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Old 22nd October 2012, 16:41   #1
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Default Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

It's been sometime that we did some adventure and it was due for a long time. Normal drives here and there was as usual, but something different and adventurous was what we were hunting for. Official leaves were a big concern, but with 1 day off we could get 4 days and here it was, end of September and all sorts of plans started tormenting our brains.

We did not have time for the mountains and we were pretty bored with driving to the ocean which we often did. So where is the place which is unknown, beautiful as well as adventurous which we can cover in 4 days. Our expectations was high and lots of ideas and places started pouring in but we were not very satisfied with those, the "This is it" feeling was not there. One of us wanted to drive to Varanasi, but what after that? Jungles was one of the idea but which jungle?

One fine morning we got to know that there are good areas in and around the Jharkhand forests which we can explore. We started inquiring and started to gather information about the places but we did not get enough information and the places seemed to be very less travelled and that started to raise our inquisitiveness.

After a lot of information gathering also we got some data here and there but nothing concrete and we decided to drive by that route and explore the places but there were definitely certain risks which we could anticipate as follow,

a) Unknown Jharkhand roads which might be a big disaster
b) Terrible Naxal/ Maoist problems. Jhankhand jungles are their stronghold.

Almost everybody discouraged us for going inside the jungles of Jharkhand as the risk factor was definitely there. We were also a bit hesitant at first but went ahead with the drive.

Risk was definitely there, but there lies the charm... No risk, no gain.. Took the immense risk and i feel we have gained a lot of driving experience in an unknown land and the beauty was enchanting..Truly awesome.. But i don't know in another situation(if) the risk was worth taking, but to me it was worth. Rise above your fear and definitely there is something good in the waiting.

The spoilers,
Suicidal national highways in Jharkhand. Mud, slush, craters and full off roading in the national highway is what we experienced.

The Appeals,
Desolate places, the vast expanse of the forests, captivating beauty, very scenic landscapes and driving through the most unknown and uncommon roads of Jharkhand, off roading in a jeep inside the core jungle areas and hitting a dead end which turns out to be a beautiful waterfall and etc.

The Risks,
Travelling through the core naxal/maoist areas in the jungles of latehar and gotang, cobra jawans pointing their machine guns, blown of police vans by mines (Thanks to the maoists).

The itinerary :

Day 1 : Kolkata - Varanasi
Day 2 : Varanasi - Aurangabad - Chattarpur - Daltonganj - Betla forest
Day 3 : Betla forest - Latehar forest - Garu - Mahuadabar - Lodh and back
Day 4 : Betla forest - Latehar - Chandwa - Ranchi - Patratu - Ramgarh - Hazaribag - Bagodar - Kolkata

Few snapshots through the lenses before i move forward (Pictures courtesy Myself, Partha Basu and Subhadeep Das) :

The machine

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NH 2

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Aarti being performed at the ghats of river Ganga(Varanasi)

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The suicidal NH 98

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Tree house at Betla

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The blasted army van

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Inside the jungles

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The Koel river

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Fort of Adivasi kings

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The vast expanse of the jungle

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Fort of Adivasi kings

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The Lodh Falls

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The beautiful Patratu

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Motion photography i guess

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Details coming up soon. Enjoy !

Last edited by A.G.The Rambler : 22nd October 2012 at 20:19.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 13:15   #2
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd October 2012, 16:17   #3
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

The beauty of Jharkand remains undiscovered & least-travelled to.
One must compliment you for planning such an audacious drive to what most perceive to be one of the most dangerous regions in the country, also among the least developed & unfriendly for motoring.
The photos look very tempting. Please do share with us info on road conditions, places where you stayed at & restrictions such as check post timings & permits.

How old is the car & how did it fare in such bad roads?
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Old 23rd October 2012, 16:32   #4
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Most of the highways in Jharkhand are @ terrible state. People here think that if this part would have been Bihar, the state of affairs would have been much better. Roads is Bihar are fantastic now! Are you sure about those forts to be of Adivasi kings?? I don't think so. Since this was a part of Bihar, these may have been built by Rulers who ruled it then.

Keep the pics coming
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Old 23rd October 2012, 17:03   #5
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Apparently there are two forts inside the forest that were built in the 16th century.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 17:19   #6
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Great subject for the travelogue. Nice pictures of places unknown and unseen.

