Jamshedpur- the steel city, is the largest urban agglomerate in Jharkhand. This state has a very high potential for growth in tourism but still, it is very underrated as compared to other Indian states. Jharkhand is a plateau region consisting of a lot of waterfalls, valleys, rivers, mines, forests, and hills.
If you are a resident of Jamshedpur, you have plenty of options as a weekend gateway. I would suggest some of them in the post ahead, but not all destinations are in Jharkhand, some may be located in the neighboring states- West Bengal and Odhisa.
5. Parasnath Hills (Jharkhand)
Parasnath is the highest peak of Jharkhand having an altitude of about 4500 feet from the sea level. It is located in the Giridih district. It is believed that the 24th Tirthankar of the Jains- Parshwa Muni meditated here, the peak was named ‘Parasnath’ thereafter. A lot of Jain temples are spread over the hills, the largest one is on the peak which is known as Shikherji. Once you visit this location, you would get fascinated by the natural charm.
How to reach Parasnath from Jamshedpur
You can travel from Jamshedpur to Parasnath by train or road. There are a few trains which have a stoppage at the Parasnath Railway Station. Having reached Parasnath station, you can get a shared auto/taxi to reach Madhuban which is a small town at the foot of the Parasnath Hills. If you wish to travel by road, you should travel via Purulia, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh and finally Parasnath.
Where to stay at Parasnath
As already mentioned, you should reach Madhuban, a small town at the foothill. You will get some private hotels, govt Yatri Niwas and many Jain Dharamshalas. Please note that some Jain Dhramshalas don’t allow tourists of religions other than Jain. Sapna Hotel is one of the famous private hotels there. Dharmshalas are cheaper, only Rs 300- Rs 600 per night.
Food and meal options
There are only a few good restaurants available at Madhuban. Sapna Hotel’s restaurant is one of them. Eating anything inside the Jain Dharmshalas is not allowed after the sunset, so please beware of it if you are staying there.
What to do at Parasnath Hills
Parasnath hills have a trekking route of total 27 km. If you only wish to reach the top only, it will be a trek of total 18 km only (9 km climbing up and 9 km climbing down). At the hilltop, there is the biggest temple which is known as Shikherji.
If you wish to see all the temples even after reaching the hilltop, there will be an additional trek of 9 km, that’s why the total trek becomes 27 km long, which requires a full day time.
During the whole trek, villagers sell packaged drinking water, lemon water, tea, snacks etc., so don’t worry about any refreshment during the trek. To come back to the hotel before the sunset, it is advisable to commence your trek as early as possible in the morning, most people start their treks between 4 am to 5 am.
4. Chandipur Beach (Odhisa)
Chandipur beach is located near the city Balasore (Baleshwar) which is about 200 km away from Jamshedpur. It has a unique shallow beach in India where you can walk up to 3 km inside the sea. Moreover, it is a very peaceful place, free from any crowd and noise.
How to reach Chandipur beach from Jamshedpur
Chandipur is easily reachable by train. The nearest railway station is Balasore, just 15 km away from the beach. You can hire any auto/taxi at Rs 200 from Balasore and get to Chandipur beach. There are a number of trains from Jamshedpur (Tatanagar) to Balasore. All the trains in the Puri-New Delhi route have a stoppage at Tatanagar and Balasore.
Where to stay at Chandipur
There are a number of hotels and resorts at Chandipur, although it is not a large city. Some hotels you will find just beside the beach, but others are within 1 km from the beach which is a walkable distance. Hotels prices are starting from Rs 500 per night only.
Food and meal options
Chandipur is a very peaceful small town, so there are not so many restaurants. Mostly you will have to depend upon your hotel’s restaurant where you will be staying. However, you may find small dhabas of tea and snacks.
What to do at Chandipur beach
Chandipur is a very peaceful place which is not at all crowded like other beach destinations. This is a shallow beach where you can walk up to 3 km inside the beach, as the depth range is from 1 inch to 1 foot only. You should walk and try to reach the main deep sea, it will be an adventurous experience.
