Fostering a new growth wave

14 May,2012


By A Correspondent


Jharkhand means “The Land of Forests”, and true to its name a large percentage of the state’s land is covered with rich forest. Interestingly, a large chunk of the non-forested land is a major industrial hub occupied by cities such as Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh. The state is also the second largest producer of mineral wealth in the country after Chattisgarh. Iron ore, coal, copper ore, mica, bauxite and uranium are among the minerals found in the state. Add to it, the forest produce of the state – and the picture is more or less complete.


Jharkhand, a part of Bihar since 1912 – before which Bihar itself was a part of Bengal presidency – came into being on 15 November 2000. Fascinatingly, history tells us that Jharkhand indeed was a separate entity several centuries ago as well. Jharkhand is also a major educational centre that possesses institutes such as XLRI, NIT Jamshedpur and ISM Dhanbad. Another interesting fact deserving a mention is Jharkhand is observing 2012 as Bitiya Varsh – as is obvious focus is on schemes for the girl child’s wellbeing and education. Although Hindi is the state language, the people of Jharkhand speak a number of languages like Santhali, Mundari, Bengali, Odia, Kosali, Maithili, Nagpuri Oraon (Kurukh), Korwa, and Paharia (Malto).



Gautam Kumar Bera, the wellknown historian states Jharkhand (perhaps not in its current avatar) was a distinct geo-political, cultural entity even before the days of Magadha Empire. The tribal rulers were known as Munda Rajas – some of whom continue to thrive till today. During the Mughal period, the Jharkhand area was known as Kukara. Post 1765, it became part of British Empire and its name changed to Jharkhand. The state relentlessly contributed to freedom struggle. Nearly a hundred years before Rebellion of 1857, tribals of Jharkhand had begun a series of revolts against the British colonial rule.



Nature is given utmost importance in every sphere of life & culture – perhaps due to abundance of forests and other natural resources – and dependence on them. Nature is worshipped – Karma Puja, Jitia Puja, Sarhul are a few examples. Folk spirit defines the unique features of the culture of Jharkhand. Songs and dances of Adivasis are joyous and usually specific to one festival or the other. The unique musical instruments and the traditional tribal costumes and jewellery make the dances even prettier. Paika is a dance form of Munda community. It is a stylized representation of the rituals connected with the preparations of war. Dancers in fact perform a stylised worship of arms. The dancers display their skills in handling the sword and shield as they dance. Dhol, Nagara, Shehnai and Ranbheri are the musical accompaniments of this dance form.


Hunta Dance is the hunting dance of Santhals. A very mesmerising dance form, it shows the act of hunting with bow and arrow – from preparation to execution. Performed only by male dancers, it has distinctive features like mime, slow strong stepping and measured movements. Mundari Dance, a popular dance of the Mundaris, is generally performed to celebrate the newlyweds. It is a group dance, performed with expressive mudras or gestural language. Barao Dance of the Oraon community is an extremely rich dance form. It is performed on almost all happy occasions, however songs and dances vary according to occasions and seasons. Jitia Karam, Jenana Jhumur, Mardani Jhumur, Jhitka and Danga are among the other popular dance forms.


Art & craft:

It’s not only its performing arts that make Jharkhand unique in its offerings, but also the crafts practiced here. Sample this: Toy Making: Unusual and interesting wooden toys are made at Toupadana near Ranchi. These are pieces of wood painted to look like human figures with angular. All the limbs are indicated only by painting lines on the body. Wood Craft: Various household articles made of wood are another speciality of Jharkhand. These articles are beautifully designed, without ignoring the utility part.


Bamboo Art: The bamboos found in the Jharkhand forest are thin but flexible and strong. The artisans of Jharkhand make different artefacts, baskets, and even fishing equipment from bamboo. Bamboo found in Jharkhand is thin but strong and flexible, and can be moulded in beautiful shapes. The Paitkar paintings in Jharkhand are also popularly known as the scroll paintings. The paintings that belong to this school have a common subject of what happens to human life post death.



