleeping statue of Dhanvantari or the Goddess of Ayurvedic medicine, located in the center. The park is also known for its beautiful musical fountain that leaves visitors enchanted. The pathways of the park are lined with various species of flowers. The park is also known as the Constellation Garden and has a separate section dotted with numerous swings for kids.

Biodiversity Park (in Lalkhatanga) is a popular weekend getaway among locals in Ranchi/ Allow two to three hours to explore the picturesque estate. The park boasts a sunset point, a waterfall, a turtle park and small gardens dedicated to medicinal, Japanese and Oriental flora. Constructed with an aim to conserve rare and impressive plants, the park is also home to a cactus house and an aquatic garden and has pleasant nature. It is open everyday, except Monday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Waterfalls Near Ranchi

Jonha Falls (45 kilometers from Ranchi) drops down a height of 141 feet. Also called Gautamdhara Falls due to a temple dedicated to Lord Buddha in the vicinity, the falls invites tourists from around the region. Hirni Falls (60 kilometers from Ranchi) is situated amid lush green forests and is formed where the River Ramgarha plunges 121 feet. bounty. Sita Falls (near Ranchi) attracts adventure enthusiasts for its scenic surroundings, steep climbing routes and rocky terrain. Tourists can engage in waterfall rappelling and camp in its vicinity.

Hundru Falls is formed where the gushing Swarnarekha river plunges down a height of 320 feet and gathers into a frothy pool at the base. Tourists can take a cooling dip in this pool and picnic on its side. The falls also makes for a great trekking spot and tourists need to climb as high as 750 steps to reach it. Dassam Ghagh Falls splits into ten gushing streams and is a source of for River Kanchi, a tributary of the Swarnarekha river. The falls drop 144 feet. The best time to visit the waterfall is between the months of October and January when it flows in all its glory.

Panchghagh Falls (55 kilometers from Ranchi) is made of five streams of River Banai. Though the water does not fall from a lofty height, it can contain a lot of water, produced a the roaring can be heard as one nears it because all the five streams hit the rocks hard. The best time to visit the waterfalls is during monsoon and winter season when it falls in all its glory. Head to the watchtower to get beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding area. The five rivulets of the Banai river make five small ponds, which one can see on the way to the waterfalls. It is said that these five ponds were used by the Pandavas of the epic Mahabharata to hide themselves in during the last year of their exile.

Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur (70 kilometers southeast of Ranchi and 240 kilometers west of Kolkata (Calcutta)) is the largest city in Jharkhand state with about 1.3 million people in its metro area. One of India’s earliest planned cities, it is situated at the confluence of Rivers Subarnrekha and Kharkai and is the brainchild of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata (founder of the Tata Group of companies), who founded the city. Known as the steel city of India, it has some surprisingly nice areas with lakes surrounded by neatly manicured gardens. Open emerald spaces, lofty hills, lush forests and pristine waterfalls adorn the suburbs.

Though it has been developed to be a planned industrial city, Jamshedpur has a handful of places worthy of visit by tourists. Lying at the heart of the city, Jubilee Park is a gift from the Tata Group to the residents of the city. From musical fountains to amazing laser installations inspired by Singapore's Sentosa Island, the park enchants visitors with its diversity and vibrancy. Also called Tata Nagar, Jamshedpur acts as a gateway to other cities and towns of the state.

Getting There: By Air: The nearest airport is Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, around 130 kilometers away. By Road: Good roads connect Jamshedpur with major Indian towns and cities. By Train: Jamshedpur is a major railway station and the junction, Tatanagar, connects it to other important Indian cities.

Jamshedpur Sights

Jubilee Park is popularly known as the Mughal Garden of Jamshedpur. Inspired by Mysore's Vrindavan Garden, it sprawls over an area of 200 acre and attracts tourists with its multicolored fountains and evening laser show. It is also popular among local and visiting joggers and cyclists The park was a gift to Jamshedpur by the Tata Steel Company and was made open to the public in 1958, on the occasion of the city's 50th anniversary of establishment.

Inspired by the musical fountains and laser installation at Singapore's Sentosa Island, the amazing combination of dazzling lights and fountains is the first of its kind in India and has been set up by Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company Limited. The colorful beams of light accompanied by 96 water jets will leave you enchanted. The park is adorned with a gorgeous lake where boating is a popular activity. The Jubilee Nicco Amusement Park, located inside the Jubilee Park is a great recreational center with some rides for children. Tourists must also visit the Smriti Udyaan, Foliage Park, Tata Steel Zoological Park and Rose Garden, nestled within the Jubilee Park.

Tata Steel Zoological Park (beside Jubilee Park) has Safari Park, where visitors can go on a safari ride through a wooded area and spot animals in their natural habitat. The park is home to a wide variety of species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Common sightings include jungle cats, jackal, Bengal mongoose, fruit bats, common rat and three-striped squirrel. The zoological park is also home to around 36 different species of birds, including red vented bulbul, purple sunbird, little cormorant, common coot, kingfisher and magpie robin. In the reptile area are pythons, king cobras, krait and garden lizards. There is also a Nature Education Center and boat rides in beautiful Jubilee Lake. Winter months are the best time to visit the park as a large number of migratory birds arrive here then.

