Birsa Munda is undoubtedly Jharkhand’s greatest son. While one of India’s newest formed state has not left any stone unturned to name many landmarks after the legendary tribal leader and freedom fighter, no other edifice probably tells the poignant tale of the revolutionary’s life and death as the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi where he was confined by the British and died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 25 on June 9, 1900. In November 2006, the inmates of the jail were shifted to a newly constructed central jail in Hotwar, Ranchi. Since then the old jail has been a neglected historic site. However things are all set for a change for very soon the Old Birsa Munda Jail in Kutchery will be converted into a museum depicting the life and times of this great tribal icon.
On World Heritage Day this year Jharkhand’s chief minister, Arjun Munda, gave a directive to convert the historic prison premises into a museum. The building and the cell number five where the tribal hero was confined for six days before his untimely death will be preserved in its original form. The whole area of the prison premises that covers almost 40 acres of land including large green spaces will be a landmark site to commemorate Birsa Munda who fought the mighty British regime for protecting the rights of his tribal bretherens.
Old Birsa Munda Central Jail is in fact the key project taken up by the Jharkhand chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. The project is aimed to bring to fore historic, social and cultural ethos of the land.
Nearby attractions include:
- Tagore Hill: In 1908 Rabindranath Tagore’s brother Jyotirindranath Tagore had visited Ranchi. He liked the city so much that he built a house Morahbadi Hill. Many books were supposed to have been penned by Rabindranath Tagore in that house.
- Rock Garden: This garden with its waterfalls, sculptures and landscape surroundings next to Kanke Dam is a well known tourist attraction.
- Nakshastra Van: The main highlight of this man-made forest is that 27 plants have been planted according to 27 planets in astrology.
- Dassam Fall: The Kanchi river falls from a height of 144 feet about 40 km from Ranchi in a picturesque surroundings.
- Sun Temple: About 40 km from Ranchi near Bundu is the Sun Temple with its massive chariot, decorative wheels.
- Panch Gagh: This is a picnic spot near Khunti and is the collective name of five waterfalls that happen due to breaking up of the Banai river.
How to reach there
By Air: There are direct flights from Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.
By Rail: Ranchi Railway station is the city’s main railway station. It has a good connectivity to the major metros and all important cities in the country. Ranchi has three more stations – Hatia Station, Tatisilwai Station and Namkom Station.
By Road: Buses of Jharkhand State Road Transport Corporation connect Ranchi to different parts of Jharkhand. There are regular bus services to Patna, Kolkata and other cities.
Where to stay
Golden Tulip Ranchi, Hotel Capitol Hill, Hotel Arya, Hotel Accord Ranchi and Hotel Green Acres are some of the hotels in the area.