Betla - Netarhat Trip

#1 Jan 5th, 2014, 22:45
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  • tirtha22 is offline
#1
Areas covered
1. Lohardaga
2. Betla Forest/ Palamau Tiger Reserve
3. Betla Fort
4. Kechki River Sangam
5. Maromar Forest Range
6. Mohuadahr Wolf Sanctuary
7. Netarhat
8. Bagru Hills
9. Serendag



Day 1

27th December 2013


Boarded Howrah Hatia express from Howrah station. around 10:30 pm at night. Reached Ranchi at 6:30 in the morning. ( Hatia is next station after Ranchi ;most probably not enough space for carshed and locoshed, so one station extended just like Howrah-Tikiapara-Santragachi)

Day 2

28th December 2013



Had breakfast at Birsa Munda food plaza at Ranchi station. The ground floor is for snacks. And there is a beautiful restaurant cum diner in the first floor. Had Masala Dhosa and Lemon Soda.


I had to go to Lohardaga from Ranchi. A local train continuosly runs between Ranchi and Lohardaga from early morning to late night. Ranchi-Lohardaga-Ranchi. The last train leaves Ranchi around 6:30 in the evening and reaches Lohardaga around 8:15. The local train takes around 1 hour and 35 minutes between Lohardaga and Ranchi or vice versa. Only once in this oscillating travel, the train moves Ranchi- Barkichampi - Ranchi. Barkichampi is the next station of Lohardaga. The 9:30 am in the morning cycle, the train goes upto Barkichampi . Or else the terminating stations are Lohardaga and Ranchi in all other cases.

However construction of railway tracks are going on between Lohardaga and Tori (Chandwa ) which is around 50 km. Underground tunnel construction of railway tracks through the hills of Lohardaga is going on at fast pace. Soon this route wont be isolated anymore and we will have new and much shortened route to Delhi that would take much lesser time courtesy this new railway route via Lohardaga. Satabdi express and others will directly pass through this route and you no longer need to follow break journey for Lohardaga and adjacent forests trip.

I boarded the Ranchi- Lohardaga- Ranchi passenger at 9:30 from Ranchi and reached Lohardaga at around 11:15. The fare is INR 15 only.
#2 Jan 5th, 2014, 23:06
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#2
Lohardaga



It is a beautiful town and a mining area. The top company out here is HINDALCO under Aditya Birla Group. I stayed at HINDALCO officer's complex. One of the places of interest is a tribal flea market ( haat ) that takes place at a location called "Maina Bagicha " . Chicken, local fishes and lots of different jungle vegetables and fruits are sold in plenty and it remains jam packed. "Hariya" or local wine are sold in plenty in Sal leaves. Other places of interest which I visited are Powerganj/Paharganj. The only movie hall out here is named " Alaka ". I had chicken curry that night.

In Jain texts there is reference to Lord Mahavir's visit to Lore-a-Yadaga, which means 'river of tears' in Mundari. 'Ain-e-akbari', the famous book on Akbar, also mentions a place called 'Kismate Lohardaga'. The word Lohardaga may be made of two hindi words, Lohar meaning 'ironmonger', and Daga meaning center', which makes the literal meaning of Lohardaga as 'center of iron mining'.

For travel enthusiasts who try to find small and little tourist spots even in places which are considered ordinary by non-travellers, here is a list of places which you can visit around Lohardaga.

1. Khekparta Shiv Temple
2. Ajay Udyan
3. Korambe is an ancient place of religious and historical importance. It is in Lohardaga district of Jharkhand in India. This place is situated at about 25 kms from Lohardaga town. It is in Senha block of the district. Korambe is famous for Mahamaya Prabhu Mandir. Mountain cave and ancient pond are are of historical and religious importance. There are others places of interest nearby. Rani Tungri, Raja Tungri, Sati stone, Shiv ling and a pair of pigeon are important among them. Recent excavations at Rani Tungri (the hill of the queen) shows that there was and ancient fort at that place. The ruins are among latest finds. There is Sati stone too, which dates back from 4th to 8th century AD. Raja Tungri (the hill of the king)) is famous for a rare Shiv Ling. If someone sees a pair of pigeon sitting on the Shiv Ling, it is considered to be auspicious.
4. Akhileshwar Dham is in Lohardaga district of Jharkhand in India. It is situated at about 21 kms from district headquarter in Bhandra block. The Shiv Temple here dates back from 8th - 9th century AD. There is also a beautiful dam nearby.
5. Kekrang Falls : During the 1857 revolution freedom fighters Veer Kunwar Singh, Pandey Ganpat Ray and Thakur Vishwa Nath Shahdev took an asylum here then proceeded to Palamau.
6. Lawa pani Falls : One can enjoy water falls at seven levels.
7. Dhardhariya Water Falls
8. Nindi Falls
9. Nandini Lake
10. Serengdag Pathar
11. Bagru Hills
12. Swayambhu Shiv Temple


