Jharkhand / Travelogue

Saranda Forest – Into the Light and Shade

Leopard Cave Point

Saranda Forest is located in the border Odisha and Jharkhand covering both the states. Saranda meaning Elephants got it’s name due to presence of large number of elephants within these thick forest. Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu, situated in Jharkhand are the most known destinations along Saranda Forest due to the presence of Iron Ore Mines governed by SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited). This time after a lot of debate and scanning through various choices, we fixed upon Saranda Forest, originally suggested by Sushmita and Avik. Although due to presence of very less information in the internet related to tourism to this place, we had to struggle a bit initially to gather the required information.

How To Reach :

Out of various other ways, the best way to reach here from Kolkata, is to take a train to Manoharpur (MOU) or Barbil (BBN). These two are the closest place where you can find accommodation. Manoharpur (MOU) is well connected with Kolkata (Howrah) and other major nearby areas such as Tata Nagar, Ghatsila etc. by daily train, 12871 Ispat Express. Barbil (BBN, Spelled as Barabil) is also well connected by a daily train 12021 Jan Shatabdi Express which also passes through major nearby towns such as Tata Nagar, Chaibasa etc.

Where To Stay :

However out of these two, Barbil is more closer to Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu. Whereas Manoharpur which was once considered to be within the forest region, is now situated in base area of Saranda Forest. And it would take around an hour’s drive to reach the major attractions. However from Barbil, it’s around 30 – 40 minutes drive. But the major point of choosing Barbil is, if you are choosing to stay at Saranda Safari Resort which is situated inside the forest region, instead of accommodations available nearby Barbil station. And if anyone is choosing to enter through Manoharpur, check out Santoor Guest House instead.

Other than the above, you have SAIL Guest Houses as options, which would be the best in terms of service and quality. However you’d need some strong contact in SAIL to book them as those are only available for SAIL employees. However the catch is SAIL employees can book on behalf of their relatives and other known persons. In that case, take a look at Meghalaya Guest House which is named after Meghahatuburu not the state Meghalaya. It’s one of the best accommodation one can choose to stay at. Also let me tell you, if there’s no booking by SAIL employees on a particular day, the in-charge can allot you a room there too if you can manage it 🙂

Meghalaya Guest House

Meghalaya Guest House

Well, while enquiring, our first choice was Santoor Guest House, however we couldn’t find any vacant rooms for our dates. Glad that they didn’t had any vacancy there, as else we would have missed out the adventure and experience of staying within the forest at Saranda Safari Resort.

Day 1 : 9th Feb 2018 :
We reached Howrah well ahead of time for scheduled departure by 12021 Jan Shatabdi Express. So we had to kill time mostly by dozing off at the station. The journey from Howrah to Barbil was way too long of being around 7 long hours. However thanks to Avik, for suggesting a game, which helped us kill the boredom. However we mostly slept through the first half of the journey though. The scenery changes specially after the train crosses Dangoaposi or Noamundi. As you’d gradually start noticing things being more reddish due to the iron ore mines.

We reached Barbil at around 1:30 PM, a bit late than scheduled arrival. Our driver Mr. Dhanna Satnami was already waiting for us. After a brief introduction, we started proceeding towards our hotel, Saranda Safari Resort. It took us around 30 minutes to drive to the hotel including a brief stop en-route for buying Mineral Water and snacks for our poison!!

Way To Saranda Safari Resort

Way To Saranda Safari Resort

Upon noticing us, Mr. Latif came forward and welcomed us warmly. We were shown the cottages. Although our first impression was very good, however gradually we felt a deep lack in maintenance of the property. Such a good place, at such a good location, can attract a lot of tourist, if maintained well. However, there was no issues on cleanliness. Rooms, washrooms and the whole property was very clean, but I cannot say well maintained. Although the issues won’t get noticed at a glance in the beginning, however one would gradually feel things being not right as you spend time. Anyway, for travellers like us, cleanliness is the one and only thing that we look for, rest all are for standard or luxury travellers!!

