From Chhattisgarh, with love: Chitrakoot Falls and Rainbow

Distant view of Chitrakoot Waterfalls
                                                                  Distant view of Chitrakoot Waterfalls

Late morning, Sun rose over the endless green of Sal forest which is occasionally punctuated with abyss of Paddy fields.  Colorful memories of processions which dominated the streets of Jagdalpur were still present as if Dussehra will never stop.  City dwellers were gearing again for the next evening, shops were opening the doors, diffident tribals continued ramble across the streets, Panipuri (Roadside Snack) vendors rolled their wooden vehicle to find a favorable place for evening fate. I hit the bus stand, gulped a cup of tea before boarding a wrong bus to Chitrakoot waterfalls. Despite being the prime attraction of Bastar region, Chitrakoot falls are scantly connected with public transport. 30 minutes in a bus which fortunately did not leave to another direction, it triggered the usual suspicion and I inquired again about Chitrakoot falls which happen to be only reachable by ever decelerating buses (practically it is just a tin body over two pairs of wheels).
Handicrafts at Chitrakoot falls
                                                               Handicrafts at Chitrakoot falls

 

How to reach Chitrakoot Falls: Situated 38 km in the northwest of Jagadalpur, Chitrakoot falls is ironically scantly connected with public buses. Shabby Buses to Chitrakoot falls depart from Agrasen trisquare (Opposite to Anupama Cinema).  There are only 3-4 buses in a day and journey time is nearly 2 hours as bus will stop at all the Village haats en route. For return journey, the last bus from Chitrakoot falls to Jagdalpur departs at 5:00 PM in the evening. Alternatively, there are shared autos to other villages (Potanar, Badanji) those fall on Jagdalpur-Chitrakoot road. Impromptus travelers can rely on hitch-hiking.  Amiable land of Bastar is blessed with generous people always ready to offer you a ride. If you like convenient travel then hire a private car from Jagdalpur.

Stay and Food around Chitrakoot Falls:

Being the key attraction of Chhattisgarh, Chitrakoot falls has got high-end resort from Chhattisgarh tourism.  Resort is built on the ridge opposite to waterfall offering spectacular views from the balconies of most of the rooms. Besides resort, there are also bamboo huts overlooking the waterfalls. Chitrakoot does not have wide-range of accommodation options. Government resort has got its own restaurants which prepares decent regular meals. There is also handful of roadside dabbas busy in boiling tea, selling biscuits and cold drinks. You would not find regular restaurants/Dabbas near and enroute chitrakoot falls. Most of the travelers prefer to stay in Jagdalpur and visit Chitrakoot falls at day trip.

Indravati plunging into deep chasm
                                                                     Indravati plunging into deep chasm

 

Headed to Anupama Cinema which is the terminal for the buses to Chitrakoot falls, boarded a worn-out bus, 30 minutes passed and then more and finally it started crawling over the nicely paved roads. As it was exiting the town of Jagdalpur towards enchanting verdant green countryside of Bastar, I saw an office of “Anthropological survey of India”, organization primarily researching human and cultural aspects of indigenous populations. For research scholars, Bastar is certainly a laboratory to study culture, custom of the tribes in central India. For those interested into ethnographic objects, there is also an anthropological museum in the outskirt of the town, displays rare items related with the style of living, custom of tribes of Bastar region.
Wooden boat in Indravati River
                                                                 Wooden boat in Indravati River

Later in the day as blazing sun lifted to higher angles, sluggish bus taken the road through the green ranches as if it was sailing across the green ocean. Its laid-back movements were certainly closer to sailing than to driving. Traveling in public transport also offered me another chance to get closer to tribes of Bastar district. Most of the co-passengers in the bus were tribal returning from Bastar Dussehra.  Wearing the metal ornaments in exceptional pattern, wrapping thin fabric around the body, with hair tangled gracelessly, these reticent souls were gazing me when I was gazing outside. In a short while, as expected, bus went kaput. From the conversation around, I realized its common incident and bus resumed its journey again.
Silt flooded Indravati River
                                                                     Silt flooded Indravati River

