It is stated that during Asoka's reign i.e. 232 B.C. the "Atavi" or the forest states too acknowledged the supermacy of the Magadhan Empire. It is said that Samudra Gupta marching through Chotanagpur directed the first attack against the kingdom of south Kaushal in the valley of Mahanadi.
During Tughlaq's reign, Chatra came in contact with Delhi Sultanate. Daud Khan, the Mughal Governor, during the reign of Aurangzeb occupied Kothi Fort on 5th May 1660 A.D. without much opposition and then he moved towards the fort of Kunda which had a very strong fortification as it was situated on a hilltop. This fort was finally occupied by him and was completely destroyed on the 2nd of June, 1660 A.D. Kunda Fort was under the possession of Ramgarh Raja in the 17th century. Aliwardi Khan advanced towards Kunda in 1734 A.D. after defeating the rebel Zamindars of Tikari (Gaya) and then he attacked Chatra Fort and demolished it.
The British, for the first time, came in contact with these regions in 1769 A.D. It is interesting to note that Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the prominent social reformer, worked as a 'Sirishtedar' at Chatra in 1805-06 and lived both at Chatra and Ramgarh in this capacity.
Chatra offers another fascinating chapter in the history of national movement. The most important battle fought between the insurgents and the British in Chotanagpur during the Mutiny of 1857 were the 'Battle of Chatra'. This decisive battle was fought on 2nd October 1857 near 'Phansi Talaab'. It lasted for an hour in which the mutineers were completely defeated. 56 European soldiers and officers were killed whereas 150 revolutionaries were killed and 77 were buried in a pit. Subedar Jai Mangal Pandey and Nadir Ali Khan were sentenced and hanged to death on the 4th of October 1857 A.D. on this very spot. The European and Sikh soldiers were buried in a well along with their arms and ammunitions. An inscriptive plaque still exists.
The inscription informs: "56 men of Her Majesty's 53rd Regiment of foot and a party of Sikhs were killed at Chatra on October 2nd 1857 in action against mutineers of the Ramgarh Battalion. Lieutenant J.C.C Daunt of the 70th Bengal Native Infantry and sergeant D. Dynon of the 53rd regiment were awarded Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry in the battle, in which the mutineers were completely defeated and lost all their four guns and ammunitions.
On the other hand the inscription on the bank of the Phansi Talab immortalises the two revolutionary subedars as here under:
- JAY MANGAL PANDEY NADIR ALI,
- DONO SUBEDAR REY,
- DONO MILKAR PHANSI CHARHE,
- HARJEEVAN TALAAB REY.
The national movement picked up momentum in 1921. One of the most striking features of 1942 Quit India Movement was the escape of Jay Prakash Narayan along with six other from The Hazaribagh Central Jail on 9th November 1942 (the night of Diwali). Jai Prakash Narayan came to Tatra (a village of Chatra) and then proceeded towards Sherghati en route to Varanasi. Chotanagpur Kesri, Babu Ram Narayan Singh and Babu Shaligram Singh gave stiff resistance to the British. Their sacrifice bore fruit and India got freedom from the British yoke on the 15th of August 1947 A.D. Thus, Chatra played a short but memorable cameo on the historical canvas of the freedom movement.
RELIGION AND CULTURE:-
Chatra has been a seat of religious tolerance from time immemorial. It is mainly famous for "Shakti" cult. The noted seat of this cult is to be found in Hunterganj and Itkhori blocks. Some Muslim shrines are located in Pratappur block and Chatra sadar.
Kauleshwari Devi Temple is situated on the top of Kolhua hill at the height of 1575' in Hunterganj block. It contains some ruined temples and historical monuments. It is the place of pilgrimage for the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jains Tirthankers. Its antiquity goes back to 10th century B.C. Here figures of Gautam Budha in meditation posture are also sculptured on the rock belonging to the period of Harshvardhana who was an ardent follower of the Mahayana doctrine of Budhism. There is a temple of Maa Kali known as Kauleshwari Devi or Kuleshwari Devi the revered deity of the Kol community. People co-relate this place with epic age i.e. the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. On Basant Panchmi and Ram Navmi a large number of pilgrims flock to the hill top for worship. It is a fascinating and enchanting picnic spot with a very beautiful trekking of hour duration.
