Tourism in Chhattisgarh

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Chhattisgarh is a new state but with an ancient civilisation, which can be felt by visiting the historical remains in the state. The state rich in natural attractions such as waterfalls, mountains, forests and wildlife. The Green State of Chhattisgarh has 41.33% of its area under forest, and is one of the richest bio-diversity areas in the country. There are many tourist attractions worth seeing.

Waterfalls[edit]

Chitrakote Falls[1][edit]

Majestic Chitrakote Waterfall

Chitrakote Falls is also referred as the Niagara Falls of India and has the distinction of being the broadest waterfall in India. It is located 38 km (24 mi) from Jagdalpur and is accessible by road only.

Chitrakote Falls is listed amongst the most popular waterfalls in Chhattisgarh. The falls are surrounded by dense forest. The waterfall is located near Jagdalpur, in Bastar district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on the Indravati River. The sight of the waters of the river flowing through dense vegetation and cascading from a height of about 95 feet attracts thousands of tourists. The breadth of the waterfall varies according to the season and goes down drastically in the summers. The most spectacular view of Chitrakote Falls is during the monsoon season when the river flows in its full fury and touches both the banks and is filled with silt.

Panoramic view of Chitrakote Falls

Indravati River flowing through the Vindhya ranges is one of the main tributaries of the mighty Narmada River. Chitrakote is also an important religious destination and a famous Hindu pilgrimage center in Chhattisgarh. Every year thousands of pilgrims visit this place for Hari darshan and offer prayers and homage to the Lord Hari. Tourists and pilgrims have the opportunity to watch the falls as well as to offer prayers on their visit to Chitrakote. The best season to visit is during the months of July through October. There is a helipad but it is used by government only. Resorts has been set up by Chhattisgarh Tourism near the falls.

Tirathgarh Waterfalls[2][edit]

Tirathgarh Waterfalls are sometimes called "Milky Fall" because of the white colour of the water as it descends the rocky slope.

It is located around 38 km from Jagdalpur in the renowned eco tourism site of Kanger Valley National Park. The scenic Tirathgarh Waterfalls is one of the most notable waterfalls in Chhattisgarh. Streams of water come down at great speed from a height of more than 100 feet on the river Mugabahar, which originates in a lake not very far away from this point. The falls are surrounded by lush green forests. Water flows through various streams and crosses numerous paths in a zigzag manner, finally ending up in the falls. Besides the natural beauty associated with this place, Tirathgarh Waterfalls is also an important religious place featuring a temple which is dedicated to Shiva Parvati. Every year thousands of tourists and devotees come here to view Tirathgarh Waterfalls and to offer prayers at the temple. The best season to visit this place is in the months of October through February.

An interesting account of the travel to Tirathgarh Waterfalls is available at this travelogue

Chitradhara Waterfalls[3][edit]

Chitradhara Waterfalls is located just 19 km form Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh on the way to Chitrakoot Falls. It is one of the most popular sightseeing and weekend vacation destinations in the centrally located state of Chhattisgarh. The scenic beauty associated with this place ranks it amongst the most popular outdoor destinations in Bastar District. It lies near a small and serene village called Potanar and attracts thousands of tourists from within the state and rest of the country. It has become one of the most popular picnic spots where families and friends come to enjoy the outdoors and watch the gushing waters cascading down the hill. River Indravati is the main source of Chitradhara Waterfalls. The river passes through dense forested lands in a zigzag manner, cutting through uneven rocky terrains and finally descending from the top of the hills. The sound of water flowing through the river and splashing into the air after hitting the ground is pervasive, especially during the monsoon season. This place ranks amongst the top Eco Tourism Sites in Chhattisgarh. Monsoon is the best season to visit.

Tamra Ghoomar Waterfalls[4][edit]

Tamra Ghoomar Falls is located at around 45 km from Jagdalpur. It is very close to the Chitrakoot waterfall. This is a recently discovered waterfall with a height of more than 100 feet and is generally formed in the rainy season. There are green fields on either side of this waterfall. Just like Chitrakoot and Tirathgarh Waterfalls, the Tamra Ghoomar Falls is a natural attraction near Chitrakoot. The natural beauty of the area featuring lush forested lands, deep valleys and high hills attracts tourists. Even though the waterfall lies in a secluded location, numerous tourists make it a point to come here for picnicking and enjoying the natural wonders with their families and friends. It is indeed one of the most popular Eco Tourism destinations in Chhattisgarh. The area surrounding the falls is rich in natural attractions and the best way of exploring this place is to trek or take a scenic drive. It has become an important picnic spot in Chhattisgarh where numerous tourists make it a point to visit to escape the stress of busy city life. It is a popular place to relax and rest amidst the tranquil quietude of the scenery. Tourists are greeted with scenic views of flowing waters, passing along the trees on both sides, cutting through the rocks and finally cascading at high speed from the top of the hill. The best season to visit this place is monsoon.

