Bengal Chronicle

Ghatshila, the little forest town in East India


Ghatshila is an idyllic township enclosed with natural beauties. The town is located in the Ghatshila CD(Community Development) block in the Ghatshila subdivision of the East Singbhum district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. As it is enveloped by nature, it has established itself as the covetable destination of the tourists from West Bengal, other forms of India and abroad. 

Literally, ‘Ghatshila’ is meant as ‘rocky landing of a river where ‘Ghat’ means ‘River wharf’ and ‘Shila’ means ‘Rocky land’. This small city is situated on the ‘Subarnarekha’ river bank. Mainly tourists from West Bengal arrange their trips with a particular reason for the change of weather. So, Ghatshila is regarded primarily by Bengalis as their health resort. Nature here has adorned with its renditions, ready to serve its lovers. 

Among all of its ornamentations of nature, small hills covered with evergreen forests, coiled river Subarnarekha has enriched the city flowing beside it, along with this the lake, the small springs and waterfalls and forests surrounded all around, make its viewers feel themselves painters willing to portray the nature on canvas or to illustrate the same as poets. To confer yourself in the lap of nature or to be free from all of your fatigue, Ghatshila must be your covetable destination. As a nature-lover, it is obvious to spend some time with yourself; Ghatshila is that sort of choice in east India that must provide you refreshment with its city ambience.

Wild elephants are common in Ghatshila, and to protect the harvest from them, farmers wait in this type of tree house to scare the elephants. This type of make-shift tree house is called Macha.

In addition to Ghatshila city, some most popular spots are located in and around the city, regarded as famous sightseeings with their historical existences.

(I) Phuldungri Hill is that hillock mostly circumambient with tall Sal and Mahua trees and long grasses. This decoration of vegetations inspired the literary great Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhya untunefully for his another immortal creation, ‘Aranyak’, where you will taste your adventurous thrill because of its unlighted ambience which comes from impregnability of sunlights. You will also be able to quench your immense greed for a grandeur pictorial view of the city of Ghatshila from the top of this hillock on the National High Way No 33. A zigzag way covered with red pebbles takes you to the top of the hill. Moreover, witnessing sunrise and sunset from the top of the hill is a divine experience.

(II) Rankini Temple, also known as ‘Rankini Mata’, is one of the deeds of the Dhalbhum dynasty kings. Raja Jagannath Deo Dhabal Deb I initially erected this shrine at Galudih. Later, he shifted this fane with its associates and other people to Ghatshila and shaped its new frame as goddess Kali. It is located on the Hata-Jadugoda state highway. It has been permanently addressed in the Rohinibera village of Bansila Gram Panchayat in Potka block. It is about 3kms from Jadugoda, ‘land of elephants'(a census town in the Musabani CD block in the Ghatshila subdivision of the East Singbhum district in the Indian state of Jharkhand) and 35kms away from Tatanagar Railway Station. The deity sedentary in the sanctum sanatorium is the incarnation of the goddess Kali. The rumour goes on that temple had a history of ‘Narabali'(human sacrifices) until about 1865 and was later stopped by the British.

Image courtesy: Pinakpani

This deity(Maa Rankini or Rankini Devi) has deep popularity among the locals from the belief in their divine mother’s power and influence. Jadugora hills are located just opposite this temple, waiting impatiently for the expected visits of the tourists. Goddess Rankini Mata is worshipped in the form of a ‘Shila'(natural rock) and decorated with sindoor(vermilion), garlands and silver eyes. This divine mother has been adored by a priest from ‘Bhimji Tribe’ from ancient times until today. Coconut and batasa(lollipop) are offered as Bhoga. Daily Aarati(subjugation) is held here at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

