Chhattisgarh Tours

Although Chattisgarh is a young state, it is an ancient land, referred to in ancient texts, inscriptions, literary works and accounts of foreign travellers as Dakshin Kosala. Lord Rama is said to have spent part of his exile here.

Chhattisgarh is known to be a tribal-dominated state, and it has a significantly large tribal population - 32.5% as compared to 7.8% for the rest of India . In spite of this, the region has been historically dominated by traditional Hindu culture based on a hierarchical social and religious order.

The name, Chhattisgarh, is not ancient. It was first used in an official document in 1795, and became popular during the Maratha period. There are three popular stories about the origin of the name.

Perhaps the most popular one is that since Chattisgarh means "36 forts", it denotes the number of forts in the region. Experts do not agree with this explanation as thirty-six forts cannot be identified in the region.

An explanation popular with experts and historians, is that Chhattisgarh is the corrupted form of "Chedisgarh", which means "Stronghold of the Chedis", Chedis being another name for the Kalchuri dynasty.

According to British Chronicler, J.B. Beglar, "the real name is Chhattisghar (36 houses) and not Chhattisgarh. There is a saying that ages ago, about the time of Jarasandha, thirty six families of dalits (leather workers) emigrated southwards from Jarasandha's kingdom and established themselves in country, which after them is called Chhattisghar".

Women in Chhattisgarh have traditionally enjoyed more freedom than women elsewhere in the country. The Purdah system is mostly absent, and a woman can, through a local custom called Chudi pahanana, choose to terminate her marriage.

Blessed by nature, Chhatisgarh is an exquisitely scenic state, with two mighty rivers (Indravati and Mahanadi), 12% of India's forests, and a series of rolling hills. The Vindhyachal Mountain Range, which cuts India in two horizontally, dominates the state. Vegetation is dense . forests stretch as far as the eye can see. Thundering waterfalls dot the landscape. Ancient underground caves harbour awesome formations of stalactites and stalagmites that have taken aeons to grow. Best of all, the verdant beauty is unspoiled and untouched.

As with much of India, there are 3 seasons in Chhattisgarh:

Summer - From April to June, can be uncomfortably hot, with the mercury hitting the high 40's.

Monsoon - From middle / late June to October, is a wonderful time to visit - the rains provide a welcome respite from the summer heat and wash the whole state with green, and the waterfalls are at their best.

Winter - November to January, also a good time to visit, with lower temperatures, less humidity. and the verdant greenery and raging waterfalls left by the monsoons.


ROAD : 2 national highways connect Chhattisgarh to the rest of India :

NH 6 runs west-east from Nagpur in Maharashtra to Orissa where it branches off to Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar.

NH43 (one of India 's best-laid National Highways) runs north-south from Kawardha through Raipur to Jagdalpur and out to Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Typically, drive in from Pench or Kanha in Maharasthra, from the Araku Valley and Gopalpur on Sea in Orissa, from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, or from Ranchi in Jharkhand.

Good, new cars and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are available for hire at Raipur (the starting point for most tour-plans) and Jagdalpur.

RAILWAY - Raipur, the state capital, is on the main Howrah-Mumbai line.

Jagdalpur is connected to Vishakapatnam, on a route that passes through virgin forests with breath-taking valley-views. Shimliguda, the highest broad-gauge railway station in Asia (at 3628 feet above m.s.l, it is probably the highest in the world!) falls on this route.

AIRPLANE - Raipur, the state capital, is connected to Nagpur, Delhi, Mumbai.

If you are coming from Kolkata or Chennai, the nearest airport is Visakhapatnam.

Formed in November 1, 2000, as India's 26 th state, carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

Location - Central India.

Bordered by - Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh (north)
Andhra Pradesh (south)
Orissa (east)
Madhya Pradesh (west)

Area - 135,133 sq km (45% densely forested)

Population - 20,795,956

Capital - Raipur.

High Court - Bilaspur.

Districts - 16, many of them being erstwhile princely states.

National Parks - 03

Wildlife Sanctuaries - 11

Major Cities - Raipur, Durg-Bhilai (twin cities), Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Korba, Raigarh, Jagdalpur.