Mandawa Waterfalls[edit]

Mandawa waterfall is located in a place called Mandawa off the NH-16 (Jagdalpur-Geedam road), around 31 km from Jagdalpur. At Mandawa, the stream of water flows step-wise and falls from a height of 70 ft to make a cascade called Mandawa Waterfall. The water from this waterfall collects there in a small reservoir (jalkund) and flows downstream meeting Kanger river forming two other waterfalls i.e. Tirathgarh and Kanger-dhara. Due to its flat top and adjacent horizontal rocks, it offers a good view.===Kanger Dhara=== Kanger Dhara is located inside the Kanger Valley National Park, 36 km from Jagdalpur. For reaching Kanger Dhara, one should get permission and tickets from the District Forest Office located at the entry to the park.

The best season for visiting the park is from winters up to summers, after which the park closes from the beginning of Monsoons in the month of July.

Being in the laps of Kanger Valley, Kanger Dhara waterfalls is actually produced by the Kanger River due to presence of undulating rocks present there. Geologists suggest that the area was a sedimentary terrain, later intruded by Igneous rock bodies, due to which, the area has got such folded structures. Just at the beginning of the downstream of Kanger river, when the river falls from undulating folded rocks, it presents a view of small cascades of waterfall, which forms Kanger Dhara.

Akuri Nala[edit]

This is a small waterfall in Koriya district about 65 km from Baikunthpur, near Bansipur village, in an area surrounded by rocks and forests. Even in summer, the area is cold, giving it the sobriquet of "the natural air conditioner of Koriya". From Baikunthpur, take a bus or taxi to Aklasari on the Sonhat road. From there it's about 12 km to the fall.

Amrit Dhara Waterfall[edit]

This natural waterfall in Koriya district on the Hasdo River is about seven km from Hara Nagpur on the Manendragarh-Baikunthpur Road. About 80–90 feet high and 10–15 feet wide, it creates a misty ambience. There is a Shiva Temple here too. In 1936, Ramanuj Pratap Singh Judeo, the King of Koriya (then Surguja) State, started a mela (fair) here on Mahashivratri, and the practice is followed till today. The nearest railway station is Manendragarh. From here one can take a bus or taxi to Hara Nagpur, and hire a taxi to the fall. Alternately, from Baikunthpur, one can take a bus or taxi to Hara Nagpur, and hire a taxi to the fall.

Gavar Ghat Waterfall[edit]

This waterfall in Koriya district on the Hasdo River is about 40 km from Baikunthpur and 5 km from Tarra village. About 50–60 feet high and 10 feet wide, it is in an area full of forests and rocks. From Baikunthpur, take a bus or taxi to Katgodi, 15 km along on the Sonhat road. 20 km further down is Tarra village, and from there it's another 5 km to the fall.

Chhattisgarh !! The state on the very mid of India is a tourist destination. One popular area of C.G. is "MAINPAT", a lush green valley.

Ramdaha Waterfall[edit]

'Ramdaha Waterfall is a natural waterfall in Koriya district on the river Banas, near Bhavarkhoh village, is about 160 km from Baikunthpur. About 100–120 feet high and 20–25 feet wide, it is surrounded by forests and rocks. The nearest railway station is Manendragarh. From here one can take a bus or taxi to Bhavarkhoh village via Kelhari and Chutki Village (Jankpur Road), and walk 2 km to the fall.

Jatmai-Ghatarani Waterfalls[edit]

Jatmai is Located in the South East Highlands of Chhattisgarh situated around 85 km from Raipur in Mahasamund district towards Gariaband. There is a temple called Jatmai Dham. Jatmai has a waterfall just adjacent to the temple.

Ghatarani waterfall is 25 km from Jatmai. It is bigger than Jatmai falls. It is not easily accessible and takes a bit of trekking skills to reach. The best time to visit is from September to December when the waterfalls have plenty of water.

Festivals[edit]

Bastar Dussehra[5][edit]

Dussehra in Bastar is different from other places where it is linked with Lord Rama or the Ramayana. Bastar is in Dandakarnya, where Lord Rama is believed to have spent the 14 years of his exile. Yet Bastar Dussehra has nothing to do with Lord Rama or the Ramayana.

Here, instead of rejoicing over the killing of Ravana, the tribals celebrate Dussehra as a congregation of Devi Maoli (Bastar's native deity, revered as the "elder sister" of Devi Danteshwari, the family goddess of the ruling Kakatiya family), and all her sisters. Hundreds of priests bring flower-bedecked local deities to the Danteshwari temple in Jagdalpur, arriving with pomp and show.[5]

For 10 days, the king (as the high-priest of Devi Danteshwari) would temporarily abdicate office to worship Danteshwari full-time. He would seek, in confidence and through a siraha (a medium "possessed" by the devi), a report on the state.Timing and Period

Beginning with amavasya (dark moon) in the month of Shravan, Bastar Dussehra spans over 75 days, ending on the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin.

