On February,2018 we had to attend a wedding at Ranchi. We being the travel enthusiasts that we are, an outstation wedding always means we will travel in and around the place.
Now, apart from our love for travel we love watching films. A few months back we had watched a movie called, "Death In A Gunj" which was shot at McCluskiegunj, a small and quiet town in Jharkhand, just an hour's drive from Ranchi. So, our heart was set to "Mini England", the other name for McCluskiegunj owing to the Anglo-Indian settlement.
Choosing our mode of transport and the consequences of the choice
This time we decided for train journey as the time taken for rail travel to Ranchi was not much and we beleived train would be a more comfortable option for travelling with Nirvaan. However, man proposes, fate disposes. We had reserved an A.C. Class 1 coup in the Kriya Yoga Express to ensure maximum comfort for our precious. Also, I needed a little privacy since I was breastfeeding the baby. All was fine. However, the problem struck when we used the bedding provided by the Indian Railways. It was full of dust and unwashed since ages. It caused me and Nirvaan dust allergy and my poor baby could not sleep well at all. We gave him anti- histamine but he did not recover completely throughout our stay. We have ever since carried Nirvaan's bedding in our later trips.
Our experience at McCluskieGunj
At McCluskiegunj we stayed where the film crew had also put up. It goes by the name, Rana's Cottage. The owner and our host, Mr. Deepak Rana is an elderly energetic gentleman, a very well-loved person in the area who has been the 'Mukhiya' for 25 years. The bungalow is nestled amidst a sprawling garden and in the lap of Sal forest which made it a perfect spot to celebrate our Valentine's Day. The rooms were not very luxurious but had the basic facilities required by us. It was run on solar power which impressed us but that led to the problem of power shortage at times. The host, Mr. Rana lives with his wife and his mother in the same house and all of them take personal care of the guest. The staff, mostly the tribals of the area are really gentle, polite and very helpful. In fact, Nirvaan would roam around in their arms for a great extent of our stay. He soaked in the bright sunshine of a winter day. With big wondering eyes, he was almost saying to us, "What a beautiful world it is and how lovely these people are!" He giggled and giggled and giggled when we swung with him in the swing. The gentle giant German Shepherd belonging to Mr. Rana delighted him. He was so excited and happy that he missed his afternoon nap and Mommy showed him around.
In the late afternoon, Mr. Rana took us for a ride in his own car and showed us many beautiful bungalows belonging to Anglo- Indians and famous Indian celebrities. I was personally delighted to see Bengali author, Buddhadeb Guha's bungalow, since I am very fond of his style of writing. I could just imagine where and how he weaved life into his novels. We visited all the sights where the movie, A Death In The Gunj was shot and Mr. Rana kept us amused with his anecdotes from his interesting past and present life and how he coincidentally settled in this quaint world. Our sightseeing was interspersed with the local people who stopped by to chat with Mr. Rana and we too got a chance to enjoy their august company and explore the local culture. The people and the rough terrain and the mysterious forest left us pondering about life and love and all things in between. We returned to our homestay in the late evening. Mr. Rana arranged for Mahua, an intoxicating local brew from the Mahua tree. For snacks we had a very spicy chicken cooked with "Khada Masala" and right blend of everything. Our dinner too was delectable. The food, in keeping with the ambience was homely since the hosts personally looked after the cooking. However, at night it was raining and the it was damp and cold. Nirvaan did not like it at all and kept waking up more than usual. It was a tiring day for us and waking up so many times at night made us a little weary. Also, we were pretty worried about the baby catching a cold( but he was fine).
The next afternoon we were to leave for our home and we were very sad to leave such a beautiful and peaceful place in the lap of nature.
Details about booking a room, tariff and cab
We booked Rana's cottage through his agent Rajesh. His contact number is 8420624556. If you want to contact Mr. Rana directly, then his mobile number is 9006205320. We stayed in an Annexe room with attached bathroom and geyser which costed Rs.1500 per night ( only accomodation ). There are other types of rooms with different rates. Do confirm while speaking to Mr. Rana or Mr. Rajesh regarding the type of room you want to book. Food charges are pretty nominal for the taste and quantity. To book a cab from Ranchi to Mccluskiegunj , you can contact Kartik in his number 9155117549. He charged us Rs.2000 for a Sumo Gold to drop us to Rana's Cottage from Ranchi.
We had our reservation in the Shaktipunj Express which had a stop at the McCluskie Gunj Station,which hardly had a platform. How we boarded the train is another story you'll read about in the post A train without a platform.
Till then enjoy the photographs of our stay and if you can visit this place which is waiting for you!