Ranchi is a land which is famous for its history, legends, natural beauty and hometown of famous cricket MS Dhoni. This is holiday season, travel crazy Bengali’s are out with backpack and kids to enjoy holiday locations in and around Kolkata. This winter I have chosen Ranchi because it is close to Kolkata and many historical events are attached with this state capital and small hill town near Kolkata.
Ranchi history : Some interesting facts about Ranchi
As per local legend, Ranchi name was derived from “Archi” when a local farmer farmer drove out an evil spirit with bamboo stave. Evil shouted Arhci before leaving this place. And this place become Ranchi.
Since Ranchi is a part of the Chota Nagpur plateau, Many water falls are created by river at the edge of plateau. Ranchi is popularly known as the “City of Waterfalls” because of its numerous waterfalls, the most well known of which are Dassam Falls, Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls, Hirni Falls, and Panchghagh Falls.
Through this blog I like to share my experience with my readers and helping them to select Ranchi in your next short tourist destination.
Ranchi tour guide: Why have I selected Ranchi for our short family trip?
It is again subjective decision based on your taste. I have selected this location of top three reasons.
1) It is very close to close to Kolkata and tucked away by 430 km by train route. So for 2-3 days break, you come here with your family. It is a over night train journey.
2) It is a right place if you like enjoy history of Chinnamasta devi and beauty of hundhru falls. History and nature are same place to take your breath away.
3) From here you can go Netarhut to enjoy pristine beauty of hill town and unparalleled experience of watching sunrise and sunset. From here you can go for Betla forest trip.if you have 4 to 5 days time , you can plan Ranchi- Neturhat-belta forest trip. Hence history, jungle and hilltop views all are offered at the same location.
How to reach Ranchi?
Ranchi is well connected with major cities by roads, air and rails. But question is “how to reach Ranchi from Kolkata?”We have reached here by train from Kolkata. There are 3 main train running daily from Ranchi and Kolkata/Howrah.
- 18628/Ranchi – Howrah Intercity Express (via Dhanbad)
- 18616/Kriya Yoga Express
- 12020/Ranchi – Howrah Shatabdi Express
I found Kriya Yoga Express more suitable for tourists as far as timing and pricing are concerned.
Hotels in Ranchi: How to find best hotels in Ranchi?
I like to share my honest experience with readers in this post. Since I was traveling in peak time in last week of December 2016. I was little bit apprehensive about availability of good hotels in that place at reasonable price.
I was searching in Goibibo and Makemytrips. In fact these websites are inflating prices. There are 3 types hotels. For top hotels you can definitely book from hotel booking websites. For medium range hotels you can book over phone. I was looking for hotels in 1000 to 1500 range. What I found on travel booking sites in this range, that actually cost about 700 – 1000 range if you book that offline.
I have interacted few travel agents and local people here. You won’t find mad rush of tourists here even in very peak seasons. In that respect, there are plenty of hotels in Ranchi.
1) Premium hotels: Many quality hotels located along Ranchi station roads. After coming out from platform number 1, you find a two way lane just running across rail tract separated by rail wall. 100 meter from rail station you can locate at least 40 hotels located along the station roads.
2) Few good hotels : Hotel Benna in , Hotel AVN plaza, Hotel Element, You can found few 3 star hotels in this water. All within 100 meters.
3) Budget hotels. Hotel Amrit, Hotel konark, hotel bliss regency. If you walk about 800 meters, you find many budget hotels.
4) I have seen few more hotels near over bridge areas. It about 1 km from station road. I have found big shopping complex near over bridge. I have found many more budget hotels in this area.
However, I have stayed in Hotel Amrit, 200 meter from station located in station road areas. They charge 1000 -1500 for deluxe room and 1500 to 2000 for AC double bed room. For non ac doubles bed they charged around 800/_.
As per local reference, you can try hotel Konark for budget travelers, and hotel Bella in for good comfort stay.
Some base pricing in budget and semi luxury hotels
Double bed : 600 – 800
Deluxe- 1000 – 1500
Ac double bed- above 1000
Best restaurant in this area, undoubtedly two names come up for tourists
1) Sunny restaurant for pure vegetarian foods
2) Punjabi Rosoi for veg and non veg foods.