Who does what

Bastar Dussehra involves the participation of diverse tribes and castes, each of whom is assigned a specific task, which they continue to carry out 5 decades after monarchies were abolished in India. For example, to build the two-tiered chariot, carpenters come from Beda Umargaon village; the special, massive ropes are twined by the tribals of Karanji, Kesarpal and Sonabal villages; the smaller chariot is pulled by the youth of Kachorapati and Agarwara parganas; the larger chariot is pulled by the bison-horn marias of Killepal. Singing hymns at all rituals is the prerogative of mundas from Potanar village. The construction of the rath (chariot) is always exclusively done by the Saoras every year. The iron nails used in the construction of the wooden rath are always made by Lohars, blacksmiths. The ropes for dragging the rath are prepared and supplied by the member of the Parja tribe. The construction of the rath is supervised by the Dhakada. Before using the rath for the ceremony it is always worshipped by the members of the Khaki caste. The chariot undoubtedly looks very primitive to an outsider. The swaying juggernaut, when it is pulled by 400+ strong mariyas, impresses upon an onlooker the strength of aboriginal faith. The festival involves rituals of extraordinary rigour like a girl swinging on a bed of thorns; a youth (jogi) sitting in vigil, buried shoulder-deep, for nine days; mediums, reputedly possessed by the local deities, dancing eerily on the roads.

The festival provides a forum for elected representatives, administrators and old-time tribal chieftains to confer on the state of Bastar at the Muria Durbar.

One of the most awaited events is the rath yatra. The massive rath (chariot) might look primitive to an outsider, but it is symbolic of the king's desire to patronise locals instead of bringing a fancy chariot from elsewhere and tribal taboos on using sophisticated tools to make the chariot. It is hewn afresh each year, and the sight of 400 marias pulling it leaves a potent impression of tribal faith.

COMPONENTS & RITUALS OF BASTAR DUSSEHRA:[5]

PATA JATRA, WORSHIP OF THE WOOD

Wood is considered sacred by tribals, and felling of the timber to make the chariot is preceded by a ritual. A log of wood is laid at the Simha Dwar (Lion Gate) of the Palace temple on Shravan Amawasya (also called Hareli Amawasya) and duly consecrated with sacrificial blood. This ritual kicks off the festival.

DERI GADHAI, Posting Of The Pillars

In the month of Bhadon, on the twelfth day of the bright moon, two pillars are posted in the Sirasar (traditional town hall outside the palace, the hub of Bastar Dassera activities).

KACHAN GAADI, A Throne For Kachan Devi

On the Ashwin Amaswasya, a young girl of the Mirgin-Mahara caste (a Scheduled Caste) becomes a "medium" when possessed by the caste deity, Kachan devi. She swings on a bed of thorns, brandishes a sword, and grants to the king (who comes in a procession to seek her blessings) a flower symbolising her sanction to proceed with the festival.

KALASH STHAPANA, Installation Of The Urns

On the first day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the navaratri (nine holy nights) part of Bastar Dassera begins with the installation of the holy urns in the temples of Danteshwari, Maoli and Kankalin devis in Jagdalpur. The Brahmins begin sacred recitations, which continue for nine days and nights.

JOGI BITHAI, The Jogi's Penance

On the evening of the first day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, a jogi (youth) from the Halba tribe sits buried shoulder-deep in a pit in the Sirasar, doing penance for the success of the festival. Sacrifice of a goat and seven mangur -fish precede his vigil.

RATH PARIKRAMA, Chariot Circuit

A day after the jogi has commenced his penance, the 4-wheeled flower-chariot, phool-rath, begins to circumambulate the Maoli Temple every evening. This continues till the seventh day. Formerly there was a single chariot of 12 wheels, but as this was too unwieldy, it was replaced with two smaller chariots - one of 4 wheels (for the daily circumambulation) and the other of 8 wheels (for the longer journey on the tenth and eleventh days). On the eighth and ninth days, the chariot is rested.

NISHA JATRA, The Nocturnal Festival

On the eighth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, (better known as Durgashtami) a procession of lights leads to the puja mandap in the Sunday Square, Itwari. This spectacular ritual is known as nisha jatra.

JOGI UTHAI, Raising of the Jogi

On the ninth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the penance of the jogi comes to an end. He is ceremoniously raised from the pit he sat buried in, and honoured with consecrated gifts.

MAOLI PARGHAV, Reception of the Devi Maoli

Maoli, the pre-Kakatiya presiding deity of Bastar, considered an elder sister of Danteshwari, is the Chief Guest in the congregation of deities. She is borne from Dantewada in the doli (palanquin) of Danteshwari. She arrives, borne on the shoulders of four media swaying under her spell, to a spectacular reception. She is then led to the palace-temple of Danteshwari.

BHEETAR RAINI, The Inner Circuit

On the tenth (Vijaydashmi) day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the 8-wheel chariot runs the usual circumambulatory course around the Maoli temple. It has a swing in the top tier where the king used to sit. Currently, the raj-guru sits here, holding the chhatra (holy umbrella) of Devi Danteshwari. After it has completed its inner circuit and been parked for the night, around 400 Marias and Murias 'steal' it away to Kumdakot, a sal grove about 2 km away on the southern bank of river Indravati.

BAAHAR RAINI, The Outer Circuit

On the eleventh day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the king used to visit Kumdakot to offer the goddess rice cooked from the new harvest. He would then partake of her prasad. After this, the chariot would be (still is) pulled back ceremoniously through the main road to the Lion Gate of the palace.