Day 3

29th December 2013



I hired a Bolero from HINDALCO. The rate is INR 5.75 per km. Our target was to visit Betla forest. We did not take the normal route as there was a Narendra Modi ( election ) rally in the capital town of Ranchi and so lots of supporters were travelling full of buses and trucks in the normal route and there was a high chance of traffic congestion.

We took the Kuru- Ranchi highway. There comes a diversion. One moves towards Latehar and the other towards Tori/ Chandwa. We took the Tori/ Chandwa one. We made a stop at a place called Hutaap. HINDALCO has maintained a very beautiful nursery out here. It includes lots of rare plants that are grown only in the Chhotanagpur belt. We continued our journey through places like Borsidaag , Lukaiya More, Bodaa More, etc.
Finally another diversion came. One is going towards Gaya- Patna and the other towards Chandwa-Daltongunj. We took the Daltongunj route.We passed through places like Chiroh More, Latehar, Monika , Satbarwa, Pokhraha,etc,. The rroad is very beautiful and scenic covered with canopy of trees and hills of different shapes visible in the distant background. After every 3-5 kms. of driving we were able to find small well decorated tribal hamlets . And we stopped by several rivers and streams on the way.Mostly Koel river and its tributaries. Finally we reached Medininagar. ( Named after king Medini Ray ) . Some people call this place Daltongunj and many people also call this place as Palamau. We were really confused. One place and three names


We took the Kutmu More and reached Betla forest entrance around 11 : 00 in the noon. The gate of the Palamau Tiger reserve/ Betla forest opens twice a day. One 6:30 in the morning and 10:00 am. other 2pm in the afternoon to 5pm in the evening.
Last edited by tirtha22; Jan 6th, 2014 at 13:37..
#3 Jan 5th, 2014, 23:55
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#3
Add some pics please. I would request you to please deliberate on the cost and other contact details of your trip. I'm sure you will do this, but in case....

One more thing. Is HINDALCO Guest House available to aam aadmi like us, who do not have any influential contacts? If yes, kindly provide the procedure to be followed to get such booking. Thanks.
#4 Jan 6th, 2014, 00:13
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#4
Betla
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#5 Jan 6th, 2014, 00:29
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post Add some pics please. I would request you to please deliberate on the cost and other contact details of your trip. I'm sure you will do this, but in case....

One more thing. Is HINDALCO Guest House available to aam aadmi like us, who do not have any influential contacts? If yes, kindly provide the procedure to be followed to get such booking. Thanks.
First of all. Thank you for your interest.
I will try to add as much relevant pics as I can although unfortunately I did not click much pics in this trip . Also I will try to give costs like :

Ranchi to Lohardaga passeger ticket cost : INR 15
Betla forest entry fee : INR 200 + INR 100 (for guide which is must )
Betla Nature interpretation centre entry fee : INR 5
Guide charge to Kechki Sangam : INR 100
Guide charge to Betla fort : INR 100
Bolero cost : INR 5.75 per km.

