From Chhattisgarh, with love: Road to Jagdalpur

By mid-noon, I was in Raipur and headed to same restaurant to quench my burning appetite.  Rain did not stop and I was still thinking about the devastation on the shore of Orissa which Phailin might have caused while munching tondori rotis with Dal. Chhattisgarh is Naxal inflicted state so one should not mind those occasional stops by CRPF staffs to check your backpacks. Rain still did not stop and I hopped in the bus to Jagdalpur. YES, you read it right.. It’s Jagdalpur… Bastar district… Dantewada… yaa It’s the heartland of Naxals.
Lake in the city of Raipur
                                                                       Lake in the city of Raipur
In a short while Bus passed Raipur and taken a narrow tar road through small towns. It was Durga Puja festival and religious processions were blocking the bus route so quite often. I was witnessing the Durga Puja festival for the first time in the eastern part of India. It’s lively, colorful, musical and engrossing in so many ways. I peeped out from the window seat to take some photographs of marry crowd deeply engaged in dancing and throwing color on the streets…. One of them painted me Blue… Blue… Perfect color of perfect landscape in perfect weather…. Too much of awesomeness can do this you.
Low Rising hills of Bastar region
                                                                      Low Rising hills of Bastar region
Bus continued to the dense tract of Sal-forest for which Chhattisgarh is known. This forest is the favorite hideouts of Naxals. I can relate it pretty much with the journey which I had taken from Port Blair to North Andaman. Similar sort of rusticity, untouched flora, winding roads and that highly coveted “Last King of Scotland” feeling.  Sun set down leaving me with glaring curiosity about landscapes outside however things were not those boring inside the bus. Bastar is the land of Naxals so it was customary to witness engaging political conversation which almost turned into a wage. Some people were supporting Naxal ideology which made me concern but also made me realize that I am in Bastar… Bastar…this is the land… Enroute Bus stopped at Kanker and Kandagaon, both known for palaces from long-lost Bastar kingdom. For intrepid travelers, Kanker and Kandagaon are also the perfect places for breaking the journey. Kanker offers luxury tents for overnight stay whereas Kondagaon is known for craft market.
Near Kondagaon Bastar
                                                                     Near Kondagaon Bastar
Quarter past ten and Bus reached Jagdalpur. Streets of Jagdalpur were adorned, lively with gathering of tribal from nearby areas. Streets were waiting for Rath Yatra, the highlight of Bastar Dussehra.  Another site was a guy shuttling between the streets to find a hotel with a mild apprehension due to whatever he read/heard about Bastar. Unlike any usual destination, I was roaming this slight fear of being kidnapped by Naxals thus wanted to check in as soon as I arrived. Late night strolling in Jagdalpur did not seem a wise idea so I lodged into one of the nasty hotels opposite to Bus stand.  Next moment was ordering Dal-rice, making couple of drinks, rambling down half remembered memories of the day and then slumbering sleep.
Glittering streets of Jagdalpur during Dussehra
                                                            Glittering streets of Jagdalpur during Dussehra

How to reach Jagdalpur:  Travelers coming from North generally take the train to Raipur and then connecting bus to Jagdalpur. There are frequent buses (Once an hour, 320 INR) between Jagdalpur and Raipur. Some of these are AC-Volvos as well. It is generally 8 hours journey and road is more or less paved except few stretches. Buses from Raipur to Jagdalpur start from 5 AM in the morning till 10 PM evening (Once every hour).

Where to stay in Jagdalpur: Naxal infliction has adversely affected the tourism in this region hence you won’t find wide range of accommodation options in the town.  Most of the guide books recommend Rainbow hotel which lies in Sanjay market but might be bit heavy for budget travelers.

In Jagdalpur, you will find number of hotels (mostly crowded with traveling salesman) opposite to Bus stand. You can get a nasty sort of room in 350 INR. The problem is most of these hotels also have bars in the basement those remain noisy till mid-night. Backpackers should lodge into one of these hotels opposite to Bus stand.

Where to eat in Jagdalpur: Surprisingly Jagdalpur is not that bad a place for finding meals and usual snacks. All the hotels have their own restaurant and can serve meals to your rooms. There are many restaurants opposite to Bus stand. Some restaurants are near Saheed Park and in Sanjay Market. Saheed park entrance has got some stalls preparing usual snacks (Panipuri and all). Getting vegetarian food is not a problem.

Decoration for Bastar Dussehra
                                                                    Decoration for Bastar Dussehra

I came to Bastar to attend Dussehra. Unlike rest of India where Dussehra is celebrated as an auspicious event of Lord Rama's victory over Ravana, Dussehra in Bastar district is a congregation of Devi moali (Deities) from all the nearby villages to Danteshwari Temple, Jagdalpur. Tribes from remote forests of Bastar come and participate in a lively and colorful fete. Exotic festival is nearly 500 years old and spans over 75 days. Garlanded chariot circuit is the most appealing ceremony of the festival. Bastar Dussehra is the best chance to experience distinctive culture, tradition and ethnicity of otherwise inaccessible tribes of Bastar region.

 

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
 

dear vishnu, i have a slight

dear vishnu, i have a slight doubt, i searched a bit and came to know that the actual and old danteshwari temple is actually located in dantewada, at the confluence of rivers dankini and sankini, the danteshwari temple in jagdalpur which you have described is it another danteshwari temple??

Yes. main temple is at

Yes. main temple is at Dantewada. In Jagdalpur there is another temple which goes by the same name.

+- Vishnu

Thanks Vishnu... I am

Thanks Vishnu... I am planning for Jagdalpur and I like your blog worth to read. I like your style of narration which makes all story interesting. 

Thank you very much for sharing the knowledge.  I read your all blog in a stretch.

 

REGARDS. 

Thanks for your comment..

Thanks for your comment.. Keep dropping by...

+- Vishnu

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.