3. Digha Sea Beach (West Bengal)
Digha is a well known weekend gateway for the residents of Jamshedpur as well as Kolkata too. From Jamshedpur, it is about 250 km. Digha has beaches, evening markets, seafood and a lot to explore besides the beaches.
How to reach Digha from Jamshedpur
As the distance between Digha and Jamshedpur is 250 km. it can be reached by both train and road. However, a direct train to Digha from Jamshedpur is not available yet. You will have to reach Kharagpur first, then you would get a connecting train from Kharagpur to Digha.
But also note that only weekly trains between Kharagpur to Digha are available which run on Sundays, Thursdays, and Fridays only. You can also travel by bus from Kharagpur to Digha which is about 3 hrs journey.
Where to stay at Digha
Digha has a well-developed tourism infrastructure, so there are hundreds of hotels there, ranging from the cheapest to highly luxurious ones. Digha has two parts- Old Digha and New Digha. Hotels are available on both the places, but old Digha is somewhat more peaceful than the new Digha.
Food and meal options
At Digha, you can find any type of food, snacks etc., as it is a well-developed location like a big tourist destination. Mostly you would like the seafood there. Like hotels, restaurants are also available in large numbers.
What to do at Digha
Digha has beautiful beaches, evening market places, marine museum, etc. If you are staying at Old Digha, you should travel to New Digha also, and if you are staying at New Digha, you should see Old Digha also. Old Digha is peaceful, while New Digha is somewhat crowdy. But, the sea beach at New Digha is very large. You can sit beside the beach for hours or take a dive into the water.
In the evening, the beachside market is amazing. You can buy souvenirs, things made from marine animal’s skeletons, bangles, etc. from local markets. Enjoying some seafood will be a great fun here.
Mandarmani is another beach located just 40 km from Digha. If you have time, you can visit this beach too or even stay there.
2. Netarhat Hill Station (Jharkhand)
Netarhat is the pride of Jharkhand and the most beautiful hill station in Jharkhand. It has a height of about 3700 feet, located 275 km away from Jamshedpur and 150 km away from the state capital Ranchi. Netarhat is actually ‘Nature’s Heart’ which the British used to call it due to its beauty, but later local people started calling is ‘Netarhat’.
How to reach Netarhat from Jamshedpur
Netarhat is about 275 km away from Jamshedpur which can be traveled by road in 8 hrs. You can travel either via Khunti or Ranchi. If you want to go by transport, you should first reach Ranchi, then you can catch a bus to Netarhat from Piska More Bus Stand (Ranchi).
There is no railway station in Netarhat, but the nearest railway station is Latehar which is 40 km away from Netarhat. There is only one train ‘Jammu Tawi Express’ between Tatanagar (Jamshedpur) to Latehar, but its arrival time at Latehar is at night (9.30 pm), and at this time, it will be very difficult to reach Netarhat from there.
Where to stay at Netarhat
Netarhat has not plenty of options to stay, but Hotel Prabhat Vihar is the official guest house run and managed by Jharkhand Tourism. Some private hotels and lodges are also available, but in peak season, they are full, so be prepared to book in advance. Please note that these hotels have no online booking facility yet, so you can try telephonic booking only.
Food and meal options at Netarhat
As Netarhat is not a commercially well-developed tourist place, so plenty of dining options are not available yet. You can find only a few small dhabas or restaurants there. The best place would be your hotel’s restaurant itself.
What to do and see at Netarhat
Netarhat is only place in Jharkhand where you will find curvy roads, pear trees, tea gardens (nowadays disappearing fast) just like the Himalayas. There are some waterfalls- the Upper and Lower Ghaghri Falls. Sometimes, the Upper Ghaghri Falls is not accessible.
The sunset and sunrise of Netarhat are quite famous, for which viewpoints have been made. If you are staying at Hotel Ptabhat Vihar, the sunrise is easily visible. Sunrise is also viewable outside this hotel area.
You can also see the gardens of pear trees. People say even tea gardens were available a few years ago at Netarhat, but gradually tea farming was no longer a profitable business due to the damage caused by local cattle, they finally disappeared.
