The British India saw rise of many unknown places and cities that they converted into their personal summer destinations to settle away from the crowd and in search for pleasant weather. McCluskieganj became one of the prominent places that the British governance selected and was shortly populated by many British families.
The housing plan of McCluskieganj was as British as it could get. They made houses with British architecture and as said, this place was soon called the Mini London.
But then like every story, this place soon got lost in time and today the broken houses and a few people who are left live as the last survivors of the glorious history that it once used to be.
McCluskie was a property dealer based in Calcutta. He used to visit some villages in the area for hunting, and even built a hutment at a place called Harhu. His friend PP Sahib worked as the manager of Ratu Maharaja’s estate. And it was PP, who convinced the maharaja of Ratu to lease out the land to McCluskie.
Once this place was home to some 300 families is now as lost as it can get. The houses are broken and while every other state is busy saving their lost heritage colonies and buildings, the tourism department of Jharkhand is not doing anything to protect it.
My trip to this place was brief and limited, it was raining and the train was last. My 5 hours visit to this place was cut short by 3 hours because of the delay and the roads were filled with mud. I explored a few houses getting drenched in rain, one of the owners even called me in and offered me tea. He told me how the coal mafia has destroyed the surroundings of the town and how everyone is leaving this place in search of a better life. Still there are people left who are fascinated by the fairy tale and believe that some magic shall revive this place till then they have no other option but to wait.
One of the fascinating part about this small town was a small church and a mosque standing side by side at the same height and almost designed the same way. I didn’t have much time to explore more of this lost town so I had to bid goodbye in as the evening approached and return to Ranchi by the coming train.
Here I am hoping that next time I am here, the houses and the residents will be living in a better condition that they are today.