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Chhattisgarh Travel Guide - Unveiling The Tourism Destinations In Chhattisgarh

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Chhattisgarh may not be a leading tourism destination in India just yet, but Chhattisgarh Tourism does have the potential to turn things around. From prehistoric caves to verdant forests, archeological sites to thundering waterfalls, cultural heritage to winding rivers, religious attractions to rich wildlife - this largely unexplored territory has the elements to cater to a diversified range of tourist flavors.

    Blessed with incredible natural splendor and rich historical legacy, Chhattisgarh is one of the most promising tourist destinations in India which is yet to fulfil its immense potential. The intention behind creating this Chhattisgarh Travel Guide is to introduce you to various aspects of tourism in Chhattisgarh, including the major tourism destinations in the state. Let's find out what are the things that make Chhattisgarh a 'must visit' place in India.


    Chhattisgarh is located in the central part of India, bordered by Odisha on the East, Madhya Pradesh on the West, Bihar and Jharkhand towards the North and Andhra Pradesh on the Southern side. In terms of total surface area, it is the 10th largest state in the country. The city of Raipur serves as Chhattisgarh's administrative capital.

    The topography of Chhattisgarh consists of hilly terrains in the Northern and Southern borders, while the central region is predominantly Gangetic plains. The entire state is crisscrossed by two mighty rivers, Mahanadi and Indravati. A whopping 42% of the total surface area is covered with deciduous forests, which is known to house a rich variety of wildlife.


    Chhattisgarh exhibits a typical tropical climate with hot summer days followed by a short spell of monsoon before winter sets in. The mercury level often goes beyond the 40°C mark during the summer time. The winter days are usually pleasant and considered as the best time to plan your trip.

    How to Reach Chhattisgarh?

    Chhattisgarh has a well-connected network of roadways and railways. NH-224 connects Chhattisgarh to Odhisa, while NH-6 and NH-69 link it to Madhya Pradesh. NH-111 is the life-line as far as the road connectivity to Bihar and Jharkand are in concern.

    Raipur or Bilaspur should be your entry points to Chhattisgarh if you prefer to travel by train. Both these places are well-connected to the rest of the country by the Indian Railways.

    Swami Vivekananda Airport at Raipur is the only major commercial airport in the state. It has daily flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore and Bhopal.

    Chhattisgarh Tourism & Tourist Attractions

    In order to provide you the desired information in an organized manner, the tourist attractions in Chhattisgarh are categorized in theme-based buckets. For example, nature lovers can explore the attractions listed under 'Scenic Nature', while the 'Heritage Sites' section will serve the archeology enthusiasts well.

    A. Scenic Nature:

    Chhattisgarh's scenic natural elements are sure to amaze the nature lovers. Besides the lush green forests, the rugged terrains of Chhattisgarh are home to several beautiful waterfalls, springs and lakes. Listed below are a few of the natural attractions in Chhattisgarh.

    1. Chitrakot Waterfalls (Jagdalpur)
    Chitrakot Waterfalls is located in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh, around 40 KM away from Jagdalpur town. The magnificent waterfalls is one of the most famous mascots of Chhattisgarh tourism. Formed by the Indravati River, which is a tributary of the Godavari, it is often compared with the world famous Niagara Falls for their resemblance in the way waters plunge down freely from a level rock spreaded across a huge area.

    Regarded as one of the most voluminous waterfalls in India with an width of over 300 meters when in full flow, it's a spectacular sight that can leave you spellbound. If you are looking for a little adventure, then it is possible to hire one of those country boats to get right below the waters flowing down. It can be a lot of fun to get yourself drenched with the sprays of water.

    The monsoon months of July and August can be the perfect time to catch Chitrakot at its splendid best.

    2. Tirathgarh Waterfalls (Kanger Ghati, Bastar)
    Located at Kanger Ghati in Bastar district, the Tirathgarh waterfalls is a 7-level cascading stream formed by the Kanger river before joining with Mungabahar river in the down-stream. You can walk down the levels and play in the waters also. Set amidst a picturesque valley, Tirathgarh waterfalls receives an influx of tourists during the post-monsoon season.