It stopped at many villages en-route and I also got a chance to see one of the biggest village haats. It was more vibrant than the one I had seen near Barsoor.  Besides usual stuff like Red ant chutney, liquor from spirits fermented cereals, vegetables, spices, medicinal plants, locally weaved cloths; there were also wooden handicrafts, stone artwork and other stuff on trade. Everyone was deeply engrossed trading the item of their. Villages haats are indeed the life-line of Bastar where everyone congregate, appreciate each-other works, gets rewarded, learn, love,…it’s unlike modern day business place where we trade stuff…even trade love and even wisdom (to the pedants)… entranced by the beauty of self-effacing land of Bastar, I could not keep track of time and only gotten come out of reverie when I approached to gushing sound of roaring falls. Here I was, at Chitrakoot falls.
Chitrakoot waterfall near Jagdalpur

Very often touted as "The Niagara falls of India", perhaps due to its horse shoe shape, Chitrakoot waterfalls are the most popular tourist attractions of Chhattisgarh and indeed a paragon of waterfalls in India. Situated around 38 km in the west of Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot are the broadest waterfall in India and turn vivacious (up to 150 meters in width) during monsoon when Indravati River flows in full swing flooding till both of its bank. Flowing through lush green range of Vindhya hills, Indravati River plunges into deep chasm of about 95 feet high and forms one of the spectacular natural wonders of country. Indravati River was at its full swing soon after the monsoon. These falls are quite similar to the falls on Narmada river in Karnataka/Tamilnandu however much broader.
Chitrakoot fall and a rainbow
                                                                             Chitrakoot fall and a rainbow

Post monsoon forest around the river bank was overgrown and river was carrying immense silt and turned little Browne in color. Chitrakoot is also a popular picnic destination thus tea stalls etc mushroomed around.  While taking a troll along the river side capturing wide-angle view of water-falls, I got drifted to the intricate wooden handicrafts (Fishes and all), a tribal woman was selling on the ground… brilliant piece of woodwork and carving it was but sadly overlooked by most of the visitors. Nearby metalsmith lady was trying to lure visitors with beautifully carved objects.  Another incredible site was a multihued rainbow hovering just above the turbulent waterfalls. Morning in the first half of the day offered the amazing vista adorned with flamboyant rainbow. I kept clicking my shutter from all the possible vantage points in a hope to get one picture right. Honestly rainbow could not hold me for long and I was more inquisitive about the other side of the river so I descended to the bottom of the falls.
Fishing in swelling Indravati river
                                                                   Fishing in swollen Indravati river

Indravati River turns mellow as it plunges downhill into the chasm however it was impossible to cross the river on wooden boats. During non-monsoon time, one can hire these boats to reach till the bottom of the fall and these are different than the coracles at South-Indian waterfalls. Bottom of the falls are connected with concrete stairs and offers spectacular view of forested Vindhya Range on the other bank of the river. Rainbow was still arching across the falls but was fading out slowly slowly. Down at the sandy river bank it was much placid away from the holidayers above the falls. After vibrant festivity and village haats, it offered me a chance to sit back and contemplate. Group of fishermen were strenuously rowing the wooden boat over silt-flooded river and boat looked immovable to me. Finally they could negotiate the heavy current and anchored the boat with a drift wood. By the river side Sun was not harsh and I strolled for couple of hours through the bushes before ascending back to the road. Rainbow disappeared, water was gushing with enormous force, more travelers marked their presence, tribal lady was still trying to sell wooden fishes, I gulped a cup of tea before checking with the driver of the bus which was broke.
Indravati River flowing through Vindhya Range
                                                            Indravati River flowing through Vindhya Range

