Hello readers! I hope every one of you is doing well. The Gregorian New year is already upon us, and I wish for all to have a healthy year ahead. I had an awesome new year celebration and will like to share my experience with you. Hope you like it.
A younger cousin of my mother under unfortunate circumstances died last year, so this year on his 1st death anniversary according to Hindu tradition, a ritual commonly known as Barsi/Batsorik is performed so that the soul can be free of its attachments from this mortal world. Mom had to be present for the ritual as she was requested multiple by times by her aunt (cousin’s mother), as she is one of the older siblings of the family. So, after celebrating Christmas together in Ranchi, she packed her stuff and boarded the train on the 28th of December for Prayagraj where the ritual was scheduled.
I was upset about her leaving since it is a consecutively 3rd-year that she would not be with me on this occasion. But before leaving, she proposed that T (Short for Tania, my wife) and I should plan something for our new year celebration, somewhere outstation. Everyone in our family agreed to that proposal. I always wanted to go on a bike trip outstation, so I started Googling about the places we could reach in a single day.
Sometime back, before my wedding, my dad and I had thought of going to Mukutmanipur on a bike trip but for mysterious reasons, we could not make it. Then I also wanted to visit Kushalpali Resort, Ayodha hill, Purulia district in West Bengal but it never happened. I did some research and found Ghatshila (Jharkhand) was also a considerable option.
This a New Year time and the places are already full or pre-booked. I called a number of resorts in all three places, but the only one available was Aranyak Resort in Ghatshila. They had a package deal for New Year’s Eve. Only 1 room with 4 meals a day for two days at 2400 rupees per head was available with a mandatory condition that I have to book for the 30th and 31st of December. Left with no other option, I confirmed our booking. This made me realize that other people plan their holidays way better than me, though mine was impromptu. And I noticed that all our impromptu trips were the most exciting.
I returned from my 24-hour shift in Paras HEC hospital, Ranchi, and the remaining day went by planning and packing as we had to travel light because T was supposed to carry that on her back along the way as I would be driving Dhanno (My Bullet bike). Then we had a family discussion over the phone about our starting time the next day and it was decided to be by 9:00 – 9:30 AM as suggested by our father since we had our lunch reserved at the resort and hence had to reach there by lunchtime. So, we slept early excited about the next day.
Day 1: Ghatshila, Here We Come!
We woke up early around 8 A.M. After finishing our daily morning chores. My wife went for morning prayers and cleaned the temple at home, and I was preparing breakfast for us. We tried but were still delayed by 1 hour and left around 11:00 AM. The route was through NH-33, Ranchi-Kolkata highway. After setting the destination i.e., Aranyak Resort, Ghatshila in Google maps we embarked on our journey.
The traveling was very smooth. Well-maintained highway and I also noticed that they have built flyovers over the busy junctions of NH for a streamlined experience.
As neither of us had any experience riding two-wheelers for long distances, thus we used to take a stop almost every 40-50 km to rest our butts and move our legs. We would stop near a tea shop and would have a tea break.
After about 10-15 minutes we would again continue. Bike trips are not easy as the rider makes them look but it is definitely as exciting and thrilling. I enjoyed every moment of riding my Dhanno with my extremely sporting wife.
With a few stops we eventually reached Ghatshila. Since our resort was near Burundi Dam, so we did not need to enter the city and took the way towards the resort from the highway. The roads changed suddenly. We were on highways crossing through the roads and suddenly back to populated small town lanes. Slowly we moved towards our destination.
After some time came to a turn from where the rural kachcha (unmetalled) roads started. The roads were extremely bad. It felt worse because of the highway. Sometimes I had to choose which pit to enter. After a long tiring bumpy ride, we reached the Resort.
It was already 3:00 PM by the time reached our destination. It took us nearly 4 hours and 30 minutes to travel 178 km to reach The Aranyak Resort, Ghatshila from Global Lavanya, Ranchi.
As we entered, we saw a lovely garden-cum-lawn area with an open-air restaurant in it. It is a very well-decorated resort. Just behind the resort was the beautiful green hill scenery, glowing under the sun. It was mesmerizing to see that scene.
We were already starving so we rushed towards our room. After dropping our luggage and washing our faces and hands we moved towards the restaurant. We were served bhaat, daal, begun bhaja, aloo posto and macher jhol. Everything was cooked very well. While eating I observed the landscape behind the boundary of the resort and saw that we were in a cradle created by the green hills surrounding us. I was mesmerized by the beauty around us.