    3. Amrit Dhara Waterfalls (Koriya)
    Situated near Koriya, it is one of the most famous waterfalls in Chhattisgarh. After flowing along the rugged plains, the Hasdeo river suddenly jumps down from a height of 90 feet into a 15 feet wide gorge to create this beautiful waterfalls. The water cascading down the cliff creates a misty ambiance. It also holds religious importance and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva can be seen near the waterfalls.

    4. Rakasganda Waterfall (Balangi)
    Formed by the boisterous Rihnad (Ren) river in the Balarampur district, the Rakasganda Falls is another must visit attraction in Chhattisgarh. It is situated at a distance of around 60 KM from Wadraf Nagar. Dense forest cover surrounding the place adds to its scenic charm.

    5. Akuri Nala (Koriya)
    Situated near Bansipur village in Koriya, at a distance of 65 kilometers from Baikunthpur, the Akuri Nala waterfalls is a popular picnic spot. Set on a rocky plateau, the place amazes the tourists with a series of multiple adjacent falls.

    6. Gangrel Dam (Dhamtari)
    Built across the mighty Mahanadi River, the Gangrel Dam offers an excuisite landscape. A charming place with virgin islands and rich flora and fauna, it deserves to be on your list of must visit places in Chhattisgarh.
    The Chhattisgarh Tourism Board has developed the place as an adventure hub with the prospect of a variety of water sports. Row boating and paddle boating facilities are available for the romantic couples.

    7. Tandula Dam (Balod)
    Situated near Balod in Durg district, Tandula Dam is a wonderful picnic spot. Surrounded by paddy fields from all quarters, the area is popularly known as the 'Rice Bowl of Central India).

    8. Bango Dam (Korba)
    Constructed across the Hasdeo river, a major tributary of Mahanadi, this is the major power generating source in the state. Nestled in-between charming hills with verdant vegetation, the place has an unmissable scenic appeal to the tourists. Situated at a distance of 102 KM from the Bilaspur city, it is an ideal spot to relax and rejuvenate in the lap of nature.

    9. Tiger-Point Falls, Machli Point & Zalzali (Mainpat)
    Fondly referred to as the 'Shimla of Chhattisgarh, Mainpat is a charming destination atop a remotely located forested plateau, perched at an elevation of 3200 feet above the main sea level. In-fact Mainpat is way better than Shimla, especially because you need not have to encounter the hordes of tourists and hassles of tour agents. The verdant valley and hilly terrains of Mainpat are famous for their picturesque landscapes. Tiger Point waterfalls is a popular scenic attraction. Machali point has another nice little waterfalls. A dam has been constructed on the upstream of this waterfall which is a popular picnic spot and camping site. Other notable tourist places at Mainpat include Tattapani, Rakasganda, and Sitabengara.

    However, what amazes the tourists the most is a strange 'bouncing' land known as Zalzala. Apparently it's nothing more than a vast, dry area of land, but the fun starts as soon as step on to it. You will feel that the ground beneath your feet is actually moving. Try to jump a bit and you can see that the entire carpet of land starts to bounce! Actually there's a swamp below the surface which gives rise to this bouncing phenomenon!

    B. Heritage Sites:

    1. Bhoramdeo Temple (Kawardha)
    Fondly referred to as the 'Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh', the Bhoramdeo Temple is considered as the most delicately designed architectural marvel in Chhattisgarh. A Chhattisgarh tourism hotspot, the temple is located amidst the picturesque backdrop of Maikal mountains. This ancient structure was constructed in the 11th century. Built by King Ranchandra of the Nag dynasty, the temple is situated at Kawardha in Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh. Bhoramdeo temple is famous for its architectural brilliance. Excuisite stone carvings of various designs, motifs, figures and images engraved on the exterior walls deserve special mention.

