Just Google search for “Queen of Chotanagpur” and you will get over 38000 results, every result with only one answer: “Netarhat”. And believe me, it has a solid reason to be crowned as Queen.
Nestling on the plateau of Chotanagpur, Netarhat is a popular hill station of Jharkhand state. It’s so beautiful that the Britishers used to call it nature’s heart, and hence it became Naterhat in the local dialect Sadri.
We visited this place with our family and we were simply blown away by its sheer simplicity and beauty. Unlike other hill stations, it is far more preserved and less crowded making your tour more soothing.
Though we already have our plan to cover a few popular attractions, we could find other few locations that were not documented anywhere else and it was simply amazing. So, here is the list of it:
- Sunrise view
- Sunset view/ Magnolia point
- Netarhat dam (Opps! We missed it)
- Koel viewpoint (again, we missed it)
- Netarhat residential school
- Pine forest
- Nashpati orchard
- Upper Ghaghri waterfall.
In this article, I will break down my personal experience of visiting this beautiful place, I will also share information on so that you can plan your visit there.
Excited, but the bad whether?
It was the first week of July 2018 and the monsoon has just taken over the sky. We were all excited to visit the place that we always had dreamt of since our childhood days. I was, in particular, more excited as it was going to be my first ever outdoor vlog.
However, we were a bit concerned about the weather conditions as it was the rainy season. And as if our concerns were not enough it rained heavily with strong wind and thunderstorm the previous night.
Fortunately, to our luck the morning turned out to be crystal clear of clouds, rather the last night rain made the weather more soothing. So, without further delay, we two brothers, their family, and my father packed our backpacks, food items, and by morning 6:30 am we were off from our home at Gumla.
If you are new to Netarhat, let me tell you it is a very famous tourist destination of Jharkhand in the Latehar district and is famous for its stunning sunrise and sunset views. Geographically it is located on the top of the Chotanagpur Plateau at the height of 1071 from the sea level.
As we reached the Ghagra Chowk we took a left turn to head towards the west direction and the actual joy of our long drive started from here. The view of small distant hamlet and small patches of the green cover was simply mesmerizing. On the way we could also find a few broken trees and branches scattered on the road, clearly indicating the strength of the previous night rain and wind.
We had breakfast amidst nature
According to the google map, the distance of Netarhat hill is roughly 30 kilometers from the Ghagra Chowk. After this, it’s roughly 23 km of ascending on hills through deep gorges and ghats and then finally you make to Netarhat.
As we were approaching the base of the hill the green cover became more thick and dense. It was already 8:00 am and we were all hungry. Before we begin our ascend in the mountain we thought why not have breakfast so that we can enjoy our ghat ride.
At the base of the hill, we searched for a safe and clean space and we parked our car on the roadside. We had carpets and sufficient stock of home-cooked breakfast. We enjoyed our breakfast amidst nature.
The Ghati road and ride on plateau
After breakfast, we were again off on our journey. Now the actual ascending on the mountain begins, the roads through the Ghats were very beautiful. As we were ascending to more height, the view from the top was becoming even more beautiful. We can clearly see the stunning view of the small distant hamlet and green paddy fields. The view of green cover on the hill slopes was simply breathtaking.
Surprisingly, the slopes were full of bamboo shrubs and we could not find any sal trees as expected. The vegetation on slopes was something similar to what I had seen on the way to Koraput in Odisha.
So finally we reached the topmost point of the hill, actually, plateau would be the better term for it. But we still had 10 kilometers more to cover on the hilltop. For me, this 10 km stretch was perhaps the most magnificent part of our whole journey. The experience was no less than watching the Discovery channel. The beauty of road paving through the thick sal forest can not be expressed in words.
I observed the sheer thickness of the sal tree, they were all unbelievably straight and tall, making it magnificent. My father, who was sitting in the rear seat told us that these trees are very old and it could be as old as 100 years. Unlike other sal forests, cutting trees is strictly prohibited here which makes these jungles so unique in itself.
The trees were beautifully decorated with new buds of leaves. Since it was the month of July, a period when these trees would shed all their old leaves and new shiny leaves would replace it. This further added to the charm of the whole green cover.
We steered our car through the beautiful road and we enjoyed every bit of the journey.
Wow! After half an hour of this beautiful 10 km drive we finally reached Netarhat.
Netarhat Residential school and pine forest
As we reached Netarhat, we took a 10 to 15 minutes short break. We enjoyed the cup of tea at the nearby shop and we inquired about the different locations it’s directions and ways to reach that point.
