Jharkhand – Overview
Jharkhand, the beautiful state is perched on the eastern side of the Vindhya Hills and at the northern fringes of the Deccan. Bestowed with a number of natural jewels, Jharkhand is known for its rich and diverse culture which draw large number of tourists every year.
Carved out of the southern part of the state of Bihar, Jharkhand spread over an area of 79, 714 sq. kms. Jharkhand is bordered by the state of Bihar on the north, Orissa on the south, Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh on the west and West Bengal on the east. Ranchi is the capital which is mainly an industrial city. Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Deoghar, Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Gumla and Sindri are other industrial hubs of the state. Jharkhand has 22 districts which include, Bokaro, Chatra, Deoghar, Dhanbad, Dumka, East Singhbhum, Garwa, Giridih, Godda, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Koderma, Lohardagga, Pakur, Palamu, Ranchi, Sahibganj and West Singhbhum.
Popularly known as Vananchal, Jharkhand is renowned for its mineral wealth and forestry products. Jharkhand is endowed with vast natural resources, especially the huge variety of minerals that include Iron ore, Coal, Copper ore, Mica, Bauxite, Fire clay, Graphite, Kyanite, Sillimanite, Lime stone, Uranium and several other minerals. Beside, the forest tracks of Chhotanagpur plateau and Santhal Pargana is home to distinct cultural traditions.
On the whole, Jharkhand is an enchanting destination which deserves a visit when you plan a trip to India. On your Jharkhand trip, you will come across some never before seen sights and also get a wonderful chance to experience a distinct culture.
Jharkhand – History
Jharkhand has a very old history dating back to thousand years. Little is found in the historic records about the Jharkhand region. According to some noted historians, even before the period of Mughal Empire, there was a distinct geo-political and cultural entity called Jharkhand. Historic records say, in the 13th century A.D King Jai Singh Deo of Orissa declared himself the ruler of Jharkhand region. Later, Jharkhand came under the control of Mughal, during their rule Jharkhand area was known as Kukara.
Further in 1765, the British East India Company occupied the power and the area became ‘Jharkhand.’ Due to subjugation and colonization of the British Empire, a series of revolt broke out in the Jharkhand region and it continued till India’s First War of Independence in 1857. Some of the noted revolts include Paharia revolt (1772-1780), Tilka Manjhi revolt (1780-85), Tamar revolt (1795-1800), Munda revolt (1795-1800, 1800 – 1802, 1819 – 1820), Khewar revolt (1832-1833) and Bhumji revolt (1833 – 1834).
In the year 1855, the Santhals (tribals) of Jharkhand waged war against the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis. Next, Jharkhand witnessed a number of movements against the British Empire till India gained the independence in 1947. After India’s Independence, the state remained a part of the Bihar. In the year 1995, the then Jharkhand Mukti Morcha impelled the government to establish the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council. Finally, a full-fledged state of Jharkhand came into being on 15th November, 2000. With 18 districts carved out of the former state of Bihar, Jharkhand became the 28th state of India.
Jharkhand – Tourist Destinations
Earlier, Jharkhand was formed with 18 districts, which were part of Bihar. Later, these districts were reorganized to form 4 new districts, namely – Sahebgunj, Jamtara, Latehar and Saraikela Kharsawan. State capital, Ranchi is the most important town, other important towns are Dhanbad, Bokaro, Netrahat, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh and Deoghar. All these towns and cities house a number of attractions for tourists. In addition to these, Jharkhand has a number of other interesting destinations which you can visit on your trip.
Jharkhand – People & Culture
According to 2001 census, the population of Jharkhand is 26, 909, 428, comprising of 13.86 million males and 13.04 million females. Of the total state population, 28% are tribals, 12% are Scheduled Castes and 60% are other communities. Hindi and English are the main languages of the state while around 10% of the state population speaks Bengali. In addition to these, people speaks various language belonging to three major families namely – the Indo-Aryan, the Munda and the Dravidian families. Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity are the main religions followed by the state people. The tribal groups of Jharkhand have their own spiritual belief, known as Sarna. However, due to influence of the Christian missionaries many of the tribals have converted themselves to Christianity.
From time immemorial, the Jharkhand region has remained a home to several tribal communities. Jharkhand has 31 age-old tribal groups that include the Asur, Baiga, Banjara, Bathudi, Bedia, Binjhia, Birhor, Birjia, Chero, Chick-Baraik, Gond, Gorait, Ho, Karmali, Kharwar, Khond, Kisan, Kora, Korwa, Lohra, Mahli, Mal-Paharia, Munda, Oraon, Parhaiya, Santhal, Sauria-Paharia, Savar, Bhumji, Kol and Kanwar. Over the centuries, the tribal groups of the state have developed a rich tradition of arts and crafts. Folk music and dance forms of Jharkhand is popular all over the country. People of Jharkhand perform traditional dances and music on various occasions. Amongst the art forms, paintings of Jharkhand is very famous. Santhali Bhittichitra, Oraon Bhittichitra and Jado Patiya are some noted painting of Jharkhand.
Jharkhand – Cuisine
As Jharkhand remained a part of the state of Bihar, so, the eating habits of the people are almost similar to its parent state. Apart from its delectable taste, the cuisine of Jharkhand provides a better understanding about the cultures of the state. Wheat and rice are staple food of Jharkhand, beside, people like dal (lentils) in their meal. Majority of the people are vegetarian and vegetables are cooked in a variety of dishes. People also like chicken and meat dishes.
