Surrounded by hills, forests and lakes with a bracing climate owing to its 650m altitude, Ranchi possesses an air of calm and quietude. On some days, it may seem like a hill station. Little wonder that the British appointed it as the summer capital of Bihar and today it is the capital of Jharkhand. Propelled to fame by being Indian cricketer MS Dhoni’s hometown, the city bears its natural and tribal heritage with pride.
Best time to visit: September to March are the best months to visit Ranchi.
How to reach
By Air: Birsa Munda Airport is the nearest airport, located 7km away from the city. IndiGo operates more than 50 non-stop weekly flights between Ranchi and other key destinations in India.
By Train: Ranchi railway station is city’s main station that connects it to all major parts of India through daily trains like Hatia Howrah Express, Shatabdi Express amongst others.
By Bus: Ranchi has a good network of roads and boast of a vast network of buses connecting the city to the rest of the country.
Getting around: Auto-rickshaws, local buses and rental cars are the standard mode of travelling within the city.
Excellent north Indian cuisine—chicken butter masala, dal makhani, paneer butter masala, chicken tikka butter masala, veg biryani, mix vegetables.
An old city favourite serving pure vegetarian cuisine at affordable rates—be it Chinese, north Indian or south Indian. Try their thali, Kashmiri pulao, biryani, chilli paneer and dosas, besides the pista milkshake.
A classy restaurant within the hotel that does a great dinner buffet with live counters, cold cuts and dessert stations. Try their kadhai chicken, dal makhani, galouti kebab and desserts like chhena payesh.
The green-hued interiors give the restaurant at Chanakya BNR the feel of a nightclub, but it serves up Chinese, Thai and Mongolian dishes, a rarity in Ranchi. Stop by for a decent dim sum, kimchi, jasmine tea and date pancakes
The rooftop restaurant at Shree Nand Bhavan features nature-inspired décor and dishes like laal maas, chicken tikka masala and moong dal halwa.
Ranchi is a great place to buy tribal paintings, chhau masks, bamboo crafts, bell metal artefacts and dhokra figurines. Drop by at the state-owned Jharcraft Megastore to browse handicrafts made of metal, bamboo, leather, jute, terracotta, cane and bamboo. Kusum Emporium and Nalanda Handicrafts are also suitable for local souvenirs with various types of pottery and paintings on bamboo, date leaf and jadopatia art. Pick up trendy fashion accessories and clothes at the bustling Firayalal Chowk and hop by Pustak Path for books. Daily Market in Lower Bazaar is excellent for electronics while in Upper Bazaar, buy jewellery from Anand Jewellers or cotton textiles and bed sheets from Kanodia Textile Corporation. For khadi clothing, visit Khadi Gramudyog Bhandar on Kutchery Road. There are plenty of malls as well – JD Hi Street Mall, Big Shop, The Galaxia Mall and Spring City Mall are great places to do some high street shopping.
Despite being a state capital, Ranchi has a laid-back vibe, and late-night hangouts are scarce. There are no nightclubs but plenty of bars in upmarket hotels and a few lounges. The rooftop Prana Lounge at RS Square and Kasbaah Lounge at Star Heights have hookahs and decent music. Hooch, Float Bar, Mehfil and Fluid at Capitol Residency are also popular watering holes. Radisson Blu organizses pool parties from time to time while Shanti van on NH-33, Rukka Dam Road also hosts music events.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Kadru Diversion The 115-room hotel opposite the Chamber of Commerce boasts an outdoor pool, O2 Spa and great in-house restaurants.
The Chanakya, Station Road Spread over five acres, with 68 executive rooms, three suites and 14 heritage rooms dedicated to the Indian Railways, this one adds a touch of luxury to your stay in Ranchi.
Hotel Ranchi Ashok, Doranda A three-star hotel near MECON, its 30 rooms overlook a garden with a multi-cuisine restaurant (Mithila) and bar (Chitralekha). This is one of the good budget hotels in Ranchi.
Capitol Residency, Station Road Centrally located, with a bar and restaurant, the hotel group also runs another sister establishment Capitol Hill on Mahatma Gandhi Marg.
Birsa Munda Jaivik Udyan: There are many places to go sightseeing in Ranchi. The Birsa Munda Jaivik Udyan (Biological Garden) at Ormanjhi, 20km away on Hazaribagh Road, is a repository of rare herbs, plants and animals.
Muta Crocodile Breeding Centre: Just 15km ahead on the Ormanjhi–Sikidiri road is the Muta Crocodile Breeding Centre. The project started in 1987 with two crocodiles from the nearby Bhera river and three from the Madras Crocodile Bank; today the population has increased to over 50!
Hazaribagh: Located 93km away from Ranchi and surrounded by forests, Hazaribagh is a perfect short escape to stay amidst nature. Some of the attractive tourist spots you can explore are Hazaribagh Wildlife, Canary Hills, Konar Dam, Silwar hills etc.
Ramgarh: An important tourist destination, Ramgarh boast of a rich history dating back to the stone age. The place features ample tourist spots like Mayatungri Temple, Am-Jharia Falls, Nalkari Dam, Dhur-duria Falls among other making it an ideal weekend getaway from Ramgarh.
Ranchi is a great base to explore the numerous waterfalls that dot the landscape around the city. Jonha Falls, also known as Gautam Dhara is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha bathed and is marked by a temple and ashram atop Gautam Pahar. Sita Falls, regarded as the spot where Sita bathed while passing through the area during her exile. Jonha and Sita, along with Hundru Falls, form a circuit on the highway to Purulia. Panchghagh (55km from Ranchi, off Chaibasa road) is the collective name for a group of five waterfalls formed due to the breaking up of the Banai river. About 40km from Ranchi, off the Tata highway, is Dassam Falls (dassam means 'falls' in the Mundari dialect) where the Kanchi river plummets over 140feet.