If you are looking for a place where you can find lush green dense forests, beautiful mountains and valleys, lively rivers, waterfalls, natural caves, diverse wildlife along with the blend of colorful cultures, Bastar is a perfect place for you.
There is more in Bastar other than picturesque scenes i.e. fascinating culture, ancient architectural monuments (including beautiful temples) and lots of solitude.
Bastar is mainly a mix of Gonds, Murias and Marias tribes. Each tribe has its own distinct dress, culture and way of life and they can easily be differentiated by their specific costumes, jewellery, headdresses, baskets and tools. The main tribes in Bastar are Gond, Abhujmaria, Bison-horn Maria, Muria, Halbaa, Bhatra, Parja and Dhurvaa.
Gonds are world famous for their ‘Ghotul’ system of marriages. In this system, the unmarried young boys and girls live together in separately made huts and allowed to mingle and practice everything they desire. During this period they interact and enjoy themselves by participating in dancing, music, local story telling and much more in a drunken mood. If everything goes well and they are happy after this, they can get out of the Ghotul (Hut) and marry.
Divorces, remarriages, widow marriages, marriages with the wives of the brothers and between brothers and sisters are common. One of the unique characteristics of the Gonds marriages is that the groom has to pay bridal price to the father of the girl which is opposite to the Hindu culture practiced all over India.
We started our Journey from Raipur in a tempo traveler which is a luxury small 12 seater bus (operated by CG tourism). The 300 kms road from Raipur to Bastar is mostly good. You will get lots of small town in between where you will find everything which you need in the midst of a travel. Lots of good small restaurants are there in Dhamtari, Charama and Kanker. There is dense forest and mountainous roads in this ride. Just make sure that you have black polythene with you for emergencies.
Once you reach the place called Chitrakote Waterfalls you will forget your 300 kms long journey. It’s an awesome waterfall and if you are staying in the Chattisgarh tourism guest houses located in the nose of the waterfall, than you are in for a great time. It can be called as the little Niagra falls. It’s a beautiful fall. In summers when the water is little less than you can hire a small boat for 8 to 10 people with 500 to 800 INR and go near the fall. Its an amazing experience and one must try as this was the best experience for us in Bastar.
Located 50 Km from Jagdalpur is the crescent moon shaped Chitrakoot waterfalls. River Indravati plummets down from the Vindhya mountain ranges and forms these waterfalls.
The Chattisgarh tourism guest house is good with all amenities like AC, Nice Bed, and clean bathrooms. The only problem is service. If you are in honeymoon it’s a wonderful thing as you will be alone and nobody will disturb you. If you are hungry, you have to go to the restaurant, which is 500 meters away from the rooms. People can bring all sort of things as well on call but it takes minimum 15-20 minutes. The simple food is nice and you can ask the cook to prepare vegetables according to your choices.
Major other Destinations
Kanger Valley National Park: Kanger Valley was declared a National Park in 1982 by GOI. It has breathtaking wild and abundant flora and fauna. 27 Km from Jagdalpur its one of the most beautiful and picturesque national parks of India. Spread over an area of approximately 200 km2 consisting mainly of hilly terrain, the Park derives its name from the Kanger River.
Wildlife here includes panther, tiger, bear, snakes and many species of deer’s.
Indravati National Park: This park derives its name from Indravati river which flows through it. Located in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. With a total area of approximately 2799.08 km2, Indravati attained the status of a National Park in 1981 and a Tiger Reserve in 1983 under the famous Project Tiger of India, to become one of the most famous tiger reserves of India.
Tirathgarh Waterfalls: Tirathgarh, 32 Km from Jagdalpur is famous for this waterfall that drops into Mugabahar river. You need to decent down by a lot of steps. Keep sufficient water. On getting down the steps you will have glimpse of 50 meter fall where water looks white as the fall has lots of steps from which water flows down,
Kutumsar Cave: This underground cave is 330 metres in length and is known to be the second longest natural cave in the world. It is about 32 Km from Jagdalpur and was discovered in the year 1900. There are stairs at the entrance which is very narrow and it’s not advisable for old age people and kids as there is less oxygen inside the cave. Once inside, you can see stalactite formations. The cave has many connecting compartments most of them still unexplored.
Kailash Cave: 40 metres above the ground level and 200 metres in length, this cave derives its name from the natural carving of the idol of Lord Shiva. It is located on a small hill in the Kanger Valley National Park. It was discovered in 1993 and the salt deposits here, called the music point, sound musical when tapped with a stone. Presently solar energy is used to light this cave. The Stalagmite and Stalactite formations inside the cave are beautiful.
Dandak Cave: This underground cave was discovered in 1995. It is 200 metres in length and divided into two compartments. To go from the first compartment to the second, you need to go on your knees. White stalactite formations here look resplendent. Solar lamps are used to light the cave.
The whole area of Bastar has many smaller caves such as Kanger, Karpan and Devgiri among others. All the caves are a geologist delight as their rocks are said to be millions of years old.
Other than this Bastar has a lot of destinations which includes Danteshwari Temple, Bastar Palace, Anthropological Museum, Barsoor (famous for its temples dating from the 10th and 11th centuries), Keshkal, Garhganora, Narayanpal, Bhongpal, Samlur, Chingitarai, Bade Dongar, Dantewada, and Narayanpur.
There are no problems faced by tourists from Naxalites. You will not feel there presence at all and can easily travel the place without any concern. Just an advice, try to return your staying place before sunset. At Night the place can be a little scary. There is no night life as the place is a small place but you can have a great time with your near and dear ones without any outside disturbances,
Located in the southern parts of the state of Chhattisgarh, Bastar is surrounded by the district of Dantewra in the south and Kanker in the North. It shares its borders with the states of Maharashtra in the west and Orissa in the east. Placed around 300 kms from the state capital of Raipur.
How to Get There ??
Jagdalpur is in Chattisgarh state and is 300 Km from Raipur and 313 Km north-west of Vishakhapatnam. The nearest airports and railheads are Raipur and Vishakhapatnam. Hyderabad is 565 Km from Jagdalpur. The best time to visit is between the months of November to June. During the monsoons the caves are closed for visitors as water fills in them.
It’s always advisable to take a cab from Raipur or Vishakhapatnam directly or book in to Chattisgarh tourism package. They will take care of everything. So just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful yet mysterious place called Bastar in Chattisgarh.