One of the centrally located states of India, Chhattisgarh is the eat-central state in India with Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand to its north, Odisha to the east, Telangana to the South and Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to its west. It is spread in an area of 52,199 square miles and the capital city is Raipur.
Chhattisgarh means ‘thirty-six forts’ which correctly resonates with the numerous forts and historical sites the state has to offer. It has been carved out of Madhya Pradesh to become the 26th state of the Indian union and is gifted with huge deposits of minerals, forests, and picturesque landscape. Chhattisgarh is also home to the largest population of Scheduled Tribes in the country.
People and Population
Chhattisgarh is home to a diverse population of different ethnic, social, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, of which more than one-third of the state’s population belong to the Scheduled Castes or to the Scheduled Tribes. Of the Scheduled tribes, the community of Gond people is the most prominent.
Most of the population practices Hinduism but a sizable portion of Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and a small community of Sikhs also reside in the state. At present, the population of Chhattisgarh stands to 28.57 million.
Chhatisgarhi is the official language spoken in Chhattisgarh followed by Hindi. It is an Indo-Aryan language which is closely related to Hindi and is spoken in other states of India such as Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. Many of the Gond speak Gondi while Marathi, Urdu, Oriya, Gujarati, and Punjabi are spoken by a significant number.
The history of Chhattisgarh can be traced back the 4th century with its mentions in the epic mythologies such as Mahabharata and Ramayana and was formerly called as Southern Kosala. The state was ruled by Haihaya dynasty during the 14th century and by Chalukya dynasty during the medieval period.
The kingdom was captured by the Marathas in 1741 which was an era of unrest and misrule as there was a lot of loot and ransack. The Maratha officials compromised some parts of the state to the British and by 1818, the state came completely under the British Raj. Chhattisgarh was initially in Madhya Pradesh, but in 1994, a resolution was passed in Madhya Pradesh Assembly to separate Chhattisgarh from MP. In the year 2000 on 1st November, Chhattisgarh was bifurcated by Madhya Pradesh to become an independent state.
Tourist Places in Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh offers its visitors and tourists a variety of places to visit. From beautiful natural paradise to religious pilgrimages and historical forts and sites, Chhattisgarh has some of the best places to visit.
- Chitrakote Waterfall – Also known as ‘Mini Niagara Falls’, Chitrakote is the broadest waterfall in India and is 95 feet high. The waterfall paints a spectacular sight and is an ideal destination to visit.
- Raipur – The capital city of Chhattisgarh, Raipur is a blend of ancient and modern architecture with the ruins and sites of old Chhattisgarh Fort and archaeological sites that can be seen in the southern part of the city.
- Pamed Wildlife Sanctuary – One of the significant wildlife sanctuaries in the state, it is home to several flora such as Sal and Teak trees and other varieties of flowers and plants along with fauna including the Cheetal, Deer, Indian Gazelle, Chinkara, etc.
- Mainpat – Also called as ‘Mini Tibet’ because of the settlements, Mainpat is a honeymoon destination with lush greenery, crisp air, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking surroundings.
- Bhoramdeo Temple – Completely carved on the rocky stones in the Nagar style of architecture is the ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva and was constructed by King Ramchandra of the Nag dynasty.
- BamleshwariDevi Temple – Considered as a ‘Tirth’ by the people of Chhattisgarh, this temple is in Dongargarh and is reached by climbing numerous stairs to a cliff.
- KangerGhati National Park – Another place for wildlife and nature buffs, KangerGhati National Park is home to several species of big cats, sloths, langurs, lizards, and avian species.
Famous Food of Chhattisgarh
Food in Chhattisgarh is characterized as tribal food and non-tribal food. The tribal food made by the tribes has an addition of various types of fruits commonly found in the forest area. The people in Chhattisgarh usually prefer tangy recipes for main course and sweet delectables. Some of the best foods of Chhattisgarh are:
- Muthia (rice batter dumplings seasoned with spices and then steamed)
- Aamat (a mixed vegetable curry made with spices and ginger-garlic paste and cooked in bamboo shoots)
- Chila (a thin pancake seasoned with spices and made with gram flour batter or rice and lentil batter)
- Bhajia (fritters made with different vegies mixed in gram flour and spices and deep fried)
- Sabudana Khichdi (soaked tapioca pearls sauted with some vegies and fruits and seasoned with light spices)
- Bara (a variant of Vada made from fermented Urad dal along with vegies and spices)
- Faraa (desi style dumplings, made from rice flour batter and vegies that are lightly seasoned with coriander leaves and then steamed)
- Khurma (roasted vermicelli added to boiling water along with sugar syrup and dry fruits)
Festivals of Chhattisgarh
Some of the most celebrated festivals of Chhattisgarh apart from the commonly celebrated Diwali, Holi, Dussehra are:
- Bastar Dussehra – Bastar Dussehra is celebrated with vigor to connote the power of the Goddess Danteswari and the residents of Bastar organize several special worship ceremonies at the temple.
- Bhoramdeo Mahotsav – Celebrated in the premises of the Bhoramdeo temple, the temple is well-lit and decorated and a lot of festivities are organized which are a treat for the eyes and people dress in colorful costumes to take part in the activities organized during the festival.
- Rajim Kumbh Mela – One of the five location of the Kumbh Mela, it is a popular festival of mass gathering of the Vaishnavites near the convergence of Mahanadi, Pairi, and Sonder Rivers.
- Madai Festival – Famously celebrated by the Gond tribe of the state, this festival sees several rituals of the tribes along with a display of craftsmanship and various food stalls.
- Kajari Festival – Celebrated by the farmers of the state to mark the sowing season for wheat and barley and to seek the blessings of Goddess of Bhagwati.
How to Reach
- By Train: Raipur and Bilaspur are the two main railway stations in the state which receive trains from almost all major cities of the country.
- By Flight: Swami Vivekananda Airport is in Raipur and receives regular flights from all major cities. Buses and cabs are available from the airport to reach other parts of the city and neighboring cities.
- By Road: Chhattisgarh is well-connected by road including National Highways which are well-maintained and public transport is easily available to reach the state.
With a beautiful blend of natural spectacles, archaeological sites and remains, ancient heritage, and diverse ethnicities, Chhattisgarh is a destination that pleases the soul of the wanderers by uniting modernity and the ancient.