Special Places to Stay in Ranchi
'$' Signs against Hotels indicate its Category
Chanakya BNR Hotel ($)
This venerable establishment opposite the railway station was built by the South Esatern Railways themselves, one of a number of grand hotels full of old world charm catering to railway travelers.
Things to see and do in Ranchi
Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi was once the summer capital of Bihar under the British. The town is surrounded by rolling forested land with waterfalls and lakes and is in the heart of one of India's great tribal belts.
Ranchi may be short on traditional "tourist attractions" but this is more than made up for the pleasure of simply strolling around this pleasant, friendly city.
The central Main Road market is a fascinating mixture of the old and the new, with modern shopping malls alongside colourful traditional markets, where you can gain a unique insight into many aspects of the developing Indian city. There is a large fruit and vegetable market, sweet shops and street food stalls, parades of modern multi story shops, top end hotels, traditional businesses (such as shops selling cycle rickshaws or repairing sewing machines), Hindu shrines, Moslem mosques, and even a Sikh gurdwara. All of this and more is found cheek-by-jowl within the space of just a few hundred meters, and there are few places in India where the transition from a traditional to a modern city can be so easily and enjoyably observed.
Throughout Ranchi, you will notice few if any other foreigners. Because of this, the local people are open, friendly, and helpful. There is none of the occasional harassment which can make exploring some cities in India hard work at times, and people are invariably happy to talk, and to have their photograph taken.
Outside Ranchi, Jharkhand is famous for its scenic beauty, especially the many waterfalls. The best are at Hundru and Jonha, a couple of hours drive to the east of Ranchi, and can be visited in a full day trip by hired car.
Betla National Park
For most travellers, the main real reason for landing in Ranchi is to transit to Betla National Park, now part of Project Tiger. This undisputed natural gem is 140km west of Ranchi and is one of the best places in India to see wild elephants. Pure stands of sal forest, rich evergreens, teak trees and bamboo thickets are home to more than 200 elephants and bison and lesser numbers of tigers and leopards.