What comes to your mind when you hear about Ranchi?!
(Bombay people – it’s the capital of Jharkhand, just so you know.)
Mahendra Dhoni, Erstwhile Bihar, or maybe the cult movie, Gangs of Wasseypur? At least that’s what comes to my mind. That, and my ex-roommate & super-cool friend, Neha Bharti from Ranchi, who shares common interests with me like journalling, ice-creams & watching Saavdhan India.
So, when I decided to take a road trip to Bihar, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh, I wondered what could possibly be my itinerary in Ranchi. Because let’s face it. Even though I am a self-proclaimed nationalist, I don’t know much about this incredible country either. On top of that, all the stories that you hear growing up about how unsafe it is to travel in that belt of the country don’t make it any easier. Since I am from Ghaziabad, I wasn’t worried about that. The only thing that was on my mind was the itinerary.
Imagine my happiness & surprise when I discovered that Ranchi is a beautiful city of waterfalls, hills, forests, national parks & super cool people (okay that’s an assumption mostly because Neha is so cool).
Patratu Valley: Beautiful & a favourite picnic spot
Situated at an elevation, of course, Patratu offers a bunch of scenic spots. You could either take a drive through the Ghat roads & experience the hairpin bends & S-shaped roads. Or you could take a boat ride in Patratu Lake, by the side of Patratu dam. The lake is clean & clear. And if you visit during winters, you can see a lot of seagulls trying to snatch food from boat riders. The whole area is a fun picnic place with street vendors selling puchka, boiled chana chaat (which was yum by the way), balloons & dreams. How dreams? Oh, I spotted a few fortune-tellers with parrots. The same ones where a parrot draws a chit for you out of a stack & your fortune is written on the chit. And the fortune teller interprets the contents of that chit, to your liking. So, dreams!
Gorgeous & Milky Waterfalls: Hundru, Dassam & more
I went to Hundru & Dassam, situated at a considerable distance from one another. Both are beautiful in their own ways. I am not a fan of waterfalls but I liked these. By the way, there are some 700+ steps that you climb down to reach Hundru. And as you near the falls, you begin hearing the sounds of the falling water. Nothing could be more therapeutic. Well, some things could be. But this is super cool. Like most picnic spots, you can eat Maggi, drink carbonated beverages, buy a few souvenirs in the shops nearby. Do that, because if you ain’t really fit, you get several reality checks while climbing up the stairs on your way back. You will see little children leaving you behind. Or worse, oldies who probably are fans of Milind Soman & follow some of his advice; they leave you behind while you are huffing and puffing.
Vist Hundru first, because after that, Dassam looks like a cakewalk. You can click beautiful pictures & spend some time looking at the falling water. They don’t let you near the waterfalls at Dassam because it isn’t safe. You could watch the falls from a place behind the guardrails. The place remains beautiful nonetheless
Tagore Hill, Temples and Parks
Ranchi has also got a lot of temples & parks – famous for various reasons. Tagore Hill is famous because Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother, Jyotirindranath Tagore stayed there after the death of his wife, Kadambri devi. Other than being associated with a powerful family name, the place offers lovely sunrise & sunset views. There are many temples and parks too in and around Ranchi that you may check out if you are around.
After visiting Patratu valley, Hundru & Dassam falls, I went to the Nucleus mall (more than once :)) & had good food, ice-creams & Kulhar chai.
Truth be told, I visited Ranchi because I have to complete all 28 states. Some of you know that I was on a personal mission to complete all 29 states (before article 370 was introduced in 2019) by 2020. I haven’t been able to do that yet. Why? Because woman proposes & God/Goddess disposes. While the timeline might have moved, my interest in exploring this incredible country remains. This is why I came to Jharkhand. I probably just touched the place & moved on but I left with fond memories. And I will come back because I have come to know that one-third area of Jharkhand is covered with forests, and I am falling in love with forests with every passing day.
Because in a forest, jaane kya dikh jaye!