Predominantly a forest area, it is the home of Marias and Murias, both extremely colorful and lively tribes, who have preserved their ancient culture. A shilpgram has been established by the germent to preserve and promote the tribal art and handisrafts of the area. Village Bastar was capital of Kakatiya rulers of a short period. An attractive temple of the 12-13th century can be seen here. Bastar was once one of the largest districts in India, bigger even than the state of Kerala and countries like Israel and Belgium. Its early history is obscure - it is believed to have been established in the 11th century by the Nagavanshi dynasty that had their capital at Barsu.
Jagdalpur, the district headquarters, is a small town, easily explorable on foot. It is green and beautiful. Believe it or not, you can walk left off the street and into the 70 year old Bastar palace, situated at one end of the main street. The erstwhile Royal Family still resides in one part, while another is being used as a medical college. Currently, there are no residential facilities here, but lunch can be arranged. There is a weekly haat (market) here on Sundays. Many wonderful waterfalls are nearby. The Ganga Munda and Dalpat Sagar lakes are on the river Indravati, which passes through Jagdalpur. Sprawling over 350 hectares, Dalpat Sagar is the largest artificial lake in Chhattisgarh. It was created over 400 years ago by Raja Dalpat Deo Kakatiya to harvest rain water. Today, it is a major source of fish. If you can wake up early enough, join in the ritual worship of the deity before watching the group fishing, where one group spreads the nets and the other group drives the fish into the nets by howling and beating water. Or, if you prefer, go boating (motor / pedal boats) on the lake, especially at sunset.
Dhamtari is situated in the fertile plains, irrigated by the Mahanadi River and Sendur, Pairy, Sondur, Joan, Kharun and Shivnath - its tributaries. Paddy is the main crop grown here. The Satpura range of mountains, popularly known as Sihawa Pahad, is to the east, Kanker is to the west, state capital Raipur to the north, and the state of Orissa to the south.
Dantewada, to the south of Bastar, derives its name from its presiding deity, Devi Danteshwari, the Goddess worshipped as an incarnation of Shakti (strength). It is believed to be one of the 52 sacred Shakti peethas (seat of Shakti, female power) of Hindu mythology. Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, is reputed to have taken shelter here during his 14 years of exile. At various times, the region has been ruled by the Nags, Satwahanas, Nalas and Chalukyas. Traces of Buddhism and Jainism dating back to the 3 rd century AD can be seen here.
Situated 38 km from Jagdalpur at a spot where the river Indravati has an abrupt fall of 96ft. The falls which are like Horse shoe curve are often compared to the Niagara Falls. Kuturmsar Caves The tribal calendar is full of festivals. Thes include harvest festivals like Navakhana ‘eating of the new crop’, matipuja ‘worship of earth’, goncha, the Chariot festival, etc. The most important of these in Bastar is the Dusshera when all the deities from all villages congregate at the temple of Danteshwari in Jagdalpur. The Dusshera in Bastar unlike the Dushera in other parts of India has nothing to do with the triumphant return of Rama to Ayodhya. Dusshera in Bastar is devoted entirely to the goddess, Devi Danteshwari.
An anthropological expo in Jagdalpur on the life and culture of the various tribes in Bastar This small but excellently documented and exhibited museum of the anthropological Society of India in Jagdalpur provides an excellent window view for the tourist.
Rajim, the Prayas of Chhattisgarh situated 49 km from Raipur on the confluence of the Mahanadi, Pairi and Sondur rivers, here is a beautiful temple of Vishnu, known as Rajivlochan, “The beautiful eyed one”. It is the most important temple constructed of bricks in the 8th-9th Century
Situated of 10 km from Rajim is the birthplace of Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya of Vaishanv sect. Here a temple was built in the first decade of 20 century by hills disciples. A fair is held every year in the month of January-February. Arang Situated at a distance of 34 km from Raipur, is famous for its 11th – 12th century temple. Though the temple is dilapidated but along with garbha-grih its top portion is intact.
Situated at a distance of 75 km from Raipur on the banks of the river Mahanadi is an important site because it was the capital of the kings of Sarabhapura and their successors in Dakshin Kosala.
Situated at a distance of 94 km from Bilaspur in Janjgir district on the confluence of Mahanadi, Sheonath and Jonk rivers A fair is held every year on magh purnima and is attended by thousands of dvotees. Five km away in Khand is an ancient Shiva temple of the early mediieval period.
Situated at a distance of 80 km from Bilaspur and 12 km from Sheonarayan is the birthplace of sant Ghasidas. It’s a pilgrimage for Satnami samaj.
Situated at a distance of 28 kms From Bilaspur on the banks of river Maniyari the picturesque temples found in the excavations are Deorahi-Jethani temple and a big statue of Lord Shiva named as Rudrashiva, the anantomy of the statue is made of different materials, a mouth is present even on the breast, stomach and knees of the statue. This is the only known statue of this type in the entire world.
Situated 48 km from Rajnandgaon Here there is famous Indira Arts and Music University established in the year 1956. Other ancient temples worth a visit are Rukhand swami temple, Danteshwari temple, Mahakali temple, Mahavir Temple and Bhadrakali temple.
Situated on the Mumbai-Howrah route in Rajnandgaon (36 km) district Bambleshwari Devi temple is at the top of Dongargarh hills and beneath the hills there is also Bambleshwari temple which attracts tourists.