(III) Burudi Lake and Dam: Enclosed by the hillocks, the Burudih Lake has its administrative location of 9kms distance from the Ghatshila Block in East Singhbhum, built during the British colonial rule. This artificial lake is ready to provide the facilities of motor or speed and paddle boating with upcoming provisions for water surfing(a surface water sport in which an individual or a surfer uses a board to ride on the forward section or face of a moving wave of water, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore.) and banana rides(a banana-shaped tube is connected to the speed boat which in turn pulls you. This spottiest lake is ornamental between low hills(a conspicuous and often rounded natural elevation of the earth’s surface, less high or craggy than a mountain) and dense green forests. These dense forests are a part of the elephant corridor from the Dalma range to Midnapur in West Bengal. The sunset view at this artificial lake makes the visitors feel like divinity and sailing in a boat on the lake, and you can spend your leisure with the spell. Binda Mela, the eagerly expected festival of the Santhals tribes, is held for fifteen days on the lake’s bank in October every year.

Burudi Dam is around 8 km away from the city of Ghatshila. It is a prominent picnic spot for its especially of sightly scenic beauty to the tourists of Jharkhand and West Bengal. It may be your weekend destination while it has a tropical climate(summer: 35°C to 40°C; winter: 10°C to 15°C). It is the best time for planning to trip to Burudih Dam in October, and it gets its highest visitors from December to February.

(IV) Pancha Pandava Hill is another attractive sight of Ghatshilaa, a small hill located at Moubhandar, five km from the NE of Ghatshila. ‘Pancha Pandava’ is mass talked-about due to its connection with the great Hindu epic, ‘Mahabharata’. A stone is exactly sedentary behind a ‘Kali Temple’ inside the ambit. This stone is remarkable for the footsteps of the five famous religious and epical characters familiarised as Pandavas of the Mahabharata named ‘Judhistir’, ‘Bheem’, ‘Arjuna’, ‘Nakul’ and ‘Sahadeva’, including ‘Draupadi’ marked on it during their exile. Another rumour goes that they rested for a night here through sleeping and left their marks on that particular stone, situated on top of the hill. It is also hearsay that this hill is famous for its natural creation of five brothers of Pandavas on it. This hill is shaped like the heads of five men due to the erosion of the stone.

(V) Dharagiri Waterfall is a natural flow of water drenching the rough and rugged ‘Dharagiri Hill’ and enamouring the tourists for years as ‘Dharagiri Waterfall’. It is located at Basadera, 10 km away to the north in the town of Ghatshila. Dharagiri is also 5.7 km away from Burudi Dam. It has sequestered itself inside the dense forest of Jharkhand for centuries. As a result, it remains obscure among the tourists. So, its water is crystal clear for the creatures to quench their thirsts. It is also a covetable destination for traditional people to enjoy a picnic inside a dense forest. A glimpse of wild elephants may be possible if you are fortunate. Its origin is from the Subarnarekha river from the top of the edgy rock from approximately 20 to 25 feet. It is the best time to plan for a trip to Dharagiri Waterfall in August but the months of December to February are suitable for preparing for a picnic.

Dharagiri waterfall

(VI) Ratmohona Hill is very popular with tourists and is close to Ghatshila. Stands on the Subarnarekha river bank in the vicinity of Tumangdangri. Tourists must move a few steps along the riverbank to reach Ratmohana Hill. This hill provides a magnificent view of sunrise and sunset every day. The way to the hill is demarked with Sal and Amla trees on each side. As a part of nature along with the talked-about hill of Ghatshila, the Subarnarekha river flows gently, which also attracts the tourists parallelly every year.

(VII) Bibhuti Memorial Bhavan(Gouri Kunja) is among the tourists, especially the book lovers are known with ‘Pather Panchali’, penned by Bengali writer, ‘Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘, regarded as one of the most eminent writers of the post-Tagore era in Bengali literature. ‘The world-famous film-maker Satyajit Ray later featured Pather Panchali’ with his ‘Apu trilogy’, and it became a milestone not only in the Indian film industry but also enriched the world film industry. ‘Pather Panchali’ was inscribed by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay when he was in his residence in Ghatshila until he died in 1950. This holy land, named ‘Gouri Kunja’, is a prime tourist attraction. A group of admirers of Bibhutibhushan was bolded to convert this holy land into a tourist spot to make its heritage worldwide. Gouri Kunja was ornamented with his dhoti-kurta and medals. This renowned writer’s birth and death anniversary(September 12 and November 1, respectively) are equally celebrated at this venue every year with grandeur.