Both are located near Hotel Amrit along station road and very close to station.
Hotels booking tips : trust me, you wound not find mad rush of tourists here even in pick season. Hence, if you have time, you come here and check 2-3 hotels before you finalize the deals. After all it not like Darjeeling or Gangtok.
Ranchi sightseeing and outside city tour
Ranchi tour -Day 1 : we have planned day long outside trip with our family. I have discussed few friends and local agents before finalizing travel itinerary. We have booked sedan for a day long trip as we are 4 members in our family. Driver Mukesh also shared his views about tour plan before start the journey. He charged INR 2000 for covering 4 major spots in a day long trip.
A) Chinnamasta mandir.
This is famous sidhi peth and famous pilgrimage destination. Goddess Chinnamasta temple is a hindu famous pilgrimage centre and located in Rajrappa, Ramgarh district of Jharkhand. Devotees from different states like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal come here to offer puja.
Our journey started at 8;15 AM. This temple is 70 km away from Ranchi city and located along Ranchi purulia highway. It is 28 km away from Ramgarh Cantonment along NH-23 in the Ramgarh district of the State of Jharkhand
We were very excited about this temple. Chinnamasta is also called as Chhinnamastika and Prachanda Chandika. She is only goddess who beheaded her own head and holding her own severed head and bledding neck make the whole darshan more dreadful. As if some Tantrik baba is waiting to grab some prey to offer it to Maa.
After starting from hotel driver took NH 33 road and reached Shivaji chowck after 10 km drive. This is big junction from here you can take roads to reach major distant cities like Jamshedpur, Ramghar, etc. We have taken road to Ramghar. Before reaching toll plaza we have taken roads towards Sikidri road. It took few more km to reach Rajrappa. However, I recommend this road to enjoy beauty of rural lives, hilly village trail. Along this path you can reach hundru fall. We reached sikidri hill top. In fact, hundru fall originated from this Plataea area. From here we can see the vast valley down. We started climbing down towards planes.
After 10 km drive, we reached Gola station area and leaving behind hilly trail of sikidri cantonment area. After crossing Gola bazaar area, we took right to another 10 km. Finally we reached Chhinnamasta Temple around 1030 am.
We have parked our car and took the path to cross a hilly stream to reach temple premise.
Chinnamasta temple has long history to cherish. When I read first time about this place, I felt it might be inside jungle. Uncanny environment would prevail and frighten us during our visit. I was expecting some tantrik baba would be around with red eyes and chanting mantra for offering some sacrifices on alter. Satyajit Roy had chosen this location for shooting of chinnamasta aabhisap.
I was proved wrong as many things have been changed. Flocks of pilgrims with smart phone took snaps of temples. Tantric s were not insight. But puajaris were busy in managing puja and queue.
There is a nice platform build near the mandir and by the side of the river. This location has a special significance. From the platfrom, we can see union of Bhairavi nadi (female) coming from top, meeting Damodar nada (male) signifying vipareeta rati ( opposite coppulation) pose as described in Devi Chhinnamasta’s dhyana (vipareeta rataturam). Damodar is very calm and Bhairavi is the active member. We could see some boating down in the Damodar river.
We then moved to main Chinnamasta temple and there was a moderate queue. When we entered the main temple area, we could not find any sign of Maa Chinnamasta. Pujaris are clamoring for dakshina and they hardly allow you to stand there for a minute. Anyway, I closed my eye and feel the blessing of Maa Chinnamasta.
What to see Chinnamasta temple in Ranchi
1) Chinnamasta temple. Is located near the small rivulet flowing down the rocks. Morning time you offer puja and there was not much queue that time.
2) Next to temple, you will find Astha Mandir consists of series of temples in a chariot fashion.
3) I have located some boating scheme down the river. Since we have limited time we have not tried that options.
