Having spent the first 18 years of my life in this place and been familiar with all its known roads, crossings and markets, it seems rather odd that I am finding it difficult to write about it . It doesn’t have reminiscences of antiquity nor does it have a distinctive style, but it has something which most cities lack .A million miles away from the razzmatazz of a metropolitan and the hustle-bustle of a religious place ,it is an abode of settled life, immense greenery and hub of industries . From a traveler’s point of view ,where the camera wants beautiful sights, streets lit with food stalls or ancient buildings, the city doesn’t have much to offer. But as Mary Ritter Beard says “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living”.
Situated in Jharkhand, Jamshedpur is the first planned industrial city of India, founded by Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata and is also known as Steel City, TataNagar or simply Tata. It is a major industrial centre of East India. It houses companies like Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Lafarge Cement, Telcon, BOC Gases, Praxair, TCE, TCS, Timken, TRF, Tinplate and many more. Unlike the dirt and pollution driven, the so-called ‘big cities’,Jamshedpur is clean, green and healthy to an extent that it was declared the 7th cleanest city of India for the year 2010 according to survey by the Government of India. It has been predicted as the 84th fastest growing city in the world for the time period 2006–2020. A major part of the city is run by Tata Steel itself.
To go around the place and have an idea of this “Industrial capital of Jharkhand”, one can visit the Jubilee park which was a gift by Tata Steel to the citizens of Jamshedpur on the completion of its 50 years. It was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the then Prime minister. It is famous for its lighting display on 3rd March which is observed as founders day. Considered as a replica of Brindavan Gardens, it includes fountains, rose garden, a zoo, a lake and a statue of Sir Jamshedji Tata. Dimna Lake is an artificial reservoir and one of the main sources for the city’s drinking water. The Lake has facilities for water sports like jet-skiing, rowing and water scooting. Dalma Hills are north of the Subarnarenkha river, they stretch 16 km from east to west. Accessible by road it is famous for herds of wild elephants, Trekking and mountain climbing are the major attractions. Apart from that one can also look for Tata Steel Zoological Park, Chandil dam, Rivers Meet, Hudco Lake, Centre for Excellence (CE), Sir Dorabji Tata Park, Moolgaokar Park, Bhuvneswari temple, Amusement Park, Laser Show, Picnic Spots and others. A small town named Ghatshila which is famous for its scenic beauty is some 40 km from the city.
The city is well connected via rail and road services. The intra city road network is very large and planned. For local transport, the commuters have the options of bus and auto-rickshaw. Auto rickshaws are the popular mode of local commuting. Sonari Airport is a small airport serving the city at present. It is spread over a 25 acre area in the Sonari area of the city. The airport is primarily used for bringing in chartered planes of TATA group.
The shopaholics can visit the market of Bistupur and Sakchi where people will find all the major international brands, be it Levis, United Colors of Benetton, Hush puppies, Allen Solly, Raymonds or many others. Jamshedpur lacks the sale of ethnic goods and clothes which sometimes are sold at monthly or seasonal fairs. As for the popular food culture, a major population of this city is mad over “golgappas” which are rather cheap and utterly delicious also the South Indian delicacy ,Dosa and Idli are popular. Apart from that there are a lot of food corners and fancy restaurants at the places called Sonari, Bistupur and Sakchi where a variety of international and national cuisine is tried by a variety of people.
People of this city are well known to Hindi and English but regional languages such as Bengali, Tamil, Oriya and Gujrati are also spoken. The population is multi-ethnic owing to migration of people from all over the country to work in the numerous industries present in the city. Jamshedpur has got one of the most intellectual crowds in the country, and to cater to the needs of its citizens, there are a plethora of activities to offer to its citizens. Most notable are the clubs, some of which(United Club, Beldih Club & G.Town Club) had been established during the British Raj. The JRD Tata Stadium has played host to many concerts having hosted the likes of Shankar Ehsaan Loy. TATA Steel constantly organizes one event or the other for the citizens’ welfare. The Centennial Celebrations of Tata Steel in 2007 was a remarkable extravaganza with the citizens witnessing a plethora of events spread over an entire week all around the city.
To write about places one is flooded with the thought of quintessential travel destinations in India such as Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore etc. Having traveled so much, I was beginning to be “perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground” because all seemed now to be my birth place. In this scenario the idea of writing about my place of belonging came to my mind which was almost like a faint memory now. The road less taken was my most taken and now that I wanted to remember it I was unable to, until this idea of bringing back what I had lost came to my mind which simultaneously was a source to also tell the beauty, substance and audacity of this city.
“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what’s in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in” -Andrew Zimmern.