This place of worship is high up in the hills and surrounded by the dense forest of Ghatshila. We do not know when this place was established. Extremely hard to find and only a local guide can take you there. Locals believe that worshipping the forest deity(Bana devata) protects the harvest from wild animals. The photo was taken in 2008, so not sure if the place still exists today and If you ever find the place, please maintain the sanctity.

There are more attractions in and around, such as Naroa Forest, Hindustan Copper Limited, Purna Pani, Mosaboni Mines, Jadugoda, Surda Pahar, Moubhandar, Tumandungri etc.

Mode of communications

Ghatshila is connected with the rest of India via Railways, Roadways and finally, Airways.

(1) Railway: Railway is the prime communication link between Ghatshila to the rest of the country. According to the rail network of Indian Railways, the distance between Howrah Junction and Ghatshila is 213 km and five daily direct trains. These five trains are as follows: Jana Shatabdi, Ispat Express, Intercity Express, Tata Steel Express, and Kriyo Yoga. All the express and passenger trains stop here. Tourists can also visit Ghatshila by lots of regular passenger trains from Kharagpur(Kgp) of West Bengal. Three major cities of India, namely Mumbai, Kolkata(Howrah) and Delhi, are well-connected to Ghatshila with several express trains like Bombay Express(from Mumbai); Steel Express, Samleshwari Express(from Kolkata-Howrah) and Neelachal, Purushottam Express and Utkal Express(from Delhi).

Image Courtesy: Pinakpani 

(2)Roadway: Ghatshila is about 250 km away from Kolkata, Ranchi(156km), and Jamshedpur(47km). From these cities and also from Kharagpur(KGP), Bhubaneshwar visitors come to Ghatshila. Travellers from Kolkata first have to take NH 6 to Baharagora, then take the road to Jamshedpur, and finally to Ghatshila. Buses between Kolkata to Jamshedpur and Ranchi, Kharagpur(KGP) to Jamshedpur and Kharagpur(KGP) to Bhubaneshwar take a halt at Ghatshila.

(3)Airway: Tourists may avail themselves of the airport of Ranchi(IXR), which is suitable for them and is located about 156 km from the city. After landing at Ranchi airport, tourists will have to journey by roadways or railways, which will take around three hours to reach Ghatshila. There are no regular flights from other major cities of India to arrive at Ghatshila. Since Dumdum airport is an international airport and 194 km away from Ghatshila, this airport provides regular flights from all over India and abroad.

Tourists at Ghatshila may spend a couple of days in the lap of nature and taste the sightly sights of this city at some following lodges and hotels. Room charges are generally between £4 and £30 a night. Bengal Chronicle only mentions the hotel’s names as an indication, so please verify these hotels’ details before booking.

(1) Devi Rani Devi Lodge: Chakulia, East Singhbhum, Ghatshila, Jharkhand(Near Railway Station).

(2) Hotel Meridian : River Side Road, Ghatshila, Jharkhand.

(3) River View Guest House : River Side Road, East Singhbhum, Ghatshila, Jharkhand, Pin: 832303.

(4) Hotel Bibhuti Vihar Ghatshila(of JTDC): NH 33, Ghatshila, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Pin: 832303, India.

(5) Hotel Aakashdeep: Station Road, Ghatshila, Jharkhand, Pin: 832303.

(6) Suhasita Resort: Near Kashida, Ghatshila, Jharkhand, Pin: 832303.

Ghatshila is well-known as home to Asia’s first copper mine and the world’s second deepest mine. 

Main Image courtsey: Suman Biswas4 

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