There is a forest bungalow at Kechki. For booking contact : DFO, Daltonganj South, Daltonganj - 822101. Tel: (06562) 222993.
For Betla Forest, For booking: Field Director, Palamau Tiger Reserve, Daltanganj-822101, Tel: (06562) 222993
JTDC Hotel Vihar. Tel06567) 226513, Tariff - Double bed Rs. 300-650, Dormitory Rs. 100 per bed. Advance Booking - Tel: (06567) 226513. Kolkata booking: 22120459
Hotel Naihar. Tariff - Double bed Rs. 200-250. Kolkata booking: 24866051, 22485829


Regarding HINDALCO, you can always stay there in the small enclosed campus if there are no bookings for officers. Because hardly any tourist visit this mining areas except for hardcore nature lovers. The authorities feel more than welcome to have a guest. HINDALCO office in Kolkata is in BBD BAG area. I dont have the exact contact. Moreover most people come with conducted tours/ jharkhand tourism tours or other conducted packages which are based out of Ranchi and make their base camp out there. But my plan was to make the base camp in Lohardaga as I planned three trips centring Lohardaga- Betla + Netarhat , Bagru Hills + Serendaag. So I stayed in Lohardaga. In fact it is not wise to stay there for family vacation travellers as most probably there are no hotels or other amenities out here compared to Ranchi or other tourist spots. But a solo traveller can always try his / her luck out here.
Last edited by tirtha22; Jan 6th, 2014 at 13:47..
#6 Jan 7th, 2014, 00:42
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#6
KECHKI SANGAM

Kechki Sangam is a beautiful place which is just 9 kms. away from Betla Forest entrance. The Auranga river and Koel river meet here. As it was a holiday, hundreds of people flocked there to have picnic. Some were playing cricket. Some playing housie. Some were having their freshly cooked lunch. Some were sleeping and laying down on the river water. Motorcycles were easily crossing the river. On one side of the river, there is a bridge which seemed to be broken in between. On other side , there is a Kechki rail bridge. It is a wonderful scene to watch when a goods train or any train crosses over the bridge. Many people crossed the river to the other side to offer their prayings to a Shiva temple which is located on the other side of the river. Famous Oscar winning film maker Satyajit Ray shot several scenes of a gem of a bengali movie called "Aranyer Dinratri " in this very area. You can easily spend a whole of a morning or an evening out here. Although it is totally a different scene during monsoons. There is a forest rest house in Kechki on the side of Auranga river.
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#7 Jan 7th, 2014, 00:59
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#7
Nice trip report with good piece of information.....
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Garhwal | Dooars | Dhabaleswar | Dabu | PURI | Gujarat | Kamarpukur-Jairambati
#8 Jan 7th, 2014, 11:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kol2012 View Post Nice trip report with good piece of information.....
Thanks for your appreciation. It feels nice that you liked it. It encourages me more to write in details about my trip.
#9 Jan 7th, 2014, 12:37
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#9
Hi Tirtha,

Keep going..Very nice and enjoying your TR.
#10 Jan 8th, 2014, 01:41
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#10
Nature Interpretation Centre, Betla


Next we visited the Nature Interpretation Centre Betla which is an information centre cum Museum . The entry fee is INR 5 per person. The tree in front of the nature interpretation centre is full of langurs. The lawn is decorated with models of different animals like bison, tiger, elephant, etc. The Museum contains stuffed snakes, birds, embryos and babies of animals, eggs, etc. Lots of information about the history of Palamau and Betla are provided. There are models and miniatures of the Betla ecosystem, Rural life, Fort,etc. Many old photographs of the Forest are also present. Previously there used to be an interactive touch screen facility where information about all the floras and faunas of the forest were present. You could hear the sound of any bird if you clicked on the screen. But now you cannot find them due to lack of maintenance. The situation is so pathetic that you cannot even find a knowledgeable guide or person to whom you can ask questions and queries about the forest. Once I read a story about this nature interpretation centre in a blog when elephant tusks worth lakhs of rupees were stolen from the museum and the local maoists helped the forest authority to get them back. If anyone is interested, I am providing the link below.
http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/sanctua...sts-1995-.html
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#11 Mar 7th, 2014, 20:47
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#11
BETLA FORT


Our next destination was Betla fort which is 1-2 km from Betla forest gate. There are two forts. One of them is incomplete. Due to holiday season, people flocked in large numbers and many were having picnic on the side of Auranga river.

You have to ascend steep height full of rugged hills and old people or people having breathing problem should be careful while visiting the fort. There is some temple at the top most part . You need atleast 2-3 hours to visit the two forts separately which are some distance apart amidst dense forest. We skipped one of the forts. We saw the other fort from the roof of the fort which we visited. The round staircases inside the fort are broken at places and it is pitch dark inside. One should be very careful while stepping on the stairs. A newcomer just like us can be easily lost inside the fort as it is like a maze.