KACHAN JATRA, Thanksgiving

This is a thanksgiving ceremony organised on the twelfth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin to celebrate the successful conclusion of the festival through the grace of Kachan Devi.

MURIA DURBAR, Tribal Chieftains' Conference

The same day the tribal chieftains confer with the elected representatives and administrative officers on matters relating to public welfare. Formerly, the king presided over this conference.

OHADI, Farewell to the Deities

On the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the deities brought from various parts of Bastar are bade a ceremonious farewell. Maoli, come from Dantewada is also bid a farewell with new clothes and ornaments which go to adorn the main idol in Dantewada.

An important feature of this festival is that an underlying spirit of participation, cutting across caste and creed, prevails. During the celebrations, along with Danteshwari Mai, representing the Hindu Goddess Durga or Kali, a number of lesser powers and tribal deities, some indigenous and others borrowed from Hinduism, are also worshipped.

Bhatra tribals have a special role in this ceremony. Armed with bows and arrows they make way for the rath. The girl who gets possessed in the temple of Kachhingudi Devi always comes from a weaver family. The musical band at the Kachhingudi Devi ceremony is always played by the same caste. In this way, the Bastar Dussehra is a Hindu festival deeply influenced by the local myths and religious beliefs as well as the customs of the tribals.

Famous Bastar Beer prepared from Sulfi

The Goncha Festival[edit]

The Goncha Festival is a tribal festival that is marked by a lot of joy and merry making. It also showcases the inimitable tribal culture. The vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment that marks the Goncha Festival is remarkable. The zest and hearty spirit of the tribals from different parts of Bastar who participate in this festival is incredible.

There are several customs that are associated with this Chhattisgarh Festival. Goncha is actually a kind of fruit. The tribal people make a pistol using tukki or bamboo. As is evident, it is just a mock weapon that is constructed by them to follow the tradition of the tribe. The fruit Goncha is likewise used as a bullet.

They use the pistol and the bullet, actually a bamboo stick cut in the shape of a pistol and a fruit to strike each other. The intention is not to hurt each other but to just be a part of a mock encounter. It is a source of unlimited joy for them. They find it very thrilling and exciting. The fervor and gusto of the people of Bastar at the time of celebrating this festival is admirable.

The Goncha Festival is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar at the time of Rath Yatra. It generally falls in the month of July according to the Gregorian calendar. If you visit Jagdalpur at the time of the Goncha Festival, you can be a part of the festivities.

Native with Neem branches and leaves for Hareli Festival

Spring[edit]

  • 'Taat (तात) Pani (पानी); {तात (छत्तीसगढ़ी में= in chhattisgarhi)=गर्म=hot; पानी=water}

Taat Pani in Surguja district is a hot spring, about 95 km from Surguja. This hot spring flows continuously through the year. It is reputed to have medicinal properties.

Caves[edit]

Kotumsar Caves[6][edit]

Kotumsar Caves are about 40 km (25 mi) from Jagdalpur. Kotumsar Caves are about 35 meters below ground level and around 1371 meters long. Kotumsar Cave is a subterranean limestone cave located near the banks of Kanger River in the western portion of National park. It was discovered by the local tribals around year 1900 and explored by a renowned Geographar Shri Sankar Tiwari in the year 1951 and it is one of the best-known caves in Chhattisgarh as well as in India.

The floor of the cave consists of soil/clay, pebbles, rocks and water pools with several lateral and downward passages. Perpetual darkness and constant temperature (28 °C + 1 °C) prevails inside the cave. For entry into the cave, Cement concrete steps, Steel steps and railings are available near the entrance side.

These caves have got the distinction of being India's first and world's second longest natural caves. As they are underground, there is pitch-darkness inside. It features Stalactites and Stalagmites formations. Entry to the caves is through the narrow stairs and visitors have to pass through tall, narrow chambers for gaining access to the main hall that features superb acoustics. The caves feature five chambers having several blind wells. Lots of tribal tales are also associated with it and are also known as Gupanpal or Kutamsar Caves. The Stalactites found inside the cave have been an interesting research topic for scientists and even arouse the curiosity among the visitors.

Kotumsar cave harbours a variety of fauna like bats, frogs, snakes, crickets, spiders, fishes, millipedes etc. Fishes and frogs are found in the ditches of the cave where as bats, spiders, crickets are found on the ceilings and walls of the cave.

There is lack of oxygen when going deep into the caves. In view of which, for safety reasons, entry beyond certain points has been restricted.

The cave is closed from 15 June to 31 October during rainy season. The cave needs removal of debris before tourist season.

An interesting account of the travel to Kotumsar caves is available at this travelogue

Kailash Caves[6][edit]

Kailash Caves are located in the Kanger Valley National Park area near Mikulwada. The caves are located around 40 km from Jagdalpur. Discovered recently in 1993, the caves are around 250 meters long and are situated at an altitude of 40 meters above the ground level. It features stalactite and stalagmite formations that offer stunning sight. Access to the cave is through a narrow opening and at the end of the cave is a huge stalagmite formation in the shape of Shivlinga. The hollow walls of the cave, when struck by hand, make incredible musical sounds.