Saranda Safari Resort - Restaurant

Saranda Safari Resort - Restaurant

Lunch at Saranda Safari Resort

Lunch at Saranda Safari Resort

Lunch at Saranda Safari Resort

Soon we were served lunch. Definitely it was not finger licking, however it was well enough to eat and survive. We didn’t expect much at such a location. Although we were about to take a walk to Leopard Cave nearby, however Me and Suparna being really tired due to continuous back to back journey, we went ahead for a afternoon nap, whereas rest of the team spent most of their time playing badminton. Yes the premises is equipped with Badminton Court and other necessary equipments for you to enjoy the game. Later in the evening, rest of the team went ahead towards the Leopard Cave with a local guide, whereas we slept!! Later we realised that we didn’t really missed much, as reaching the Leopard Cave is really not possible, however one can take a walk to the river bank nearby, where the view is breathtaking, as claimed by them.

Later in the evening, we were served Tea and Snacks. In the mean time, Dhanna Bhaiya arrived as per our plan for the Night Safari. Well you cannot really expect to spot any elephant or any other wildlife as such, however it’d give you a real thrill of doing a night safari through such dense forest. And as you proceed, the forest goes more denser. And finally from a point, where there’s no route, you’d have to return. The whole journey took us around 2:30 hours from our resort.

Night Safari at Saranda Forest

We asked the staffs to provide our dinners at our rooms itself, as we were really not in mood to have early dinner. And as usual, we enjoyed amongst ourselves having our poison and playing Dumb Sharad’s till late night before having our dinner and dozing off to bed.

Day 2 : 10th Feb 2018 :
We started our day a bit late than usual, relaxing and enjoying our deep state of sleep!! Later we were served Morning Tea and Breakfast. Post that we left for our sightseeing to Jhikra Waterfall. We enjoyed the trail through Saranda Forest to the Jhikra Waterfalls. We left spell-bounded as we reached the falls. The force was not much, however the serene beauty of the waterfall was breathtaking. We couldn’t hold back ourselves to take a bath there. We were carrying extra pairs as we anticipated and discussed the same with Dhanna Bhaiya last night during our night safari.

Way To Jhikra Waterfalls

Jhikra Waterfalls

Jhikra Waterfalls

We took our sweet time to enjoy the falls until another group arrived. Finally we reached back our hotel at around 1:30 PM. After having our lunch and taking rest, we left for our next sightseeing, the Sunset point at Kirubiru and Meghahatuburu. It’s said that, one can view the 700 hills from this Sunset Point. However the day being cloudy, we could hardly view few layers of the same.

Meghahatuburu Sunset Point

After spending some time there, we started back and stopped for a while at a nearby local market. It was a weekend market like any other villages in India. Finally we were back to our resort by the evening. Soon we were served evening Tea and snacks. Rest of the evening, we spent playing Badminton.

Weekend Market

Later we were served dinner. After having our dinner we enjoyed our smoke standing in the balcony in the silence of the cascading sound of river steam flowing nearby before dozing off to bed early.

Day 3 : 11th Feb 2018 :
Well we wish we could spent another day, and would have covered Pachri Waterfalls and Jateswar Lake and Temple. However before planning for the same, we didn’t knew that we’d need 2 full days to explore all the places. We woke up a bit early at around 6 AM and took a brief walk to the nearby river stream. However it didn’t impressed us much. Dilip Da suggested to take the route to Leopard Cave as the view was much better there.

Leopard Cave Point

Finally when we reached there, it reminded me of Jhalong River Camp. The view was simply breathtaking. I realised what I’d have missed, if we wouldn’t have came here. After spending some time there enjoying the solace of the nature, we returned back at around 9AM. Soon we were served Morning Tea and Breakfast.

Finally after having our lunch, we left, after bidding adieu to Mr. Latif and his son and daughter for helping us a lot throughout our stay.

We had our booking on the same train that leaves from Barbil at 13:45 hours and reaches Howrah at 20:50 hours. The return journey was mostly uneventful and boring a bit too due to such long journey.

We The Team - Saranda Forest

Reviews :
Saranda Safari Resort : A resort amidst the Saranda Forest – that’s the single key point of staying here. The rooms and washrooms were clean however the property is not that well maintained (if that matters to you). Though the air and weather out there plays a very big role due to the Iron Ore Mines. Though you as a tourist won’t notice the difference in 2 or 3 days, but the pollution do affect the lives of people and various other things gradually. Though at a first glance one would not notice the issues, however you can point out the issues as you start spending time there. The food is definitely not finger licking, however it’s good enough to eat and survive. The locals serves the guests there, so do not expect 5* service.