Our first destination was Netarhat Residential School, on the way to school we discovered a small patch of pine forest. Pine trees are a species of trees that usually grow in cold regions like the Himalayas. The view of sun rays filtering through the pine leaves was stunning, we had a short halt here and enjoyed its view to the core.
Finally, we reached the school. Netarhat school is a very popular residential school all over Jharkhand and even the country. It is a very old school and its ancient western architecture making it even more stunning to look at. We went inside the school campus and learned that it still follows the Gurukul system of education.
This residential school is no less than any residential school at Dehradoon or Shimla.
Upper Ghagri waterfall and nashpati orchard
Our next destination was the upper ghagri waterfall. On the route to the waterfall, we lost our way and fortunately, we ended up in the nashpati orchard.
Wow! what a stunning view it was. Spreading over the acres of land, the view of the orchard was so relaxing. We were really lucky enough to see the fruits swinging on the branch of the trees.
We also purchased a few dozens of the fruits for our home and then we once again took our way towards the upper ghaghri waterfall.
After wandering around for about an hour we finally reached the waterfall. It was a small waterfall but the view was simply awesome as you can see in the images.
Unlike other waterfalls that fall from mountain edge, this cute waterfall formation takes place when water falls into the trench. So, actually we had to descend into the trench to get the view.
The spot looks so untouched,because of fewer visitors coming here, it’s simplicity and natural look is still preserved.
We took some beautiful shots and took a bath here on the fresh waterfall.
By now it was noon and we were again hungry. Near the waterfall we cleared up a small area to have our lunch, we had prepared chicken biryani and other delicious items. We all family enjoyed that delicious food in the middle of the beautiful and calming jungle. What an amazing experience it was.
Post lunch, it was time to have a short break. By the time we would fully re-energize our body it was 3 p.m. We had one more very important location to cover, the sunset point. Since our plan was to cover all possible locations and return back on the same day we knew were going to miss the magnificent view of the sunset.
Anyways, we went to our final destination, the sunset point which is otherwise known as the Magnolia point.
Magnolia point or sunset point is popular for its sunset view. Here the travelers come to enjoy the view of the beautiful sunset.
Geographically speaking, it is the far end of the whole Netarhat plateau where the mountain valley comes to an end making a deep gorge ahead. From this point, you can also see the next mountain arising from the base of the gorge.
This point is well maintained and developed by the Government, you will find a shed constructed on the elevated cement structure. On the walls of the structure, a beautiful modern-day sculpture is made depicting the secret story of this Magnolia point.
Interestingly, there is a beautiful story behind the name Magnolia point. This point is named Magnolia after a young British girl named Magnolia who took her life by jumping off the mountain cliff for the sake of her love exactly at this spot.
It is said that she was in love with a local tribal shepherd boy who was very good at flute. She fell for the sweet tunes of his flute, but, sadly their respective family disapproved of their relationship. As you can see in the images that tell her story of love.
Having no option left, she thought to end her life by jumping with her horse at this point from the mountain cliff into the deep and silent gorge.
Here, you can refresh yourself with evening snacks from vendors of nearby villages.
We were sad that we couldn’t wait for sunset to happen, took some beautiful snaps here, and headed back to our car for a return journey.
It will remain in our memory
What a beautiful love story to end our journey with. While on the way back to the home my father told us the touchy struggling story of the Adivasi revolution to save this beautiful queen from the clutches of the then Bihar Government.
Many of our tribal brothers and sisters have sacrificed their lives to save the destruction of this jal, jungle, jameen as the Government had proposed the controversial Netarhat Field Firing Range on this beautiful valley.
One thing I would like to mention is, wherever we had our food, we made sure that we don’t litter the spot with our trash. We actually collected it in our bag and carried it back with us to dispose of properly.
But the experience is still vivid in our memories especially as it was my first ever visit any place after my marriage. I tried my level best to capture this experience on my mobile camera. I am not good at making videos but still, I am ending this article with one of my videos on Netarhat.
- Ranchi to Netarhat distance: 150 Km.
- How to reach: There is a bus service from Ranchi to Netarhat. But, at Netarhat you will need a personal vehicle to cover the spots. So, hiring your personal vehicle straight from Ranchi is recommended.
- Best time to visit: We had visited in monsoon, but I would not recommend this. October to Feb would be the best. Be sure to carry warm clothes, it’s bone-chilling cold there.
- Stay: There are good government accommodation and private lodging. So, stay is not an issue. For the best experience, I would recommend one night halt.