    2. Badal Mahal and Ramtek Temple (Ratanpur)
    Situated at a distance of 25 KM from Bilaspur on the Katghora Road, Ratanpur used to serve as the capital of the famous Kalchurian kingdom. The Badal Mahal, a fort cum palace built by the Kalchurian Kings, is the most well-known archeological site at Ratanpur. The main entrance has some attractive sculpture like Shiva's Tandav dance and statues of Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu engraved on stone. Although some parts of this beautiful structure are now in ruins, it still attracts huge numbers of tourists from all over India. Situated on top of a hill, the place offers excellent hawk-eye view of the surrounding regions. The Ramtek temple situated right beside the fort is an example of Maratha architecture. It was constructed by Maratha king Bimbaji Bhonsle after dethroning the Kalchurian kings.

    3. Kanker Palace (Kanker)
    The Royal Palace of Kanker is a magnificent snow-white palace situated in the exceptionally beautiful and green surroundings of Kanker. The renovated form of historical Radhanivas Bagicha, Kanker Palace was originally built around the year 1880 AD and later renovated in the year 1937. Currently part of the palace serves as a heritage hotel, while the remaining portion is occupied by the Royal family.


    The elegant Kanker Palace exhibits a great deal of influence from the colonial architecture. The design elements are inspired by the famous Victoria Memorial of Kolkata. There is a well-maintained park surrounding the magnificent palace which gives it a picturesque outlook. The huge Deewan Talab in front of the palace offers boating facility for the tourists.

    4. Kawardha Palace (Kawardha)
    Situated amidst picturesque surroundings of Maikal mountain ranges, the magnificent Kawardha Palace is perched on an elevation of around 1000 meters above the sea level. Constructed by King Dharamraj Singh, this huge 11-acre royal enclave was built using Italian white marbles. It exhibits a mix of tradional Indian and continental architecture and features a huge dome at the center. The sprawling garden surrounding the palace adds to its scenic charm.

    5. Bastar Palace (Jagdalpur)
    Bastar Palace is like a tourism mascot to Chhattisgarh. This beautiful heritage site is situated at Jagdalpur town in the Bastar district. Encircled by a lush green garden, the palace was built when the Bastar rulers shifted their capital from Barsur to Jagdalpur in the early parts of the 19th century. Built in a traditional Indian style of architecture, the main attraction of this palace is the exquisite carvings and engravings that are visible on the interior walls and ceilings. Don't forget to visit the heritage museum inside the palace complex which is maintained by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board.

    6. Chaiturgarh Fort (Lafagarh)
    One of the prominent historical attractions in the Korba district, the Chaiturgarh fort is also popular as Lafagarh. This 10th century fortress is a protected monument under the supervision of Archeological Survey of India. Perched on top of the Mekaal mountains at an elevation of 3050 feet above the sea level, it was one of the strongholds of Kalchurian dynasty. It was constructed during the rulings of Kalchurian King Prithvideva I. Tourists can also pay a visit to the famous Mahishasur Mardini temple situated near this fort. Another important heritage attraction here is the Shankar Caves, which is believed to be constructed during the medieval era.

    7. Gadiya Mountain & Jogi Gufa (Kanker)
    Jogi Gufa, also known as Jogimara Caves, is a historic cave shelter located at the southern part of Gadiya mountains in Kanker. Gadiya mountain is the highest point in the Kanker region and it served as the capital of King Dharma Dev belonging to the Kandra dynasty. The cave is believed to be used as a hideout for the royal family members during the time of wars.

    8. Kutumsar Caves (Jagdalpur)
    Kutumsar caves are located in close proximity to the Tirthagarh waterfalls in Kanger valley, around 40 KM away from the Jagdalpur town. Kutumsar caves, measuring over 2 KM in length, is the longest natural cave formation in the world. It attracts a lot of archelogy buffs and adventure tourists from all over India. There is a second natural cave located nearby. Although much smaller in length and diameter, the Kailash cave too is a major attraction in this region.

