09 January 2009

The Bastar Chapter 1

Bastar is a district in the southern part of Chhattisgarh. The district is bound by the state of Orissa on its east and to its west lays Maharashtra. It covers an area of 8755.79 sq. km. The global location of Bastar is 19° 5' Longitude and 82° 1' Latitude. The total population of the Bastar District is 13, 02,253, according to the 2001 census. The District of Bastar is a region of dense forest and the best quality Teak and Sal can be found here. The region is blessed with natural forest resources which contributes a major revenue income to the state. Bastar is a boon for any tourist and is a reservoir of interesting places like Chitrakot Waterfalls, Tiratgarh Waterfalls, Kutumsar Caves and Kailash Gufa and Kanger Valley National Park.
I have worked in Bastar district as a geologist for a few years. As a part of my work I have visited a number of villages around Jagadalpur town. The village people were poor but friendly. I have also visited a number of tourist spots around Jagadalpur such as Tirathgarh Falls, Chitrakote falls, Gumadpal Shiv Mandir, Sahasradhara falls etc. One place which I would have liked to see but could not is the Kutumsar caves. Apart from the tourist attractions in the district, there is an anthropological museum in Jagadalpur which is a really good place to visit if you want to know about the people of Bastar, its tribes such as Madiyas, Mudiyas, Bhatras, Bengalis etc. One can reach Jagadalpur by Bus from Raipur the Capital of Chhattisgarh and a station on the Howrah-Mumbai railway line. There are some okey-dokey hotels in Jagadalpur and some good restaurants. When in Jagadalpur do not forget to buy Bastar art (wood carvings with typical Bastar tribal motif). There are several shops and you can bargain. You also get dry fruits, such as, kaju, chirounjee, kishmish etc at a cheaper rate than various other places in India. The scenic beauty of Bastar during the rains when most of the place gets covered with greenery is fantastic. But do not forget to take some mosquito-repellants with you as well as quinine tablets as Bastar is a malaria infested place and there is high probability that you may catch malaria or even brain-malaria if you are not careful. Well, I was careful, and I remained safe.