I was travelling to Netarhat after visiting Betla Forest, Betla Fort and Kechki. I have already written blogs about Betla and Kechki so this blog would cover the trip from Betla towards Netarhat. If you are travelling to this part of Jharkhand then people usually do these two places together since these form a part of tourist triangle along with Ranchi.
Betla to Maromar
If you are driving from Betla towards Netarhat then in between you would pass through Maromar. Initially, we planned to spend a night at Maromar Forest Rest House but we were told that at present it’s under renovation. It’s a must to stay here since the forest here is dramatically different from Betla. The forest is much denser and much greener in this part. However, it is also to be noted that this part of the forest is also notorious for high insurgent activity thus limited stops are recommended. Though in recent years it’s much quieter in this part of Jharkhand occasionally some news of disturbance do come up.
Water Falls from Waterfall
Our driver reported low air pressure on the right rear tyre thus we stopped over at Garu for repairs, we also had our breakfast in one of the village shops. We were welcomed and had the best breakfast of the trip, followed by hot freshly prepared Bundi ka Ladoo.
We went towards Mahuadand and from there towards Chatakpur which took us towards Lodh Falls. The roads become quite narrow at stretches and often you may think that you have come the wrong way. After driving nearly half an hour through these stretches you finally reach Lodh Falls. It is recommended that you come right after the monsoon season to see the might waterfall at its best.
Netarhat Here We Come
We proceed towards Netarhat hoping to reach there by lunchtime. The scenery starts to change slowly and we soon find ourselves climbing up a hill. We missed a critical turn towards Netarhat and unknowingly proceed towards Ranchi. Luckily I spot the milestone where the Km for Ranchi was decreasing slowly and make an about turn back towards the turn. We reach Netarhat Prabhat Vihar Hotel at around 2.45 PM and quickly have our lunch. The food menu here is similar to that of Betla so we were not much surprised.
At Netarhat you must see Sunset and Sunrise, it’s a real treat to your eyes. We drove towards the Sunset point which is around 5 Km from the hotel. The roads are very nice and properly marked.
Water, Water Everywhere
As we were going our eyes got locked into a blue watery body, we were not aware of this as it was not on our list of destination. We asked Aftab (our driver) to stop and ran towards the lake locally known as Badka Bandh. We saw some local boys pelting stone at an object, as we approached we were warned by them to be careful. It’s then we realized that they were trying to chase away a large snake that had recently ingested some large prey and was busy basking in the evening sun.
We were terrified and started walking slowly, its then we realized that the entire lake area is infested with various types of snakes and that’s the main reason why tourist usually avoid it. However if possible it’s recommended to stop by this lake even from a distance and appreciate its beauty.
You need to drive for another fifteen minutes before you finally reach the Sunset Point but before that, you will pass through some of the most visually stunning landscape of Netarhat. With Pine trees covering the sides this part of the land looks like a piece of heaven on earth.
Sun Goes Down
By the time we reach Sunset Point it was already filled up with a huge contingent of tourists. This place has a good facility in terms of seating arrangements with shade and some sculptures which beautify the viewing point. We positioned ourselves in a secluded corner with a clear view of the hills ahead.
What we got next is a real magic of nature, I witnessed the most beautiful sunset I have even seen from a hill station, and I just cannot describe it by words alone.
We had a quick dinner and went to bed early as we had to wake up early the next morning to see the Sunrise. Luckily the Sunrise Point of Netarhat is just twenty meters from our hotel so we need not take our vehicle.
What Goes Down Must Come Up
Woke up around 4.30 AM and went to the terrace of the hotel to see the sun come up. Just as the sunset was spectacular, similarly the sunrise was equally brilliant. Various colours lit up the sky like a canvas with oil paint.
We wanted to depart early as there was nothing else to see so we were ready by 8 AM, Aftab was also ready to take us to the next leg of the journey.