    9. Laxman Temple (Sirpur)
    Located at Sirpur, this is one of the finest brick-made temples in India. Built in the 7th century, the Laxman temple is situated on the eastern bank of Mahanadi river. It is one of the most decorated heritage site in Chhattisgarh tourism map. The place is a popular destination for the history and heritage enthusiasts due to its intricate carvings and sculptures depicting various mythological characters. The traditional Indian erotic art form is distinctly evident in the sculptures and carvings found at the site. The temple is under the supervision of Archeological Survey of India. There is a museum inside the temple complex which houses some valuable artifacts recovered during excavations.

    10. Buddhist Ruins at Sirpur
    Sirpur is steadily becoming a popular tourist destination in Chhattisgarh - mainly due to the various Buddhist monuments discovered here during excavations. It used to be an important centre of Buddhism between the 6th and the 10th centuries. The place had also found mention in the works of the famous Chinese philosopher Huien Tsang, who had described the place as a pillar of Buddhsim in Central India.

    The Buddha Vihara at Sirpur, which dates back to the 8th century, is one of the oldest and most significant Buddhist monasteries in India. Excavations have revealed the remains of over 100 brick-made structures which once served as the home to nearly 10000 Buddhist monks and followers. Archeological remains, relics, excavated temples and ruins are strewed around the entire site making it a must visit archeological site for the history enthusiasts.

    Built during the Gupta Period by Mahashivgupt Balarjun, you will be amazed by the architectural brilliance of this Buddha Vihara. This amazing brick construction flaunts underground rooms, stone pillars with wonderful inscriptions, Buddha statues and metal idols relating to the Buddhist era. Unmatched sculptural skills are evident on the intricately carved doorway which depicts various scenes and legends from Gautam Buddha's life.

    11. Barsur Twin Ganesha Temple
    Located on the banks of the Indravati River, about 75 KM away from Jagdalpur, Barsur was once an epicenter of Hindu civilization. Today the place is famous for the ruins of many ancient temples dating back to the 10th century. The biggest attraction however is the twin Ganesha Temple. While the temple complex is mostly in ruins, two huge sandstone statues of Lord Ganesh, about 8 feet tall and 17 feet wide, have amazingly remained intact. The place attracts both heritage tourists and religious folks in equal numbers.

    C. Religious Attractions:

    1. Mahamaya Temple (Ambikapur)
    Constructed in 1050 AD, the Mahamaya Temple is a pilgrimage as well as historical attraction. Located at Ambikapur near Bilaspur city, this ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Durga was constructed during the ruling of King Ratnasen of Kalchurian dynasty. It is one of the oldest temples in Chhattisgarh which is still functional.

    2. Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple (Raipur)
    Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple is one of the prominent religious attractions in the state. Located on the banks of Kharun river, it was built in 1402 by Hajiraj Naik during the rule of Brahmadeo Rai. The temple is famous for its 'Linga' which is believed to have self emerged from the ground, due to which the temple is also know as Swayambhu Temple.

    3. Danteshwari Temple (Dantewada)
    Located at the confluence of the Dankini and Shankini rivers, the Danteshwari Temple is one of the 52 'Shakti Peethas' found in India. It was built by the Kings of Bastar in honor of their family Goddess, Devi Danteshwari. Situated at Dantewada, around 50 KM away from Jagdalpur, the temple is visited by millions of devotees throughout the year. Dussera festival is celebrated here with great fanfare and during that time the temple experiences heavy rush of pilgrims.

    4. Pragya Giri (Dongargarh)
    Pragya Giri is a Buddhist pilgrimage center located at Dongargarh in Rajnandgaon district. Perched on top of a hill, this Buddha Vihara is famous for its huge Golden Buddha statue. Located at an elevation of over 1000 feet. the place also offers amazing bird's eye view of the surrounding areas.

    5. Gandheshwar Temple (Sirpur)
    Sirpur is a famous pilgrimage center in Chhattisgarh and the main attraction over there is the Gandheshwar Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated on the northern bank of Mahanadi river. It receives a huge influx of visitors during the Maha Shivratri festival. A unique feet of the temple is that it was constructed using the remains of ancient Hindu temples and Buddha Viharas.

