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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chhattisgarh


December 2012

Chandni chowk at Jagdalpur
Chhattisgarh (or at least the southern part of it) could have been an excellent driving destination from Bengaluru. With a halt at Hyderabad/Bhadrachalam, one could have covered this distance in 2 days. But unfortunately, Naxals prowl the area between Konta and Sukma in Chhattisgarh making this journey risky.  And naturally the National Highway here is in a pretty bad condition. All these factors made me drop this plan of driving to Chhattisgarh few years ago.


This time I decided to reach Chhattisgarh from Vishakhapatnam. Getting train ticket from Araku to Jagdalpur in Bastar district was not a problem as most of the tourists return back to Vizag from Araku.  The train leaves Araku at 10:50AM and reaches Jagdalpur at 4PM meandering through remote hills and valleys dominated by tribes.  It is a great experience to see “real” tribals in each station. They try to sell variety of local fruits for ridiculously low price. But if you want to have proper food, it is better to carry something from Araku as the only major station on the way is Koraput. This is the only place you get bottled water. Though only one passenger train runs on this track, the route itself is busy with goods train carrying minerals. At every station, you can see a good train waiting for signal.

A lake seen from train

But, why should one visit Chhattisgarh?
For waterfalls and forests!! It is a state larger than Bihar or West Bengal or even Tamil Nadu!! And nearly 40% of it is covered by forests. Road conditions are much better and the Government seems to be trying hard to promote tourism.



Is it safe?
The name Chhattisgarh is synonymous with Maoists and the problem is real. But most of the tourist areas we visit are outside the control area of Naxalites. The battle is in the deep jungles of the state. And it is not easy for tourists to venture into Naxal territories. Things have improved a little over past one year as attacks on civilians have reduced. The issues that we might face are when railways stop their services when they get information about Naxal movement in the area. Then we have to use some alternate mode of transport to reach the destination. And other issue is when Maoists or Political parties call for a bandh. The main reason for band would be to protest against the death of Naxals or police/civilians.

Kolab reserviour near  Koraput

But in general, I feel that it is quite safe for tourists in Chhattisgarh as long as he sticks to the normal tourists trails.



Stay and travel
For Bastar region, Jagdalpur is the starting point. It is connected by train to Vishakhapatnam, Bhuvaneshwar and Calcutta. Jagdalpur has wide range if hotels that fits into various budget requirements. Hiring a private taxi is the best mode of travel. Public transport and shared cabs are also available for popular places.

Hills near Koraput (Taken from train)

14 comments:

Srikanth Manjunath said...

A very safe and detailed information on the wonderful piece of land in our country. Nice pictures, and narration!

Team G Square said...

Great .

padmini said...

Thanks a ton Aravind you explored Chhattisgarh and gave details about this place.Chhattisgarh is my native land still i have not explored Bastar region which has series of waterfall and dense forest because of same problem you have mentioned.After reading your current detail i am going to plan for it soon.Thanks for sharing.

R Niranjan Das said...

Exciting place. Your post is a lovely inviting teaser. Good one!

http://www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

Santosh bs said...

Nice to read about the positive developments, wish to visit the places sometime :)

Aravind GJ said...

Srikanth, Dhiraj, NIranjan,
Thanks!!

Padmini,
Nice to hear that this post helped your to plan for the trip!!

Santosh,
Yes. It is a nice place to visit.

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Well written post with lovely pictures...

Jatdevta Sandeep said...

छत्तीसगढ़ में इतिहास से सम्बंधित बहुत कुछ छिपा है।

Srikanth Manjunath said...

Congratulations Aravind!

Your blog featured in list of 30 top travel blogs of India!

http://www.hoteldepot.in/blog/travel/30-top-travel-blogs-in-india-in-2013/

Aravind GJ said...

Vineeta,
Thanks for your comments.

Srikanth,
Thanks for sharing this information!! Never thought that my blog will figure there!!

Jack Witson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David John said...

A perfect info source. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic
driving in singapore

Aravind GJ said...

Jack,
Thanks. And its true that most reading happen on Mondays!!

David,
Thanks.

dimpy roy said...

Pictures are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. Chhattisgarh (State of Chhattisgarh)is a state in Central India. The state was formed on November 1, 2000 by partitioning 16 Chhattisgarh (State of Chhattisgarh)i-speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh. Raipur is the capital of Chhattisgarh (State of Chhattisgarh), which is the 10th largest state in India, with an area of 135,190 km (52,200 sq mi). Check out all best hotels in Durg also.