An interesting account of the travel to the place is available at this travelogue

Gadiya Mountain[edit]

Gadiya Mountain in Kanker district has a natural form of a fort. This mountain has a tank that never dries. The tank is named Sonai-Rupai after the daughters of the Kandra king, Dharma Dev, who established his capital on the mountain. To the south of the tank is a cave, Churi Pagar, which provided safe refuge to the King, his family and 500 people in case of attack. Towards the southeast part of the mountain is a 50 meter long cave, Jogi Cave, where monks used to meditate. A small pond in this cave flows over the rocks like a waterfall. The Doodh river flows at the bottom of the mountain. Thousands of devotees celebrate Mahashivratri by climbing this mountain.

Ramgarh and Sita Bengra[edit]

Ramgarh and Sita Bengra are situated in Surguja district. Lord Rama, central character of the epic Ramayana, and his wife Sita, are believed to have stayed in these caves during their 14 years of exile. The locals know many stories about the caves, handed down through generations.

Singhanpur cave[edit]

"Singhanpur cave" in Raigarh district with pre-historic paintings is very famous.

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Indravati National Park[edit]

Indravati National Park is 296 km from Jagdalpur in Bastar district. It was constituted as a tiger reserve in 1982-83. It is situated on the banks of river Indravati and comprises vegetation of Tropical Mixed Deciduous Forest interspersed with grasslands. These forests have mainly teak and sal as the main species. Other important tree species are Saja, Achar, Amaltas, Amla, Arjun, Tendu, Tinsa etc. Profuse growth of bamboo fills the under storey while copious climbers crown the tree feelings. The park is spread over a total area of approximately 2799.08 km2. The Park is famous for its unique and diverse wildlife, which includes Tiger, Panther, Spotted deer, Sambhar, Chinkara, Black buck, Barking dear Swamp deer, Gaur, Hog Deer, Blue bull, Chousingha, Wild Buffalo, Sloth bean, Wild bear, Wolf, Jackal, Hayna, etc.

Indravati National Park is easily approachable from Jagdalpur, the district headquarters of Bastar. The village Kutrue, the main entry point of the park, is situated at the distance of 22.4 km north of Jagdalpur- Bhopalpattanam road. The Kutrue link road is at the distance of 145.6 km from Jagdalpur. Raipur (486 km) is the nearest airport and Jagdalpur (168 km) is the nearest railhead from the Indravati National Park.

Kanger Valley National Park[edit]

Kanger Valley National Park is 27 km from Jagdalpur in Bastar district 0f Chhattisgarh. The valley runs from West to East almost bisecting the park into two-halves. The park extends to an area of 200 km2. Entire park constitutes core area and there is no buffer zone. Major Wildlife of the Kanger Valley National Park are the Tiger, Leopard, Chital, Barking deer, Sloth bear, Wild beer, Indian Fox, Mouse deer, etc.

Kanger Valley is well approachable from Jagdalpur, district headquarters of Bastar. It is about 27 km from Jagdalpur on the Jagdalpur–Konta road. One can also approach the park via Jagdalpur–Sargipal–Jatam–Nianar–Bodal road. Raipur (330 km) is the nearest airport and Jagdalpur (27 km) is the nearest railhead and bus stand from the Kanger Valley National Park.

Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife park in Chhattisgarh, India. The sanctuary houses a number of endangered animal species, including leopards, Bengal tigers, and wild bison. Two of the sanctuary's c.35 tigers, Bison, an endangered species, wild Boar, Chital, barking deer can be seen in fields close to Achanakmar. The Achanakmar wildlife sanctuary was established in 1975, under provisions of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act. It comprises 557.55 km2 of forest and is linked by the hilly Kanha - Achanakmar Corridor to the tiger reserve in Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. The park is part of Bilaspur Forest Division in northwest Chhattisgarh, around 55 km north-west of Bilaspur. The sanctuary is close to Amarkantak, which is the origin of the Narmada River.

The nearest airport is at Raipur, which is 176 km away. The nearest railway station is at Belgahna. Achanakmar is easily approchable from "Pendra Road" (25 km) and "Bilaspur" (40 km) Railway station also. Bus, rental car and all types of vehicle are available to visit and enjoy this place. Restaurant, coffeehouse and many other facilities are available at Achanakmar.

Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Located in northern part of Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the finest and important wildlife sanctuaries in the region. Established in 1976 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the sanctuary is relatively a small one covering an area of only 245 km2. the topography of the region comprises flat and hilly terrain with altitudes ranging between 265 and 400 mts. The Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its lush green vegetations and unique wildlife. The major wildlife of the Barnawapara Sanctuary include Tigers, Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrels, Jackals, Four-horned Antelopes, Leopards, Chinkara, Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Porcupine, Monkey, Bison, Striped Hyena, Wild Dogs, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur, Muntjac, Wild Boar, Cobra, Python to name a few.

