Saranda Forest Reserve

The penultimate day turned out to the most enjoyable part of the bike trip. We were going to Chiria mines – having read so much about it in the newspapers, we were actually going to see and visit it.

Chiria settlement is about 50 km from Gua. We started early at 8:30 am and had to ascend halfway up to Meghahatuburu from Haathi Chowk to reach “Sedal gate”. From Sedal gate we turned towards the right and descended the hill slopes for about 10 km to reach the sleepy hamlet of ‘Chota Nagra’. The road was flat and in perfect condition. We didn’t find any heavy vehicles on the way, just the occasional LMV and local villagers on motorcycles.

The surrounding natural beauty was comparable to the grandeur one finds in Yash Chopra’s movies. Wide valley, acres, and acres of yellow mustard fields, mountain ranges on either side, small villages, the river quietly flowing. As children, we used to draw such paintings in the drawing period. Now it was right before our eyes. We stopped many times to take pictures as we had never visualized that such natural beauty existed in our very own Jharkhand.



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Enjoying and absorbing the spectacular vista, we continued onwards towards Chiria and took a left turn after covering 45 km, off the highway. We stopped when we sighted the quietly flowing Koena River running parallel to the dirt track that was supposed to take us to Chiria town. We dismounted and ran towards it like playful children. Washing our faces and hands with the crystal clear waters, we spent about 15 minutes before hitting the dirt track. Making slow progress we covered the remaining 5 km and reached the SAIL Guest House at Chiria at about 11:00 am. The Guest House was amidst picturesque surroundings with huge mountains nearby. We managed to get a Scorpio for us to visit the Dhobil mines where mining activities have started in Chiria. We left for the Dhobil mines at about 12:30 pm. The Scorpio crossed the shallow waters on a riverbed before starting the steep climb uphill towards Dhobil. It was a bumpy and wobbly 12 km ride on the ‘kutcha’ road through dense forest. Not a soul could be seen during the entire ride. We reached the top at about 01:15 pm. Chiria is the largest iron ore reserve in Asia with an estimated deposit of about 2000 MT.

We observed the mining operations and the screening machine. We returned at 2:30 pm after visiting the natural drinking water source of Chiria town about 1 km uphill near the riverbed we had crossed. It is supplied by gravity to the entire town. Electricity for the town is obtained from a diesel generator installed near the General Office and solar street lights are found in abundance. At the Guest House, we had hot lunch that was tasty and yummy. Though an afternoon siesta was the call of the day after such meals, we had to forego it in favor of the return trip as we needed to make it back to Gua before dark for safety reasons. We reached Gua at about 5:30 pm in the evening.

Finally, the day came to say Goodbye to Saranda with a promise to visit again. We left early at 6:30 am and came back to Bokaro by the same route. However, the return journey was faster and we took an hour less, to reach home at 2:30 pm.

Six days, 700 kilometers, four iron ore towns, tranquil villages, dense forests, clear blue skies, rivers, waterfalls, temples are the concise material description of what we experienced during the journey. However, the real essence of those moments is just beyond vocabulary to express.