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Not Just a Naxalite State ー Unravelling Chhattisgarh

It’s time we let the cultural heritage and the untouched natural beauty define Chhattisgarh. I would urge you to visit Chhattisgarh someday and embark upon this journey of serendipity!

I moved to Raipur (capital of Chhattisgarh) around 5 years back. There were days when my friends back from Gujarat asked me, ”Why are you moving there? I have heard it is infamous for the Naxalite attacks and violence.” Even to this day, it would hurt me that this beautiful land’s prominence is fabricated in such a manner. I wouldn’t blame them for it, but I surely want people to know what this land holds. Chhattisgarh’s reputation precedes it. As I cannot urge my readers to visit Chhattisgarh in these times of the pandemic, so yes, here I will bring my state’s actual picture to your fingertips. It is home to 42 scheduled tribes, 150 species of birds, numerous varieties of fauna and most of all, a mixture of people belonging to different ethnicities, religions, castes, and cultures.

Here I unravel the secrets of the land of 36-forts’, Chhattisgarh.

Expedition to the untouched beauty
Image Source: Chitrakote Falls, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh via shutterstock

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, tranquillity is one’s best companion while exploring Chhattisgarh. It is often called the land of tribal art or the land of waterfalls. Which reminds me, India has its own variance of Niagara Falls, which might be even better. Chitrakote Falls (hailed as the Niagara Falls of India) in the Bastar district is a serene sight to see and is absolutely pleasing to the eyes. The grand structure roars the sound of the water, inciting thrill and shudder at the same time. Its beauty intensifies after the monsoon rains in July-October when one can witness the milky waterfalls graciously flaunting nothing but beauty. 

While we are talking about waterfalls, I cannot fail to mention Tirathgarh Waterfall. This picturesque waterfall will not fail to leave you in awe. When I first visited this place, it reminded me of a movie set. The tourists are so fascinated by this place that they do not feel like going back home. I can confirm this feeling to be true because the entire environment around it is so captivating.

Image Source: Tirathgarh Falls, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh by Hari Mahidhar via shutterstock

Chhattisgarh is known as the ‘Rice Bowl of India’, and finding paddy fields adjacent to highways is a prevalent sight. There are over 20,000 varieties of rice located in the region, which is really a fascinating fact. Having 3 National Parks and 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries, Chhattisgarh is rich with diverse flora and fauna. Indravati National Park is the most famous of them all. I have visited the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary (famous for its bison) twice! It was nothing but a great escape from the mundane routines into the lap of mother nature. 

All the other mountains, landscapes, quaint haats, small white temples, even the ruins of the millennia-old temples at Sirpur – there is just so much more waiting for you to be explored!

Image Source: A Bison at Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary via shutterstock
Tribal life, Culture, & Handicrafts

There are 42 different tribes that make up about a third of the population, mostly concentrated around the forests of Bastar. That makes this central Indian state one of the best places to go and visit first-hand little-known tribes and learn the cultural heritage and way of living.

Image Source: Tribes performing their traditional tribal dance by Hari Mahidhar via shutterstock

As forests cover nearly half the state, tourism in Chhattisgarh is still in the works. But this comes to us as an advantage as it connects us to the local guides and tour specialists that have spent years building relationships with such tribal communities and help us understand them better. 

It makes a lot of difference to have a local guide alongside us that helps us interpret stories, beliefs & folklore, or just help you identify plants and animals in the dense areas. This allows genuine cultural exchange rather than just one-way communication.

Image Source: Famous wooden carvings by Hari Mahidhar via shutterstock

The handicrafts here are internationally renowned and provide a valuable income to the people here — the intricate wooden carvings, terracotta sculptures, metalwork, jewellery, vessels and whatnot. Tourists never leave these markets empty-handed; they always buy something as a souvenir to keep. Kosa silk sarees are a speciality of the handlooms here. This special silk is obtained from the Indian silkworms.

Being rich in minerals, mining is a very prominent activity that is undertaken here. We have India’s leading steel-producing unit, Bhilai Steel Plant, in Chhattisgarh.