Keep it up - looking forward to more pics and narrative.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 18:23   #7
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The beauty of Jharkand remains undiscovered & least-travelled to.
One must compliment you for planning such an audacious drive to what most perceive to be one of the most dangerous regions in the country, also among the least developed & unfriendly for motoring.
The photos look very tempting. Please do share with us info on road conditions, places where you stayed at & restrictions such as check post timings & permits.

How old is the car & how did it fare in such bad roads?
Thanks Kumar Sir. Would detail everything in my following posts very soon.

My Manza is exactly 1 year 6 months old. It fared very well. I must say, this is a great car and it has brought me back home safely from many difficult drives and this time too. I am sure Manza can be driven in any terrain.
The front rim was bent due to the horrible roads so after the trip had to redo the alignment and balancing, change the bush ball set of the front stabilizer rods, and normal servicing. That it.

The After effect:

Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand-560700_3832982983078_534946368_n.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blow Horn Ok View Post
Most of the highways in Jharkhand are @ terrible state. People here think that if this part would have been Bihar, the state of affairs would have been much better. Roads is Bihar are fantastic now! Are you sure about those forts to be of Adivasi kings?? I don't think so. Since this was a part of Bihar, these may have been built by Rulers who ruled it then.

Keep the pics coming
Quote:
Originally Posted by neoranjit View Post
Apparently there are two forts inside the forest that were built in the 16th century.
There are 2 forts facing each other, one built by father and another by his son. These forts belong to the Chero kings now totally in ruins. They were erected in the 16th century and deep inside the forest. These forts were invaded by Mughal rulers from Akbar to Aurangzeb. These forts are also known as tribal fortress. Also came to know that these forts are now place for dacoits and naxals hiding place. Do not know if that is true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
Great subject for the travelogue. Nice pictures of places unknown and unseen.

Keep it up - looking forward to more pics and narrative.
Thanks.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 19:23   #8
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Originally Posted by A.G.The Rambler View Post
Also came to know that these forts are now place for dacoits and naxals hiding place. Do not know if that is true..
Wouldn't be surprised even if we find treasure hunters there. On the other hand, are naxals a fear for regular tourists too ?
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Old 23rd October 2012, 20:56   #9
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

They are naxals/maoists in name only. Whatever their ideology was - it's gone. They are common dacoits/highway robbers/kidnappers/extortionists now. The only major factor differentiating them is that they have access to high-tech weaponry. In any case, how do you know whether your captor is a naxal or otherwise?

To the OP I have to say you are a brave man. I travel across JH a lot, though I have not ventured into the forests like you did. The roads are horrible (the main reason I have booked a Duster) and the maoist terror is very much real.

I don't think I would do what you did if I had accompanying women companions. As far as I can judge your party was all-male, right?
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Old 23rd October 2012, 22:41   #10
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

Anish, waiting for the more stunning pictures yet to be posted . I will definitely plan something soon in those parts but have to be careful to make sure I travel during day. The damage to the rims surely doesn't good. The Vento alloys cost a lot man. It will have to be a slow and careful drive for me.
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Old 24th October 2012, 01:22   #11
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Default Re: Rambling inside the forests of Jharkhand

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Originally Posted by neoranjit View Post
Wouldn't be surprised even if we find treasure hunters there. On the other hand, are naxals a fear for regular tourists too ?
Generally regular tourists are not touched. But you never know what goes in their mind :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by snkjr View Post
They are naxals/maoists in name only. Whatever their ideology was - it's gone. They are common dacoits/highway robbers/kidnappers/extortionists now. The only major factor differentiating them is that they have access to high-tech weaponry. In any case, how do you know whether your captor is a naxal or otherwise?

To the OP I have to say you are a brave man. I travel across JH a lot, though I have not ventured into the forests like you did. The roads are horrible (the main reason I have booked a Duster) and the maoist terror is very much real.

I don't think I would do what you did if I had accompanying women companions. As far as I can judge your party was all-male, right?
Thanks snkjr ! If one can rise above their fears, one can see the exotic beauty. Its mesmerizing.

Highway dacoits are prevalent in these areas. You wont find maoists coming out and harassing normal people. The maoist issue is very real but mostly its the robbers/kidnappers/extortionists, who come out in the name of naxals and start harassing people. It was a all men party :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Anish, waiting for the more stunning pictures yet to be posted . I will definitely plan something soon in those parts but have to be careful to make sure I travel during day. The damage to the rims surely doesn't good. The Vento alloys cost a lot man. It will have to be a slow and careful drive for me.
Thanks Samarjit. Do visit, its a very nice place. No question of driving in these areas after 4 to 5 pm, drive strictly by day time. We reached Betla forest at 6.30 pm , i tell you it was not a good feeling. Very desolate and eerie. The locals don't even travel once the day light fades out.
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Old 24th October 2012, 19:59   #12
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Fantastic route. Brings back a lot of memories. I did it way back in 1997, in an Omni. That was my first long drive that we did during Durga Puja. It took us 14hrs to reach Ranchi from Kolkata, via Baharagora.

