Bastar is a tribal region in Chhattisgarh, blessed with an exceptional scenic beauty that beckons the lovers of nature to explore the forests, waterfalls, wildlife, ancient temples, tribal dances and music. Bastar is also acknowledged as the ‘Kashmir of Chhattishgarh’. Located at a distance of 264 km from Raipur, Bastar is one of the most significant eco-friendly destinations of the country. It has plenty to offer to its visitors with its valuable tribal art and culture that lie in and around the lush green city of Jagdalpur. One can choose from National Parks, waterfalls, natural caves, palaces, museums and places of religious significance.
The Bastar Palace located in Jagdalpur is a historical monument which has an impressive art and architectural work with exquisite carvings and engravings on walls and ceilings. Bastar Palace was built by the rulers of Bastar and speaks of many legends of gallantry and heroism of these kings.
The Bhoromdeo Temple is adorned with magnificently carved erotic sculptures. It also has a Shiva Lingam which is a striking piece of architecture. The Danteshwari Temple is an ancient temple of Devi Danteshwari and is said to be one of the 52 sacred Shakti peethas of the Hindu Mythology. The temple attracts tourists throughout the year, especially during the festival of Dusshera.
Located on the banks of the Indrawati river, about 75 km (a one and a half to two hour drive) to the south west of Jagdalpur, Barsoor was once an epicentre of Hindu civilization. It is believed that there were once 147 temples and an equal number of ponds here. The ruins of these temples, dating back to the 10 th and 11 th centuries (i.e. over 1,000 years old) can be seen even today. Some beautiful images of Lord Vishnu can also be seen.
One Shiva temple, with 12 carved stone pillars, has nude figures on the outside. Another Shiva temple has 32 carved stone pillars, a black granite Nandi (Shiva's carrier) bull, and two sanctum sanctorum, with a common court. The ruins of this temple have been recently restored. A 50 foot high temple, known locally asMama-bhanja-ka-mandir (temple of the maternal uncle and nephew), is in good condition, but lacks an idol. It is not clear to which deity the temple was consecrated, or even if it was ever consecrated. The biggest attraction though, is the Ganesha Temple. While the temple itself is in ruins, two sandstone images of Ganesh, both in the aspect of Maha-Ganapati, are amazingly intact. The larger of these, and the more impressive, is about 8 feet high and over 17 feet wide.
The Kanger Valley National Park, based near the Kholaba River has amazing wilderness and rich biodiversity. For nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, it is a perfect place to be. Wildlife here includes panther, tiger, bear, snakes, jackals, langurs, and many species of deer’s. One can also spot numerous varieties of birds perching at the tree tops.
The Bairamgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, with its striking landscapes is famous for Chital that are found roaming in open grasslands as well as dense forests. The Indravati National Park is another significant national park of the Bastar region.
Natural caves abound in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. Located in the Kanger Forest near Jagdalpur is the 330 meters long Kutumsar Cave, which is the second longest natural cave in the world. The caves are pitch-dark, enclosing stalactite formation of the Shiva Lingam. The Kailash Cave,located nearby, is also well-known for its natural carving of the idol of Lord Shiva. Other impressive caves in the Bastar region are the Dandak Cave, Kanger Cave, Karpan Cave, and Devgiri Cave, among others.
The natural landscape of Bastar encompasses many beautiful waterfalls, both big and small, surrounded with lush green forests. The horse-shoe shapedChitrakoot Falls is the largest waterfall in India, and a major tourist attraction. The Tirathgarh waterfall located in the Kanger Forest is a wonderful site which also has an old Shiv-Parvati temple at the spot. Other smaller waterfalls include Kanger Dhara, Mandawa Waterfall, Chitradhara, and Tamada Ghumar.
Spread across thick bamboo forests is the huge Bhainsa Darha Lake, which inhabits crocodiles and tortoises. Dalpat Sagar is the largest artificial lake of Chhattisgarh and a major source of fish. The Anthropological Museum provides a valuable insight into the history, culture, and lifestyle of the various tribes of Bastar.
Enriched with natural beauty and pleasant atmosphere, Bastar is an adventurer’s delight and a nature lover’s paradise. Visitors to Bastar retreat to their city life refreshed and revived!