The very first thing I saw from my window seat was the lush green fields beyond my horizon.The rain drops trickled down my face, a cold breeze just passed through me and I saw the white sheet of clouds in the sky as soon as I stepped out of the aircraft. And to my delight,I was standingin Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur. I was mesmerized.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I will be visiting Chhattisgarh as a travel destination had I not been selected for the FAM trip by the ChhattisgarhTourism Board. To be part of TWC2015, it not only gave me the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers and travel enthusiasts, but gave me the rare opportunity to see this incredibly beautiful state and experience the rich cultural heritage in person. A Big thank you to Shradhha Gupta for taking this initiative to establish Travel Wizards Club in India and allow us to be apart of it. I must tell you that when I was handed over the pocketbooks and the pamphlets of Chhattisgarh at TWC meet in Delhi, it had blown my mind away.It was a complete eye opener for me. At that very moment I decided to put Chhattisgarh on my bucket list.
I would call Chhattisgarh A Paradise Unexplored. Chhattisgarh is a complete surprise package for many. A state which is not only known for it’s history, cultural heritage, enchanting natural surroundings, pilgrimage, but also for its rich Tribal Culture. Known as The Tribal Planet of India, Chhattisgarh offers you a unique experience to live those rewarding moments in the abundant forest of Bastar.
While traveling in the southern part of Chhattisgarh, I have been just awestruck by everything passing by. Be it the natural surrounding, lush paddy green fields, deep forest,archeological sites,waterfalls, and the incredibly simple Tribal people. Every turn I took on the road just surprised me to the core. I felt as if I had found a Treasure hidden right in the Center of India.
There were stacks of those splendid moments I had during my trip, though here I am going to highlight a few of my EPIC MOMENTS in Chhattisgarh.
It was day One .I was travelling to Mohda from Raipur . Interestingly ,while traveling on the road towards Mohda, I noticed that the landscape was changing slowly. I was moving into the deep forest of Barnawapara Wildlife sanctuary. A sense of proximity with nature was vibrant in that hour. And I was thoroughly enjoying the untamed territory of the region.
My first epic moment happened when I went for the morning walk in the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary next morning. What a pristine view it was. The sound of chirping birds in complete silence sounded like a musical note to my ear . While walking through the narrow trails in the forest area , I became the part of the daily lifestyle of those villagers where
elderly people were just sitting with theircup of tea , a few were taking their domestic animalsto the field, small kids were jumping in the lake and smoke coming out of the kitchen from one of the houses. It was one of those moments for which I would keep visiting the remote corners of India on any given day. On top of it ,when I got my picture perfect portraitof the day, it made my day.
I was spellbound when I saw this epic structure in Sirpur called Surang Tila. I would call it an architectural wonder. This majestic architecture is a must visit in Sirpur. This Pyramid shaped architecture is basically a temple dating back to the 7th Century. It looked more like a Mayan Temple than an Indian one. The terrace of this beautifully structured temple was about 30 feet above the ground. Climbing those steep stairs to reach the temple was an experience like never before. I was pleasantly surprised to see an architecture like this. My Epic Moment came when I saw a group of Kawariyas just climbing those stairs to the temple . A perfect blend of colours and the magnificent architecture at the right moment.
And I was part of the most beautiful moment of the trip when I first saw the breathtaking Chitrakote waterfall . It was like poetry in motion. The falling water , the rising mist and the sound of water was so profound that it literally takes you to an another world.
Meeting tribal people and experiencing their cultural heritage was another highlight of the trip. I was delighted when I got the chance to see the tribal dance performance by the Muria Tribein Chitrakote arranged by Chhattisgarh tourism. The Geri dancewhich was beautifully performed by those young boys on stilts was something unique which I experienced for the very first time. I was mesmerized to see how they were dancing in rhythm with the music on the stills with such great ease.
My last and certainly not the least epic moment happened when I visited the heart of Tribal Planet called Bastar. Home to around 40 tribal communities, Bastar is truly a compelling destination to have a glimpse of the tribal culture , tradition and lifestyle of the people .
Bastar takes you to those undiscovered regions where people are still living with their ancient root and culture. A land of mystery which offers you one of the most unforgettable experiences of meeting with tribal people in the villages , sharing the smile with them even though we don’t understand each others language , and observe their lifestyle silently. I had one of those rewarding experiences when I went to the village called Mawlipadar and spent my entire day with a Dhurvva Tribal family, had most authentic tribal food and lived that unforgetable moments with them. The highlight of the day was when we were taken totheforest with the head of the family namedBudhraam to collect red ants to make the famous chutney called Chapura.The most interesting moment was when we were served the traditional cuisines like Daal , Bhaat ( Rice ) and Amaat in our lunch.
The kind of affection they showed while preparing the meal for us was undoubtedly the most striking moment for me.
Traveling through the places like national parks, archaeological sites, natural wonders, and meeting those tribal communities during my 7 days in Chhattisgarh was an enriching experience.
The mosaic of traditions, the spirituality, deep rooted cultural heritage and lifestyle of those tribal communities make Chhattisgarh an incredible travel destination in India.
Chhattisgarh is not just another tourist destination of India, but a land of mystery ,a land of pilgrimages , and a land of Natural wonders. Untouched by time,Chhattisgarh is a truly land of many Splendid Secrets. A land of Surprises.