  • Saranda Safari Resort
Mr. M. R. Latif - Owner of Saranda Safari Resort

Mr. M. R. Latif – Owner of Saranda Safari Resort

Points to Remember :

  • Most importantly, never rely on local drinking water here. Always buy Mineral Water. Due to the iron ore mines, and you being not used to such, you are bound to have stomach upset if you drink local water there.
  • Obviously as you can guess, due to the Iron Ore Mines, the air out there is bit polluted. All the things would seem more reddish due to the pollution.
  • Saranda Safari Resort comes with packages including the accommodation, meals and sightseeing. If you are planning to do things on your own, then you may stay at hotels at Barbil and hire local drivers as per your planning. They do offer accommodation only packages, however it’s not a value for money approach at all.
  • As suggested by our driver Dhanna Bhaiya, you may check with Mitra Tourism, as he claimed, they can arrange your stay at SAIL Guest Houses. Please note that, I, however have no personal experience though. So please check thoroughlly and proceed at your own risk.
  • I’d suggest not to repeat my mistakes, and go for a 3N/4D tour instead if you are planning to cover all the nearby sightseeings. With 2N you’d miss few of them.

Contacts :
Saranda Safari Resort, Barbil (Mr. M. R. Latif) : +91-94370-04216 / +91-88954-26064 / +91-78947-68122. Website : Saranda Safari Resort

Mr. Dhanna Satnami (Driver) : +91-89083-54310. He drives a white bolero, with registration number OR-02-AA-7773. He’s a very good driver and very friendly person if you can get along.

Mr. Dhanna Satnami

Santoor Guest House, Manoharpur (Mrs. Manjusha Ganguly) : +91-94313-04916 / +91-98015-53292

Mitra Tourism : +91-94371-40182 / +91-70777-83649 / +91-80183-89917. Email :

Meghalaya Guest House – SAIL (Mr. Prabat) : +91-94703-33673 (He’s the in-charge there. You may speak to him for checking if there’s a vacancy there, in that case he would be able to arrange your stay there. Charges are Rs. 2000/- per room per night for Non-SAIL Employees as time of this writing).

Cost :
Saranda Safari Resort : Rs. 4700/- (per head) x 6 = 28200/- (For 2N/3D including accommodation, meals, pickup & drop and sightseeing (Leopard Cave & Jhikra Waterfalls)
Saranda Night Safari : Rs. 2000/-
Sunset Trip To Kiriburu and Meghahatuburu : Rs. 2500/-
Train Tickets : Rs. 2160/-

Total : Rs. 34860/-

NOTE : I have ommitted costs of personal in nature, such as breakfast and snacks that we keep munching on while on train, our poison and most importantly 2.5 cartons (around 30 bottles) of Mineral Water that we had to incur.

About Author

Hi, I'm born and bought up in Kolkata in the midst of what bongs are best known for - Eating, Sleeping and Travelling. A developer by profession and a traveller by passion. As I was facing a lack of budget-friendly information on the internet while planning my travel, I started drafting my travel experiences here to help you all having a pocket-friendly smooth travel experience.


  • Anonymous
    March 4, 2018 at 6:24 PM


  • Overnight Agra Tour
    March 16, 2018 at 5:12 PM

    You have nicely described your feelings and experience, pleased after having a read of this post. Hope you will come up with other beautiful destination. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Nivedita dutta
    August 28, 2018 at 5:22 PM

    Really helpful information… Thanx a lot

  • Ambika prasad sas
    October 7, 2018 at 6:36 PM

    A good review and very neatly drafted

  • Debashis Deb
    December 19, 2018 at 8:34 PM

    We are going to Kiriburu this weekend and decided to stay at Santoor Guest House. With only one and a half day what do you suggest us to visit?

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 19, 2018 at 8:53 PM

      I’d recommend visiting Meghataburu. They would have fixed package tour or something like that. Best is to contact them.

  • Debashis Deb
    December 19, 2018 at 10:26 PM

    Thanks Krish!

