“Kiriburu?  Is that even the name of a place?” Yes, that was my first reaction when I heard about the name of this strange place. “Oh come on now Dad, I don’t want to spend 4 days of my winter vacation in the middle of nowhere! And that too without Internet? You’ve got to be kidding me!” Being a Bong and never having visited Darjeeling, it was my utmost wish to visit it in the recently concluded winter vacations. But my dad had other plans. No amount of persuasion would make him change his mind. In the end it was decided that we would go to Kiriburu. And today I can happily say that I don’t regret my Dad’s decision.

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Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu are known for the captive Iron ore mines, owned by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), India’s largest public sector steel-maker.The name Meghahatuburu literally means Village in the Sky. The logic behind the name lies in the fact that this place is often covered in dense fog and the nearby mountains hidden by dense clouds. ‘Going for holidays to an Iron Ore mine? Not exactly a sane person’s decision’ .That’s exactly what must be running through your mind now right? Similar were my thoughts.  But they turned out to be so so wrong..

For the answers to all the questions that must be running through your mind read on….

First things first, where is it located?

Kiriburu , along with its sister town Meghahatuburu, are a pair of census towns located on the border of Odisha and 2Jharkhand. A place located 4500 feet above MSL. A place so beautiful that it has been described as the “Second Kashmir of India” by the local inhabitants.

How can one reach there?

The nearest railhead to Kiriburu is a station called Barbil Jn. Kiriburu is another 20 Kilometeres . From Barbil Jn. One can book a car which will take you to the twin cities of Kiliburu and Meghahatuburu. The Howrah-Barbil Janshatabdi runs daily and is the easiest way to reach Barbil Jn.  Another option (for the more adventurous) is to drive from Kolkata to Kiriburu via Tatanagar and Chaibasa. Though be warned beforehand that the journey is a bit tough with the road being terrible at some places!

What are the means of accommodation?

Me and my family stayed in the “Meghalaya” Guest House owned by SAIL (Steel Authority Of India Ltd.),  a beautiful 12 room guest house located in a remote corner on the top of a hillock from where one can see marvellous sunsets. 3Besides this SAIL has another guest house located about half a kilometre from where we stayed.  With the cost of a room ranging from 300-800 INR for a one day stay, the price was totally justified given the spick and span rooms, the tasty food served and the friendly housekeeping staff.

What is the best time to visit it?

Various on-line sites suggest that best time is to visit this place is between July (which in my opinion will be too wet and slippery to enjoy) to November but I’d beg to differ and state that December is THE month to visit this place.

 

Places of Interest:

The Iron ore Mines are a must visit. Also a few waterfalls are located nearby Kiliburu. The main town has a few places to be explored too. This place gives you the feel of reaching back into the 19th century, with its old fashioned house and dim street lights. Also there are a few temples and churches located nearby. The sunset point is a must visit too. If you want, you can venture into the forest to catch a glimpse of some animals. Don’t ask me where you can find them!! Make sure you carry some basic items like a hi- power torch, mosquito repellant etc. Oh and do spend time in forest according to your interest and adventurous spirit. J

My Experience:

First and foremost we visited the Meghahatuburu Iron Ore Mines (MIOM), which was located about a Kilometre from 6the Guest house. It is an open cast mine surrounded by dense forest on all sides. At first sight I was star struck by the size of the mines from above. Even Humungous barely seemed to be a word by which it could be described.It was amazing to think how humans and machines over time had excavated such a huge amount of earth!

One needs to take permission from the Mines Manager to take a tour of the mines. A jeep is provided and also a guide who shows you around the mine, explaining the various process of extraction and subsequent purification. The guided tour of the mines lasted for about two hours where we were shown the process by which Iron Ore was extracted, washed, segregated on the basis of size and then loaded onto rakes waiting to transport them to the corners of the country , to be molten , mixed and made into steel. And boy, the most fun part was sitting in the Driver’s cab of a Dumper, the wheels of which could accommodate around two and a half men of my size diametrically across (pun intented J)!

The best place to spend ones evening is the Sunset View point which was located just a stone’s throw away from the Guest House. Trust me, the sunset that I saw there was the most beautiful one I had seen in my entire life!

Seeing the Sun set among the Saranda Hills (Saranda literally standing for Seven Hundred) is a feeling that words simply cannot describe!  At 4500 feet, the temperature tends to drop very soon. It was not a long time before I was wrapped up in two layers of Blanket drinking freshly prepared tea served by the Housekeeping staff.

My parents, my sister and I decided to take a walk out in the night. It being a full moon night, the moon was shining in all its glory and it made the atmosphere even more serene .It was as if you had left this Earth and were in a different place, a paradise, where you could feel the moon’s warmth on your skin and see the stars shining brightly in the sky, something that is unseen in our crowded cities. It was totally silent besides a few crickets chirping and the occasional Owl hooting.

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Next morning, we set out on a visit to the small township. We visited the local temple and churches. We also met a few locals and learnt about their means and way of life. It was surprising to know that there was only one school in the vicinity, namely Kendriya Vidyalaya, Meghahatuburu. Surprisingly it was just a single storied building and one which looked pretty compact asides from the fact of boasting a large playground and it was hard to imagine more than a couple of hundred of studying there.

The next day was the day we left for home. A pretty mediocre end to a trip you’d say. Not in my opinion. On the train back home, a though suddenly struck my mind: these people, without having access to high speed net connections, without having luxurious flat screen TV’s, et al. were living a happy life. They were able to gaze at stars at their own will, breathe pure air, see some out-of-the-world sceneries and most of all live life contently, something that we, in this rush filled life of ours, have forgotten  about. And that was the moment that I realised that this was a trip where not only had I visited a new place, this was a trip which had made me realise that life was more than just having a net connection 24*7 or having all so called comforts and luxuries, life was about being happy and content with what one had, about enjoying the small things which are present around us but something that we tend to ignore, something that I may not have been able to understand had I gone to Darjeeling!

It’s the small places like this which truly reveal the beauty of our Motherland and its places like these which you should visit if you want an experience you will never forget!

In the words of Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Which road will you be taking?

A travelogue by Abhishek Chattopadhyay

B. Tech (Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering.)

Abhishek Chattopadhyay

Hey Everyone! I'm a Student of Electronics and Instrumentation Engg. I love to read novels... Playing the Synth has been a childhood passion... Absolutely Love home cooked food ... And I LOVE Maths !!! 😉

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