Ranchi, the summer capital of Jharkhand, has some of the most scenic cityscapes in India. Popularly referred to as the City of Waterfalls, Ranchi is a beautiful destination full of natural and cultural wonders, with opportunities for trekking through bamboo covered topography and feasting on regional delicacies like ‘Golgappas’, discovering Rabindranath Tagore’s literary sanctuary at Tagore Hill and enjoying the immensity of the Rock Gardens. Read on to find out the best things to do and see in this eclectic city.
Ranchi offers an authentic blend of cuisines, typically of tribal influences, that consist of a wide spectrum of homemade dishes such as a plateful of Channa Bhatura, which can be enjoyed with a refreshing glass of Sattu. The streets in Doranda offer many a gastronomic treat for food lovers, brimming with miniature golgappa stalls and local kulfi parlors. As you walk through a tantalizing trail of aromas, grab a bite of litti chokha – a delicious fried bun made from gram flour that is a favorite among locals, who love having this spicy snack with a steaming cup of masala chai tea.
For nature enthusiasts, a casual outing to Jonha Falls accounts for a day filled with sunbathing, picnicking and perhaps grabbing a few mouthfuls of jalebis at the local fair. Seated at the edge of the Ranchi plateau, Jonha Falls are a fine example of hanging valley falls that originate over a master stream, the Raru River, and cascade from a height of 141 feet. Hundreds of tourists and locals eagerly climb past the 700 steps that lead to the waterfall.
For those who simply love spending time in nature, catch the cold breeze atop Tagore Hill as you enjoy a hearty meal in the middle of absolute greenery. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was believed to have spent most of his literary instants at the heart of the Tagore Hill, famous for the 300-feet-high cottage which was supposed to be his resting house. Capture the most breathtaking sights as you visit Tagore Hill, also known as Morabadi Hill.
Ranchi is famous for its ethnic handicrafts and metal work, all of which are exhibited at Firayalal, one of the most popular shopping destinations for tribal souvenirs. Paitkar art, that showcases the cultural heritage of Eastern India, is an indigenous craft fostered by tribal artists who indulge in scroll painting to foretell historical events. The ancient lineage of Paitkar paintings is only part of Firayalal’s beautiful artistic spread, which also includes the Ranchi Handloom Emporium and Bareja Handloom Emporium.
Ranked as one of the most beautiful zoos in the country, Birsa Zoological Park is part of the ex-situ conservation practices adopted by the Jharkhand Wildlife Association. This natural habitat is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts as you can delve inside a world brimming with exotic botanical exhibits and a thriving biodiversity. Also referred to as the Birsa Jaivik Udyan, the site shelters a comprehensive line of wild animals, from the dry moat that houses the Sambar to the thickly wooded enclosures of the Barking Deer.
Created by the Jharkhand Forest Department, this environmental friendly site is a park that has been divided under different sections centered on fundamental Nakshatras (zodiac/lunar mansions). Within each section visitors will find a particular plantation that is of ecological, economical and medicinal significance according to the different lunar signs in Indian astrology. Nakshatra Van is one of the most unique attractions in the city, a give-away of India’s culture and a depiction of its traditional roots.
If you’re planning on visiting Kanke Dam, draw out a few hours to visit the Rock Gardens in Ranchi. Located at the bank of the Ranchi Lake, Rock Gardens is formed from the residual rocks of the Gonda Hill. At a distance of 5 kilometers from Alberta Chowk, Rock Gardens nestled atop Gonda Hill are a wonderful seat of absolute peace and serenity. Catch a glimpse of nature or pose beside the famous ironclad Jhula and the many sculptures that add an ethereal beauty to the place.
Located 36 kilometers away from Ranchi, Muta Crocodile Breeding Centre is an awe-inspiring establishment that houses a diverse blend of wild animals. Popular for its breeding rotations for crocodiles, here tourists can catch a glimpse of the gigantic reptile in the marshy waters of the evergreen Bhairavi rivulet. A part of the breeding center encloses a natural habitat of spotted deer, peacocks and water fowls in Muta. The crocodile enclosure is a popular destination; the breeding grounds are a wonderful learning experience for wildlife enthusiasts.
If you’re in search of spiritual destinations, the pristine Jagannathpur Temple is a crucial site of touring pilgrimages in Ranchi. Located around 10 kilometers from Albert Ekka, this temple is a 16th-century foundation constructed by King Barkagarh. Settled on a small hillock, the sacred temple attracts tribal and non-tribal devotees at an annual fair that is held every year during a unique festival called Ratha Yatra.
One of the most exclusive nature trails you can enjoy when visiting Ranchi is the one leading to Panchghagh Falls, a waterfall that is formed from five cascades in a row in the marvelous backdrop of a rocky terrain. Nestled on the Ranchi-Chakradharpur road, about 6 kilometers from Khunti, lies a local settlement, Panch Gagh, a tribute to the Banai River. Offering a vivid expanse of green and luscious foliage, the forest patch present downstream is an ideal spot for people to enjoy a fine morning’s picnic.