Itkhori block headquarters has a famous temple of Bhadrakali where a happy mingling of Hindu, Jain and Buddha deities may be seen. Deity Tara can be seen here in black stone image. It also has an inscription of the time of the king Mahendra Deva. Dr. Grierson in his notes on Gaya District (pp.3,4) has given a description of the Budhist stupa at Bhadrakali complex of Itkhori. A Pair of foot prints is also veritable. It is associated with Sheetal Nath the 10th Trithankar of Jainism. It is also associated with Mallinath the 19th Tirthanker and Parswanath the 23rd Tirthanker. The Hindus worship goddess Kali as Bhadrakali. The whole area is full of historical and cultural heritages.
Itkhori block is also famous for the image of goddess Bhagwati. Goddess kali is worshiped here as Jagdamba. People flock here to offer sacrifice and Mundan sanskar. It has a scenic beauty and is a very good picnic spot.
THE GRAVEYARD OF JATRAHIBAGH:-
In Jatrahibagh there is a graveyard. It is said that Muslim soldiers of the 1857 mutiny were buried here. It is also known as Anjan Shahid .During British period annual fair was held, hence it is called Jatrahibagh.
In Gudri Bazar Mohalla of Chatra there is a Sangat of Udasi Panth of Sikh doctrine where there is an old script of the Holy Gurugranth Saheb. It is venerated at this place and is kept in high esteem by the Sikhs and the Hindus as well.
Khortha dialect of Hindi Language
BHADULI (Bhadrakali):- It is 35 kms. on the East of Chatra and 16 kms. west of Chauparan connected with G.T. Road. It is only half a km. away from Bhdrakali complex of Itkhori block headquarters; situated on the bank of river Mahanad (Mahane) surrounded by hill and forest. There is a water reservoir which has a natural beauty of its own. People flock to watch its eternal beauty on ' Bishua' (Kartik Purnima- a festival after Chhath) and enjoy bath & sun bask.
Kolhua Hill:- Kolhua hill lies about 6 miles south east of Hunterganj. At hunterganj one has to cross the lilangen river which is now bridged and jeep or walk through the uneven track to the foot of hill. The height of the hill is 1,575 feet and from the top one can find an excellent view. The top of the hill is quite distinctive and is known as " Akash Lochan" (Sky Eye). There are some ancient temples, the most important of which is a temple of ' Kali' known as 'Kauleshwari Devi'
Kauleshwari Devi - On Basant panchami and Ram navmi days, a large number of pilgrims flock to the hill top for worship. Sacrifice of goat in front of the temple is common.The temples and images are now a place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. Dr.M.A.Stein, however, who visited the hill in 1900, was satisfied that they were built by the Jains, who venerated it as the birth - place of the tenth Trithankar, Sitala Swami, and fragmented it about 150 years ago. He felt that it was now entirely unknown to the ordinary jains and is associated by the local Hindus with Pandwa brothers. One of the specimen is a rock cut group of ten Digambari Jain Trithankars.
In a cave, there is small image which is now worshipped by the Hindus. The image is clearly that of Pasarvanath. with a hood over the head. On a closer examination the hood looks like the hoods of several snakes. The Dhyani Mudra image of Pasarva Nath the 23rd Jain Trithankar with the snake hood over the head is common. From another Cave, it is understood three Jain images were removed only a few years back. The villagers say that the images were taken away by the Jains to Gaya for worship.
The trek to the top of Kolhua hill on the temple of Kauleshwari Devi is quite steep and there are no steps. There is a big tank near the temple with good water. It is, however, preferable to carry water while going up. There is no rest bungalow at the hill top, but the surroundings are excellent for picnic. At this place one can see langoors, beer, deer, neelgai, leopords and other wildlife including a variety of beautiful birds.