Just One Minute from Here
There were few places we wanted to see at Netarhat before heading towards Ranchi, among them we had shortlisted Naspati (Pear) Garden, Pine Forest, Ghagri Falls and Palamu Daak Bunglow. Naspati Garden was an easy find as we were instructed that it’s behind the lake so we took a road that leads to the back of the lake and with fine minutes we were in Naspati Garden. The garden smelt sweet and was in full bloom with white flowers and bees all over them.
Our next destination was Upper Ghagri Falls so we asked some locals about the directions, we were instructed to drive ahead and take the first left turn which would take us to Ghagri Falls. Till now we have not yet realized the great mistake that we have done. Aftab drove as instructed and we reached the road diversion and took the left as instructed. After driving a kilometre or so we found the roads getting denser and the road vanishing under the heaps of leaf. Aftab warned us that we might be going in the wrong direction and might head straight to the den of insurgents. We did not pay much attention to this as we just wanted to go to Ghagri Falls.
After driving more than nine kilometres I had a gut feeling that we were now lost in a complete dense jungle with no road sign and that to is a complete danger zone. I immediately asked Aftab to stop and turn back. Aftab by now was shivering with fear and was constantly saying a prayer.
Aftab made a quick turn around, I could see that he was right in his fear, the dry leaves were creating a slippery surface which was making navigation extremely difficult. As we turned back I saw a writing on the hill side written in red on a large stone “Jungle Hamari Hai, Iska Raksha Karengay” which translates to “Jungle is our land, we will protect it”. The next nine kilometres back to where we started were like a very long drive. My fear was that of Land Mines below the cover of dead leaves, this I had not shared with others. Once we reached back to the main village we were somewhat relieved.
Then came the madness navigation, we kept asking every passer-by and remarkably each of them gave a different direction to Upper Ghagri Falls. Some said one kilometre while the other said five, finally we asked a group of Special Forces personnel and they warned us not to venture there as it’s unsafe at that moment due to an ongoing patrolling. Additionally, they warned us not to go towards the left (where we just came back from) as it’s absolutely a no go zone. Aftab on hearing this was more shocked and prayed once more that he was back to safety.
We did not tell them anything and decided to abandon our plan for Ghagri Falls and instead go to Pine Forest. This place was just opposite to Nashpati Garden thus was easy to navigate.
After this, we decided to end our journey with a final stop to the famous Palamu Daak Bunglow. We desperately wanted to stay here but somehow we could not manage to get a booking.
Return to Ranchi
Finally, we bid goodbye to Netarhat and started our long journey back to Ranchi. We stopped at Chipri on the way to have brunch. We were all tired and wanted to reach Ranchi as soon as possible. It took around three and a half hour to reach Ranchi where we rested at my in law’s house for some time since our return train was at 9.45 PM (Hatia – Howrah). Had dinner at the station and took the train back to Kolkata.
Jharkhand Tourism Helpline:-
(Year 2015) Rs. 900 for AC Double Bed + Tax. Extra Person Rs. 200. Tax and Extra Person payable at hotel
Booking at: Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC), Usha Kiran Building, Flat 8B, 8th Floor, 12A Camac Street , Kolkata 700017 Phone – 033 2282 0601
Sunset Point = 10 KM
Sunrise Point = 0 KM
Badka Bandh = 2 KM
Pine Forest = 2 KM
Nashpati Garden = 3 KM
Palamu Dak Bunglow = 1 KM
Ghagri Waterfalls (Upper and Lower)
Tata Indica / Tata Indigo / Sumo
Aftab – 82298 36263
(Year 2015) (Rs. 700 per day + Rs. 200 Driver Allowance OR food for the driver + Fuel*)
* Fuel @ Non AC 12 Kilometres per Litre OR AC 10 Kilometres per Litre
Other Blogs on Betla & Netarhat:-
Land of the Red – Full detailed blog on Betla & Netarhat
A Tryst with Ray’s Palamu – Blog about Kechki
Betla – One Night at the Forest – Blog about Betla Forest safari