Near Jamshedpur

Saranda Forests is Asia's largest sal forest. Extending over the Jharkhand-Odisha border, it is home to a large number of animal, bird and reptile species. The word saranda means elephants and the forest gets its name due to the large number of elephants that call it home. Flying lizards are often seen here. While the forest is famous for its sal trees, it also hosts a large number of herbs and other trees. Saranda is often referred to as the land of seven hundred hills and is blessed with picturesque waterfalls. The forest trails to the Jhikra Waterfalls is a delight for nature lovers and trekkers. Tourists can visit the twin cities of Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu, which are famous for their iron ore mines, governed by the Steel Authority of India Limited.

Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary (35 kilometers north of Jamshedpur) is located in the catchment area of Subarnarekha river. It is famous for elephants and is home to leopards, tigers, barking deer, sloth bears and porcupines. Tourists visiting the sanctuary can also visit the much revered Shiva Temple, perched atop a mountain. The temple invites scores of devotees during the Shivratri festival. The forest department has also set up a rest house and bamboo huts, where tourists can spend a night, which makes for a truly intriguing experience. Dalma Hills rise to a height of 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) and are surrounded by dense forests and the pristine Subarnarekha river. Offering commanding views of the nearby areas, the hills off rock climbing and trekking opportunities.

Amadubi Village (40 kilometers southeast of Jamshedpur, 30 kilometers west-southwest of Raipur) is home to talented tribal artists who are known for the traditional Paitkar Scroll Paintings. The village is home to around 54 chitrakar families who are skilled in painting scenes from epics, folklore and village life on scrolls made from leaves and barks of trees. A visit to this artists' hub makes for an enriching experience for tourists as they can directly visit the homes of the artists and choose from a wide selection of attractive Paitkar Scroll Paintings. The artists have been following this age-old traditional art and their skill and finesse are unparalleled. You can buy some amazing paintings to take back home as souvenirs. The village lies in Dhalbhumgarh block of East Singhbhum and is a hub of ethnic artists of Jharkhand.

Bokaro Steel City (110 kilometers northeast of Ramcho and 120 kilometers north of Jamshedpur) houses India’s largest steel plant but also scenic parks, hills, dams, important temples picturesque views of the Parasnath Hills and the nearby Satanpur Hillocks, and mango, sheesham, kendu, jackfruit and sal trees. Bokaro lies on the southern bank of the Damodar river

Dhanbad (20 kilometers northeast of Bokaro) lies at the center of a major coal mining area. It is the second most populous city in Jharkhand with 1.16 million people. Oone of the largest coal mines of India and Indian School of Mines (now IIT) are situated in Dhanbad.

Ghatshila (60 kilometers from Jamshedpur) is a scenic little town with with picturesque hills, serene lakes and pristine waterfalls. The Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray wrote the screenplays for Apu trilogy — Pather Panchali, Aparajita and Apur Sansar — in Ghatshila. The three Indian Bengali language films are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time and are often cited as the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema.

Musabani located in of Singhbhum Shear Zone, geologically one of the richest sites in the Indian subcontinent, Musabani is famous for its copper mines. Jadugora (outskirts of Jamshedpur) is a quaint town located near India’s first uranium mine.

Deoghar

Baidyanathdham-Deoghar (200 kilometers northeast of Ranchi) is a major Hindu pilgrimage center. Home to the famous and unique Baidyanath Temple, which is the only temple in the country to be both a jyotirlinga (shrine representing Lord Shiva) and a shaktipeetha (devotional shrine where the severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell), it holds a special devotional place in the hearts of pilgrims. The popularity of the temple is in part due to its mention in the ancient Hindu texts, Puranas.

Deogarh is particularly swarmed with visitors during the mela of Shravan, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar system, coinciding with July and August. During this time, millions of devotees come here from various parts of the country to offer holy water obtained from River Ganges to Lord Shiva. Quaint Deogarh also holds relative significance for those of the Buddhist faith, as there are many ruins of Buddhist monasteries here. The landscape itself is quite inviting and the place enjoys a pleasant climate in winter.

Deogarh was an important place during the Gupta Dynasty and several important archaeological sites and many excavations have taken place here. The Deogarh Archaeological Museum has a fine collection of sculptures discovered from the surrounding areas. The area attracts researchers interested in the Gupta period and the evolution of Jainism.

Baba Baidyanath Dham is the most prominent temple in town. It is among the 12 sacred jyotirlingas in the country and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It also houses idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati. Prayers begin at 4:00am and first the head priest worships with shodashopachar (sixteen services). Then, devotees are allowed to worship the Lord. According to legend this is the place where the king of Lanka, Ravana, sacrificed his ten heads one by one to Lord Shiva. Seeing this, the Lord descended on earth and healed Ravana's injuries. Thus, Shiva is called 'vaidhya' meaning doctor or healer. While there are several such legends associated with this sacred land, history too proves its importance. A mention of the temple can be found from 8th century, during the rule of the last king of the Gupta dynasty, Adityasena Gupta. During the Mughal period, Raja Man Singh, the ruler of Amber, is said to have built a pond here, which is known as Mansarovar. The temple faces the east and is a plain stone structure with a pyramidal tower, which is 72 feet high. Atop it are east compactly set gold vessels, along with a punchshula (five knives in a trident shape). There is also an eight-petaled lotus called Chandrakanta Mani.

Getting There: By Air: The nearest airport is at Bodh Gaya, about 175 kilometers from Deogarh. It is known as the Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport. By Road: Deogarh is connected to its nearby cities with good roads. Regular bus services ply to and fro from Deogarh from places like Ranchi, Patna etc. By Train: Deogarh is well-connected to major Indian cities and Baidyanath Dham Junction is the major railhead in the city. Regular train services are available at this station.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: India tourism website ( incredibleindia.org), India’s Ministry of Tourism and other government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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