Chhattisgarh, a land full of surprises not just for the tourist but also to the natives. A land of about 135K sq km area, highly rich in mineral and natural resources, famous as ‘The Bowl of Rice’ across the world and born on 1stNov, 2000. It is one of the youngest states of India. This state started making to the news headlines in a very short time. One of the fastest growing states of India with Raipur as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It is just getting started!
Chhattisgarh is a landlocked state, so it has no sea. But it shares border with 7 neighbouring states for better connectivity. With the time the state is developing better and broader highways connecting landmarks and making stories. But what’s really different about this state are the two facets so extreme. Chhattisgarh is not only emerging as one of the fastest growing states, but also it is discovering its past at equal speed. To sum it up, the state has a bright future in the time to come while at the same time there’ll be lot of discoveries and re-discoveries of its ancient history.
People and Lifestyle
People here speaks fluent Hindi and it is the main language for communication. The state’s official language is Chhattisgarhi, it was once a dialogue. Chhattisgari has Bhojpuri influence on the north and Odia at the state’s central parts. It largely remains the spoken language of people native to the state and widely spoken in the interiors of Chhattisgarh. People are not bad with English either, just lack the feel while talking though.
Lifestyle changes very vividly from region to region. Cities like Raipur, Bhilai, Durg and Bilaspur have progressive lifestyle. These cities organize events and workshops on wide varieties of topics. Youngsters in the town have been showing keen interest in dwelling the history of this beautiful state. Encouraging the regional language breaking the age-old taboo is now happening. Extensive awareness programs are now actively keeping the city hygiene and cleanliness at its best. Although the regional music forms are still not in the mainstream liking, but music as such has made a niche space in towns. Regional music of Chhattisgarh is mostly tribal and it has inspired quite a few known musicians across the world, including A.R. Rehman.
Interesting events and gatherings are lined up during winters from November till January. The state has a cinema of its own called Chhollywood and slowly it’s attracting the interest of national and international Film Festivals. Owing to the lack of IT infrastructure there’s not much of migration from other cities of India to Chhattisgarh. However, there’s a drift of migration from villages of Chhattisgarh towards the city life.
One major reason why people visit Chhattisgarh is for the ancient temples and architecture. Next best reason for tourists to visit here is the preserved tribes. Third reason is the natural beauty stretched along the borders of this state and known across the world for its uniqueness. Other reasons must be related to business as it is one among the best ‘ease of doing business’ indexed states in India. These together make the visit to Chhattisgarh a lot exciting and a lot more intriguing. There’s so much to learn, study and explore here.
Why people visit Chhattisgar? One, for ancient temples and architecture. Two for the preserved tribes. Three, for the natural beauty that Chhattisgarh have.
Tour De Chhattisgarh!
In most cases the tourists’ journey in Chhattisgarh begins from Raipur, it is the state’s capital city. Raipur is the only city in the state that has an airport. Swami Vivekananda Airport, at Atal Nagar has set many milestones and counted amongst one of the best in the country. Raipur airport is well connected to all the major cities in India. The main city is about 35 mins drive from airport and yes, the Ola works here.
There are a few amazing places in Raipur which can give gist of whole Chhattisgarh state in few hours. Consider these places to quickly skim through what one can see in Chhattisgarh.
Purkhoti Muktangan to begin with is the an open air museum which exhibits many of the major and must see destinations in Chhattisgarh. It describes various destinations in great detail with scaled models. It is located in Atal Nagar (aka Naya Raipur) and it’s about 20 mins away from the airport.
The next place to take inspiration is the Mahant Ghasidas Memorial Museum located in the heart of city. The museum exhibits the wooden and the metal work by tribes and also familiarise you with their everyday lifestyle, customs and rituals. Museum also has a small -scale model of tribal village setups to skim through. Yes, you can ask for the tour guide books here for free. Right in this premise is one the most talked about restaurant ‘Gadh Kalewa’ known to serve Chhattisgarh’s regional cuisines and that’s definitely worth trying.