The nearest airport from the sanctuary is Raipur (85 km). Mahasamund Railway Station (60 km) is the nearest railhead from the Barnawapara Sanctuary. The place is easily approachable through the PWD forest road, which connects Barnawapara with Raipur via Patewa and with Pithora on NH 6.

Gomarda Reserve Forest[edit]

Gomarda wild life Sanctuary forest is situated in Sarangarh Tehsil of Raigarh district. It is spread over 278 km2. It is a natural home for many rare wild animals like tigers, bears etc. It is about 60 km by road from Raigarh.

Archaeological sites[edit]

Barsoor[edit]

Located on the banks of the Indravati River, about 75 km (a one and a half to two-hour drive) to the south west of Jagdalpur, Barsoor in Dantewada district was once an epicentre of Hindu civilisation. It is believed that there were once 147 temples and an equal number of ponds here. The ruins of these temples, dating back to the 10 th and 11 th centuries (i.e. over 1,000 years old) can be seen even today. Some images of Lord Vishnu can also be seen.

One Shiva temple, with 12 carved stone pillars, has nude figures on the outside. Another Shiva temple has 32 carved stone pillars, a black granite Nandi (Shiva's carrier) bull, and two sanctum sanctorum, with a common court. The ruins of this temple have been recently restored. A 50-foot high temple, known locally as Mama-bhanja-ka-mandir (temple of the maternal uncle and nephew), is in good condition, but lacks an idol. It is not clear to which deity the temple was consecrated, or even if it was ever consecrated. The biggest attraction though, is the Ganesha Temple. While the temple itself is in ruins, two sandstone images of Ganesh, both in the aspect of Maha-Ganapati, are amazingly intact. The larger of these, and the more impressive, is about 8 feet high and over 17 feet wide.

Malhar (Saravpur)[edit]

Malhar in Bilaspur district was a former capital. This is about 14 km from Bilaspur. It has remains from 1,000 BC onwards. 10th and 11th century temples can be seen here. The Pataleswar Kedar Temple is one of them - the Gomukhi shivling is the main attraction here. The Didneswari Temple, belonging to the Kalchuri regime, is also worth visiting. The Deor Temple has artistic idols. There is a museum, managed by the Central Government, which has a good collection of old sculpture.

Ratanpur[edit]

Ratanpur, once the capital of Chhattisgarh, is situated about 25 km from Bilaspur on the Katghora Road. The ruins of an old fort exist here. This has an attractive stone sculpture over the frame of the Ganesh gate. The entrance has Shiva's Tandav Dance and statues of Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu. Inside, there are the Sitchourai and Jagarnath temples. Before the palace of Ratanpur is a temple of Baba Bairavnath, with a nine-foot tall idol. At the palace of Ramtekri there is a temple of Ram Panchayat. At the foot of a hill is the Bhuddeshwar Shiv Temple made by Bhimbhaji Bhosle. At the top of the hill is the Laxmi Temple, also called Ekbira Temple. There is also the Ratneswar Mahadev Temple.

Sirpur[edit]

Sited on the banks of the river Mahanadi, Sirpur, known as 'Shripur' in ancient times, was the capital of South Kosala. It is historically significant from the angles of art, science, religion and spirituality. Sirpur is known for Laxman Temple and its Buddhist Vihars (Anand Prabhu Kudi Vihar and Swastik Vihar). Sirpur is in Mahasamund district.

Anand Prabhu Kudi Vihar

This 14-room Buddhist vihar, constructed by Bhikshu Anand Prabhu, a follower of Buddha, during the period of Mahashivgupt Balarjun, is the most famous of Sirpur's Buddhist vihars. The main entrance is adorned by a dwarpaal (door keeper) carved in stone pillars on either side. A six feet tall statue of Buddha touching the earth is installed inside the vihar.

Swastik Vihar

This Buddhist vihar, recently excavated, is believed to have been used by Buddhist monks for meditation and study.

Surguja[edit]

Temple carvings and archaic ruins date the history of this place to the era before Christ (BC). According to the holy books Lord Rama had visited Surguja during his fourteen years of exile and a number of places here are named after him, his brother Laxmana and wife Sita, including Ramgarh, Sita-Bhengra cave and Laxmangarh. Most of the local population is made up of the Pando and Korwa tribes, who regard themselves as descendants of the Pandavas and Kauravas (the warring clans of the epic Mahabharata) respectively. The average altitude of the area is 600 meters.

Thinthini Patthar[edit]

This 200 quintal rock is cylindrical in shape. When struck, you get a metallic echo, popularly believed to be divine.

Temples[edit]

Bambleshwari Temple[edit]

Bambleshwari Temple is at Dongargarh in Rajnandgaon district, Chhattisgarh, India. It is on a hilltop of 1600 feet. This temple is referred as Badi Bambleshwari. Another temple at ground level, the Chotti Bambleshwari is situatedabout 1/2 km from the main temple complex. These temples are revered by lakhs of people of Chhattisgarh and flock around the shrine during the Navratris of Kavar (during Dashera) and Chaitra (during Ram Navami).