Some of the popular dishes of Jharkhand include Khichdi, Aloo Chokha, Chana daal ki kachree, Besan (Gatte) ki sabzi, Kala- Chana Ghoomni, Jhingni ki sabzi, Thekua (Dessert), Mitha Khaja (Dessert), Pua, Til Barfi, Litti, Forsuran (ole) chutney and Pittha. Dishes and drinks made from Sattu (powered gram) is very popular among the people of Jharkhand.
Eating habit of tribal people is quite different from the common people. The tribals have their own style of cooking food. Mahua flour, millets, maize, edible roots and tubers are the principle ingredients of tribal meal.
Jharkhand –Fairs & Festivals
Known for its rich and diverse tribal culture, the state of Jharkhand celebrate a number of fairs and festivals round the year. Apart for this, the cattle play an important role in the fairs and festivals of Jharkhand. Several big cattle fairs are organized in the state, where sale and purchase of cattle take place. Kunda Mela (Pratappur) is one of the major cattle fairs of Jharkhand and it is held at the time of Phalgun Shivratri. Chatra Mela is another major festival of the state and it is also a cattle fair held during the time of Durga Puja.
Some of the important fairs and festival of Jharkhand include Barura Sharif, Bhadli Mela Itkhori, Kolhaiya Mela Chatra, Kunda Mela Pratappur, Lawalong Mela, Sangat, Tutilawa Mela Simaria, Chatra Mela, Belgada Mela Simaria, Rabda Sharif, Kolhua Mela Hunterganj and Kundri Mela Chatra. In addition to these, people of different religions celebrate festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Christmas, Holi, Deepwali and Dussehra.
Jharkhand – Hills and Water Falls
Nature has blessed Jharkhand with some wonderful water falls and picturesque hills. Dassam Falls, Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls and Hirni Falls are the major water falls of Jharkhand. Dassam Falls also known as Dassam Ghagh lies just 40 kms away from Ranchi on Tata Road. Hundru falls is 28 kms away from Ranchi, while Jonha and Hirni falls are located 40 kms and 70 kms away from Ranchi respectively. Rachi Hill, Gonda Hill and Tagore Hill are beautiful hills of Jharkhand. A famous health and holiday resort, Ranchi Hill is situated at an altitude of 21,400 ft above sea level. You can have a spectacular view of the Ranchi town from the top of the hill. Gonda Hill is 4 kms away from G.P.O, Ranchi on Kanke Road and it has water reservoir at its top. Tagore Hill is about 300 ft high and it lies at a distance of 3 km from Ranchi.
Jharkhand – Wildlife
Jharkhand is bestowed with a huge variety of plant and animal species. You can get a panorama of this rich variety of wildlife in national parks and zoological gardens of the state. The Betla National Park and the Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary are main wildlife sanctuaries of Jharkhand. Situated 25 kms away from Daltonganj, the Betla National Park (Palamu) spreads over an area of around 250 sq. kms. In the year 1974, the Betla National Park was declared Project Tiger Reserve. In Betla National Park you can see wildlife such as tigers, elephants, bisons (gaurs), sambars, wildboars, langurs, rhesus, blue bulls, spotted deers, antelopes, rabbits and foxes. The Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 135 kms away from Ranchi and it is set in an ecosystem very much similar to Betla National Park. Apart from these, a Zoological Garden is also located at a distance of 16 kms from Ranchi, which houses a number of mammalian species.
Jharkhand – Shopping
For shopper’s who love tribal handicrafts, Jharkhand is a paradise. From long time, the skilled artisans of the state have produced a variety of handicrafts. However, some traditional handicrafts of the state were on the verge of extinction due to lack of conservation and promotion, but the state government has now focused its attention towards it. Even today, while shopping in Jharkhand you may find an item or two of rare Paitkar Paintings or Stone carving. Some of the must buy items of the state include Wood craft, Bamboo works, Metal work, Stone carving, Paitkar paintings and Ornaments. Visit the private shops and local markets where you will find a variety of local items and the items of every day use as well. Besides, the road-side vendors offer great variety of items and also good bargain.
Jharkhand – Climate
Jharkhand’s climate is tropical in nature with hot and humid summers and cold winters. The climate of the state varies from one region to another region. Some parts of Jharkhand such as Ranchi, Netarhat and Parasanth enjoy a pleasant climate during the summers. The summer season commences early in the month of April and comes to an end by mid-June. Soon after the summers, the rainy season begins and it continues till the end of September. The winter season starts in the month of November and comes to an end by February.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Jharkhand is October to March.
Jharkhand – Transportation
Airlines: Ranchi airport is the main airport of Jharkhand which has flights from important place of the country. A number of flights connect Ranchi with Kolkata, Patna, Mumbai and New Delhi.
Railways: Ranchi railway station is the main railhead of the state of Jharkhand. Hazaribagh is another important railway station of Jharkhand. Several express trains connect Ranchi and Hazaribagh with Patna, Kolkata and other important places of the country.
Roadways: State capital, Ranchi is situated at the junction of National Highways 23 and 33. Good network of road connects various places of the states with each other and rest of the country. State transport and private buses ply within the state and also to neighbouring states like Bihar and West Bengal.