Rockin’ retreat: Jonha Falls in Ranchi
Three friends on a road trip in the smash-hit 2011 film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the stuff dreams are made of.
For those more enthralled by the sound of water columns crashing on rocks than coffee shop chit-chat and all-night partying, the state tourism department and travel agency Jharkhand on Wheels is offering their version of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara — daylong tour packages to Jonha Falls from mid-October to December.
The magnificent Jonha cascades, some 40km from the state capital, are also collectively known as Gautam Dhara. Lord Buddha is believed to have bathed here.
The tour may turn out to be a dream for travel buffs who don’t have time to venture far and don’t want to waste money on luxe frills.
Under the plan, Jonha Falls can be reached by road and rail. A commuter can choose whether to go by bus or train.
Bookings for both options can be done via the tourism helpline 0651-6003505. One can also buy tickets on the spot, subject to availability.
If you want to travel by bus, head towards Sido-Kanhu Park, Raj Bhavan. Each two-way ticket costs Rs 250. At 9.30am, three 26-seater tourist buses will leave for Jonha Falls.
For those who love train rides, head to Hatia station and catch a passenger train at 9am. For a two-way ticket costing Rs 100, a tourist can grab a berth in the 70-seater bogey with Jharkhand on Wheels written outside. Magicians and mehendi artistes will entertain those who choose the train.
There are more surprises in store.
Palanquins will ferry the physically challenged, aged or ailing down 453 steps to see the waterfall up close. “This facility will enable senior and special citizens to enjoy the wonders of nature,” said state tourism director Siddharth Tripathy.
The raw power and beauty of the waterfall apart, there will be a host of entertainment options.
Villagers of nearby Konardih and Duarsini will sell football, cricket gear, ludo, chess, playing cards as well as hanging ropes. The purpose is two-fold — added enjoyment options for tourists and income for villagers.
The tourism department also plans to set up a food court, handicraft kiosks, toilets and a tourist centre.
“From pizza, ice creams and cold drinks for youngsters to rice, dal, chapatti and vegetables for family crowds, we’ll make sure we offer variety,” said R.K. Choudhary, convener of Jharkhand on Wheels.
After consultation with tourism director Tripathy and tourism secretary Sajal Chakraborty, Choudhary has also decided to decorate the area surrounding Jonha Falls with colourful balloons. Tribal girls will welcome tourists by waving multicoloured flags. Entertainment by way of tribal dances and songs are also on cards.
Finally, after an action-packed day, the bus or train will ferry back tourists to Ranchi the same day around 5.30pm.
Will the package tour to Jonha Falls live up to its promises?