As we finished our lunch, we made our plans for the evening. Since we had few hours of daylight left, so we decided that we would visit Burundi lake as it was the closest.
We left for Burundi lake, and it took us nearly 30 mins to reach there. Burundi Lake is a famous picnic spot of Jharkhand for its peaceful atmosphere and scenic beauty. This is an artificial lake surrounded by green forests and hills. The lake provides a splendid view of the sunset which entertains the visitors to a great extent.
After staying there for a while and taking in the nature surrounding us, we left for the town for some supplies. After buying toiletries and some other stuff we had phuchka. We returned via the same bumpy road just that it was now pitch dark and lonely too. The loneliness and the darkness could raise goosebumps. The ride was scary. Eventually, we reached the resort and headed toward our room.
We were served tea and pakoda on returning. Then around 9:30 PM, we were served dinner – roti and chicken curry. It was delicious. We were damn tired and we went to sleep as we had a lot to cover the next day.
Day 2: In and Around Ghatshila
We woke up around 9:00 AM and finished our morning chores and were ready to leave the room by 11:00 AM. We went to the restaurant for breakfast. We ordered for 1 serving of bread toast and omelette and 1 serving of puri sabzi which we shared among ourselves, while we were checking on Google what all places we could cover and which route to go.
We decided on the first place to be Dharagiri falls and then decided on the last place to be the Ratmohana River bridge which is known for being a sunset viewpoint. After finishing our breakfast, we left for Dharagiri falls which were nearly around 10.3 km from our resort.
We started the journey on the bumpy rural road but this time it felt better than yesterday maybe because we were well-rested. As we continued through the way we passed by many villages and small settlements like kasbah. Travelling for about 2 hours through the rural roads with seeing a different landscape than I am used to, was very refreshing. The rural side of the country sometimes gets hidden behind underdevelopment and remoteness, but its beauty is unparalleled.
Finally, we reached our destination. As expected, the place was crowded. Although most were leaving, some were reaching like us.
It was a hilly forest terrain. The route to the falls and the trek reminded me of my Sikkim college days. It was fun. Tania was new to this but enjoyed it as we trekked. In a while came a fork in the road. Since most people were going left, we decided to go right.
After going ahead, a little we found the waterfall. It was not as huge as the ones around Ranchi. But the rocky terrain adjacent to it was scalable, so we decided to climb down the rocks. It took us a while and my wife had a fall trying to jump to reach the bottom and hurt her knee. She got a bleeding abrasion. We washed using the water around and decided to take care of it once we got to the city.
After a short recess, we decided to return but not the way we came as T was already injured. Looking around I found a pagdandi through the forest which seemed it would take us where need to be. T grabbed the back of my jacket for support, and we started to follow the trail and climb. After climbing we were able to see another spot (the left from the fork) and people talking and taking photos. We changed our direction towards them and eventually came out of the jungle into the other spot. We took a few clicks as well and then initiated the return trek to the parking.
While returning there were local hawkers who were selling sculpted goods out of the rocks. We bought a few items and moved on.
After reaching the parking we saw it was 2:30 PM already. Since we stuffed ourselves well during breakfast, we did not feel hungry. We ate a couple of packets of chips and had a cup of lemon tea before moving toward the next place. Then restarted our journey again towards Phuldungri hill. It was around 10km from Dharagiri falls.
Phuldugri Hill in Jharkhand is one of the most thrilling mountain ranges which are often visited for trekking. Located at a distance of 10 km from Dharagiri this hilltop is ideal for organizing trekking trails that are usually known by a few active mountaineers.
The rural roads continued and after around 40 minutes of riding, we reached the green glowing beautiful hill. But it was already about 3:30 PM so we decided against climbing the hill. We stood near the foothill and took a few pictures and rested for a while before leaving.
Ratmohana River Bridge (Sunset Viewpoint)
Since we were closing in on dusk as decided to reach the sunset point was the goal. It was one of the most recommended tourist spots on Google. It was almost another 1-hour ride but this time only halfway on the rural roads and the rest half on the highway cruising to reach The Ratmohana River Bridge. We just made it in the nick of time since the sun had started to set behind the hills on the horizon. It was beautiful scenery. The top view of the river from the bridge reflects the dusk hue of the sky and the setting sun. Watching the sunset at the riverbank is a lifelong experience.