The most popular is the Magnolia Point which tells the love story between a British girl named Magnolia and a local shepherd. The parents of Magnolia didn’t like her love with him, ultimately they killed the shepherd in anger. Magnolia was depressed, she jumped into a valley with her horse and committed suicide. Since then this valley started to be known as Magnolia Point.
Some precautions before visiting Netarhat
For the sightseeing tour of the entire Netarhat region, you can hire a jeep which may cost between Rs 700 to Rs 1000 only, the time required will be a minimum of 2 hrs. Also, note that there is only one SBI ATM available at Netarhat which may or may not be in working condition, so be cautious and have some extra cash to fund your stay here.
Also, the cellular networks at Netarhat don’t have a strong and good quality signal. BSNL works somewhat better and has good signal strength, Airtel’s network is not so good, any other network besides these two is not available as yet.
1. Puri (Odhisa)
Puri is one of the Char Dham in India and a major pilgrimage center of eastern India. Besides the sea beaches and temples, it has local markets, taste of some seafood, gardens, marine museums, lakes etc.
How to reach Puri from Jamshedpur
Puri has a very good train connectivity with Jamshedpur (Tatanagar). All the trains in the Puri-New Delhi route have a minimum of 10 minutes stoppage at the Tatanagar railway station. An overnight train journey of 8 hrs from Jamshedpur to Puri is considered best to save time.
Where to stay in Puri
Puri has a well-developed tourism infrastructure so there are plenty of accommodation options of all price ranges. The best place to stay will be the beachside area where you will have a continuous sea view, and it will be also at a walkable distance from the market and the popular Jagannath Temple.
Food and meal options
There are a number of food options of all kinds- veg or non-veg in Puri. Whether you are a south Indian or north Indian, it does not matter at all in Puri. For the people who like non-veg dishes, seafood will be a great experience for them. The lunch and dinner are available in the traditional India Thali system also.
What to do and see in and around Puri
If you are deciding to visit Puri, you are not going to visit just Puri. It is a golden triangle tourist circuit comprising Puri, Konark, and Bhubaneshwar. So, at least a two-night stay is recommended at Puri to see all the places. If you wish to see the Chilika Lake, 55 km away from Puri, you should stay for one more extra day at Puri.
At Puri, you would first visit the world-famous Jagannath Temple, you may prey some offerings too and try to understand the art, culture and the history behind it. There are many other small temples in Puri which you can visit by hiring any local auto-rickshaw at Rs 500 only. For the rest of the day, you can enjoy the beachside area which is also called Swargdwar. Taking a dive into the sea, wandering in the local markets will be a great fun if you are visiting for the first time here.
To visit the Konark Sun Temple and the Lingraj Temple (Bhubaneshwar), you can take a cheap tourist bus service, they operate a daily tour of all the places lying in the Puri-Bhubaneshwar-Konark circuit. The duration of the tour is about 12 hrs and it starts early in the morning around 7 AM or 8 AM. Price is also cheaper, only Rs 200 per head, whereas if you book a whole day full taxi, they would charge you about Rs 3000 or more.
Puri to Konark distance is only 30 km. First, you will see the Chandrabhaga Beach, thereafter you would reach the Sun Temple (Konark). Spending at least 1 hr is recommended at the Konark Sun Temple, after that, you can proceed to Dhauli Giri (Dhawalgiri), Udaigiri and Khandgiri Caves, the Lingraj Temple and finally the Nandankanan Zoo in the evening.
If you are planning to see the largest brackish water lake- that Chilika Lake, it will require more than a half-day tour time. Public transport options between Puri and Chilika are not much, you will have to hire a private taxi or auto-rickshaw who will charge around Rs 600-1000. The boat charges will be according to the distance up to where they would take you.
Boating at Chilika Lake will be a great fun but it may be costly for a single traveler because a full boat booking cost is more than Rs 1500. You can see the migratory birds, inside the lake, coming from Siberia, if you visit in winters here. If you are fortunate enough, you may see some dolphins too. There is also a small temple at a small island inside the lake. Fish farming can also be seen.