We stayed at the Makulakocha FRH, located at the base of the hills.
Torches kept ready for driving away elephants
After lunch, we went out to go to the top of the hills. The road has gone through dense forest. Although Dalma is known for wild elephants, but spotting them at this time of the year was a remote possibility.
We reached Pindrabera FRH located deep inside the jungle.
View of Jamshedpur from Pindrabera
Dalma top was another 5 km ahead. When we reached the top, it was around 3 PM. Although it offers great views from the top, the visibility was poor because of winter fog. We went to a temple higher up climbing some steps, a few of which were a bit too steep.
We spent the evening walking inside the FRH compound, and watched the western horizon turning golden yellow. We felt that the sunset would have looked nice at Domuhani on the river water. At night, we attempted photographing the stars.
There were two or three cocks kept at different places inside the compound, perhaps being bred for the famous fight at a later date. They used to wake us up in the morning. Their legs were tied with ropes so that they could not flee away or fight with each other. That morning, we could not hear their call for long, but there was a fluttering sound that could be heard from time to time near our room. Venturing out, we found that the rope with which one cock was tied got snapped, and it came to another one. The two were engaged in a fierce fight, albeit silently so that no one woke up and got them dislodged.
We met a nice guy, Suman Dutta, staying in a nearby room of the FRH. He, along with a friend, had come there from north Kolkata with their families. He offered me to go for a walk to a nearby village. He informed me that they had planned a bonfire on the previous evening outside the FRH, but had to cancel it eventually because of a possible visit by some local goons – wild elephants. He also shared his experiences of some charitable endeavours that they carry out in remote villages.
We left the main road and took a short-cut which was through a roadside shrub, and hence not visible otherwise.
We spotted elephant stool while walking.
The village was not a very small one.
The only health centre which operates once a week can be seen in the above pic.
There was a temple like structure inside the village. Some young people had gathered there. We enquired why there was no deity in the temple, and Suman asked me to speak in Bengali, not Hindi. The temple appeared to be a Rasmancha, with paintings of Shri Chaitanya and his words written on the inside walls. The writing was in Bengali script.
It was amazing to find a Bengali village with Vaishnavite influence inside the jungles of Jharkhand.
Walking back to the FRH
Later on, Suman offered us date jaggery during breakfast, a seasonal delicacy of Bengal, that he had collected from a West Bengal village and carried with them.
After taking breakfast, we left for Chandil dam on the river Subarnarekha.
First view of the Subarnarekha
At first we went to the boating point to get a good view of the dam.
Although we did not have any plan earlier, we decided to go for a five minute ride by speed boat. The chill in the air, blue water of the river, white birds floating away – all made this ride enjoyable.
Photos taken during the boat ride
Then we went to the top of the dam and traversed along the entire length upto the other end.
Weep holes in the retaining wall turned into pigeon nests
Level of water in the reservoir
We took lunch at a restaurant there, overlooking the dam.
After basking in the warm afternoon sun for some time, we decided to move towards Domuhani again, for viewing sunset.
There are some benches beside the road, which offer great views of the confluence. Many Jamshedpurians had come there also to enjoy the Saturday evening. There was a boat ferrying people across the river.
Rush to get back home before it gets dark
A little before sunset, we found out that there is a large Shivalinga on the other bank, but then it was too late to go there and come back.
The sunset did not occur over the confluence to our dismay. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant sight.
Later in the evening, we tried another round of tryst with the stars at the FRH.
The night and early morning were cold, with temperature dipping below 10 degree Celsius. We went out for a morning walk towards the gate of the sanctuary. Three elephants are kept there under a shade.
There was an enclosure nearby where some deer are kept.
Surprised to see some untimely visitors
After breakfast, we bed adieu to Dalma and left for Jamshedpur. We first visited Dimna lake, covered with mist.
Picnickers were gathering gradually, and we left soon for Jubilee park.
The car was parked outside the main entrance. We went to the zoo by a toto which operates inside the park. We had three cameras, but except one, others were not performing well. So we decided to buy a hundred rupee ticket for one camera, and not to use the others. However, the security guards, including a lady, were very rude, and insisted that we must pay for other cameras also, otherwise we’d have to keep them in the car. But the car was parked at least a kilometre away, and there was no point in going there and coming back as we did not have much time. So we abandoned the idea of visiting the zoo, had to forgo the money we spent on buying tickets. Surprisingly, there was no objection in carrying mobile phones, and who does not know that smart phones have cameras also!
With a very bitter feeling, we spent some time sitting beside a lake there.
Soon we proceeded towards Tatanagar railway station to board the Steel express to reach home.
Chaibasa : Hotel Shifa Manor, 09234982196
Dalma : Makula Kocha FRH, booking Mr.A.Rana 09304323110
We booked the Rs.600 room as that was available. There were two rooms in one block. Each room had a separate toilet next to it, but the access was not inside the room. We had to keep it locked using our own lock, otherwise it could have been used by others. There was no geyser available, and no hot water was provided in bucket despite requesting the staff repeatedly. The water was cold, and we decided not to bathe for two days.