Hidden treasures of Chhattisgarh
The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh webinar series showcased Chhattisgarh, in an effort to highlight India’s rich diversity.
The 30th session of the Dekho Apna Desh webinar series held on June 9, was moderated by Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General , Ministry of Tourism.
P. Anbalagan, Secretary (Tourism & Culture), Government of Chhattisgarh, set the background for the session with his introductory remarks. The session was presented by Jaspreet Singh Bhatia, Founder, Icecubes Holidays, Jeet Singh Arya, Founder, Unexplored Bastar and Thommen Jose, author & blogger.
Chhattisgarh, carved out of Madhya Pradesh, came into being on November 1, 2000, and is the ninth largest state in India. The central Indian state borders 7 other states, 44% of its land is covered by forest, with tribal population of 34%. With three national parks, 11 wildlife sanctuaries and one bio-sphere reserve it is one of India’s greenest states and well connected with rest of the country by air, rail and road network.
Some of the best waterfalls of country are in Chhattisgarh, namely Chitrakote, Amritdhara, Pawai and Machli. Chhattisgarh is also blessed with three shaktipeeths – Champaranya, Rajim and Sheorinarayan. Wrought iron, bell metal and terracotta are famous handicrafts of Chhattisgarh.
Jeet Singh Arya took the audience to a virtual tour of Bastar. It is one of the unexplored destinations which is in the south of Chhattisgarh. It has spectacular scenic views and has more than 15 waterfalls.
Kotumsar caves, which are largest series of caves after Meghalaya, are in Chhattisgarh. Bastar Dussehra is world’s longest festival which is celebrated for 75 days has a different story related to goddess Dhanteswari.
Gond’s, Madiya, Muriaya’s are some of the tribes making Bastar the land of indigenous tribes. Its handicrafts history dates back to Harappan civilization. The third largest Lord Ganesha statue in the world, made of a single sand stone, is here. Cave paintings with 12,000 years of history can be found in Bastar.
Thommen Jose presented the following lesser known places of tourist interest and experiences that Chhattisgargh offers.
• Karkabhat – Megalithic burial site generally ignored by tourists. Studies conducted in the area have identified 3 types of menhirs – Conical, pointed obliquely and bifurcated like a fish tail.
• Dipadih – Temple complex dating back to the 7th Century is probably the best kept archaeological secret of Chhattisgarh. Excavated stone pillars have been erected along the path next to the entrance on which are exhibited the mythological creatures.
• Ghotul – It is both an ancient tribal system of education as well as the campus with its own system of hierarchs.
• Sonabai- Famous bas relief ornamentation works of Chhattisgarh got its roots when Sonabai made little toys for her son Daroga Ram to lull him to sleep.
• Tribal games – Cock fighting