Away from the hustle-bustle of the capital city of Ranchi, lies a small hilly town surrounded by forests that speaks volume about colonial India. We have often heard about British officers and their love for hilly areas and to be honest, most of the places are now famous tourist spots in India.
However, faith was not the same for this small town that was built strictly for the Anglo-Indian community. Yes, a town specifically built for the descendants of Europeans who married Indian men or women.
Table of contents
- What is the history of McCluskieganj?
- Why McCluskieganj is an unfulfilled dream?
- Places to visit in McCluskieganj
- Where is McCluskieganj located?
- How is the weather at McCluskieganj?
- What is the best time to visit McCluskieganj?
- What is the nearest railway station to McCluskieganj?
- What is the nearest airport to McCluskieganj?
- How to reach McCluskieganj?
- Is McCluskieganj safe for tourists?
- Where to stay at McCluskieganj?
- Other places to visit near McCluskieganj
McCluskieganj – A “Mooluk” of Anglo-Indians
During the time when revolutionary movements were at peaks in India, to end the years-long British rule, the Anglo-Indian community felt crushed between the cultural difference as they were neither British nor Indians.
It was then, Earnest Timothy McCluskie, a businessman from Kolkata (then Calcutta) executed a dream of a homeland for fellow Anglo-Indians in India.
McCluskie leased 10,000 acres of land in the forest-covered area of Chota Nagpur Plateau near the Lapra railway station from the king of Ratu and formed a cooperative society called ‘Colonisation Society of India’ in the year 1933.
The region was chosen mainly because of the hilly location, fertile land, railway station, and availability of enough water due to the flowing river.
He invited the Anglo-Indians to buy shares in this cooperative society and get a plot of land in return. The membership was given to people who were of European descent and not necessarily British.
McCluskie sent circulars to almost 2 lakhs Anglo-Indians residing in India and nearly 400 families moved in. At last, his dream became true and a small town was founded which the Anglo-Indian community proudly called their “Mooluk”, a homeland.
After the death of Earnest McCluskie, in the year 1935, the Lapra town was renamed to McCluskieganj in the memories of its founder.
McCluskieganj – The Mini London Of India
McCluskieganj soon became the mini London of India. The town was a happy place with afternoon tea parties, climbing, ballroom dances, music, huntings, and merrymaking.
But it did not last long as soon in the 1940s, the residents started facing challenges with their daily livelihood. The town was in a secluded location which kept it away from any kind of development. As a result, most of the families migrated to England leaving behind their homeland.
Places to visit in McCluskieganj
McCluskieganj has become an important tourist destination in Jharkhand. A trip to the small town is all about exploring the ruins of colonial houses in the laps of nature. Here are some of the must-visit tourist attractions in McCluskieganj.
Ruins of Colonial Bungalows
The Gothic style bungalows which now lie abandoned was once the pride of McCluskieganj. The magnificent bungalows with gardens and fireplaces say a lot about the British-like-culture that prevailed in the town. Some of the bungalows have been converted into guest houses by the remaining Anglo-Indian families.
St. John’s Cathedral
The old Cathedral was built in the year 1940 and still stands tall as the witness of the long-gone Anglo-Indian era. The wooden old furniture of the Catherdral is still kept preserved as a memory of the old days.
The New Cathedral
The new cathedral is also built in a Gothic style and is an important tourist attraction. The major festivals like Christmas and new year are celebrated in the new cathedral. Also, the locals gather together here every Sunday to offer prayers.
Located at a distance away from the town, McCluskieganj Forests is the place where one can find serenity. The main attraction of the forest is the tall trees of Sal and Mahua. Sal is the state tree of Jharkhand and is found in abundance across the state.
The Chati river flows down the hills and through the township to meet river Damodar, the sorrow of Bengal. Duga Dugi is a popular picnic destination for the localities. The riverbank, the hills, and the greenery make it an ideal place to watch the sunset. The place has a broken bridge which adds a vintage touch to the place.
Jagriti Vihara, an orphanage and rural development center formed in the year 1975 is visited by people from around the globe to attend seminars on social issues. The place is filled with greenery and a walk around the campus is worth it. The place is also best for purchasing some handloom and pottery products.
