Chiria which is a census town in Pashchimi Singhbhum district in the state of Jharkhand has India’s largest iron ore mine with reserves of 2,000 million tonnes of iron ore. This mine is operated by Steel Authority of India Limited. Surrounded by Kiriburu, Karampada, Tupadih Rangra and Rakshi, it lies to the south-west of Manoharpur. After getting off at the Manoharpur Station you have to wait for the trucks as because there are no alternate transport options. The trucks will take you to Chiria Mines which is 30 km from Manoharpur. If you prefer to travel by car then either take your own car or hire a car before reaching Manoharpur. On the way to Chiria Mines you will come across a hamlet called Ankua, where a haat is held every Sunday and Wednesday.
During the journey you will find many paddy fields covering the hill slopes. Almost all of them had a wooden platform about 20 feet high. Villagers keep vigil on the platforms at night so that their crops are not eaten or trampled by elephants. They beat on tin cans to scare away the pachyderms.
The road takes a U-turn near the Ankua Bazar from where the route is diverged. The way that leads to Chiria Mines covers 8 km to reach the destination. The condition of the road is very bad but either side of it is rich in verdant beauty. Birdsong fills the air. In fact, Chiria Mines gets its name from the number of birds that frequent it. The area is infested with elephants. You may see the fresh foot steps on the road. The wild boars may also come into the view.
Emboldened by a boundary of hills, Chiria Mines is like an open-air factory with an intricate network of rail tracks. You will find the iron ore being carried away in wagons along a rail track. You have to take permission from the IISCO official to roam around. See how the iron ore is being extracted and transported into the plants.
The view from the hill top is heart touching. If you are lucky then you may catch the view of the elephants playing on the river below in a full moon night.
How to go?
Take any Mumbai-bound train from Howrah and get down at Manoharpur station, or take a mail or super-fast train to Chakradharpur and a local train from there to Manoharpur. If you prefer to drive, take National Highway 6.
Where to stay?
Hotels are available around Manoharpur station. At Chiria Mines, the IISCO guest house is the only option. For bookings, contact IISCO house, 50 Chowringhee Road. Ph. No: 91 33-6609-0000 / 6455-1000.