After the sunset, as decided at the Dharagiri fall we went to Ghatshila city. The Ghatshila city is located on the bank of the river Subarnarekha (the word ‘Subarnarekha’ means golden streak) and is situated in an undulating forested area. It has been a popular place frequented mostly by people from West Bengal, who have been going there for a change of place and climate. The noted Bengali writer Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadhyay of Pather Panchali fame was a resident of the city.
We bought the necessary supplies to take care of her wound at the resort. We returned to the resort by 6:30 PM after having our evening tea and pakodas from a roadside stall.
New Year Eve
Today the staff were also in a celebratory mood too as loud music was heard coming from the kitchen. A few of the guests staying alongside us also seemed to celebrate as the loud noises and clinking of the glasses could be heard crystal clear. T and I were drained and tired. We freshened up and had tea. After that, I mended her knee wound and administered her TT injection along with one painkiller injection. After which we went to rest and woke up at midnight for eating dinner and wishing Happy New Year to our parents and other closed ones. Later we ate dinner and slept again as we had planned to return the next day 1st of January 2023.
Day 3: Visit to Rankini Mandir & Return to Home
We woke up but T’s wound had started to pain very severely due to the cold and swelling. So we decided to leave later than planned and give some time to rest for T to recover. We pushed our plans to visit and stroll around Jamshedpur on another day. T slowly felt better and eventually, we had breakfast and cleared all our dues at the reception and left the resort around 11:30 AM.
Even though we had dropped the plans to go to Jamshedpur, we had to pay a visit to the Rankini Mandir. I was confused and I did not know that there were multiple Rankini Mandirs in this area, and for mysterious reasons, I reached the one situated inside the city. We parked our bike, got down and worshipped there.
After the puja, I set the Google for Rankini Mandir at Jadugora, which is famous, and started our journey. It was nearly 18 km from this temple and took around 40 minutes to reach there.
Upon reaching there we found the place was packed. The queue of pilgrims reached the temple to the Highway which would be roughly 1 km. Some local people there were guiding people like us who were only planning for darshan, to do that from the highway. So we went to the spot. We could only spot the temple due to the overcrowding of that tiny space. Well, this is a very ancient temple around more than a few centuries old. But still, earlier it never used to be this crowded. It may be because today is New Year’s day. Then my wife said that is the reason we were drawn to the temple in the city since Mother Goddess knew that we won’t be able to meet her here. That was a very heartfelt moment for me.
Accepting and appreciating her optimistic mature words we decided it is time that we should leave. We restated our journey toward our home. After riding for about an hour and a half we joined the National Highway leading to our house.
On returning to highway smooth roads after nearly riding rural roads consecutively for 3 days it felt as if I was not riding at all. It was comforting and relaxing that I started to feel my eyes becoming heavy. I looked for a tea stall and parked. T abruptly asked that was I feeling sleepy, and I replied yes and asked her how she noticed, to which she replied that the feelings were mutual. Then I understood we were in the same boat.
Next came the mission to find a spot to have lunch. To my surprise at 3:00 PM in the late afternoon, we are unable to spot a vacancy to have lunch anywhere in the restaurants and dhabas situated near Jamshedpur. For half an hour more we stopped at every eating spot to only face rejection. I had never in my life faced so much rejection within a couple of hours. It was a new record for me.
Starving we somehow managed to reach one place which had just one vacant spot and we grabbed it. Starving as we were we did not even go through the menu. We just said- “jo bhi bana hua hai bhej dijiye.” We were served butter naan and chicken curry for which I am not complaining since it saved our souls, but it was not appetizing. We somehow gulped down our food and resumed our journey.
Eventually, after nightfall, the atmosphere became too cold. I started to freeze after moving at a speed of 100 kmph and getting hit by the resistance of the freezing wind. Our duration between the subsequent halts reduced dramatically to every 30mins. We would stop on the sides and hug each other tightly to circulate each other’s body heat to reheat ourselves. Repeating this several times we reached the Original Mama hotel where we took a tea break and warmed ourselves us.
After a short rest, we decided that next to finally stop at the pavilion. So, we rode straight from there till we reached our home. Naturally, we were tired and drenched from the trip still excited about the awesome and adventurous trip that we had.
I even felt a hangover from the bike road trip for the next few days. I am now at a loss for words on how to describe this feeling after returning from the trip. Just one thing repeating in my mind- NEED TO DO IT AGAIN!
This was my exhilarating adventurous new year celebration. I hope you guys also had a blast of your own. Please do share your experiences with me. I would love to know about them.
Till then – Adios amigos!