Kunda Cave:- The ruins of old Kunda palace are still found at a distance of about three- four miles from the present Kunda Village. The place might have been created either towards the end of 17th or beginning of the 18th century AD. The walls are still standing though in a very much dilapidated condition, Still, attracting a large number of visitors from out side. But the main centre of attraction for the illiterate public of places far and near is a Cave situated at a distance of about half a mile from the remains of the old Palace probably dug shortly after the building of the Palace. A narrow path runs downwards from the southern portion of the palace and leads to the cave. A shallow stream, which can be crossed without letting the feet touch the water surface, washes the brace of the cave.
The cave is a hollow made at the base of a part of the hill, not so high. The entrance into the cave is very narrow and one cannot get inside without contracting one's body and bending one's head. There is a central hall inside the cave, not so high. To enable one stand erect, often used by visitors as resting floor. The small hollows connected with their only passage with this central hall, are completely dark.
A big Shivling is installed just at the middle of one of the hollows. The other one was used , people say, by a hermit who lived there some fifty years ago, as the sleeping room.
On the 14th of Phalgun a large number of people come to offer holy water to lord Shiva. They sing holy songs and seasonal ones accompanied by musical instruments.
Inside the central room of the cave some thing has been written by carving over the walls not very indistinct though one cannot decipher it.
TAMA SIN:- It is an attractive beauty spot of Chatra situated on the north-east at the distance of 26 kms. It is to be travelled through a 'Katcha' fair weather road via village Kolhaiya,.There is a big reservoir of water at foot. It is famous for the image of Goddess Bhagwati. Here one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the gorgeous water fall forgetting the worries of life.
Tamasin has a break up of 'tamasin' which means 'darkness prevails '. This area is full of mixed forest having high trees making the area dark even in the daylight .Tamasin is mainly famous for a very beautiful waterfall which is awaiting the due love of the tourists.This area deserves a place on the tourist map of India.
BICHKILIYA:- It is 'Dah' or water reservoir on the bank of river Niranjana(Lilajan) at the distance of 11 kms . from Chatra in west. The road up to 5 kms. is motorable and the rest 6 kms. is a foot track. It is lovely to look at the water fall foaming snow-white showers with musical tone inviting the lover of nature to have solace in the lap of nature. Due to inaccessibility this nice picnic spot has become adventurous.
DUARI:- It is also known as Balbal Duari situated at the distance of 35 kms in the East of Chatra district on Gidhaur -Katkam Sandi Road. It can be reached from Hazaribagh also. The road is motor able and one can visit this directly form Chatra. During rainy season it is difficult to travel but it is pleasant in winter and summer. There is a hot spring in the bed of river Balbal near the village i.e. Duari. The water is supposed to have curative effect on skin diseases. As in Rajgir here people flock to have hot bath for obtaining remedial effect .In the same way on Makar- Sankranti people gather here in a large number to have a holy dip. The sight is also charming & delightful.
KHAYA BANAROO:- This notable picnic spot of Chatra is about 10 kms. from the district headquarters on the south-west of the town. One can travel by 8 kms of metalled road on Chatra - Chandwa Road and 2 kms. by fair - weather motorable road, the rest 2 kms. can be travelled on foot. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. The scenery is resplendent in all its exquisitely green sylvan beauty. The Banaroo (Dah) reservoir or stream cuts its way through the rocks, and at places, it has cut terraces with balconies out of stone walls on its banks. The deep gorge with numerous shapes in the stones that form the wall of the two sides of the gorge is a rare sight. At places, it seems as if the portions of trees have been transferred into rocks. Mother nature in her artistic best has cut out a poem in rock. The rocky river bed is hauntingly enchanting . The echo songs resound in a lilting melody of soulful grandeur off the valley walls. If a stone is thrown in the reservoir, several pigeons would fly-off together from their holes with the chirping sound. The dancing waves of the stream, foam at places, producing a gurgling sound is sure to attract the tourists since the whole valley appears to be echoing with the sound," O listen for the vales profound !"
KERIDAH:- A beautiful picnic spot situated at a distance of 8 kms. from Chatra town on the North-west portion. The road is motor able and the rest to be covered on foot. This water fall is in three parts, between two hill rocks. The denuded rocks present an excellent scenic beauty.
