After finishing our breakfast at Urwan Tourist Lodge, we proceed towards Netarhat “Queen of Chotanagpur” around 9 am hoping to reach there before sunset. 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 Netarhat. We had our lunch on the way. The food menu there was similar to that of Urwan so we were not much surprised. We reached the Netarhat Prabhat Vihar Hotel at around 4 PM. Our driver Gobardhanji told we covered approx. 260 km within 7 hours.
Netarhat is a town in Latehar district in Jharkhand of India. Stated to as the “Queen of Chotanagpur”, it is a popular hill station. Over the centuries, Netarhat is the natural habitat of the Primitive Tribal Community ‘Asur’. It is located 156 kilometers west of Ranchi, the state capital. This is the place where your heart throws on wings….as a bird set free from the urban prisons; it ascends over hills and vales, tapping the rhythm of the wild hilly streams. Dense forests, winding roads, cool bracing breeze described beautifully Nature’s heart or Netarhat. However, some argue that the place has been named after ‘Netur Haat’ which means a marketplace for bamboo in the local language.
Netarhat “Queen of Chotanagpur”
Netarhat has many spots of tourist interests including Magnolia Point (10 km from Netarhat, ideal site for viewing sunset), Upper Ghaghri Falls (4 km from Netarhat), Lower Ghaghri Falls (10 km from Netarhat), Koel View Point (3 km from Netarhat), Lodh Falls (60 km from Netarhat, the highest waterfall in Jharkhand), Sadni Falls (35 km from Netarhat), Netarhat Residential School and Nashpati (pear) Garden.
At Netarhat you must see Sunset and Sunrise; it’s a real delight to your eyes. We drove towards the Sunset point which is around 4 Km from the hotel. The roads are very nice and properly marked. Probably no British hill station in India is without a scandal or a suicide point. Netarhat is no exception. According to local tales, during the colonial period, an English officer liked Natarhat much, he settled there along with his daughter, whose name was Magnolia. There was a cowboy in the village, which used to go to Sunset Point to feed his cattle daily. The cowboy used to play the musical flute. His melodious tune touched the heart of Magnolia and she began to love the flute playing cowboy. She used to go to the Sunset site every day to meet him, where the shepherd used to play the flute. When the British officer came to know of these, entire he killed the shepherd. When Magnolia noticed that, she jumped into the boundless depths of the valley, including her horse, and died. By Latehar District Administration Magnolia and cowboy statue has been installed at this site. This reminds of this love story.
By the time we reach Sunset Point, it was already filled up with 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 quiet corner with a clear view of the hills ahead. What we got next is real magic of nature, we witnessed the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen from a hill station, and I just cannot describe it by words alone.
After witnessing sunset we went back to Hotel Prabhat Vihar. While in Netarhat, if you want to enjoy the most spectacular view of the rising sun, it has to be the sunrise point in front of the government tourist bungalow, Hotel Prabhat Vihar. You can book it online- JTDC PRABHAT VIHAR NETARHAT
We had our dinner at the hotel around 9 pm. Now, another very magical night we had, after a little shower the sky was clear, we were awake till 10 o’clock night. The beauty was the clear sky, the moon which had that little orange shine on the east and the star-dotted sky, a rare view in that place. We stood under this clear sky and I wished the night never ended. It was cold, it was bright and it was splendid.
Back to bed after an hour or so as we had to wake up early before sunrise. Early before dawn, we were ready around 4.30 am and rode to the sunrise point. The sunrise is yet another blissful moment from whichever place in this world you see, it’s all about enjoying the moment. As the sunrise point attracts lots of visitors we went to the Hotel Prabhat Vihar’s sunrise point. Sat there and lived every single second, felt every breath and laughed at our jokes. Felt the rays of the sun touching my face, heard the birds chirping, felt my every single heartbeat and imagined the massiveness of this beautiful world. Yet another memorable morning with family and a little moment which was larger than life. That morning I remembered the song of classical singer Yesudas-
Dheere Dheere Subha Hui
Jag Uthi Zindagi
Dheere Dheere Subha Hui
Jag Uthi Zindagi
Panchhi Chale Amber Ko
Amber Ko, Amber Ko, Amber Ko
Maajhi Chale Sagar Ko
Sagar Ko, Sagar Ko,
Pyar Ka Naam Jiwan Hai
Manzil Hai Pritam Ki Gali
After breakfast around 10 am we went to Netarhat Vidyalaya which is a residential public school set up in 1954. Spread over 780 acres is one of the most prominent institutes for schooling academics and bears the best reputation in Eastern India and in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand over 60 years. The school has a record of producing toppers of the Board exams of various states year after year. The school is situated far away from the busy life of the town. The whole residential school is based on Gurukul – away from home, staying in Ashrams.
There were few places we wanted to see at Netarhat before heading towards Ranchi, among them we had shortlisted Naspati (Pear) Garden, Pine Forest, and Ghagri Falls. 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 was shabby and colorless as usual in the month of December.
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. Then we found what mistake we have done.
Gobardhanji(08969125649) drove as instructed and we reached the road diversion and took the left as instructed. After driving a kilometer or so we found the road getting narrower and the vanishing under the heaps of leaf.
Then came the madness of navigation, we kept asking every passer-by and remarkably each of them gave a different direction to Upper Ghagri Falls. Some said one kilometer 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. Gobardhanji 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 Sugga Bandh Water Falls. Sugga Bandh Waterfall is located on the route of Netarhat to Betla. Suggha band is surrounded by hills which makes it different from other tourist destinations. The cascade falls from the height of 80 feet on the rock. Sugga bandh is approximately 57 km away from Betla National Park. You have to walk for 15-20 minutes to reach the spot.
This trip summarized in one word is ‘FUN’, don’t want to use any complicated word because this trip was very simple and carefree. The hangover still continues. I must say- ‘come visit ‘Netarhat’, land of forests, land of colors, land of rich culture, land of simplicity. The hidden gem the beautiful place of the untouched beauty of nature.’
Finally, we bid goodbye to Netarhat and started our journey to Betla, our next destination. We stopped at Salwe on the way to have lunch. We were all tired and wanted to reach Betla as soon as possible. It took around 4 hours to reach Betla where we rested at Hotel Van Vihar of JKTDC.