Bhoramdeo temple[edit]

Amidst the picturesque surroundings of Maikal mountains and dense forests, the perfect blend of religious and erotic sculptures, the Bhoramdeo temple, is carved on the rocky stones in the Nagar style. The Bhoramdeo temple scenically situated amidst mountain ranges is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The carved Shiva Linga in the temple beckons the visitors. This temple "Bhoramdeo" was built in 1089A.D. by sixth King of FaniNagvansh Gopal Dev. The temples "Madwa Mahal" was built by 25th King of FaniNagvansh Ramchandra Dev in 1349 A.D.and have a special attraction for lovers of history and archaeology. The Bhoramdeo temple has a resemblance with the Khajuraho temple, and that is why it is also called the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh. This temple is also unique for its architecture. Cunnigham had termed it as one of the most beautifully decorated temple seen by him.

Bhoramdeo temple is situated near Kawardha (18 km from Kawardha) in Kabirdham district. Raipur is the nearest Airport. Raipur is the nearest Railway station on the Mumbai-Howrah main line. Regular Buses ply from Raipur (116 km.), Rajnandgaon (133 km.) and Jabalpur (220 km.) to Kawardha. Taxis are available from Kawardha (18 km) to the temple site.

Bhorumdeo Temple
Madwa Mahal
Healing Vegetation of Maikal Hills
Flora of Kabirdham District

Champaran[edit]

Champaran (formerly known as Champajhar) in Raipur district has religious significance, as the birthplace of Saint Vallabhacharya, the reformer and the founder of the Vallabh Sect. It has a temple constructed in his honour. Near this is a temple of Champakeshwara Mahadeva. An annual fair is held here every year, in the month of Magh (January–February). It is also customary for followers of Saint Vallabhacharya to celebrate his birth anniversary here every year on the eleventh bright day of Baisakh (April–May). Two large well furnished dharmasalas* are available to stay in.

Chandrahasini Devi Temple[edit]

Chandrahasini Devi Temple is situated at Chandrapur, in Janjgir-Champa district, on the banks of the river Mahanadi. This is popular as both a pilgrimage place as well as a tourist spot. A big fair is organised here every year on the eve of Navaratri. Chandrapur is 22 kilometres from the tehsil headquarters Dabhara. This place can be approached from Raigarh railway station also. Chandrapur is 30 km from Raigarh by road.

Damudhara (Rishab Tirth)[edit]

Damudhara (Rishab Tirth) in Janjgir-Champa district has natural waterfalls, caves, the Ram-Janaki Temple, Radha-Krishan Temple and Rishavdev Temple.

Danteshwari Temple (Dantewada)[7][edit]

It is located around 84 km (52 mi) from Jagdalpur city is the famous and sacred temple of Ma (Hindi for mother) Danteshwari, a local goddess, worshipped as an incarnation of Shakti. This temple is believed to possess several divine powers. Every year during Dushera thousands of tribals from surrounding villages and jungles gather here to pay homage to the goddess. Situated in Dantewada, south-west of Jagdalpur, at the confluence of the holy rivers Shankini & Dhankini, this six hundred year old temple is one of the ancient heritage sites of India and is a representation of the religio-socio-cultural history of the Bastar region. Little is known about this shrine to much of India. The vast temple complex today is truly a standing monument to centuries of history and tradition. With its rich architectural and sculptural wealth and its vibrant festival traditions, Danteshwari Mai temple serves as the most important spiritual center for the people of this region.

It is believed that a tooth of Sati had fallen here and Danteshwari Shakti Pith was established. According to the ancient legend, Goddess Sati committed self-immolation in the fire pit of yagna kund, due to an insult committed by her father Daksha towards her consort Lord Shiva during the Yaga. Raged by the death of Sati, Lord Shiva destroyed the Yaga of Daksha and with the body of Sati in his hands started to do 'Taandav'. Lord Vishnu cut the dead body of Goddess Sati with his Sudarshan to free Lord Shiva from the grief caused by her death. Parts of the dead body of Goddess Sati were scattered to fifty-two different places, which were consecrated as Shakti Pithas.

The Danteshwari temple was built in the 14th Century by the Chalukya kings in South Indian style of temple architecture. The idol of Danteshwari Mai is chiselled out of black stone. The temple is divided into four parts such as Garbh Griha, Maha Mandap, Mukhya Mandap and Sabha Mandap. Garbha Griha and Maha Mandap were constructed with stone pieces. There is a Garud Pillar in front of the entrance of the temple. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls. The shikhara is adorned with sculptural finery.

An interesting account of the travel to the place is available at this travelogue

Danteshwari Temple (Jagdalpur)[edit]

It is an ancient temple built by the kings of Bastar for inhabiting their family Goddess, Devi Danteshwari. Devi Danteshwari is the Goddess of entire Bastar division, equally worshipped by Hindus as well as tribals. This temple is located beside Bastar palace and near to Gole Bazar at Jagdalpur in Bastar district. It is worth seeing and pleasant to watch the temple during the famous Bustar Dushera festival season, decorated in color lights and lamps, where the main traditional functions of the festivals are being carried out.