The forests around Betla and Netarhat are mindblowing, in their unspoilt nature (back then). We had our fair share of adventure during the trip and it was still required to move in a convoy between Betla and somewhere near Mahuatarh.

Its so sad that due to recent problems, its so difficult to venture into those areas. You have a lot of courage in having done that.

Bring it on.
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Old 24th October 2012, 20:44   #13
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Hi,
Makes me nostalgic.
Did you visit Netarhat?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 24th October 2012, 22:59   #14
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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Fantastic route. Brings back a lot of memories. I did it way back in 1997, in an Omni. That was my first long drive that we did during Durga Puja. It took us 14hrs to reach Ranchi from Kolkata, via Baharagora.

The forests around Betla and Netarhat are mindblowing, in their unspoilt nature (back then). We had our fair share of adventure during the trip and it was still required to move in a convoy between Betla and somewhere near Mahuatarh.

Its so sad that due to recent problems, its so difficult to venture into those areas. You have a lot of courage in having done that.

Bring it on.
Thanks Saurabh. JH is definitely an excellent place. The places are still unspoilt as not many tourists visits these places. But i guess with time things are cooling down. There are lots and lots of army presence out there and hope good sense would prevail among the people who have been entrusted by the people of india to lead and make this a better place to live in and we can visit all these places without fear.

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Hi,
Makes me nostalgic.
Did you visit Netarhat?

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta da, we did not visit Netarhat. We did not have time, we took the exit from Mahuadabar. I personally visited Netarhat about 12 to 15 years back.
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Old 26th October 2012, 00:55   #15
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Day 1 : Kolkata - Varanasi

This has somewhat been a regular route. We planned to move out of Kolkata by 4 am as we wanted to reach Varanasi early so that we could be there on time for the evening Aarti. Ultimately we moved out at 4.30 and within no time we were merrily cruising on the NH 2 Durgapur Expressway. It had started to drizzle by then. By the time dawn was breaking through we had almost reached Palsit. We saw couple of overturned lorries on the highway which we seldom see in that section. However, we moved ahead in apprehension as Panagarh always had something up its sleeve. But we were just amazed to see Panagarh free of traffic at 6.05 am, so guys this is the most probable time to cross this place without traffic. Numerous times we had been through Panagarh and it was the 1st time we were passing through Panagarh without halting once in traffic.

Some pictures before we move ahead

Breaking dawn on durgapur expressway

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The 2 laned Panagarh stretch

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Panagarh is free from traffic at 6 am. The traffic jam in this stretch ranges in between 5 to 7 kilometers on both ways

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Once we crossed Panagarh it started to rain heavily. After Panagarh, the NH 2 detoriates in and around Durgapur, Raniganj and Asansol. The WB-JH border has some sudden potholes and tarmac is very uneven. Nothing much to speak about NH2 otherwise, it is a straight forward road to Varanasi. Lets have some pictures below,

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Something is flying out !

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We had our lunch after Dehri in a dhaba named Bagicha. A good place to have a break.

Getting into Varanasi.
Varanasi city as usual horrible as ever. We took NH7 exit into Varanasi for going through the bridge over Ganga from within the city. Took the exit before crossing the Ganga on NH2,this is after mughal sarai. One would find Renukoot exit in the sign board. Took the first exit from the signboard beside the bridge and go right under the bridge. It will be NH7. But advisable not take this route.This is a very congested route inside the city. But it is advisable to take our return route mentioned in red in the map. That road has become much better than earlier now.This has to be taken from Calcutta side after crossing the Ganga and then there is a toll and after the toll there are signboards indicating Varanasi on the right hand side. Take the exit beside the bridge and go under that on the right hand side.

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We reached Varanasi at 4.30 pm and were put up in HHI Varanasi. HHI Varanasi was not up to mark. Service was not as expected with respect to the price they charged. We had to go without electricity in our room for 20 mins. We had to wait for half an hour to get some bottles of water. However, we hurriedly freshened up as we had to go to the ghats for the Aarti.

The HHI Varanasi

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continued..
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