Spend A Weekend At A Bungalow Where The Crew Of Death In The Gunj Stayed


    Next weekend, stay at this bungalow in the middle of a town from the 1930s that was set up as a home for the Anglo Indian community.

    What Is It?

    A bungalow built by the earliest Anglo-Indian settlers, with wooden mahogany pillars, a red-tiled roof, portico and open verandas.

    Where Is It?

    It’s in McCluskieganj in Jharkhand, about 9 hours away from Kolkata – a town that was the setting for Konkona Sensharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj.

    Why Should I Go?

    To get a feel of a colonial past in what is now a ghost town, but was originally set up in the 1930s as a homeland for the 350-odd Anglo Indian families.

    Their mixed culture was a case for multiculturism but was often referred to {and not in a nice way} as ‘chutney’. Most of the original settlers have migrated to other cities and countries. It was set up by an Anglo Indian real estate fella, Ernest Timothy McCluskie in 1934. You can see traces of the past in the quaint railway station and in some of the old bungalows that remain.

    McCluskieganj: The Story of the Only Anglo-Indian Village in India by Vikas Kumar Jha is a must-read when you visit. It has many interesting anecdotes about the place – like the general stores run by a Mr Roger, and a club house built by Mr Stout, that it was once a bustling town full of bakeries, bungalows with rose gardens, New Year Eve balls, the sounds of church bells, pianos and people shooting boars.

    How Do I Get There?

    Take the Shaktipunj Express (it arrives late at around 11:30 pm}. Or you could take a train to Ranchi, and take a bus or hire a car to McCluskiegunj. The drive is beautiful through hills, plateaus and forests.

    What Can I Do There?

    The town’s 1,500 feet above sea level and quite pleasant, surrounded by hills and forests. You could try your hand at badminton at the bungalow {they have two courts}, or take walks in their mango orchard. You could capture the old bungalows that still remain. Or visit Jagriti Vihar {which was built by the government of Sweden for those interested in nature study}.

    Anything Else?

    The bedrooms are in the annex buildings – they have doubles, triples and singles with attached western bathrooms. You could ask for the rooms Kalki Koechlin, Tanuja and others stayed in.

    The rooms come at INR 2,200 per room with breakfast.