Minerals - Iron Ore, Coal, Bauxite, Timber, Tin (found only in Chhatisgarh), Gold, Limestone, Dolomite, Diamond, Manganese, Korandum, Quartz.

Industries - Steel, Aluminum, Cement, Thermal power.

Important Rivers Mahanadi, Indravati, Shivnath, Hansdeo, Arpa, Pairi, Kharoon, Maniyari Jonk, Shabri, Dankini-Shankini, Mand, Tandula, Ib, Kotri.

Water bodies/dams Gangarel (Ravishankar Sagar), Mooramsilli, Dhudhawa, Sikasar, Sondhur, Pairi, Hansdeo-Bango, Kodar, Jonk, Arpa, Maniyari, Khutaghat, Tandula, Kharkhara, Saroda, Banki, Jhumka.

Waterfalls Chitrakote, Tirathgarh, Kanger, Gupteshwar, Malajkundam, Saat Dhara, Ranidah, Rajpuri, Kendai, Tata Pani, Damera Tamda Ghumar, Mendri Ghumar.

Wildlife Tiger, Leopard, Wild Boar, Cheetal, Langoor, Rhesus Monkey, Barahsinga, Sambhar, Bison, Wild Buffalo, Civet Cat, Bear.

Crops Rice, Sugarcane, Banana, Pulses, Wheat.

Forest Produce Teak, Sal, Bamboo, Sheeshal, Mahua, Tamarind, Haldu, Saja, Sheesham, Various Herbs.

Languages - Hindi, Local dialects.

Religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Tribal.

Fairs Bastar Dussera, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Ramaram, Ma Bambleshwari, Ratanpur, Shivrinarayan, Sihawa, Bhoramdeo, Girodhpuri, Damakheda.

What to See
Bastar Bilaspur Dhamtari Durg Jashpur Jagdalpur

Bastar was once one of the largest districts in India, bigger even than the state of Kerala and countries like Israel and Belgium. Its early history is obscure - it is believed to have been established in the 11th century by the Nagavanshi dynasty who had their capital at Barsu.

There are plenty of theories about the origin of the name "Bastar". The most rational is that it is derived from the Sanskrit word vistrat, wide territory, which is how the Deccan chieftains perceived the area North of the Godavari river to be. Another explanation is that the name evolved from "Basta-karna", sal trees, which Bastar is full of. The 3 rd conjecture is that Bastar is from "Bastah", goat, the area being a popular territory, even today, for shepherds migrating from North India . A 4 th hypothesis says Bastar is from "Basta", bag, associated with the gypsies who were the earliest traders to come to the region to barter salt for local forest products and iron ore. And the 5 th thinks Bastar owes its origins to "Bastakam", a variety of salt, the commodity most imported into Bastar in the early days of its contact with the outside world.

Historically, Bastar formed the buffer zone between Deccan in South India and the Rajput splinter-states of Central India . It did not impact and was not impacted by happenings outside. As such, it developed its own way of life and governance. The population, mostly tribal, was native to India long before the Aryans arrived (10,000 years ago!), and they still follow their traditional lifestyle.

The Indravati river is the largest and the most important river in Bastar. Pamer Chinta is its main tributary. Almost half of Bastar is under forest cover, and the region is full of dense jungles full of bamboo, sal, teak wood, sheesam and bija. High mountains, valleys, streams, waterfalls, natural caves, and natural parks abound.

There is plenty to see and do in Bastar and it is recommended that you spend at least 3 days here.


Bilaspur is known for its kosa silk and the quality of its rice. It is the second largest city in Chhattisgarh, and home to its High Court.

The city is approximately 400 years old. The name is derived from bilasa, the name for fisherwomen.


DHAMTARI is situated in the fertile plains, irrigated by the Mahanadi river and Sendur, Pairy, Sondur, Joan, Kharun and Shivnath - its tributaries. Paddy is the main crop grown here. The Satpura range of mountains, popularly known as Sihawa Pahad, is to the east, Kanker is to the west, state capital Raipur to the north, and the state of Orissa to the south.