Bus was broke and the ways to reach Jagdalpur were either walk to nearest village or trust on other’s generosity to adjust me in their vehicle.  Unfortunately none offered me the ride and I started to walk. After couple of kilometers, a kind old man offered to drop me 2km ahead on his bicycle. I accepted but drove myself having him on the carrier. Later got another lift on bike that dropped me at a Tri-Junction from where I was supposed to get shared jeep to Jagdalpur. Befriended with couple of college kids, passed smile, greeted old man, sauntered through pristine countryside and boarded a shared jeep to Potanar to visit another veiled waterfall of Bastar.
Chitradhara waterfalls
                                                                          Chitradhara waterfalls

Chitradhara waterfalls were the next in the plan those lies some 3 km off the main road from Potanar. Potanar is some 18 km from Jadgalpur and well connected with frequent shared autos thus I could walk to the waterfalls leisurely. Chitradhara falls might not look striking if you compare it with ferocious falls of Chitrakoot but countryside is splendid with endless green all around. It is a multitier falls on moderate water streams cascading from rocky patch. Rivulets meander through the dense jungle, all over the famous red soil of Chhattisgarh. One can easily walk till the bottom of the falls. Soft-flowing streams are safe to go under and take a dive. One can walk down the river and follow it amidst boulders. Quite off the tourist trail, surrounding of the falls is a perfect place for those seeking isolation or day picnic. College students, shy couples, day trippers, usual tourists and others swing around the falls but very few in numbers. I took the road winding downhill into the rice fields and then into a village.
Paddy fields near Chitradhara waterfalls
                                                                Paddy fields near Chitradhara waterfalls

Another hour passed journeying in a shared auto and I touched down to Jagdalpur which was preparing for series of vibrant ceremonies on the eve of Dussehra. Soon after reaching Jagdalpur, I tried to locate Chhattisgarh tourism board which is supposedly at Sanjay Market but I could not find it. Later a merry auto-wala helped me getting old monk, mixed it with coke and I went tipsy enough to catch up with the “Joie de vivre” of festival. Followed the swaying juggernaut, captured portraits, binged upon local food, wine, gave attention, attracted attention, fell under the stars-laden sky.  Days passed and I developed a profound love for the people of Bastar, their customs, art, rituals and unmatched humbleness. In almost dazed state under the influence of alcohol, I tumbled back to my hotel room and dozed off…Rituals continued as Dussehra never stops in Bastar, a mystic land of unworldly affairs, far away from the fancy itineraries of modern day-travelers…. and may be, just may be, amid absolute darkness of October sky, there would be a rainbow over the majestic waterfalls of chitrakoot… shut down bizarre assumptions before slumbering sleep…
Rainbow over the waterfalls
                                                                     Rainbow over the waterfalls
 

** Chhattisgarh Tourism Board office in Jagdalpur is impossible to locate. Even if you can reach that so-called office, it will be closed ** Tried multiple times**

Travel Tips:
* Barsoor and Chitrakoot falls can be clubbed in a day trip from Jagdalpur if traveling by private vehicle.
* Do visit Chitradhara waterfalls and Tamra Ghoomar waterfalls. Both of these falls are on the way to Chitrakoot.
* Water-level drops down drastically post winters hence best time to visit Chitrakote falls is post monsoon from September to December when river is at full swing and ferocious. Chitrakoot falls look magnificent at Sunset and full moon nights.

 

 

From Chhattisgarh with love: In Chronological order

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Train to Raipur

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Sleepless in Sirpur

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Road to Jagdalpur

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Finding Temples in Barsoor

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Bastar Dussehra and Colors

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Chitrakoot Falls and Rainbow

From Chhattisgarh, with love: Kanger Valley and Tirathgarh
 

Hello Vishnu,   It's a great

Hello Vishnu,

 

It's a great review, I am planning to visit Vizag in the last week of September, could you please tell me, how can I plan the trip from Vizag to Jagdalpur to Vizag. I will be having a kid of 5 years with me, will that place be safe for him. Is there any issue of Maoist/Naxalities these days.

Any idea what can be cab cost from jagdalpur to Chitrakoot to Tirathgarh to Jagdalpur for a day trip.

What are the precautionery measures to be taken (if any).

 

Thanks

Sandip Mondal

Very useful & interesting

Very useful & interesting info.  Thanks

Thanks for your comment. keep

Thanks for your comment. keep dropping by.

