Hello All my fellow travellers …,
Who are travelling continuously for something new or surprises.
My blog here is about ‘Land Of Surprises’, Chhattisgarh!
Read it, Feel it, and Experience it through my words in this travelogue ‘Explore the Offbeat’
India is a land of multitudinous culture and people. Every state of India has its own culture and tradition. The different forms of people found here out numbers any country. There are certain states in India where the number of tribal population is much more than that of the other states. Due to the presence of these tribes India has receive various flavors and the tribal people are the real treasures of our countries. Major population of tribal is found in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and North East “The Seven Sister States of India”.
Chhattisgarh: “Rice bowl of India” This is a newly formed state and situated in situated in the heart of India, it is very well known for its cultural heritage, attractive natural diversity and for tribe community. Tribes of Chhattisgarh are unique in their lifestyles and have beautifully retained their own culture and traditions for centuries. Bastar is the largest tribal district of Chhattisgarh and Gonds tribes Gonds of Bastar being the most prominent among them. The Gond Tribes include the Baiga, Korba, Abhuj Maria, Muria and Dhurva tribes. The tribal women love to wear ornaments made of cowries, shells, bones, mixed metals, copper and bronze.
Chhattisgarh really is full of surprises….
I was mesmerized by the tribal beauty of Chhattisgarh, they are authentic, undisturbed, who carry volumes and volumes of Heritage Culture and Tradition in them. My journey began this way…
6 Days Itinerary
Day1: Raipur – Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary (Night stay Hareli Eco Resort, Mohda)
Day2: Mohda- Turturiya- Sirpur (Night stay Hiuen Tsang Tourist Resort, Sirpur)
Day3: Sirpur- Kanker-Chitrakote (Night stay Dandami Luxury Resort, Chitrakote)
Day4: Chitrakote- Barsur-Dantewada-Chitrakote (Night stay Dandami Luxury Resort, Chitrakote)
Day5: Chitrakote- Mauli Padar Village- Teerathgarh- Jagdalpur (Night stay Dandami Luxury Resort, Chitrakote)
Day6: Chitrakote- Kondagaon- Raipur (Night stay Hotel Wood Castle)
And the journey begins…
It was August 7th morning 10:00 a.m., the sun was trying to peep from the cloud, it was humid day, In the elegant breeze at 11:00 am We took National Highway-6 that leads us to Petwa Village and our destination was Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary for which we have to travel 100km ahead. We entered through Barbaspur Barrier.
We were accompanied by active Chhattisgarh Tourism Guide Mr Toppo and his insights helped us a lot in understanding the local culture.
It was an adventurous journey day with a scenic highway which gave us ample scope for beautiful photography.
At 3:00 pm we reached Hareli Eco Resort (operated by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board) this resort itself a Tourism destination where you can enjoy the real life of you away from your daily chores.
HARELI ECO RESORT, MOHDA
After taking lunch at resort At 4:00 we left for Jungle Safari in our Jeep, It was like a place which safest Sanctuary is a home of Chinkara, Black Buck, Deer, Bison, Wild Dog, sambhar and neelgai. Mr. Vijay Nag was our guide on this Jungle Safari Trip.
It was monsoon season so the landscape was lush green and climate was also favorable.
We stopped at some places for clicking some pictures in Reserve Sanctuary. We also got a chance to click some photos with locals.
After travelling some we reached a place which is known for Bird Watching. It was an amazing place where you can see the beauty of nature and click photos.
For Bird watching there are some watchtowers from where you can observe the nature and watch the varieties of birds. Before moving back to our Resort we stopped for another watch tower for clicking wonderful photos of Mountain Ranges and Landscape. We back to our resort by 6:30 pm.
Barnawapara Reserve Sanctuary
Resort Team arrange for tribal dance of locals, which was so colourful and energetic. Meanwhile we also got a chance to copy their steps on the music. Dance name was Saila and was perform by Maria of Gond Tribes.
It was beautiful morning, we went for morning walk or we can say ‘A VILLAGE WALK’ to a nearer village i.e. Mohda. Got an opportunity to talk to locals and click some unforgettable moments with them, all of them are very excited to see their clicked photos in camera.
After taking breakfast, we left for our next destination i.e. Turturiya.
