Jharkhand gets its first Travel Mart

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A three day event, the first Jharkhand Travel Mart welcomed the travel and media fraternity from all over India to showcase the history and culture of the state and to discuss the upcoming niche areas of tourism

The first Jharkhand Travel Mart was inaugurated on Friday, 23, 2018 by honourable minister Amar KR Bawari for Revenue & Land Reforms, Art, Culture, Tourism, Sports & Youth Affairs Goverment of Jharkhand. It was held in Khelgaon in the capital city of Ranchi.

Sudhir Tripathy, chief secretary, Goverment of Jharkhand addressing the travel, tour operators and media fraternity, said, “This year we plan to promote Jharkhand as a state of 11 wonders to domestic and international tourists. From building convention centres to sports stadium, we are also focussing on MICE markets and sports sector.”

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He further discussed how several employment opportunities are opening up for the youth interested in sports. The state has also started training for the Olympics for children between 8 to 12 years old.  Apart from that, the chief secretary emphasised on the colourful, dynamic and diverse culture that Jharkhand has. “We also want other states to come visit Jharkhand and for that we are customising three to five day packages that will show them the 11 wonders of the state. The main objective here is to spread awareness and through convergence, we want to be among the top destinations for travellers to visit,” he added.

Bawari explained how the government helps the tourism industry and what more can be done to get Jharkhand on the global map. He said,“We are promoting places like the Betla National Park and Netarhat with respect to nature tourism. There are plenty of places that are still untapped in the region and we are looking at changing that. At the same time, the state has been declared as an industy, for eg. The Tata Steel industry in Jamshedpur. But we are striking a balance between both, nature tourism and industry tourism which is why it’s growing hand in hand.”

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He further commented on how Jharkhand is home to several tribes and each tribe has their own culture which can be seen through various art forms, music, dance and clothes the people wear. Chandil Lake, Jubilee Park, Bokaro Steel city were some of the places he mentions that one should visit. “From several shrines to around 15 falls, the history of this place tells unheard stories of warriors and legends and through JTM we hope to reach out to the rest of India,” he said.

In the evening, various cultural programmes showcased the rich culture of the tribes of Jharkhand. Some notable ones was the Paika dance which is very popular and is performed by males. This dance also has a high degree involvement of martial arts. The other dance was the Santhal Dance which is generally performed by both the men and women of the Santhali tribe. It even covers issues related to gender and land rights. A fusion of this dance graced the stage at day one of JTM.

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On day two, Manish Ranjan, tourism secretary, Government of Jharkhand spoke about the purpose of conducting the first ever JTM. “It’s high time state branding takes place. Adding to nature tourism, mining tourism and religious tourism is already gaining momentum in the state. ‘Jharcraft’ in particular is fulfilling two objectives at the same time. These arts will be showcased and the paintings and handicrafts are at the stalls around you. We encourage the travel and media fraternity to support us in this initiative and at the same time we need to support the people behind the making of these arts and crafts.”

He added that various self-help groups make these artworks and this is their only means of livelihood. This is the second part of the objective the Government of Jharkhand wants to achieve in the tourism sector.

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Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Sanjiv Kumar Besra, director of tourism gave his valuable insights on JTM and the overall tourism market in Jharkhand. He said, “Tribal, experiential tourism and adventure tourism is on the rise in Jharkhand. We also are encouraging heritage walks for college students and making strong use of social media, for eg. Right now latest updates of JTM is available on Facebook as well as Twitter. We are also promoting the state as a film destination and recently actors Anupam Kher and Hema Malini were here to shoot for their upcoimg film.”

He commented on how the state is developing heritage circuits. The jail where freedom fighter Birsa Munda was kept is now a museum. Similarly, the tourism department of the state is looking at such projects to disseminate the history of Jharkhand among international travellers.

Day Two ended with fashion shows that showcased the textiles of Jharkhand, wedding wear and recycled sarees made out of used clothes.

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Netarhat: Gateway to Nature

One of the 11 wonders of Jharkhand, Netarhat welcomes its visitors with dense forests, cool breeze and sunny mornings. A unique product that must be included in travel itineraries

Once known as the summer retreat of the British governer, Netarhat is home to several tribes who have been living in close harmony for ages. Netarhat is situated at about 3622 feet high in Lather district which is about 4-5 hours away from the capital city Ranchi.

Netarhat is easily connected to Ranchi by roads. One can take a bus or use private transport from the Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi to Netarhat. Once you reach there, take the road from the bus stand leading to the Hotel Prabhat Vihar, a government accomodation and tourist bungalow. The stay offers easy access to the various points and sightseeing places that Netarhat has to offer.

Early morning, you can see the mesmerising sunrise from the terrace of the hotel. After that, one can proceed to the Mangolia Point. This point is in Batua Tola and situated around nine kms away from the bus stand at Netarhat, the place speaks about a love story in the past. According to a legend, a British maiden fell in love with a local shepherd. When her love was opposed by the community, she chose to end her life by plunging from the cliff along with her horse. Around this site, lies the village settlements of primitive tribes from the Birhor and Birjia community. Between the October-February period, the tribals will entertain you with their local dances around camp fires.

One of the major rivers in the area is the river Koel. Two kms away from the bus-stand, the river Koel originates from a local hilly village called Tutua Paani. The view from the Koel view point is breathtaking with the pine trees welcoming your presence. On the banks of the river, there are tiny clusters of villages like Chaatam Jori and Saarna Toli.

After visiting these points, visitors can drop in at the Netarhat Public School where many eminent people from the state government have passed out. Established in 1954, the school stresses on sports majorly and has six football grounds, 14-15 basketball courts and two grounds for lawn tennis. The students are admitted through strict entrance tests and the hostels for these students are more like ashrams for them.

Wildlife can’t be left out when we speak about Netarhat. The Betla National Park is situated on the Ranchi-Daltaonganj road, which is about 25 kms away from Palamau headquarters. The first of the nine tiger reserves, there are around 30 tigers in the park and home to over 170 species of birds and also offers shelter to over 40 species of mammals.