Hello!   First of all a

Hello!

 

First of all a sincere thanks for such a wonderfully written anecdote. It indeed helps the potential travellers to get an idea about this beautiful place. I am planning to go there with my kids and parents in the end of February. We will be travelling from Kanpur. It seems Feb is not a good time to visit. But my parents will be staying with me only during that time. Do you think it would be worthwhile to visit the place in end February?

February is good time.

February is good time. however there will be very little water in the falls.

Hi, we are group of 8

Hi, we are group of 8 planning to visit the waterfalls on 13/01/2016 i.e next week. It would be helpful to know if it is a good time to visit during this month. What would be the approx temp in Jan?

January is not the bad time

January is not the bad time to visit. Weather will be good however Falls will not be in full swing. there will be less water. temperature will be pleasand in winters.

Hi, It would be helpful to

Hi, It would be helpful to know if 13/01/2016 is a good time to visit Chitrakoot waterfalls. Are there any good places to see other than the waterfalls because we, group of 8 will be staying there for 2 days. Please reply asap.

you can visit waterfalls and

you can visit waterfalls and also go to the Bastar forest reserve. there are some national parks nearby.

Hi sir, Thank u for your

Hi sir,

Thank u for your valuable information. Pls let me know the famous temples in Basoor. Also what's the best mode of travel to go there. Pls give your reply.

Thank you

Surya.

Check this link for more

Hi..was just looking up

Hi..was just looking up chitrakoot your account gave a superb detailed note. Many thanks.

Thanks for your comment. Keep

Thanks for your comment. Keep dropping by.

Hi Vishnu, thanks for a great

Hi Vishnu, thanks for a great write-up and good information. I want to visit this waterfall but have some question

1. This place is very close to Sukma and Dantewada, so is this place safe for tourist. Actually, we daily see news about Naxal attack on those areas.

2. I am from Delhi, so which are the nearest city to come by flight.

3. best time to see white waterfalls instead of flooded one.

Generally its safe and i had

Generally its safe and i had not heard any unfortunate event happening with tourists. from Delhi, you should take flight to Raipur then take bus to Jagdalpur. Best time would be September-October to see waterfalls in full swing.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, thanks for a

Hi Vishnu, thanks for a detailed post on the beautiful place.  Iam planning to make a trip to Chitrakoot falls by the end of February, but I dont find convenient mode of transport to Jagdalpur from Hyderabad.  Except the State Road Transport buses (2+3 seating), there appears to be no private Volvos etc.Will you please advise which is the nearest place to Chitrakoot falls?  Secondly, the resort near the falls that you mentioned....can we get the accommodation on visit there?  Any advance reservation is required?

Jagadalpur is the nearest and

Jagadalpur is the nearest and most convienent place near Chitrakoot falls. Yes, there might not be any luxury bus from Hyderabad but road is decent for other buses as well. There is a guest house at the mouth of the waterfall. I do not think advance reservation is needed to book this place. you can get it once you are there.

+- Vishnu

ME & MY WIFE PLANNING TO

ME & MY WIFE PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO VIZAG ON 11/02/2016 BY CAR FROM KOLKATA.WE PLAN TO GO TO BORRA CAVES/ARAKKU VALLEY.

WE ALSO PLAN TO GO FURTHER AND VISIT CHITRAKOOT FALLS.PLEASE ADVICE IF IT IS WORTH IT DURING THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.

February is not the best time

February is not the best time to see the waterfalls. If its a long detour then i would suggest to skip it.

Niranjan, can you please

Niranjan, can you please suggest route from BHADRACHALAM to CHITRAKOOT FALLS by CAR.. Thanks in advance..

Chitrakoot falls can be

Chitrakoot falls can be reached by road but i am not sure where is Bhadrachalam. you can use google maps to get idea on the route and driving direction.