Though the lush green forests and paddy fields, it was an amazing landscape to click photos of locals working in their fields, mountains and villages. After traveling an Hour, We reached Turturiya. Because It was month of ‘Saawan'(5th Traditional month of Vikram Hindu Calendar), we got a chance to meet the Kaanwariyas ‘Devotees of Lord Shiva, who come to temple and offer pious river water to Shiva Linga’, We also joined their group and raised slogan in favour of Lord Shiva i.e. Bol Bam…Bol Bam…Bol Bam!!!
Turturiya, A place known for Valmiki Ashram
Turturiya has its religious importance, It is the birthplace of Luv and Kush (son of Lord Rama) who were born in Saint Valmiki’s Ashram. Some small Beautiful temples and a pool where water coming from GauMukh ‘Mouth of Cow Head’
After completing this religious site we move for our next destination i.e. Sirpur: Spiritual destination of Chhattisgarh
Sirpur: It is a small town situated on the bank of river Mahanadi and 83 km of Raipur. Sirpur is known for its world Famous ‘SIRPUR DANCE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL’, which is organized by Chhattisgarh Tourism Promotion Board every year in the month of January. Our Guide on this site was Mr G.L. Raikwar (Archaeologist from Raipur Museum)
We reached Sirpur by 02:00 pm, First we visited the world famous Lakshman Temple belonging to the Gupta architecture of 7th century. It is one of the finest brick temples I have ever seen. All sculptures of the temple have told its fascinating story. One side of the Temple is old well and other side is Yagya vedi of same period. At the back side of the temple, there is ASI Museum which is well-organized manner. It is also the same site where Sirpur Festival held every year.
1 km from Lakshman Temple there is beautiful monastery named Teevardev Maha Vihara. Today popular as Biggest Monastery, It is also known as Buddha Vihar reflects the entire Buddhist culture and emanates a sense of pride for entire nation. Truly blessed with scenic beauty, the Buddha Vihar excludes warmth and portrays religious harmony. This site consists of two Viharas laid side by side. It was location where monks were used to study here. Remaining structure of Vihara will show us How monks were studied and about their lifestyle. In these vihara I came to know about the Residential, Meditation and study rooms of Monks. And in the other Vihara you can find some marvellous statues of Ancient period, where six feet tall statue of Buddha touching the earth.
On the walking distance of Teevardev Maha Vihar, there is ASI Conservation site named Baleshwar Mahadev Temple Complex. Here, I saw there are 3-4 Shiva temples around the complex; all of them have its own story and different structure. A big thanks to ASI team who excavated all these remains and conserves them.
Our next target is Anand Prabhu Kutir Vihar, which is also on a walking distance. Here I saw the seated statue of Buddha. It also has a story where Monks were used to study. No words can explain about the beauty and simplicity of these Viharas. Swastic Vihar is also the similar site where you can find the remaining preserved by ASI.
After complete Vihara on a walk we reached our next and the most amazing architecture i.e. Surang Tila. It’s a place I am damn sure you will not stop clicking photos and just looked for long time. It is a Shiva Temple Complex famous for its amazing structure. A mammoth stone structure with five temples built atop a massive platform. And a small steps of temples with its curve base structure always attracts tourists.
Surang Tila, Sirpur
After click lot of photos we moved to our next and final destination of the day i.e. Gandheswar Temple. It is Lord Shiva temple and very famous in surrounding regions situated on the bank of River Mahanadi and consist of other amazing structures, which was collected by locals and people all worshipped them.
Behind the temple there is River Mahanadi and a time for beautiful sun set. We all sat there on the bank of river and enjoy the beauty of nature, some click photos and some played with river water and some talked with locals who came for religious purposes.
Now check in for Hotel which is also a beautiful destination to see. Huien Tsang Tourist Resort (operated by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board) A beautiful place to stay on a reasonable price and don’t forget the Food…It was so yummy.
Next Day A very Good Morning to Sirpur, as my daily routine, we went for a morning walk to village and on the bank of River Mahanadi…It was great to have take bath in the river Mahanadi and a holy dip…then a visit Shiva Temple…And a hot tea on a local tea joint was unforgettable.
After taking breakfast at Huieng Tsang Resort, We left for our dream destination region i.e. Bastar. We took NH43. By Leaving Sirpur we drive through Naya Raipur and stopped for a Coffee at the outskirts of Dhamtari (District between Kanker and Raipur)
Our next stop was Kanker Royal Palace (Now it is Heritage Hotel), we were welcomed by MaharajKumar Ashwini Pratap Deo (Jay Ji).He was very excellent personality and down to earth. He personally guided us to his Royal palace and permitted us to click photos. He also brief about Kanker’s Royal History.
