THE CAPITAL OF the newly formed state of Jharkhand, ranchi is a good base from which to explore the natural I uty of the Clahota Nagpur Plateau. The summer capital of lihar in the days of the British Raj, Ranchi still attracts visitors keen to escape the Peat and dust of Bihar’s plains. T he town’s main attractions is the 17th-century Parasnath Temple, perched one a hill in the southwestern outskirts. like’ the Jagannath Temple at Pun this temple Also holds an annual I chariot festival.
The Chhota Nagpur Plateau is the home the forest-dwelling Munda and Oraons tribes. The widecanging exhibits and Collections of artifacts Ain t he Ranchi Museums provide a comprehensive picture of their lifestyles and social structures.
ENVIRONS: Hundru Falls, 45 km (28 miles) east of Ranchi, is a lovely picnic spot. This is the point where the Suharnarekha river drops clown dramatically from the Chhota Nagpur Plateau to form a 100-m (328-ft) watertall, which splashes into the pools below. Them sleepy town of McCluskiegunt 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Ranch, is a quaint relic of the Raj. It was established as a settlement for Eurasians who felt they belonged neither to British nor to Indian society, and wanted a haven of their own. Today, only a handful of the original settlers remain (many have emigrated to Australia), living out their old age in cottages crammed with their treasured collections of English china ornaments, and adorned with pictures of the British royal family.