You can spend 2 hours time to offer puja and enjoy environment around
B) Hundru falls
We have covered the distant location ( Chinnamasta temple) first and started for Hundru fall while returning for Ranchi. It is 45 km from Ranchi, along the Ranchi-Purulia Road. From Gola bazaar, we again drove up to reach Sikidri top and turned left and drove about 10 km through tribal village to reach fall. On the way we observed paddy fields, 2-3 km jungle to reach main gate of fall. It was 1:30 pm. We finished our lunch here. Very tasty Bengali thali here at very reasonably rate. We took entry ticket ( rs 5 per ticket) and claimed down the 700 stairs to reach the base of fall. The scenic beauty of fall and valley erased our tiredness.
The Hundru Falls is 98 metres (322 ft) in height and is created on the course of the Subarnarekha River, and it is one of the highest water falls in the state. The spectacular scene of water falling from such a great height has been described as a sight to behold. In rainy season, it takes dreadful image and it becomes a popular picnic spot in winter. We climbed down about 600 steps to reach the bottom of the fall. There is a private arrangment of boating in the water near the falls. We spend around 30 minuted there. And reached the hill top by 3:30 pm.
C) Getalsud dam :
It is a off beat location. From the fall it is 20 km jungle ride. On the both side we have observed jungle of shawl and other big tress. In one location driver informed us that is area was infested with snakes. No animals enter here. We park our car close to jungle and looking at mud lumps near big tress to have a distant look of poisonous snake. But it was 4 pm hence drove headed towards dam. We directly drove onto dam. It is a 3 km ride along dam. Left side big dam reservoir covering areas up to Ranchi city side. We did a brisk walk on lock gate. Sun is also on the other side of vast reservoir planning for day off.
D) Bhagawan Birsa biological park zoo
It was last point for the day. We reached spot around 4:30 pm. Time for closing the zoo visiting hour. We spent 30 minutes there.
Finally we started there at 5 pm and reached our hotel around 6 pm.
In this tour we generally looked places for outside city tour. Mandir and fall experience are still afresh in our mind.
Ranchi Tour – Day 2
We have taken a complete day rest for full day tour outside Ranchi city. We have done a combo plan i.e. to complete city tour and outside city tour in a day. It was about 250 km travel plan to complete
A) Dassam falls
B) Sun Temple
C) Patratu valley and dam
All these are distant places from Ranchi. In addition, we have planned to visit some select places inside city. We know this is hectic schedule, however we tried to cover major places before we board the train at night from Ranchi railway station. We have booked same sedan for day long tour.
A) Dassam falls : It was 8 o clock morning , we started from hotel and take Ranchi – Tata Nagar highway. It is located 40 km from Ranchi. First 30 minutes journey refreshed our mind when we took hilly trails to reach a point from we take right turn for final path towards Dassam fall.
From highway it was about 10 km drive , local village life, lush green paddy fields, and distant view of hills will take your tiredness away. After 3 km drive we reach a junction which shows two directions and both direction will take you to Dassam fall. But there is a catch. We actually took straight path and this is new path for reaching on the top of the hill and falls.
Along new path you would find more jungle and turn of the jungle path was steep and sharp.but road condition was excellent. On the way we observed silence of jungle and distant hill top was watching us from over the jungle trees. We found tribal women carrying wood logs climbing down the hilly path. You won’t found tribal village in this path, but jungle journey was excellent. When we reached on the top of falls it was 9:30 am. We took some awesome snaps from here. From here you can see another approach road to base of Dassam fall. In fact that is old and main entrance.
As I told you after entering from highway into village path we observed two path. Actually you have to take left path and this will take you to the base of falls. We now headed towards old route. This route is very well maintained also. We have found tribal village schools, rural health clinic along this path. In path , we have found less jungle experience. However, this place is good for sightseeing the nearby areas of falls. We now climbed down about 200 steps to reach at the base of the fall. It was really awesome. This falls may not be as high as Hundru falls, but best experience I have had while enjoying time in waterfall area.
Question may arise: which is the best fall in Ranchi? Hundru, John’s or Dassam.
I am for Dassam fall as it has some advantage over others. 3 main factors for choosing Dassam fall
1) Nice jungle driving experience in Dassam fall area
2) It is easy to reach at the bottom of falls. You need to only about 250 steps.
3) I found surrounds are really beautiful.