We also visited Royal Suits which offered for tourism purposes. And they were like ROYAL ROYAL ROYAL. And surprisingly we were lunch offered by Royal Family. It was so Royal touch to have lunch with Royal Family in their Palace.
(You can also dine at Makri Dhaba in Kanker.)
Now after Royal lunch, we continued on NH43 and passed through beautiful Keshkal Ghat and Kondagaon, We Finally reached Chitrakote Waterfall at 07:00 pm
Distance Raipur to Chitrakote- 340 km via Jagdalpur
We checked in Chhattisgarh Tourism Board Resort i.e. Dandami Luxury Resort.
After entering in my Royal Tent I can say YES alike its name it is Luxury Resort. No words can explain the luxury of that tent with affordable prices. You just see the picture and imagine about it…They also have cottages, which is again the same luxurious.
Luxury Tents at Dandami Resort, Chitrakot Waterfall
And luckily we got a tent in front of waterfall so I can enjoy it with my room’s window also.
Beautiful morning from the Bank of Chitrakote Waterfall. It is also known as ‘Niagara Falls of India’. This waterfall was on the River Indravati and falls from the height of 95 feet. And It creates a House-shoe type structure and U shaped structure. And it is amazingly beautiful in Monsoon period
After having Breakfast, we left for our today’s first destination i.e. Barsur
(Barsur is 115 km from Chitrakote via Jagdalpur and 24 km from Geedam)
We were accompanied by ‘Encyclopaedia of Bastar’ Mr. Awesh Ali. He guided us about each and every basic thing about Bastar and cleared our doubts. We reached Barsur at 12:00 noon visited Mammoth Statue of Twin Ganesha Temple, Mama Bhanja temple and Battisa Temple etc All temples has its history and related story.
We left for our next destination i.e. Danteshwari Temple (one the Shaktipeeth of Hindu deity)Danteshwari Devi is also known as ‘Goddess of Bastar’. We reached there by 3:00 p.m.
We entered temple after wearing traditional Dhoti and worshiped Goddess. Left Dantewada by 4:00 pm and move for Haat Bazaar.
Local Haat Bazaar is local market for rural where they shopping. We tried Mahua (Local Beer) and Landa ‘Rice Drink’
And we also got a chance to see COCK FIGHT Live in Haat Baazar.At 06:00 p.m. We came back to our resort i.e. Chitrakote Resort
Folk Dance performed by Tribal of Bastar
Morning walk and photography session at Chitrakote fall.
After having breakfast, left for small village named Mavlipadar in Darba block where local village family waiting to host us. We reached there by 11:00 am and the Head of family took us on a Village tour where he gives info about wild plants and animals. He collected some RED ANTS from the top of tree by climbing it. And I visited one local school and click photos with them.
We also been to place which is known for ‘Bastar Wall Paintings’
In Lunch they prepared food for us which was oil free and full of taste and healthy too.
After having heavy lunch we left for Teerathgarh Water Fall.
Teerathgarh is 5 step waterfalls whose height is about 300 feet. You can click photos from each and every step.
In Monsoon season it looks like a heaven which you can’t express in words.
After having some snacks at Teerathgarh Fall, we left for our Final Destination of the Day i.e. Anthropological Museum at Jagdalpur.
In this museum you can find all about Bastar like History, culture, lifestyle, food, rituals etc etc etc
After Museum Now time for some local food of Jagdalpur, been to local market and having pani puri and aalu chat.
After having quick breakfast, it’s time to leave for Raipur.
In our way towards Raipur we stopped at Bell Metal Art shop in Kondagaon.
Long Drive to Raipur but reached by 2:00 pm
I would like to thank Chhattisgarh Tourism for the wonderful hospitality and opportunity provided. Special Thanks to Shri Santosh K Mishra Ji (IAS) for giving us this opportunity to visit this land which ‘Full of surprises. And a Big Thanks to Mr. Ankur Gupta, Mr. Anand Kumar and Mr Rohit Taank for all luxurious arrangements.
Who would not wish to travel to place like this…..I did…..When is your turn?