Deorani-Jethani temple[edit]

Talagram, about 25 km from Bilaspur in Bilaspur district, is known for its "Deorani-Jethani" temple. This has a huge 7-foot high statue, that's 4 feet wide and weighs 8 tons.

Laxman Temple[edit]

Laxman Temple situated at Sirpur in Mahasamund district has one of the finest brick temples in India, this is characterised by exquisite carvings and precise construction. Shesh naag serves as an umbrella to Load Shiva on the top of the entrance, while incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Krishna leela ornamental symbols, and erotic carvings adorn the sides. The religious segments of a temple - Vatayan, Chitya Gawaksha, Bharwahakgana, Aja, Kirtimukh and Karna Amalak - are engraved in the pillars of this Panchrath type temple. The inside has the Mandap (shelter), Antraal (passage) and Garbha Grih (the main house). The Archaeological Survey of India has established a museum in the temple premises, which houses a collection of rare statues and other relics significant to the Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain faiths.

Mahamaya Temple[edit]

An 12th century temple, dedicated to the Goddess Mahamaya, was built during the reign of Kalchuri by the king Ratnadev. There are ponds near the temple. In front of this, a temple of Kantideval of Maratha period exists. This has been renovated by the architecture department. Mahamaya temple is situated at Ratanpur in Bilaspur district.

Rajivalochan temple[edit]

Rajim in Raipur district is 30 minutes from Raipur by road, on the banks of the Mahanadi river, this was once an important urban centre. It has a fine group of temples, of which the main one (Rajivalochana Temple) is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Shivarinarayan Laxminarayan Temple[edit]

This 11th century Vaishnava temple was built by the kings of the Hayhay dynasty on the banks of the river Mahanadi, at Shivarinarayan Nagar in Janjgir-Champa district. It is believed that Shabri Ashram, mentioned in the epic Ramayana, was located here. During Magh Purnima a fair is organised here.

Uwasaggaharam Parshwa Teerth[edit]

Uwasaggaharam Parshwa Teerth is a Jain shrine in Nagpura in Durg district, established in 1995. It is located on the banks of the river Sheonath. The campus houses temples, guest houses, a garden and Naturopathy and Yoga Centre. The entrance to the resplendent marble temple of Shri Parshwanath is through a 30 feet gate that has the idol of Parshwanath, supported by four pillars (representing the four essentials of spiritual atonement, i.e., wisdom, introspection, good conduct, penance), being worshipped by two elephants. Sacred water, amiya, oozes from the idol here. Hundreds of pilgrims visit this shrine on full-moon.

Vishnu temple[edit]

Vishnu temple was built by the kings of the Hayhay dynasty in the 12th century, but did not complete it. The temple was built in 2 phases. The temple is an incomplete temple which can be seen near Bhima Talab at Janjgir in Jangir-Champa district. From western direction of Janjgir city and about 1/2 km. distance from bus stand, nearby road side in the bank of Bhima pond, the grand Vishnu temple is situated.

Maa Pitambara (Bagalamukhi) Temple[edit]

Maa Pitambara (Bagalamukhi) Temple is located in AMLESHWAR (DURG/RAIPUR) town of Chhattisgarh, India approx 15 km from Raipur (Airport)and approx 25 km from Durg. It is wel connected by train and the Mandir is around 05 km from the Raipur Railway Station. Maa Pitambara (Bagalamukhi) Temple, AMLESHWAR is one of the most famous Temple of Baglamukhi, which was established by Param Pujaya Shri Pitambara Pithadhishwar Yogiraj Youdhishthire Ji Maharaj.

Monuments[edit]

  • Bastar Palace

It is another historical place that is seen in Jagdalpur in Bastar district. It was the headquarters of Bastar Kingdom. It was built by the rulers of Bastar State when the capital of Bastar kingdom had been shifted from Barsur to Jagdalpur. At present this is kept as a monument by the government.

Museums[edit]

Anthropological Museum[8][edit]

The Zonal Anthropological Museum in Jagdalpur was established in the year 1972 with the sole purpose of providing insight into the culture and lifestyles of Bastar tribes. The museum is 4 km from the Jagdalpur city center in the office of the Anthropological Survey of India. It houses a fine collection of numerous objects of ethnographic interest. The rare item on display at the museum throws light on the rituals and customs followed by the tribes of Bastar and even highlight their religious practices and style of living. All the collections have been documented classified and are displayed in various sections of the museum.

The Zonal Anthropological Museum of Jagdalpur is one of the prominent museums in central India which is entirely dedicated to the acquisition, study, protection, exhibition and educational understanding of various objects that have historical, scientific or artistic value. Some of the rare collections found at the museum include headgears, footwear, ornaments, musical instruments, dresses, paintings, wood carvings, weapons, masks, art work, sculptures and a wide variety of objects that were used in daily life. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Chhattisgarh that serves as a window to the lifestyles and ethnic cultures of various tribes in Bastar. The rare collections on display at the museum cover four fields of anthropology namely ethnology, linguistics, archaeology, and physical anthropology.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]