The Jharkhand government is planning to promote eco and cultural tourism at Netarhat, nestled in the lap of pristine forests, situated at an altitude of 3,622 feet above sea level in the Latehar district.
Netarhat is barely 157 km from the state capital Ranchi and is famous for its verdant hills, majestic waterfalls and enchanting scenery. Sunrise and sunsets are mesmerising here like an oil painting, says Jharkhand tourism about the place which is termed as ‘Queen of Chotanagpur’ and which derived its name from what Britishers used to call it – ‘Nature’s Heart’, as per old timers.
Latehar Deputy Commissioner, Bhor Singh Yadav told PTI: “We have plans to promote eco and cultural tourism here and thereby also create employment for locals. Various initiatives are underway including promoting homestay programmes where tourists can enjoy living with the tribes.” “The homes of the villagers joining the homestay programme are being given a distinctive identity by painting them with tribal colours – cream and white. In the first phase, 40 homes joining the homestay programme in Paseripat are being painted. In the second phase, 83 houses of Sirsi will be painted,” he said.
All the villagers of Paseripat and Sirsi villages have agreed to join the homestay programme.
About 100 youth of Netarhat have been given hospitality and catering training by the district administration and many villagers of Netarhat have experience of working in hotels and lodges.
“Have you visited Netarhat this winter…Travel through these trees to soothe your soul,” says Jharkhand Tourism sharing a panoramic video of the lush green forests. The road to Netarhat runs inside a deep jungle of pine, bamboo, mahua, palash and saal.
Latehar is home to the Particularly Vulnerable Tribe Groups (PVTGs) like Asur and Birajiya among others.
Latehar District Tourism Officer, Shivendra Singh told PTI: “The beauty of the culture and lifestyle of the tribals living here can be seen closely after coming to Netarhat. They have their own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Their love for nature in their farming, song-music, dance, food, and home-building style are to be experienced.” Major attractions include Koyal View Point (Sunrise Point), Magnolia Point (Sunset Point), Lower Ghaghri and Upper Ghaghri, Netarhat Dam, Netarhat Residential School, termed as a nursery for bureaucrats and pear and apple garden besides pine forests and Lodh Falls, the highest waterfall in Jharkhand, Singh said.
Like other popular British hill stations, Netarhat also has a suicide point and as per folklore, an English girl Magnolia fell in love with a local peasant and ultimately outcast by the society committed suicide by jumping off the cliff.
A statue of the pair has been built at Magnolia point.
Jharkhand is blessed with nature’s gifts, such as forests and wildlife, waterfalls, hills and a rich cultural heritage.
The annual tourist inflow has increased from 4.53 lakh in 2000, when Jharkhand came into being, to over 3.50 crore in 2019-20, including 1.75 lakh foreign visitors.
According to Jharkhand Tourism Secretary Manoj Kumar, there are plans for skywalk and ropeway projects.
The places that the Tourism department have identified for these projects are Patratu in Ramgarh district, Netarhat in Latehar, Hundru, Jonha and Dassam falls in Ranchi district.
The Jharkhand government recently unveiled its Tourism policy and has announced a slew of fiscal incentives for those willing to invest in developing tourism facilities, including hotels and resorts, amusement parks, ropeways and adventure sports, to give a boost to the sector and attract tourists to the state.