    6. Kunkuri Cathedral (Joshpur)
    Kunkuri Cathedral is situated at a distance of 40 km from Jashpur. It is Asia's second largest Catholic Church with a seating capacity of 5,000. It took 15 years to construct this highly decorated structure. A great deal of influence from the Gothic architectural style is evident in the design elements. It is embroidered with seven arcades with protruded balconies. A beautiful shrine, dedicated to Mother Mary, can be seen in front of the cathedral building.

    7. Buddhist Monasteries at Mainpat
    Mainpat has a large population of Tibetan migrants, who took refuge in India after the Chinese annexation of Tibet in 1959. Hence it is often called as “Mini Tibet” of India. The Tibetan settlement is divided into various villages known as 'Camps'. There are quite a few Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Tibetan capms at Mainpat.

    Dhakpo Monestary (Camp 1) is the most beautiful among those. Although not a huge structure, the colorful design and peaceful ambience make it a place worth visiting. It was established by the Gelug sect of Buddhism followers. There is another equally impressive monastery at Camp 3, which is under the supervision of Drokpa sect.

    D. Wildlife

    1. Kanger Valley National Park (Jagdalpur)
    By far the most visited wildlife attraction in the state of Chhattisgarh, the Kanger Valley National Park is a must visit place for wildlife enthusiasts. The scenic forest is located on the banks of Kholaba River at a distance of around 27 KM from Jagdalpur town in the Bastar district. Spread across an area of over 200 square kilometers comprising mainly of hilly terrains, valleys and wetlands, this national park is one of the best places to spot the elusive Bengal Tiger. Besides the big cats family, Kanger Valley National Park is home to 49 species of mammals, 37 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians and over 150 varieties of birds. It is the original habitat for the Bastar Hill myna, the state bird of Chhattisgarh.

    2. Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary (Deogaon)
    Sprawling across an area of 556 square kilometers, this is the largest wildlife reserve in Chhattisgarh in terms of area. Named after the Sitanadi River which is a tributary of Mahanadi, this wildlife sanctuary is frequented by wildlife enthusiasts throughout the year. Sitanadi is especially famous for its collection of native and migratory birds and it is a very popular weekend getaway among the bird-watchers in central India.

    3. Achanakumar Tiger Reserve (Bilaspur)
    Wildlife lovers should not miss the chance to take a jungle safari at Achanakumar Wildlife Sanctuary near Bilaspur city. Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1975, this protected forest is famous for its riches of flora and fauna. Interested tourists can opt for Jeep Safari through the buffer and core areas of the national park. The tropical moist deciduous forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife species including tiger, leopard, bison, bear, sambar, spotted deer, hyena and wild buffalo. You can also spot numerous species of endemic birds during your safari ride.

    4. Gomarda Wildlife Sanctuary (Sarangarh)
    Gomarda Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest protected biodiversity hotspots in Chhattisgarh. It is located near Sarangarh town in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh and serves as a perfect tourist destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. You are allowed to take your own vehicle inside the sanctuary, but guided Safari tours conducted by the forest department is your best bet to spot wildlife here. Wild animals which can be easily spotted during safari rides include leopard, dhole, elephant, jackal, bison, nilgai, Sambar, chital, and chinkara.

    E. Festivals:

    1. Bastar Dusshera:
    One of the most famous festivals in Chhattisgarh is Dusshera, especially in the Bastar region. Danteshwari Temple is the epicenter of all Dusshera related celebrations. However the Bastar Dusshera is quite different from the other parts of India as it has nothing to do with the return of Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. For the tribal villages in Chhattisgarh, Dusshera is entirely dedicated to Devi Maoli, who is believed to be the elder sister of Devi Danteshwari. During this festival, hundreds of priests from all over the state bring flower-decorated local deities from the tribal villages to the Danteshwari temple in Jagdalpur. The temple complex comes alive with traditional dances performed by the priests to appease the Goddess and seek her blessings. It is celebrated with great fanfare in all the tribal villages as well.