Dhamtari has a number of dams. Asia 's first ever Syphen dam was built in the year 1914 at Madamsilli. Ravishankar Sagar dam, which irrigates almost 57,000 hectares of land and is the main supply of water to the Bhilai Steel Plant and Raipur , is here. Sondhur dam and Dudhawa dam are other major dams.


This populous region is in the south west part of Chhattisgarh, in the plains, about 35 km from Raipur, the state capital. As with the rest of the state, it is rich in forests and mineral resources. The original name of this area was Shiva Durg.


Located to the north of Chhattisgarh, Jashpur is home to the Oraon tribe, many of whom have converted to Christianity. Literacy is high, thanks to the efforts of Christian missionaries.


Situated right in the center of Chhattisgarh, it is a major producer of foodgrains. Janjgir is the city of Maharaja Jajawalya Dev of the Kulchury dynasty, and the Vishnu Mandir here reflects its golden past. The Hasdeobango irrigation project seeks to cover three fourths of the state.


Located on National Highway 43, Kanker is between Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh (140 km away) and Jagdalpur (160 km away). It finds mention in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as part of the dense forest area named Dandakaranya. In the 6th century BC the region was a center for Buddhism. From 106 AD onwards to 1100 AD, it was ruled by the Satvahanas, Nags, Vakataks, Gupt, Nal and Chalukya dynasties. At one point, the kingdom extended to the area that forms the modern-day states of Orissa and Maharashtra.


Situated at the confluence of the Hasdeo and Ahiran rivers, Korba is a center of production of Kosa, a lightweight fabric with a sheen that makes it a favourtie for making casual garments as well as club wear. Most of the region is a plateau of the Maikal ranges of the Satpura hills.

KORIYA, formerly a princely state, is endowed with mountains, valleys, plains and rivers. It is rich in mineral resources, especially coal, and has abundant wildlife too. The climate is pleasant, with mild summers and cool winters.

MAHASAMUND has plentiful granite, limestone, dolerite and quartz resources, which means it has the potential of becoming a major mining center.


The state capital was originally established by the Kalchuri King, Ram Chandra, in the last quarter of the 14th century AD. For a long time it was the capital of the Haihaya kings.

It is the biggest city in the region, fast developing into an important industrial center for large and middle scale industries. The region is in the south east part of the Mahanadi River valley, with Bilaspur to its north, Bastar to its south, Durg on the west and Raigarh on the east. It is rich in mineral resources and has 2 major physical divisions: the Chhattisgarh plains and the hilly areas. The main crop is paddy. Raj Kumar College , one of Central India's prime schools, is in Raipur.

The region has its distinctive culture. Raut Nacha, Dewar Nacha, Panthi and Soowa, Padki and Pandwani are some of musical styles and dance dramas. There is a typical style of singing the epic Mahabharata, called Pandwani. Women wear the sari in a style called kachhora . Jewellry worn includes baandha (a necklace made of coins) and suta (a silver necklace) around the neck; phuli in the nose; bali and khunti in the ears; ainthi (made of silver), patta and choora (bangles) on the forearm; kardhani (a belt-like ornament made of silver) on the waist; bichhiya on the toes. Men wear a koundhi (necklace of beads) and kadhah (bangle) for ceremonial occasions, like dances.

Raipur is connected by air with Delhi (via Bhubaneshwar), Bhopal and Jabalpur .

It is on the Mumbai-Nagpur-Calcutta rail route.

It is well connected by road, being on National Highway 6, which passes through the city. National Highway 43 links it with Vijaya Nagaram. It is also connected by road to all the other important towns of Chhattisgarh: Bhilai (25 km), Durg(41 km), Jagadalpur (297 km), Rajnandgaon(70 km), Bilaspur (115 km) Jabalpur (369 km) and Bhopal (712 km).

RAJNANDGAON is home to the Gond, Kanwar, Halba and Baiga tribes, who make up one fourth of the area's population. They live in dense forestsin far-flung areas and their main source of livelihood is tendu leaf collection and cultivation of minor forest products. Rajnandgaon has Asia 's only music university, in the town of Khairagarh.

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