These visits can help outlining and prioritizing the travel plan. These places give enough hint to see the less explored side of this state. But of course Raipur has a modern lifestyle and these reads will help explore the facets.
Read More: Places in Raipur
Roadmap to Chhattisgarh
Raipur is well connected by roadways. It is a comfortable centre point to start exploring Chhattisgarh. We recommend to keep Google Maps handy while you read the below paragraphs. It’ll help in developing a bird’s eye view of the state. Raipur gives as much as 4 different options to begin with the journey in Chhattisgarh.
Raipur Bilaspur Korba Ambikapur
The transit from Raipur to Bilaspur is a 3 hours journey, and up north crossing Korba to Ambikapur area takes another 5 hrs. This place is hilly and has most beautiful natural landscapes to offer.
Chhattisgarh embraces all kinds of terrains. The Sarguja district with Ambikapur as main city is towards the north of Chhattisgarh and has most of the hilly terrains. In fact, the most talked about Bauddhist settlement is at Mainpat, which is an hour distance from Ambikapur. This place has extreme cold winters and hence January and February witnesses most footfalls.
Plan the stay either at Ambikapur city or at Mainpat, these are the only options. Traveling back, give some time for Korba on the way. A few spots like Hasdo Bango dam and aromatic massage totally offers quality time. Near to Korba is the temple of Bali, an ancient remain. Bilaspur is the next main city from Korba. And there are many places to visit here, mostly temples but important ones. These stretch of temples are mostly ancient remains from 6th– 11thCentuary AD and built by the Kalchuris. Read more about the temples around Bilaspur here. Back to Raipur in 3 hours.
Raipur Dhamtari Kanker Jagdalpur
Raipur to Dhamtari transit can take all the way to Bastar area for tribes and many natural surprises. Jagdalpur is a 6 hours journey by road from Raipur. This is going to be the most elaborated trip and might take anywhere from 2 days to a week.
Dhamtari is the first city in transit has the states’ longest Dam. Gangrel Dam now offers an amazing overnight stay experience. Drive further to reach Kanker and stop by now or on return at the King’s palace, is a must-see spot here. Reaching close to Bastar there’s Keshkaal valley, a little controversial but a lot beautiful. Jagdalpur is the main city in Bastar and offers best of the connectivity. Every spot in Bastar is about an hour or two from here. We’re still building list of Bastar region and will be updating it soon.
Bastar Dusshehra is one unique celebration that goes for 72 days! It is one of the longest festivals in the world.
Raipur Rajim Mahasamund Giroudpuri
Third option is a drive to Rajim Highway and Mahasamund roads that goes to an amazing history of Chhattisgarh in Sirpur via Rajim highway, very close to Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary. Exploring Mahasamund from Raipur is tricky. The destinations here are not linear, but circular.
Sirpur was earlier known as Sripur. It’s been said that it was the capital city of Chhattisgarh, situated at the bank of river Mahanadi. The river and its tributaries played a very important role in International Trade with Russia, China and other countries.
The most fascinating drive will be a leisure stay at Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary for a day or two. Sirpur is 30 mins distance from Barnawapara and takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. One can club morning jungle safari and then a visit to Sirpur. Dev hills is the next location driving further on this highway. It is a dense Bamboo forest. This place will offer nothing more than peace, be sure of no adventure or exploration, but just the natural beauty and sunset. Further this highway connects to Giroudpuri Dham boasting world’s tallest Jaithkhambh.
The Jaithkhamb tower is taller than Qutub Minar of India. It is the world’s tallest Jaithkhambh.
Step down to Mahasamund road from Rajim highway to reach Khallari, Baghbahara and in one day trip. Further, the highway will reach Narsingnath Temple in Odisha. The road to Rajim further extends to Jatmai and Ghatarani waterfalls. Cover these three spots in a single trip.