At the height of Chero power, Palamau was something of a city. It was well populated with Bazars and protected by two strong forts. The forts were built of brick and stone. Their 1.5 metre thick outer walls bear marks of canon balls and bullets in many places. The new fort had a beautifully carved stone gate called the Nagpuri gate. Both the forts had deep wells to provide drinking water in case of a siege. The Auranga river flowed close by and there were high hills and dense jungles all around.

We came to know of some Chero dynasty kings from local people and guides. Bhagwant Roy was a brave warrior who fought with the Mughals and seized land from them to set up a kingdom. Anant Roy ruled for a long period but spent most of his lifetime fighting with the Mughals. Medini Roy ruled for only 13 years but he is the most famous Chero King. That is why the other name of Palamau/ Daltongunj is Medininagar. He liked to maintain law and order in his kingdom and was the favourite of the people. The Old fort out of the two was built by Medini Roy. Pratap Roy was the next ruler. He started constructing the second fort but was unable to complete it. Till today we can see the mound of stones ( bought for building the fort ) and the incomplete fort amidst the dense jungles of Palamau.
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#12 Mar 11th, 2014, 00:17
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#12
BETLA FOREST SAFARI


We had lunch in an eatery nearby.There are 2-3 eateries adjacent to the gate of the park. Also there is a canteen inside. But food is to be pre ordered to avail the facilities of the canteen.It was around 3 pm in the evening and time for our Betla Safari. Although Elephant Safari is available during early morning hours , we had come for a day trip in our own vehicle. A guide is a must for every vehicle. Very sorry to say that the guides in this area are less knowledgable compared to other national parks and they have made it a business out here. The guides dont have basic knowledge about birds and animals and boldly provide wrong information to innocent visitors. Initially they were charging INR 400. But we negotiated it down to INR 100. Small size cars like Tata Nano cars are not allowed inside the forest. But they bribed by paying INR 2000 and the official allowed the car to enter. We clicked less pictures inside the park and tried to enjoy the safari.

First we saw the two tamed elephants grazing in the field. We were amazed to find that local Adivasi people and women cutting down trees in front our eyes as fuelwood which is not allowed inside protected forest. There is a clear lack of maintenance as was visible. We were lucky to find a herd of Sambhar deers drinking water by the stream flowing down nearby. Our driver stopped the engine and we watched them enjoy for about 5 minutes. Then suddenly after passing through the dense roads after sometime we met a wolf crossing our road, stopping and giving us a sharp look. There are plenty of langurs all around the forest and few of them blocked our road and sat on the bonnet of our vehicle and started playing their own game. Finally we found two local people doing their duty inside the forest by a watchtower.
It was called Sidhapanch watch tower. We asked special permission from them with the help of our guide to come down of our vehicle and enjoy the watch tower view. This was actually not meant for the tourists. We went on top of the watch tower . We were lucky to saw the dance of a beautiful peacock on the branch of a tree nearby.We talked with the two on- guard people and they shared good stories with us. There are watchtowers with grassands at Madhuchua, Nawabandh,Gambhardalan, Sidhapanch and the Nunahi areas. There are salt licks and artificial water holes at Madhuchua,Muratghali,Chaturbot ra , Kalkoea and Gambhardalan . The two guys were from Saidupe and Kuchila villages located adjacent to the park. The sight of tigress in Betla National Park is almost 4-5 times a month but leopard is often seen not only by the officials but visitors even.
Finally we ended our Safari and returned back to the same gate from where we entered the forest.
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#13 Apr 30th, 2014, 03:47
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#13
Hi Tirtha,

Your report is very interesting for me, especially since we plan to visit this area at the end of this year.
I hope you can find the time to complete your TR
#14 May 12th, 2014, 07:53
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#14
Hi Tirtha. Nice travelogue! Waiting for the rest. Which is the easiest and quickest way to reach Netarhat from Betla? We plan to have a short trip to Betla and Netarhat next month.
#15 Jun 2nd, 2014, 10:59
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#15
Hello Tirtha,


Beautiful pictures & nice report of the place. I wanted to ask that how safe it is to travel to Netarhat & Betla? I have always believed that these places are undel heavy naxal influence? Is it safe to travel to these places in current situation?

Thanks,
Saket
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