Bokaro is located in the Bokaro District in the eastern part of India at 23.29° North and 86.09° E. The elevation of the town is 210 m (689 ft) above sea level. It lies amidst natural beauty on the southern bank of river Damodar in the Chhotanagpur Plateau. Garga, one of the tributaries of the Damodar, wanders along the southern and eastern fringes of the city. On the north, the city is bordered by the high ranges of the Parasnath Hills and on the south just ahead of the river Garga; there lie the Satanpur hillocks.
The city is the district headquarters of the Bokaro District. Bokaro harbours one of the largest steel mills in India, and several other medium and small industries. There are two man made cooling ponds, which are utilised, in steel making. River Garga has a dam built on it that supplies water to the township and also to the steel plant. Due to the continually increasing demand the Tenughat dam is complementing it.
The 2001 census records a population of 394,173 in the town and a population density of 8,760 persons per square km. Out of the males who comprise 54% of the population, 82% are literate. Females make up 46% of the total population while the female literacy rate is 64%. Thus Bokaro Steel City has an average literacy rate of 73%, greater than the national average of 59.5%. 12% of the population constitutes children less than 6 years of age.
The city of Bokaro has a significant history. In the past, there was a village named Maraphari deep within the jungles of ChotaNagpur. The nearby village cluster was Chas. Purulia was the nearest town and the Maharaja of Kashipur ruled the region. It travels in the mouth of the folk singers that this region came under Mughal rule after the conquests of Man Singh. The area was called ManBhoom after him. This almost inaccessible place came into eminence when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru sanctioned the construction of the first native steel plant with the help of the Soviets. The easy availability of coal, iron ore, manganese, and other raw materials made it a perfect place for building a steel plant. The steel plant was initially included as a limited company on 29 January 1964, and was later amalgamated with SAIL and came to be known as Bokaro Steel Limited (BSL). The late 1960s and early 1970s saw serious construction of the steel plant and also the township. The first blast furnace was initiated on 2nd October 1972.
The first private school, known as the St. Xavier`s School was built by the Jesuits. The 1980s saw speedy enlargement of the town with new schools, parks, zoos and other public facilities. Bokaro Steel City cumulatively consists of 12 sectors. The entire city is very technically planned with trees planted all along the roads to give shelter to the passersby during the summers. In the late 1990s, many parks and schools were built in the town. With the triumph of Bokaro`s students in all India level competition exams, especially IITs, the city emerged as the eastern nucleus for studies for engineering after high school. The financial market of Bokaro is to a great extant dependant upon the Steel Plant, which is the major basis of income for the employees.
The key economy is also considerably supported by the services sector. The city market positioned at the heart of the city has a number of shops selling the essential requirements of groceries and furniture. Recently a number of shops selling computer hardware and a lot of computer training institutes have sprouted making Bokaro a core of computer studies for the area.
The old `chas bazaar` is present even now as a cheap option of wholesale market, and `dundi baad` is one of the biggest vegetable markets in the region. The City Center is the foremost shopping place of the city. As far as agriculture is concerned, the villagers grow small quantities of paddy in the peripheries of the city. The languages spoken by the people are Hindi, Urdu, Bengali (Khortha), Kurmali, Maithili, English, Bhojpuri, Santhali and Murmu.
There are many places of tourist interest in Bokaro. The Bokaro Steel Plant is surely one of them. The plant is being largely modernised, with the increasing demand for steel, so much so that all the blast furnaces in the company have often become operational together. If a person visits the steel plant, he or she can get a direct experience of the different aspects of steel making like Raw Material Handling, Coke Ovens, Blast Furnace, Steel Melting Shops and Rolling Mills. The Garga Dam located at a distance of about 12 km from the city of Bokaro, is a famous picnic spot for tourists. The place with its radiant green atmosphere and a variety of aquatic fauna is a favourite spot for school excursions and biological expeditions. Then there are the Parasnath Hills. These are a series of hills found in the Giridih district of Jharkhand, at a little distance from Bokaro. The highest peak has an altitude of 1350 metres. It is one of the most significant pilgrimage places for Jains who also call it Sammet Sikhar.
This range of hills derives its name from Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras accomplished redemption on this hill. Each one of these Jain Tirthankaras has a shrine (gumti or tuk) on the hill dedicated to him. Some of the shrines on the hill are as old as 2,000 years old. Some historians opine that even though the place was inhabited from prehistoric times, the temples may be of more recent origin. To the Santhals, this place is known as the Marang Buru, which means the hill of the deity. On the full moon day in Baisakh (mid April), the Santhals celebrate a hunting festival. Another place that draws tourists is the Bokaro Ispat Pustakalaya, which is located near Bokaro Hotel. It has a compilation of over 40,000 books (including some valuable documents) that are of great help to the people in the township. It is under the control of the management of the steel plant. People visit the Gayatri Mandir during the morning and evening time for offering daily prayers. A unique feature of this temple is the Navmi puja during which khichri is distributed as the prasad. The Aaiyappa Mandir is a significant social, cultural and religious meeting place for people from the south. The Ram Mandir is dedicated to Lord Ram. There is a market in the vicinity of the Ram mandir, which is famous for its coffee house, batata poori, chat, samosa, phuchka, and famous egg rolls.
The airport is at a distance of one kilometre from Ram Mandir. The recently built Jagannath temple, which is a replica of the famous temple in Puri in Orissa, is another attraction. The Kali Mandir one of the oldest temples of the city. This temple harbours one of the incarnations of Shakti, Goddess Kali. Bokaro has a well-preserved City Park with an artificial lake.
Recently three artificial islands planned in Japanese style, have also come up. The Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park is a botanical garden that came into being in the late 80s and early 90s. It has animals and birds from various parts of the world and is especially known for the big cats. There is a 75 foot (23 m) high tower in the village of Babudih in the Chas Block. The Pupunki Ashram established by Akhanda Mandaleshwer Sri Swami Swarupananda Paramhansha Deva, is a popular picnic spot. In the past this Ashram was home to many Gurus who imparted scientific and spiritual knowledge to 100s of students in the past. Other visiting spots include the Gawai Dam and the Tenughat Dam.
The city of Bokaro has plenty of high quality schools affiliated to the central and state education boards. Some of the notable schools are Chinmaya Vidyalaya, DAV Public School, Delhi Public School, Holy Cross School, Guru Govind Singh Public School, MGM Senior Secondary School, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pentecostal Assembly School and St. Xavier`s School and five bokaro ispat senior secondary schools. Then there are some other schools run by the steel plant management, and some run by the state government. The Bokaro General Hospital situated in this town has specialised units like Critical Care Unit, Intensive Coronary Care Unit, Haemodialysis Unit, Nuclear Medicine Laboratory and many others. On the whole, with its beautiful topography adorned with magnificent valleys and flowing streams, the city of Bokaro is a fine place to stay as well as to visit.