Hi Vishnu, I am willing to

Hi Vishnu, I am willing to visit Chitrakoot water falls in the end of august. I am baffled about the stay there, so can you let me know a few good hotels top stay with my family. Thank you

On the edge of Chitrkoot

On the edge of Chitrkoot waterfalls lies the guest house from Chhattisgarh tourism. It is little expensive but that is the only stay option near Chitrkoot waterfalls.

+- Vishnu

thanks Vishnu for the

thanks Vishnu for the information

 

Thanks for your comment. Keep

Thanks for your comment. Keep dropping by.

we r planing 2 day trip to

we r planing 2 day trip to jagdalpur

pls suggest us itineary and budget hotel near railway station

Near bus stand most of the

Near bus stand most of the hotels are clumsy but those are the only budget options in Jagdalpur. for 2 days, you can visit Chitrkool waterfalls, Barsoor, Kanger Valley National park etc.

Dear Vishnu, first of all

Dear Vishnu,

first of all thanks for a wonderful account of one of the most wonderful hidden gems of our countries....i am planning to visit chitrakoot falls at the end of august.....is chitrakoot in its full fury then and since kanger national park is closed in august, what are the other places that i should not miss in a trip of three days........most important question how is jagdalpur best reached from raipur, is bus a good option

Yes. End of August is the

Yes. End of August is the best time to visit this waterfall in full swing. Kanger valley national park would be closed but you can visit Tirathgarh waterfalls. you can also visit temples and tribal belt of Bastar district. Buses are the best option to reach Jagadalpur from Raipur.

Hi..we will be visiting

Hi..we will be visiting jagdalpur on January 26...wanted to know the situation of chitrakoot waterfalls...and whether kanger valley national park will be open or not...also wanted to Know any other good places around jagdalpur beside these two places...and how many days will be enough to visit all the important places

Yes, Kanger Valley National

Yes, Kanger Valley National Park would be open. There are many water falls around Jagadalpur. You can also visit temples which are in Barsoor. I would suggest to stay 3 nights in Jagadalpur.

+- Vishnu

Beautiful post, I loved

Beautiful post, I loved reading it. I visited it a few year back and we had a wonderful time. There was various myths associated with this place. It is believed that Ravana abducted goddess Sita from here. It is perfect place to spend time with your friends.

Its indeed a very beautiful

Its indeed a very beautiful place... Yes, there are many legends associated with this place specially during the time of Ramayana.. besides these intriguing stories, place itself is delightful.. keep dropping by for more stories..

Hi Vishnu,   I am planning to

Hi Vishnu,

 

I am planning to travel alone to jagdalpur in last week of august. I will reach Jagdalpur around 1.30 PM on 29th Aug and i have time till 31st Aug night. 

 

Can you help me in planning my trip and how do i cover the places. 

Hi Nagul, During August,

Hi Nagul,

During August, Kanger Valley National park will be closed so major attraction around Jagdalpur would be Chitrakoot falls, Tirathgarh falls, Barsoor temples and dantewada...

You can have a one day trip to Chitrakoot and nearby falls. Can also include Barsoor temples if traveling by private vehicle.

Another day you can visit Tirathgarh falls...

Cheers
Vishnu Kumar

Hello Vishnu,    Thanks for

Hello Vishnu,

   Thanks for this lovely post. Is this place safe for a solo traveller? May I picth tent and cook there?

 

Yes. perfectly safe for

Yes. perfectly safe for solo-travelers... a lot of space for pitching tents, camping...

Thanks Vishnu for sharing

Thanks Vishnu for sharing this information.

Hello Vishnu, Thanks for this

Hello Vishnu, Thanks for this lovely post. I am willing to go there for travel. Is that place safe for solo traveller? May I picth camp there for night stand and cooking?

 

Looking forward for your response. Thanks!

Yes, there is plenty of space

Yes, there is plenty of space for pitching tents and all... safe for solo travelers.. I, myself went solo only..

Lovely post on Chitrakoot. It

Lovely post on Chitrakoot. It looks so full and beautiful.

Thanks Niranjan...  just an

Thanks Niranjan...  just an attempt to capture the beauty of Bastar, land of red soil... keep dropping by...

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