OLD WORLD, NEW CHARM
Outlook Traveller|November 2020
Hidden treasures, cultural richness, and numerous tribes, Chhattisgarh will leave you yearning for more

Chhattisgarh with its archaeological, monumental, and natural heritage in the form of numerous caves, ancient temples, and iconic waterfalls is a land of surprises and historical wonders. The state’s culture and festivals speak volumes of the glory of the local tribes, and boast of an inherent connection with nature that has remained untouched over the years. The landlocked state has been generously endowed with museums, dense jungles, wildlife sanctuaries, and natural escapes.

At a time when the need of the hour is physical distancing, Chhattisgarh proves to be an offbeat traveller’s first choice, boasting of unexplored locations across the state. In a bid to revive tourism in the post-COVID world, the state government is taking holistic steps to ensure sustainability and responsibility. Additionally, Chhattisgarh will soon be home to up and coming projects for both, water and adventure tourism. With various projects in line, the state is all set to become the next major tourist hub.

NATURAL ESCAPES

Boasting of a vast natural heritage, Chhattisgarh is home to the broadest waterfall in the country— Chitrakote Waterfalls. According to a popular folklore, the waterfalls has been named after herds of deer (called chitar in the Halbi dialect) that lived in the surroundings. Located approximately 275 kilometres away from the capital city, Raipur, these waterfalls are famously known as the ‘Niagara Falls of India’. Surrounded by sal forests and cliffs, the sight of a rainbow at the waterfall is every visitor’s dream come true.

Another feather in the hat is Jashpur in the northeastern corner of the state, nestled amid lush green valleys and aided by a rich historical culture. Home to three waterfalls—Rani Dah, Danpuri, and Rajpuri, two caves—Khuriarani Cave and Kailash Gupha, Jashpur does not fall short of options when it comes to exploring Chhattisgarh’s rich environs and history.

Interestingly, Ulta Paani or Visarpani in Manipat is a site that remains shrouded in mystery till date. It is known for the enchanting colors that the skies paint all over the horizon during dawn and dusk.

WILDLIFE

Chhattisgarh houses various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The Kanger Valley National Park in the Bastar district, derives its name from the Kanger River. The park, also home to the state bird—Bastar hill myna—is a mixed humid deciduous forest, where sal, saugaun, teak, and bamboo trees can be found in abundance. Apart from being a wildlife hotspot it is also home to three exceptional stalactite and stalagmite caves, namely, Kutumbasar, Kailash, and Dandak. The national park is also known for the presence of underground limestone caves with dripstone and floston.

The Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, bound by the Mahanadi river is a perfect escape. With a plethora of wildlife species such as leopards and rare birds, it is worth a short drive from Sirpur.

The Achanakmar Tiger reserve in the Maikal range is also a promising wildlife experience with a dense sal and bamboo cover in the Bilaspur district. The reserve is ideal for both short treks and longer wildlife expeditions.

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