MALOODAH:- It is another beautiful water fall at the distance of about 8 kms. on the west of Chatra. Upto 5 kms. it is motorable and the rest 3 kms. is to be travelled on foot. The water falls from the height of about 50 ft. without touching the sides of the hillocks. It has been cut in semi circle with steep walls. It is lovely to look at & soothing."
DUMER SUMER:- It is also another important beauty spot of Chatra situated on the North at the distance of 12 kms. of which 10 kms. can be covered by vehicle and the rest two kms. is a foot track. The road is Katcha. It looks nice to see the water fall from such a height. It appears as if the spring is dashing against the rocky walls fomenting white rays. One feels as if he is enjoying shower bath under the sun. Nights are lull with magical effect.
GOA:- It is a beautiful water fall at the distance of 6 kms. on the west of Chatra on way to Maloodah. Up to 4.5 kms. it can be reached by jeep and the rest 1.5 kms. can be tracked on foot. The water falls in the reservoir from the height of 30 ft. On all the three sides there are rocks and in middle there is a reservoir On each Monday during the month of Shrawan (rains) people flock here in multitudes, take a dip and enjoy jumping in the fall. It is the nearest picnic spot of Chatra District.
Thus the whole of the district of Chatra is full of rocks and ravine, fountain and flora, deep & dense forest, birds on wings with sweet song' nature smiling at dawn & dusk to look at the crimson colour round the horizon, offering silent but forceful invitation to the lovers of nature to stand and stare at the natural & eternal beauty of Chatra.
Important festivals of Hindus are Holi, Divwali, Dashhara and Ramnavami. Other festivals like, Basant panchami, Chath, Jityya Bhaiya Duj, etc. are also Celebrated in this destrict. Specific festival of the tribes are Karma, Manda, Sarhul, Jani shikar etc. In Karma festival non tribals also participate.
Kunda Mela in Pratappur:- This mela is held at the time of falgun Shivratri and is marked by a big sale of cattle.
Kolhua mela in Hunterganj: - It is an ancient fair held twice in a year during Magh Basant panchami and chait Ramnaumi respectively.There is a beautiful lake and ancient temple of Goddess Kali on the top of the hill. Its origin is not known. It is only a religious fair.
Chatra mela: - This mela is said to have started from 1882 and is principally a cattle fair held during Durga Puja.
Kundri Mela in Chatra:- The probable year of its origin is 1930 and is held on Kartik purnima and is principally a cattle fair.
Kolhaiya Mela in Chatra:- The probable year of origin is 1925. It is held on Magh Basant panchami and is principally cattle fair.
Tutilawa Mela in Simaria:- The probable year of origin is 1935 and is principally a cattle fair held on Falgun purnima.
Lawalong mela:- The probable year of its origin is 1880. It is held at the time of Aghan purnima and is one of the biggest cattle fair of this district.
Belgada Mela in Simaria:- The probable year of its origin is 1920 and this is principally a cattle fair held in Baisakh purnima.
Bhadli mela in Itkhori:- There is an ancient temple of Goddess Kali and lord Shiva. The origin of the mela is not known. It is only religious gathering on Makar Sankaranti.
Sangharo Mela in Chatra:- It is held in Sawan Purnima. The origin of this fair is not known.
The district of Chatra, gateway of Jharkhand (Chotanagpur) is abundant in scenic picnic spots and rich in fountains, water falls and in flora & fauna. The enchanting beauty of its forests has everything that a nature lover would ever want. One can see an infinite variety of wild life and greenery.
Chatra is approachable from Koderma Railway station via Barhi, Chauparan, Itkhori distant at about 100 Kms. Chatra is approachable from Ranchi via Chandwa in Balumath in Latehar district. The rail - line will passthrough the Chatra district when Koderma -Ranchi via Hazaribagh railway line is completed and it will touch three major villages of the district namely Majhgain , Bandgaon and Ratarua
The nearest aerodrome is Gaya and Ranchi.