  • Anonymous
    February 3, 2019 at 10:26 PM


  • Sujit Kumar Das
    March 3, 2019 at 1:27 PM

    Information about Saranda is hard to come by. Your article is very helpful in that respect. Thanks a lot.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 8, 2019 at 8:01 PM

      Thanks a lot Mr. Sujit Kumar Das. I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

  • Amit das
    March 7, 2019 at 11:06 PM

    Very helpful and specific information for the tourist visiting saranda…..

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 8, 2019 at 8:02 PM

      Thanks a lot Mr. Amit Das. I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

  • Saheli desai
    March 30, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    Hi Krisnanduda,

    This article is not an exception like your other article, full of information. Thank you so much. But I’m little bit disappointed, are u not travelling very frequently now? Because waiting for such a long time for your new blog. Pls keep posting.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      April 2, 2019 at 10:44 AM

      Hi Saheli, Thanks a lot for being an ardent reader! Yup, actually I have exhausted most of my leaves on my 15 Day Ladakh Trip last year!

      Also this year I was planning for long trips to Arunachal and Nagaland! So I needed to save up my leaves for that!

  • Saibal Dey
    July 12, 2019 at 3:19 PM

    Awesome & very nicely & neatly covered.

  • Bikas
    August 28, 2019 at 4:26 PM

    Very very informative and useful. Thanks a lot for such detail writing – it will definitely help people like me who are exploring this relatively less known place.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 28, 2019 at 8:48 PM

      Thanks a lot Mr. Bikas 🙂

      I’m glad that you liked it 🙂

  • Samarendra Nath Maity
    January 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM

    Very informative and helpful giving basic features and costs.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 30, 2020 at 12:04 PM

      Thank You and I’m glad that you found this blog helpful 🙂

  • Moniruddin Chowdhury
    August 27, 2020 at 3:17 PM

    Just Awesome Places and Guidelines. I’m very pleased. Thanks a ton for that. It’s very much informative.
    One more thing to know that the distance between Saranda Safari Resort to Pachri Waterfalls to Jateswar Lake & Temple.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 27, 2020 at 10:46 PM

      Hi Moniruddin, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you found the article to be helpful 🙂

      It’s been quite a long time I have been to Saranda and thus unfortunately I forgot the distance between Saranda Safari Resort to Pachri Waterfalls and Jateswar Lake & Temple. However I remember that both of them can easily be covered in a day tour of 4-5 hours from Saranda Safari Resort.

  • Kousik Chatterjee
    November 18, 2020 at 7:41 PM

    Hi Krishnendu,
    I accidentally came across your site, while looking for information around Saranda forrest.
    I am happy that you have captured details of many other places as well.
    Will take a few days to read through them all.
    I am a budget traveler myself and as you have mentioned, budget travelling details are difficult to come by, in the internet.
    Thank you very much for your effort.

    One question about Saranda based on your experience. These places are safe for travelling with family, right ? (I have 2 kids of 12 and 8 years).

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 18, 2020 at 7:59 PM

      Hi Kousik,
      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you found the article helpful 🙂

      Yes, I started drafting my travel experiences back in 2005 just casually as budget travel details were hard to find by in the internet. The travel blogs I came across during that time, were full of magazine style which was of no use for me as they lacked all the important details such as detailed route plan, contacts, budget etc. which I need to plan my tour on my own without going through a tour operator.

      So I later realized this articles can be a boon to anyone who are looking for the same. And gradually as I started getting more and more readers I improved the look & feel, response times, writing style a bit. It’s readers like you who keeps inspiring me to keep writing.

      Recently as the world is shifting towards video, I also started a YouTube Channel of mine for those who wish to watch the video instead of going through long articles!

      Anyway, coming to your question, yes, Saranda is very safe to travel with family. If you have gone through this article of mine you’d know I visited with my wife too and at any point of time throughout our journey we never felt any safety concerns.

  • Anjan Das
    January 9, 2021 at 6:22 PM

    Full of information. Thank you so much Krishnanduda. I am very much interested about Saranda forest after reading your blog.

    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 10, 2021 at 7:28 PM

      Hi Anjan,
      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it 🙂


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!