The new state of Jharkhand, in what was southern Bihar, came into being in 2000. An area of great natural beauty, Jharkand comprises a forested plateau, home to a large population of tribal people with distinctive cultures.
There are game reserves set in often stunningly beautiful and remote scenery on the Chhota Nagpur plateau which can easily be reached from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkand. This is one of the poorest areas of India, with extensive missionary activity.
The capital of the newly formed state of Jharkhand, Ranchi is a good base from which to explore the natural beauty of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau.
Ranchi is a pleasant, friendly city, which provides a fascinating insight into the way in which India is progressing, with it's juxtaposition of modern shopping malls and traditional market places. The Mian Road market in particular is a photographer's paradise.
Jharkhand is well known for its waterfalls, found throughout the state where the many rivers descend from the plateau to the lowlands. The best are located a couple of hours drive to the east of Ranchi.
Many areas to the west of Ranchi especially on the heavily forested Chhota Nagpur plateau, have been designated as areas for the protection of wildlife. The most accessible of these is the Betla National Park in the Palamau Sanctuary. Here you can take safaris by jeep or by elephant in search of the abundant wildlife, and can also visit tribal villages.
Whilst driving in Jharkhand you may be lucky enough to come across one of the weekly tribal markets. These are well worth exploring, and you will be made to feel very welcome!
Very few foreigners visit Jharkhand, and indeed the infrastructure can be very limited outside of Ranchi - not much English is spoken, power cuts are frequent, and the food, whilst plentiful, may lack variety - but these limitations are more than made up for by the opportunity to visit a part of India which remains deeply traditional.
The scenery is stunning, and the people very friendly and helpful. There is none of the harassment which can sometimes mar visits to more "popular" parts of India, and photographers will be particularly impressed with the opportunities to capture the life of this unspoilt part of the country.