Raipur Kawardha Durg Dongar Balod
The fourth option goes to Durg & Kawardha. This highway connects to Nagpur, Panchmari and Kanha. We’ll talk more about these other spots later. But we’d love to mention that these are some of the favourite long drive destinations from Chhattisgarh to neighbouring states.
Kawardha takes about 4 hours drive between green roadsides. Driving in Kawardha is like driving between valleys, hills and amazing hue of sun. Bhoramdev is the destination everybody wants to see here. Following it try Bhoramdev Jungle Safari and visit the King’s palace while returning. Back to Raipur.
The same highway goes to Bhilai and Durg followed by a fork to Balod or Dongar. Dongargarh’s Bambelshwari temple holds great importance for people of Chhattisgarh. And Balod, being a industrial zone is located on a terrain with changing landscapes.
Chhattisgarh is a vast state offering a lot to experience. This roadmap needs patience and many to and fro trips to explore this land. You can reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a quicker reply DM on our Instagram account @welcome236_ for queries. We can help you designing your travel plans and tailor them to suit your requirements.
Note: At the moment, almost all the places can be travelled with a hatchback but we recommend avoiding it on transit from Korba to Ambikapur area. It’s under construction.
Architects and fine artists from across the world has showed interest in the ancient temples built by the Kalchuris all across Chhattisgarh. To name a few the temples of Ratanpur, Malhar, Tala, Madku, Bhoramdeo, Deobaloda and Bhand Deol are well known Kalchuri’s path. Collection of ancient shrines in Sirpur and Bastar are a lot talked about remains. They date back to 6thto 11thCentury AD.
The beautiful architecture is not just limited to ancient times. Chhattisgarh has many meticulously built shrines of the modern age like the Shri Sathya Sai Sowbhagyam and Ram Mandir in Raipur, Patal Bhairavi Temple in Rajnandgaon, Choti Mata Mandir at Dongargarh, Jaithkhambh at Girodhpuri Dham, Kevalya Dham in Charoda and Shri Uwassaggaharam Parshwa Tirth in Durg. Iskon Temple’s construction in Raipur is underway.
Spiritual beings recognize Chhattisgarh for religious and soulful sites like Mahakumbh at Rajim, Champaran the origin of St. Vallabhacharya, Dhudhadhari Math during Navratri and Gandheshwar Mandir for Kawarias. Chhattisgarh is known to have many goddesses at various peaks like Bambeshwari Mata at Dongargarh, Khallari Mata at Khallari Temple, Chandi Mata at Baghbahara. Danteshwari and Ambe mata temples might be the only two that are constructed on a flat ground.
Read More: Temples of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh and The Tribes
Chhattisgarh’s one third population is tribal and this topic attracts major oversea footfalls. The tribes are well preserved in this state and government has special provisions to protect and secure these groups. Some prominent tribes in Chhattisgarh are
Their name is an iteration of telugu world Kond which means hills. This is the largest and oldest tribes in state and mostly located in Bastar area.
Bison Horn Maria Tribe
They’re all over Chhattisgarh’s signage. These tribes are colourful and wears an amazing Bison horn during their cultural celebration. These tribes depend on agriculture for their livelihood and settled on Inderavati river.
These are caste conscious tribes and found in various parts of Kanger Valley and known to adorn themselves with beads and similar jewels. This tribes are going through tough times owing to gradual loss of jungle. The tribes known to follow certain customs and tradition which they’re now reconsidering.
They are the oldest tribes of Chhattisgarh and they are completely cut off from the modern civilization. Government has made special arrangement for them so they can carry on their culture and tradition the way they’ve been doing since decades.
This is one unique tribe known to be the decedents of Shabri. Yes, if you remember Shabri ke ber an episode in Ramayana in which Shri Ram tatsted Shabri’s ber. This tribe tattoos Ram all over their body and they’re rigorous followers of lord Rama. They reside in Sarangarh.
