Ranchi is well known as the home of MS Dhoni and for hosting one of biggest the psychiatric hospitals of Asia. What most people also know is that it is a tourist hot spot.
The capital city of Jharkhand is blessed with natural beauty all around. Ranchi is situated on top of the Chota Nagpur plateau at an elevation of 2,136 ft. In layman’s words, Ranchi sits on a huge volcano top dead millions of years ago.
This city on the top is blessed with clear blue skies and a pleasant climate. Before the deforestation and global warming hit in, it was no wonder that it was called a hill station and the summer capital of the British times.
Ranchi has its own railway station and airport. Lodging, food and transport is easily available. An overnight journey from Kolkata in Kriya Yoga Express or a 7 hour ride in Shatabdi Express will take you there easily. Tip – Do not miss the view outside as the train runs through deep forests and picturesque valleys.
Ranchi has too many spots for the tourists and its citizens worth visiting. Here are twenty of them –
#1 Pahari Mandir
The city of Ranchi has three hills and all three are a must visit. The first is Pahari Mandir. From the hotel you can take a rickshaw or auto to this place. In Pahari Mandir you climb through steps among lush trees to the top where there is an old Shiv Temple. The view of the city is absolutely stunning from this spot.
Another interesting thing about this hill is that the freedom fighters were hanged to death on the trees. There are still some trees left which bear the mark of the ropes.
#2 Tagore Hill
The Tagore family built a beautiful mansion on the second hill. The walk to the top is serene and picturesque. On the top you can sit on the dais where the Tagores used to sit and weave magic with the pen.
#3 Rock Garden
The third, Gonda hill has been turned into a park. The design of the park is very appealing and makes a good photography spot. The hill overlooks the lake formed by the Kanke dam and the amazing sunset is worth the trip.
#4 Waterfalls – Hundru
One of the most visited waterfalls in Ranchi. Although the beauty of the waterfall has been reduced due the dams, it still makes a wonderful picnic spot with forests all around it. To see the waterfall properly, you should climb down the 1000 steps.
#5 Waterfalls – Jonha
Very near to Hundru is Jonha. It is a more beautiful falls than Hundru and you must surely go down the steps.
#6 Waterfalls – Dassam
Dassam used to be the queen of the waterfalls with ten streams mixing into a huge cascade. Due the dams made for agriculture, the water is quite reduced. However the azure blue skies and lush green forest around will surely charm you.
#7 Waterfalls – Hirni
Hirni is a beautiful waterfall you should not miss. It is about 70 kms from Ranchi and you will feel refreshed bathing in its cool waters.
#8 Waterfalls – Panchgagh
A very popular tourist spot. You would want to spend all day lazily there. These waterfalls are quite packed up during the holidays in winter, especially on Christmas and New Year.
#9 Jagannathpur Temple
A replica of the Jagannath Temple of Puri and second only to its importance, Jagannathpur Temple is a must visit. The environment is soothing and uncrowded.
#10 Surya Mandir
Do not miss this. Situated in the midst of the forests is a temple dedicated to the Sun God. The huge structure is of a chariot run by seven white horses. The place is very quiet and the scenery around is awesome. Nearby there is a lake where you can sit and watch tribal ‘adivasis’ go about their daily tasks.
#11 Chinnamasta Temple
The subject of a Satyajit Ray story, Chinnamasta Mandir is one of the very few temples dedicated to the Goddess Chinnamasta. The temple was originally a place of the Bengali dacoits who made human sacrifices. Today the descendants of the dacoits are the pujaris there. The tradition of animal sacrifice is quite common there, due to which the place has become a dirty but it still remains a very popular tourist spot.
Also called the Rajrappa Temple, it is a few hours ride away from Ranchi.
#12 Bio Diversity Park
A part of the marvellous Sal forest has been preserved as part of the Biodiversity Park. There are nature trails where you can enjoy the ambience of a forest and spend the day lazily there or you can enjoy the botanical diversity in the park.
#13 Deer Park
Get close with spotted deer in the deciduous forest. Soothe your eyes in nature and enjoy a picnic.
#14 Deori Mandir
An ancient rock temple of 14-armed Maa Durga which no one knew who built or why. The outside of the temple has been restored in modern architecture but in the inside, the rock cut idol will surely make you wonder.
#15 Yogoda Math
The home of renowned Swami Yogananda. The place is very tranquil with its beautiful gardens.
#16 Dhurwa Dam
Dhurwa Dam is a must visit in winters where the place is filled with migratory birds.
#17 Patratu Valley and dam
An unforgettable ride through the Chotanagpur ghats, Patratu Valley will win your heart. Tourists stop in the ghats to enjoy the beauty around and take pictures back home.
The valley leads to the dam where you can sit and enjoy your picnic.
Related: How to plan your first long drive
#18 Sita Falls
About 40 kms from Ranchi, lies the mesmerizing Sita Falls. It is named after Devi Sita. It is a less frequented tourist spot as it has discovered only some time back.
Ranchi has its zoo too and the best thing is that it is located away from the city surrounded by light forests. A calming place to breathe fresh oxygen and watch the wild animals.
There is also the Muta Crocodile breeding centre a few hours from Ranchi.
Ranchi has its well known cricket stadium but it is hockey that is most popular in Jharkhand. Ranchi holds an international standard hockey stadium with an astroturf brought from Germany which is worth a visit.
Image credits: Shirsendu Sengupta, Aparajita Ghose, Panoramio, tripadvisor.co.uk, Native Planet, Tourism Guide India, TripAdvisor, trodly.com, RanchiOnline