Jharkhandi food preparations, by and large, are very light on the stomach and easy to digest. Sumptuous recipes of Jharkhand are made extra special by the distinct style of cooking. Mustard oil is the cooking medium of choice in the state. The mouth-watering nonvegetarian cuisine of the state bears a faint touch of the Mughals. Chhonkna (stir fry spices before adding them to a dish), liberal use of Sattu (gram powder – used not only in dishes but also cooling drinks) and Panchforan (a blend of five exotic and aromatic seeds, namely ajwain, sarson, saunf, methi and mangraila) make the food aromatic and sumptuous. Jharkhandis use different types of flowers, drum-stick, August and Jhirool as vegtables. “Maad Jhor” which a nutritious substitute for Daal is prepared by boiling leafy green vegetables in starch left after cooking rice. To make it taste even better, Garlic fried in mustard oil (chhonkana) is added to it.


Dhuska is a popular preparation cooked with mashed rice and pulses. It is served with either aaloo dum or mutton curry; Charpa prepared by frying mashed rice mixed with spicy vegetable preparations is another well liked dish. Kera-dudhauri is a sweet delicacy prepared with milk, rice, ghee and gur. Some of the other popular dishes of Jharkhand are Khichdi, Aloo Chokha, Chana daal ki kachree, Gatteki sabzi, Kala- Chana Ghoomni, Jhingni ki sabzi, Pittha and Litti. Thekua, Mitha Khaja, Pua, and Til Barfi (best in the world) are for the ones for people with a sweet tooth. Rice beer, originally known as Handiya, and Mahu, made from fruit/ flowers of the Mahua tree are the popular alcoholic drinks of the state.


Fairs & Festivals:

Jharkhand’s rich culture is depicted in celebrations in form of festivals and fairs round the year. Kunda Mela in Pratappur is one of the biggest fairs in the state and popular among locals as well as the tourists. The primary objective of fair is the promotion of various breeds of cattle among existing and new clients. What makes the fair really interesting is the folk songs and dances that take place at the venue. The Lawalong Mela is another interesting one. As per the folkfore it is being held every year on the occasion of Aghan Purina since 1880. It is the biggest and one of the most popular cattle fairs in the state today.


There are a number of other large cattle fairs held in the state, three of them in Chatra: Chatra mela during Durga Puja, Kundri Mela on Kartik purnima and Kolhaiya Mela. Kolhua mela in Hunterganj known for its fun and frolic takes place twice in a year – on the occasion of Ram Navami and Basant Panchmi. It is not only the going-ons at the festival but the ambience with the backdrop of Kolhua hill, and a soothing breeze that add to the charm of the fair. A shrine dedicated to Goddess Kali (known as Kuleshwari Devi) is at the centre of this festival and attracts devotees from across the country. The Bhadli Fair takes place in Itkhori on the day of Makarskranti. An ancient temple of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva is at the centre of this fair.


Festivals in Jharkhand:

Sarhul, celebrated in spring season, is one of the important festivals of tribals in Jharkhand. This festival is celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Tritiya, as the beginning of New Year by worshiping trees. Sarhul literally means ‘Worship of Sal’ – on the occasion, trees and other objects of nature are worshipped. It also marks the beginning of sowing seeds and indulging in festivities. The celebrations continue for a number of days – the main attraction of the festival is Sarhul dance. Santhals celebrate the same festival as Baha – the festival of flowers. In addition to Sal, they use mahua flowers are also for performing rituals. Sohrai and Dansi are two other important Santhal festivals. Dansi, largely a dance festival, coincides with Durga Puja, and does not have any elaborate rituals. Sohra, meanwhile is indicative of care of domestic animals like cows and buffaloes. It is celebrated on the day following Diwali. Earthen lamps are lighted in the evening to mark the occasion. Following day, the cattle are washed, vermilion mixed with oil is applied on the cattle and they are even garlanded.