A local guide is a must to visit this tribe and it is an organized meetup. It not easy to locate their habitat and furthermore one needs to be aware of their customs and traditions. In order to understand the topic in a greater depth there’s Tribe Research and Learning Institute has been founded by government of Chhattisgarh. The research institute is located in Atal Nagar right next to Purkhoti Muktangan.
Chhattisgarh’s Natural Landscapes
Biologist and naturalist has consistently researching the ecosystem of Kanger Valley. It is not just the most dense forest in India but also, it is the habitat of most diversified flora and fauna. There are numerous rare and endangered species here and one among them ‘Hill Myna’ has been recognized as the State Bird of Chhattisgarh. The Kutumsar Caves demonstrate an spectacular example of the process of natural selection. Many organism living here have adapted according to low oxygen and no light condition. As a result some have lost the pigments (albinos) and a few species of fishes have lost their eyes. Many insects as well as plant verities have exhibited extraordinary adaption here.
Most of the other part of Chhattisgarh have dense deciduous forest hence summer is the best time for a Jungle safari. Wild Buffalo is the state animal of Chhattisgarh and found in jungles of Achanakmar, Barnawapara as well as Bhoramdeo. Achanakmar is a tiger reserve centre while Barnawapara is known to rear leopards. Bhoramdev jungle resort is the newest but offers some amazing terrains and biodiversity to visit. Nandanvan Jungle Safari located in Atal Nagar is Asia’s largest man made jungle and an amazing place to go. Although it’s more like a amusement place as of now.
Chhattisgarh has beautiful landscapes and valleys specially towards Bastar and Kawardha region. The fertile rich region of Kawardha is covered with Soya flower during winters and has that DDLJ like feeling. Landscapes around Ambikapur, Mainpat and Chirmiri are known to offer definite health benefits. Often recommended by doctors for patients to recover. But we believe, precaution is better than cure.
Read More: Forest of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh waterfalls are very special and many are yet to be discovered. One of the pages dedicated on Chhattisgarh waterfalls has reported over 15 big and small waterfalls here. Most of these are rainwater falls hence tend to disappear during summers. Renowned across the globe is Chitrakoot falls in Jagdalpur also known as Niagara Falls of India. Very close to it is another gigantic fall of Tirathgadh which is in about an hour distance from Chitrakoot. The north of Chhattisgarh has beautiful waterfall at Tiger Point in Mainpat. Jatmai & Ghatarani are known rain waterfalls in Mahasamund area. We’ll also like to mention about Hazra falls which is on the border of Chhattisgarh & Maharashtra. And there are numerous sunset points. So many of them.
Even before the British Rule or the Marathas this very region was called Dakshin Koshala. If it rings the bell, this name is often found on Hindu holy book, Ramayana. It was forest of Dakshin Koshal where Rama lived for 14 years. It was Dakshin Koshal where Ravana was born. The epic saga lives in the heart of ever Indian but in parallel was the rising Buddha.
Buddhism was gaining prevalence in the similar timeline as Ramayana. Maybe that’s why Chhattisgarh has best coming from both the worlds. Sirpur is a classic example when on one side all the temples are devoted to Shiva and Vishnu, the other side of street has great Buddha Vihar. It is also said that Central India was going through a concept called Samagam where the religions were fusing to give unity. Perhaps that’s why one get to see Shri Hanuman and Lord Buddha side by side in the amazing tempels of Rajim.
During the British Rule, Raipur started gaining more importance and was declared the Capital of Chhattisgarh Division. Chhattisgarh was ruled by the Maratha and the British and then it became a part of Madhya Pradesh. Then again after a long-held debate, Chhattisgarh was declared as an independent state and Raipur as its capital city. With the new developments Atal Nagar, which was previously known as Naya Raipur is declared Capital city of Chhattisgarh.
To Sum It Up
Chhattisgarh offers an amazing experience for the tourist. Along with being one of the fastest growing states, its people