If you’ve visited Ranchi and Kolkata -- and having fallen in love with both the cities, you now crave to experience their magic in unison, then do not worry. Your craving is not in vain for there is a place matching exactly that description! Situated in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, the town of Ghatshila has the winding rivulets and serene waterfalls of Ranchi while also harbouring ample sites of religious worship and a rich multicultural heritage that Kolkata does. Ghatshila is a town of festivals, where the locals are fond of celebrating in unity. Visiting Ghatshila means not only that you’re in for the opportunity of spending quality time in nature, by the side of mystical waterfalls and picturesque hills, but also that you get to pay heed to deities in old historical temples.
Part of the region in central India with thick tropical forest cover and rocky terrains, Ghatshila is abundant in natural beauty. Some of the sites that tourists and locals frequent are:
1. Phuldungri Hills
At a distance of about 4.2 kms from the centre of the city, this is a series of hillocks rather close to Tata Nagar. Upon climbing the top, one can obtain an aerial view of Ghatshila. This view is especially remarkable at night when the light of the town are switched on and one can see them spread out all across the landscape. While the view is mesmerising on its own, the trek trail itself is no less. Passing through dense forests, it is a relatively less known path that is sure to enthrall you if you like trekking in general.
2. Burudih Lake
An artificial waterbody maintained by local authorities, Burudih lake is at a distance of about 5 kms from the city. The lake is surrounded by thick forests and green hills -- it provides a scenic view for those looking to relax and maybe engage in photography. It's best to visit the lake when there's little fog so that the view of distant hills does not get obscured. If you're looking to picnic in Ghatshila, then this is your spot!
3. Dharagiri Falls
Located about 6 kms away from Burudih Lake, Dharagiri Falls are a prime attraction for tourists to Ghatshila. At a height of about 25 ft, these falls make for a marvellous sight and are not to be missed when visiting during monsoon season. A fee of 20 INR is applicable upon entry; a lot of tourists hire local children or teenagers as guides. For those looking to grab a quick snack, there is a tea stall run by locals!
4. Narwa Forest
This is a small patch of forest cover through hillocks and rivulets. There's place to sit by the main tributary, in case you're looking to picnic at this serene spot. Make sure to pack some food and your camera! There's lots of colourful butterflies and lizards to be photographed here. The forest is at a distance of some 10 kms from Rankini Temple. To reach the place, you should ask the locals for directions.
5. Galudih Dam
At a distance of about 10 kms from the town, this dam is a marvel to behold. With a ridge of hills in the distance that have birds hovering over them, a windy afternoon spent here makes for quite a memorable experience! There's eateries on the highway nearby, so that you can grab a quick meal on your way to or from the dam.
If you're a religious person, or someone who especially likes visiting the local religious sites of the places that you visit, then Ghatshila has quite a few options for your itinerary:
1. Rankini Temple
Built by Raja Jagannath of the Dhulbhum dynasty, this temple is dedicated to goddess Kali. Devotees from neighbouring states come to pay the goddess their heed. Only the most qualified priest from the local village is deemed suitable to perform the rites. This temple is quite popular among tourists of all strands and is usually busy throughout the year. It's located at a distance of about 12 kms from Ghatshila and can be reached via cab or personal transport.
2. Ram Krishna Math
If you're fond of spirituality, uphold the writings of Swami Vivekanada, or simply curious about witnessing a Hindu monastery firsthand, then this recent establishment in Ghatshila is an opportunity to explore! You can get to interact with the monks and the underprivileged children under their care. There's even a guest house for devotees.
In addition to its abundant natural beauty and places of religious worship, the city of Ghatshila contains various attractions of cultural heritage that you would definitely want to explore:
1. Panch Pandav
Situated towards the northwest of the city, at a distance of about 5 kms, this is a spot steeped in folklore and myth. On top of the hill, there is an ancient stone famous for depicting five men who are famously believed to the Pandav brothers of Mahabharatha. The view from the top itself is scenic: there's a railway track in the distance and if you catch sight of a train plying against the sunset, it makes for quite a frame!
2. Bhibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay's Cottage
If you're a fan of Satyajit Ray's well-acclaimed Apu Trilogy or a literary buff in general, then Ghatshila has a monument you can't miss out on exploring! Bhibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay was the novelist who authored the series of books, i.e. Pather Panchali that Ray would later adapt in his famed trilogy. He was a native of Ghatshila and died there in 1950. His house has been revamped as a heritage site by the state government to promote literary culture. It can be visited by tourists and locals alike.
Food and Shopping
If you're looking to purchase souvenirs from your trip to Ghatshila, then the market on the main road has multiple street shops where you can buy Santhali handiworks. This includes but is not limited to jewellery items and baskets.
Jharkhand is rich in the variety of cuisine it offers, and Ghatshila is no exception. Rich in chickpea crops, you can expect to find a variety of dishes prepared using sattu at the local restaurants and dhabas. Other popular dishes include a popular lam curry, thekua (a type of bread made with wheat-flour and jaggery) as well as potato-infused gram curry.
Offering you the joy of Ranchi and Kolkata in one, Ghatshila is everything you'd want out of an excursion to Jharkhand!
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Best Time To Visit Ghatshila
The best months to visit Ghatshila are February and November. In these months, the temperature doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rise above 30 degrees, making it convenient and pleasant to navigate the town during either day or night. Additionally, the waterfalls are not too dry out of heat, as well as the lakes are not covered in fog because of the cold: this provides an optimal view all over.
Tips For Visiting Ghatshila
1. The locals are courteous, so extend the same in your interactions with them. 2. Do not litter into water-bodies. It harms marine life. 3. Do not etch any markings into the museums or monuments you visit. 4. If you hire a local guide, it is advisable to buy them a meal when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re eating. 5. Navigation is difficult at some places due to lack of proper roads, so either travel by foot or hire a cab.
How To Reach Ghatshila
By Rail: Well-connected to the foremost metropolitan cities in India, i.e. Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi via rail, Ghatshila has an active, well-maintained, and busy rail station. Trains that tourists prefer include Ispat Express, Kurla?Howrah Express, Steel Express, etc. By Road: At a distance of 240 kms and 39 kms from Kolkata and Jamshedpur respectively, Ghatshila is also connected to well-connected via road to places like Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar, and Ranchi. A number of buses ply on the NH6 leading to Ghatshila and can be boarded at either Kolkata or Jamshedpur.