    2. Madai Festival
    Madai festival is another important festival of Chhattisgarh which is celebrated by the tribal community. It is celebrated to seek the blessings of local Gods/Goddesses of different tribal settlements. The festival is held in a big ground at the respective villages and it involves procession, worship and cultural programs. The tribal dances are the highlight of this festivals. With the tunes of flutes, beats of drums and other traditional musical instruments, the tribal people perform various dance forms dressed in colorful traditional attires.

    3. Goncha Festival:
    Goncha festival is truly a unique and one of its kind festival celebrated by various tribes. It's perhaps the best time to visit Chhatisgarh if you want to catch glimpses of inimitable tribal culture. One of the customs associated with Goncha festival is to make a pistol or 'goncha' using bamboo sticks and use 'tukki', which is actually a round-shaped fruit, as the bullets to shoot at each other for fun and amusement. The cheerful vives, vigorous celebrations and enthusiastic ambience make it a remarkable occasion to witness.

    4. Sirpur Dance and Music Festival
    Sirpur National Dance and Music Festival has been a huge success in the recent years. It is organized every year in the month of January by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board to promote the native cultures and art forms. It not only attracts cultural tourists from other parts of India, but also has great appeal to the international tourists.


    This is a spectacular festival that showcases various dance and music forms of Chhasttisgarh at one platform. Over the years, it has made a special place of its own in the cultural arena of the state. The main attractions are the dance performances, although various vocal and instrumental music are also performed. Alongside the cultural programme, workshops based on folk dances, handicrafts and musical instruments of Chhattisgarh are also organized. Several renowned artists perform Indian classical, folk and tribal art forms during this grand cultural extravaganza to represent the rich cultural heritage of the state.

    5. Phagun Madai
    It's a week-long celebration that coincides with the 'holi' festival celebrated in the other parts of India. The colorful festival is celebrated with tribal dances based on various traditional folklores. A fair is organized at the villages to mark the end of this 7-days festive period.

    Where to Stay in Chhattisgarh:

    The major cities of Chhattisgarh like Raipur, Bilaspur and Jagdalpur has plenty of hotels and guest houses to accommodate the tourists. Given below are a few of the popular and reliable hotels located in different tourist destinations across the state.

    NoHotelLocationMinimum TariffContact
    1Hotel MayankRaipurINR 600(+91) 77140 95043
    2Kanishka HotelRaipurINR 1200(+91) 77142 66962
    3Hotel DolphinRaipurINR 1600(+91) 77140 36001
    4Hotel Shamrock InternationalRaipurINR 2000(+91) 77142 99111
    5Hyatt RaipurRaipurINR 4200(+91) 77142 41234
    6Central Point HotelBilaspurINR 800(+91) 77522 24004
    7Surya Hotel BilaspurINR 1500(+91) 77524 01031
    8Hotel Intercity InternationalBilaspurINR 2500(+91) 77524 09413
    9Courtyard BilaspurBilaspurINR 3500(+91) 77524 32222
    10Hotel East ParkBilaspurINR 4000(+91) 77524 28999
    11Atithi InnJagdalpurINR 500(+91) 77822 32533
    12Hotel AkankshaJagdalpurINR 800(+91) 77822 25335
    13Chetak HotelJagdalpurINR 1250(+91) 88892 61333
    14Hotel Devansh ResidencyJagdalpurINR 2200(+91) 77822 21199
    15Namanbastar HotelJagdalpurINR 3500(+91) 77822 04901
    16Hotel SatyamDurgINR 800(+91) 78840 12572
    17Hotel Dream PalaceDurgINR 1500(+91) 78840 51500
    18Hotel The AvalonDurgINR 2500(+91) 78822 55533
    19Hotel Rajkamal KoriyaINR 1500(+91) 78052 33528
    20Hotel Hasdeo InnKoriyaINR 2500(+91) 78061 33666
    Hope this Chhattisgarh travel guide will prove to be helpful to those who are looking to visit this amazing land of diversified attractions. Chhattisgarh is a treasure chest full of surprises! Rest assured, a tour to Chhattisgarh will provide you with wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016