McCluskigunj – Little England in Jharkhand

A colonial bungalow in ruins.

The lush green surroundings of McCluskigunj, with its dirt tracks and fresh air is indeed a retreat for the stressed out souls. About 64 kilometres from the capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi; this sleepy town is surrounded by hills, forests and meandering rivulets. It is 1500 feet from sea level and has a pleasant climate throughout the year.

A series of colonial bungalows stand to tell us the story of a dream settlement envisioned by Earnest Timothy McCluskie in 1932. When the 200 year British rule was about to end, the Anglo- Indian community with its British DNA and Indian hearts earned for a Homeland right in the heart of India.

McCluskie in one of his hunting expeditions fell in love with the place in the midst of hills and forests. McCluski leased some 10,000 acres of land from Raja of Ratu and formed a cooperative called The Colonization Society of India. In 1933 he sent invitations to the Anglo-Indian community for settling down in McCluskigunj. About 300 families constructed bungalows in McCluskigunj which came to be known as Little England. Parties, hunting expeditions, high teas and revelry became the order of the day for the inhabitants of McCluskigunj. Joyous days were spent among the beauteous nature of Chhotanagpur Plateau.

By the end of WW-II most of the inhabitants had suffered a setback and decided to leave the place. About 30 families, who had made McCluskigunj their home and couldn’t bear to depart. The effects of settling down in the remote area were seen in the generations to come. The place did not offer career prospects to the future generations, who either moved to the bigger cities or faced a bleak future. There are several heritage bungalows which serve as guest houses to tourists.

Temple and Gurdwara in the same complex speak of brotherhood.

The banks of the Dugadugi River, the Gurdwara and temple in the same complex in Duli village, sunset at Jagrirti Vihara are some of the attractions of this leisurely place apart from the picturesque colonial bungalows dotting the main streets.  The shaded groves, the gurgling river relaxes the mind and rejuvenates the body. It is here that stress develops wings and fades away into oblivion.

Dugadugi River

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