Karma is one of the most popular festivals of Jharkhand it is celebrated by Adivasis as well as Hindus. It falls in the month of August / September. The name Karma is drawn from the name of a Karam tree. A branch of this tree is worshipped, and passed among karma dancers as they sing and dance through the night. The branch is washed with milk and Handia (rice beer) and raised in the middle of the dancing arena. Bandana Parab is one of the most popular festivals of the state, celebrated during Kartik Aamavashya. This festival too is a symbol of animal worship. On this day farmers decorate and ornate their animals. They also sing songs dedicated to their animals – these songs are known as Ohira. Tusu Parab, Hal Punhya and Rohin are other important festivals. All festivals of Bihar, Durga Puja and Kali Puja too are celebrated with aplomb.



Baidyanath Temple: There is an interesting mythological story behind this temple – Pleased with Ravana’s worship, Lord Shiva gave him a Jyotirlinga and asked him to take it to his land, without keeping it anywhere in the way – or it would remain fixed on that spot forever. The gods were unhappy, and planned a strategy. The god of water, Varuna entered Ravana’s body and urged him to relieve himself. As Ravana came down to earth, Vishnu, in the garb of an old Brahmin, appeared before Ravana and began to talk with him. Ravana requested him to hold the Jyotirlinga for a few minutes so that he could relieve himself. Lord Vishnu took the Jyotirlinga from Ravana, and as soon as he turned his back to relieve himself, he left the Jyotirlinga on the spot and vanished. That place is now Baidyanath temple.


Parasnath Temple is situated atop Parasnath hill which is the highest mountain south of the Himalayas. It is considered to be one of the most important holy places of the Jains. As per the Jain tradition, 23 out of 24 Tirthankaras (including Parsvanatha) attained salvation here. Amidst these hills lie the spellbinding waterfall, where the Ushri River gushes down from a height of 40 feet high and splits into three separate streams. Rajrappa Temple: Rajrappa, about 80 kms from Ranchi is a Shakti Pith situated on the confluence of two rivers known as Damodar and Bhairvi. It is regularly frequented pilgrim resort for the Hindu devotees mainly from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Netarhat: Netarhat is an exotic and exquisite hill station about 156 kms away from Ranchi. Its beauty attracts tourists not only from India but from other parts of the world as well. Sunset here is something poetry is made of.


Betla National Park: Betla National Park is the main tourist destination in Jharkhand. It is stretched over an area of 232 square kilometers. This wildlife sanctuary forms the main region of the Palamou sanctuary, which is spread over an area of 979 kms in the district of Daltonganj. It has a wide variety of wild animals. Some of the most important animals found in this park are panthers, elephants, wild boars, leopards, sloth bears, tigers and gaurs. Jaivik Udyan, located at a distance of 16 kms from the state capital is another amazing wild life sanctuary. It houses a wide variety of vegetation. The sanctuary largely visited for of its quite unique collection of a variety of mammals, also houses a wide variety of vegetation. Hazaribagh National Park, located at a height of about 615 meters on a low-altitude hilly region, is one of the most significant wildlife sanctuaries in the country. The wide range of animal life here is impressive and includes sambar, the wild boar, the chital and the nilgai among others.


Its magnificence is enhanced by its topography, which spans from low-lying regions to high hills and rolling regions. Hundru Falls: Ranchi is a beautiful city adorned with falls and streams. Hundru falls is a scenic beauty about 28 kms away from Ranchi. Here the Swarnarekha river falls from a height of 320 feet and crates an awesome impact. Other major attractions for the nature lovers are Kanke Dam, Ranchi Hill, Tagore Hill, Hatia Dam, Dasham Falls, Jagannath mandir, and Jonah Falls. In Gudri Bazar Mohalla of Chatra there is a Sangat of Udasi Panth of Sikh doctrine where there is an old script of the Holy Gurugranth Saheb. Sikhs and Hindus both visit this Sangat with respect and devotion. Barura Sharif is a well known shrine situated on the bank of Sat Bahini river in Pratappur. As per the belief, the sufi saint came here in the latter half of the 18th century. Muslims as well Hindus gather here to pay respect on his Mazaar. Rabda Sharif is the shrine of Data Faham Khyal Shah. The annual fair of the saint is celebrated grandly, and is attended by a large populace.


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