Image Source: Bastar-made steelwork via shutterstock
The Culinary

Everyone here is a hardcore foodie; the culinary is just so good! Prepared with lots of passion, the food here is rustic, spicy and ‘desi’. As I mentioned, it is also called The Rice Bowl of India; most items from the Chhattisgarhi culinary are dominated by rice. Some of the most common dishes are ‘Fara/Muthiya‘ and ‘Cheela‘ (Dosa-like dish prepared with rice batter). Just to enhance your experience, make sure you eat them with the special ‘tamatar chutney‘ (a mixture of tomato, chillies and some garlic). It will give you the tangy and spicy edge and balance out the rice made dish’s plain flavour. Most tribal & traditional dishes contain Green-leafy vegetables. Lal bhaji, Cholai bhaji, Kanda bhaji, Cheech bhaji, and god knows how many more types of bhajis! Some tribal people also make a special chutney from commonly available Red Ant, but let’s not go there.

Image source: Chhattisgarhi Thali via Shutterstock
The loving, kind, & helpful people

When I asked my friends what their favourite aspect of living in this state was, there was one thing common in each of their answers – the people! Chhattisgarh is a lit junction of people living in harmony with this beautiful blend of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and rituals. The first year of my moving in here was full of surprises. Enthusiasm was always in the air when it came to festivals. From Makar Sankranti to Christmas, every festival was celebrated with great zest. Chhattisgarhi people are very social and outgoing; they will help you in their full capacity. We definitely have very grand weddings too. 

Despite the presence of diversity, there are no communal disputes. Every individual respects each other, and therefore we even have a significantly low crime rate. 

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Image Source: Telibandha lake, Raipur, Chhattisgarh via shutterstock

We have great road safety; people have always been disciplined when it comes to signals and traffic rules, whether they are or are not under police supervision. I can go on and on about how polite and soft-spoken people are here. Thankfully enough, we are not even prone to any major natural disasters.

Artists support each other’s works & beautiful collaborations between organizations take place frequently. Everything mentioned above is evidence of the presence of harmony and love in this state.

Again, Chhattisgarh is so much more than this 1000 word article. I promise you would not regret your visit. As the tourism of the state calls it, it indeed is ‘Full Of Surprises’. I would urge you to visit Chhattisgarh someday and embark upon this journey of serendipity!

Written By

Curly head student journalist with a dazzling music taste and a pocket full of poetry. Accepts gifts in the form of white lilies or Spotify playlists.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Akash Dvivedi

    July 4, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Very Nice!

  2. vedant

    July 5, 2021 at 9:18 am

    That’s an amazing piece of information

  3. Neeraj

    July 5, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Very well explained . Superb

  4. Jack Ma

    July 5, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Amazing Content. Loved it. Keep it up!

  5. Mamta Patel

    July 5, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Beautifully described Anushka👌👌👌. Would surely plan to visit Chattisgarh

  6. Sajal Dewangan

    July 5, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Loved it. Keep it up

  7. Rama sakhuja

    July 5, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Superb Madam👏👏👏👏👏👏

  8. Priyanshi Sewani

    July 5, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Beautiful places. Beautiful works! I’m kinda amazed. 😍😍

    • Priyanshi Sewani

      July 5, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Words*

    • Swara Gokhale

      July 5, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      Great work!♥️

  9. Yash Pinjani

    July 5, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Amazing 😍👏🏻

  10. Garima

    July 5, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Fabulous

  11. Dhairya Dewangan

    July 5, 2021 at 9:57 am

    You really enhanced the beauty of Chhattisgarh with your words. Great work

    • Neha Dewangan

      July 5, 2021 at 10:31 am

      Amazing👏

  12. Khyati Dave

    July 5, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Well written… superb keep it up

    • Satyajeet adil

      July 5, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Awesome work,nice research too 😀

  13. Safiya Khanam

    July 5, 2021 at 10:49 am

    This was so enlightening and informative. Loved it.

  14. Arya ratna sharma

    July 5, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Amazing!

  15. Kashish Kedia

    July 5, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    Stupendous! Really a good content on Chhattisgarh. Keep it up😁

  16. Yogendra Maheshwari

    July 5, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Good information. It will change peoples perspective about chhattisgarh. Well explained

  17. Samir Dwivedi

    July 5, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Amazing…..

  18. Pratima Banerjee

    July 5, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I am highly elated aftter reading. Wonderful piece of writing=

  19. lakshya

    July 5, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    too good

  20. Ayushi Sahu

    July 5, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    I mean, WOW! 💝

  21. Ayushi Sahu

    July 5, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    This one’s AMAZING, gurl!🎉

  22. Aniruddh Udayan

    July 5, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Great work!! Waiting for more

  23. Saumya Singh

    July 6, 2021 at 7:19 am

    Indeed Incredible India

  24. Jaishree Tambi

    July 6, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Extremely informative!

  25. Nitin Raval

    July 6, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Very well described!! Will definitely visit chhattisgarh!!! Great..

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