On the Chhotanagpur Plateau, barely 60 kms from Ranchi, lies the idyllic hamlet of Mc Cluskieganj. Once a bastion of the Anglo-Indian community, the place is known as lapra or Ganj among the residents. It is at an altitude of 450 m. the weather is ideal for a brief getaway, in this hamlet, particularly in the sweltering summers. Even in the peak of summer, the mercury seldom crosses 37 degrees Celsius. The humidity too is very low.
As a backgrounder to the place, Ernst Timothy Mc Cluskie, after whom mc Cluksieganj is named once, had a dream. During the tumult of Swadeshi movement, in the early 1900’s, this real estate agent based in Kolkata got perked with an idea of creating a retreat for the Anglo-Indians in a verdant hamlet. After scouring the region, he found the perfect spot in the Lapra forest, nestled amidst sal forests. It was then under the rule of Ratu Raja, whose capital was close to Ranchi. The houses were constructed in typical European style, with a portico, large balconies and high roofs, the owners soon became known for housing grand banquets. They brought with them their pianos, horses, mahagony chests and teak beds…all went well till 1946 but only 20 families remain today, as most of the Anglo-Indian community left after World War II.
The place continues to retain its age old charm. It appears to be a fabled land where the sienna-tiled houses seem picked out of a fairy tale, where butterflies spatter their colour with gay abandon, where the river flows fearlessly, where the hibiscus grows wantonly and where everywhere there is a ceremony of innocence.