Tips for this place
1) Start early for this place and reach there by 10 am in the morning
2) spend 2-3 hours there and if possible go for jungle drive to reach other side of fall through the jungle.
3) do some trekking from old that to new ghat. I have seen many people crossed the roads over the falls.
B) Sun temple : After finishing Dassam fall visit, we again come back to Ranchi Tata Nagar highway. We drove 10 km towards Tata nagar direction and from the highway we found the top of the sun temple. It was 12 noon just before closing hour of temple. Front sculpture is really good. But the whole mandir needs some renovation work especially wheels of chariot. We made a round of the temple. Distant view of surrounding hills mesmerized us. We spent 30 minutes there spending sometimes inside meditation hall. Temple remained closed between 12 pm to 12:30 pm to visitors. Hence plan your time accordingly. There are many good dhabas in this region, hence We have finished our lunch here.
You can access this place if you coming from Tata Nagar towards Ranchi. You are touring from Ranchi , then you can easily visit this place once you finish Dassam fall visit.
Back to Ranchi city
Our next trip is Patratu hill and valley. This place is located on the other side Ranchi along Ranchi- Ramghar- Hajaribag national highway. We have reach Ranchi town now and spent some time for visiting some sightseeing places in Ranchi city.
Quick sightseeing in Ranchi city
There are many places to see in Ranchi, but select few selected locations as to manage precious time.
1) Ranchi hill and pahari mandir
This is located right at the heart of the city. We claimed about 200 stores to reach the hill top. From here you can see distant views of Ranchi lake, Ratu chowck etc. We spend 30 minutes there.
2) Hatia dam
We gain drove 10 km from highway towards hatia station. On the way we have seen Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) campus, Ranchi stadium. And finally reached Hatia dam. It being 31st December, many families are enjoying picnics in dam area. This is very popular destination for picnic in Ranchi.
3) Jagannath temple in Ranchi
On the way returning from Hatia dam, we went to Jagannath temple located on a small hillock. It was closed by that time. But beauty of temple is really awesome. From temple top you can see distant view of Hatia city, and stadium. We spend about 20 minutes there.
Now it is about 2: 30 pm. We need to cover of our last lap of day long trip. From here we will take road for Patratu valley. Hence again on wheel for patratu tour.
C) Patratu valley trip
I feel if you like to enjoy a hilly drive then it is the best place to visit during your day long tour in and around Ranchi. This place is located 35 km from Ranchi along Ranchi Hajaribag highway. On the way we crossed Ratu chowck and after 15 km journey, we reached at the uphill of Pratratu valley. It was after noon, sun was on the other side hilly range. Riots of colors from sun rays drenched the whole valley. On the both side of road, long stretches of forest consisting shawl, segun were welcoming us. We stop at a location along highway to take a panoramic views of Patratu hill. Down the hill on the right side we could see vast lake called Patratu lake. Patratu lake is a popular picnic spot in Ranchi. When we reached the lake area, it was 3:30 pm. Picnic parties are in their full mood to enjoy 31st December year end party.
We reached the lake water by dodging picnic huts scattered near the water body. It was almost evening, we sit on bank of the lake. Distant views of small boats plying in the lake was awesome. Tourists parties are enjoying boating in the lake. Distant views of hillocks on the other side creating relaxed felling. We were recollecting the memories of Maithon dam. There if you sit on the lake and look carefully , you would find tortoise like island deep inside the lake. Whole experience was mesmerizing. We have a nice tea at nearby tea stall. Darkness covered the dam area. It was 5:30 pm evening. We are back onto car for return journey to Ranchi city. When we reached Ranchi station for return train to Howrah, it was 730 pm. It was a nice whole day tour experience.
Ranchi tour plan
If you like enjoy hills and pilgrimage then you can have following plan
A) Day one – hundru falls + chinnamasta mandir. We travel by private vehicle.
B) day 2: we take local cab for city sightseeing. They charge about INR 1000 for 8 spots in 6 hours.
C) day 3 : Dassam fall and patratu viley. Private car charges about INR 2000.
Before booking you check with 2-3 travel agents along with your hotel’s service desk.
Hope you find this information useful. Please let me know your view.