Duli is a small village located at a distance of 5 km from the McCluskieganj township. The village is a unique tourist destination known for its ‘Sarva Dharma Sthal’ and ‘Sita Kund’.
Sarva Dharma Sthal
It is a small plot of land with a Radha-Krishna temple, a mosque, a half-built Gurdwara, and a plot allotted for the church, where a wooden cross is kept to mark the spot.
The plan was to construct all the four religious places adjacent to each other but due to some unforeseen situations, only the temple and the mosque could be built.
Adjacent to the Sarva Dharma Sthal is the Sita Kund where water flows continuously from the underground. The kund is surrounded by many ponds which makes it a picture-perfect place.
Chati River Canyon
River Chati forms a small canyon before it flows through Duga Dugi. One needs to climb down a few steep stairs to reach the canyon. The place is a treat to the eyes.
McCluskieganj is surrounded by hills and therefore, it is the best place for trekking. The highest point of the town offers some breathtaking views. Also, it is the best place to watch the sunrise.
The town has several coal fields which can be a different mining tourism experience for the people visiting McCluskieganj. The town is a victim of too much coal extraction which sometimes causes a problem in the day to day life of the locals.
McCluskieganj is located in the Khalari block of the Ranchi district, 65 Km away from the capital city of Ranchi.
McCluskieganj has a subtropical humid climate. The days are warm and evenings are cool. Summer starts from the month of March and prevails till the month of June. The temperature in the summer months ranges from 30 degrees to 40-degree centigrades. April and May are the hottest months of the year.
The monsoon season prevails from July to September. The area receives an average rainfall of 1530 mm.
Winter stretches from the month of November to February with the temperature fluctuating between 4-degree centigrades to 15-degree centigrades, with December and January being the coldest months.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit McCluskieganj is during the winter. The chilling weather during the months of November to February gives the perfect feeling of a hilly town.
Nearest Railway Station
McCluskieGanj (Station Code: MGME ) is the railway station that serves the township but only a few trains halt at the station.
The nearest stations with full functionality are Ranchi Junction (Station code: RNC), located at a distance of 67 km, and Hatia (Station Code: HTE) located at a distance of 70 km serving the city of Ranchi and town of Hatia respectively.
Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi is the nearest airport located at a distance of 71 km.
How to reach McCluskieGanj from Kolkata?
Howrah Jn Jabalpur SHAKTIPUNJ EXPRESS (11448) is the only train that connects Howrah Junction (Station code: HWH) with McCluskieGanj (Station code: MGME). The minimum journey is of nine and a half hours.
You can also board a train from Howrah Junction to Ranchi Junction or Hatia. The minimum journey time from Howrah to Ranchi is seven to eight hours. After getting down at Ranchi Junction or Hatia, book a cab to McCluskieGanj.
The distance between Ranchi Junction to McCluskieGanj
- 67.5 km via NH39
The distance between Hatia to McCluskieGanj
- 70.7 km via NH39
You can self-drive from Kolkata to McCluskieGanj or book a rental cab.
The distance between Kolkata to McCluskieGanj
- 476.6 km via NH19
- 486.2 km via NH320
- 481.7 km via NH43
Take a flight from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata to Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi. It takes approx one to one and a half hours to reach Ranchi by air. After reaching take a cab from the airport to McCluskieGanj.
The distance from Birsa Munda Airport to McCluskieGanj
- 71.3 km via NH39
Is it safe for tourists?
Yes, McCluskieGanj is very much safe for the tourists. The locals are very friendly and welcoming in nature. However, the following tips will help you to have a safe and sound visit.
Tips for visiting McCluskieGan
- As the tourist places are located at a distance from the town, it becomes isolated after 6 pm, therefore, avoid visiting after sunset.
- The safest time to visit any tourist spots is between 6 am to 6 pm.
- It is much safer to visit during the peak season, i.e December to February.
- Carry water bottles, medicines, snacks, and other refreshments along whenever visiting the tourist places.
Where to stay?
McCluskieGanj does not have hotels but one has to stay in the old colonial bungalows which have been converted into guest houses which is actually the best thing. The bungalows are from the British Raj but have been renovated with modern amenities.
Dream Destination is a guest house, restaurant, and lawns run by the Tourism Department of Jharkhand. You can book it from the website of Jharkhand Tourism.
Other places to visit near McCluskieGanj
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