A Quick and Practical Travel Guide to Chhattisgarh
October 27, 2018
I have already shared my 5 Reasons Why You Should Travel to Chhattisgarh. Now, in order to help you in planning your Chhattisgarh trip, I have prepared a quick and practical travel guide to Chhattisgarh. From this guide, you will get to know – when to visit, how to reach, how to get around and where to stay in Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh has tropical climate, which means it becomes extremely hot during summers. So, except summer (April to June), you may comfortably visit Chhattisgarh during the rest of the year depending on where exactly you want to go and what exactly you want to see.
There is something magnetic about exploring the dense forests of Chhattisgarh drenched in rain with earthy smell of wet soil, water dripping from the huge Sal trees and background sound of stream gushing somewhere nearby.
Chhattisgarh is known for its waterfalls. There are many beautiful and hidden waterfalls which are fed by only monsoon water; this also means that many of them are not visible after monsoon season. Hence, the best time to see the numerous waterfalls of Chhattisgarh in their full glory is during monsoon season (July to September).
NOTE: The world-famous caves of Chhattisgarh (Kutumsar cave, Kailash cave and Dandak cave in Kanger Valley National Park) are closed every year from July to October due to rains. So, if you want to see the caves, visit Chhattisgarh once the caves open from November onwards.
If you don’t enjoy traveling during monsoon, the best time to visit Chhattisgarh is during the winter season (October to March). Post monsoon, all you can see is the natural green carpet in the entire region; the weather is comfortable for sightseeing; and tribals also celebrate many local festivals during this time.
Also, if you want to experience the cultural heritage of the tribal people, plan your visit around the time when various festivals are celebrated during winter season.
The famous festivals and celebrations include Bastar Dussehra (September/October), Madais (January to April), Bhoramdev Mahotsav (February/March), Chakradhar Samaroh (September), Sirpur Mahotsav (January/February), Mainpat Mahotsav (January/February), etc.
The exact dates of these festivals change every year; so, it is best to confirm the dates from a reputed travel/tour agent like Unexplored Bastar while planning your trip.
How to reach
In order to explore any part of Chhattisgarh, you have to first reach Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. Raipur is well connected to all the major cities across India by air, rail and road.
Raipur has domestic airport at present (international airport is under construction) and is known as Swami Vivekananda Airport (earlier Mana Airport). It is located around 20 kms south of Raipur.
Raipur has direct flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Indore, Pune and Visakhapatnam; and it is connected to all the other major cities with one or two stop/s.
Recently, Chhattisgarh got three more airports at Jagdalpur (Southern Chhattisgarh), Ambikapur (Northern Chhattisgarh) and Bilaspur (Central Chhattisgarh). These airports are made under the “Udan” scheme of the central government to connect small towns and cities by air.
Air Odisha flight from Jagdalpur has already started; it connects Raipur and Visakhapatnam. Once flight from Ambikapur starts, it will connect Raipur and Bilaspur.
Raipur and Bilaspur are two major railway junctions that come on the busy train route of Mumbai-Nagpur-Howrah (Kolkata); both connect Chhattisgarh directly or indirectly to other parts of India. Rajdhani is available from New Delhi to Raipur and Bilaspur. Many Superfast, Express and Passenger trains are available from various cities of India.
In order to reach north of Chhattisgarh by train, head to Ambikapur which has a railway station. An overnight passenger train from Durg/Raipur takes you to Ambikapur. Ambikapur can also be reached from Anuppur railway junction (Anuppur is a bordering town in Madhya Pradesh).
In the Bastar Region, south of Chhattisgarh, Jagdalpur has a railway station. Currently, only one train is available that connects Durg/Raipur with Jagdalpur; however, that train takes a longer route and comes via Odisha.
Better option to reach Jagdalpur by rail route is to take direct train from either Visakhapatnam or Howrah or Bhubneshwar.
Chhattisgarh is a land-locked state and is well connected by road with all its neighbouring states viz Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.
Chhattisgarh has good inter-state and intra-state road network and the condition of roads, especially to all touristic places, is good. All towns and cities are connected to Raipur by road.
However, unlike other states, Chhattisgarh does not have a state-run transportation corporation; instead private bus operators ply their buses between different cities in Chhattisgarh. Bus services connect even the farthest and remotest places to the towns and cities.
Although actual luxury Volvo buses are not available in Chhattisgarh, you still get comfortable AC and Non-AC buses on the popular routes. Some famous bus operators include Kanker Roadways, Payal Travels, Royal Travels and Mahendra Travels.
How to get around
If money is not a constraint, the most convenient way to get around in Chhattisgarh is by rented chauffeur driven cabs. You can hire such private cabs through travel agents like Unexplored Bastar.
With the launch of Trippy (a self-drive car rental service provider) in Chhattisgarh, now you can also rent a car and explore Chhattisgarh all by yourself.
You can also hire a cab through Ola (Uber is not yet available in Chhattisgarh). However, Ola is only available in major cities like Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg and Bhilai. You may also rent a cab through Ola for outstation travel, but it is not advisable as it becomes unnecessarily expensive; also, the city drivers most likely will lack adequate local information about outstation routes and tourist places.
Public buses to travel within a city are available only in major cities like Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Bhilai and Jagdalpur.
The best way to travel in any city in Chhattisgarh is by tempos/autos (three-wheeler vehicles), sometimes jeeps as well, that usually carry passengers on shared basis. These are the cheapest and the most local way of traveling and are available at all major places in the city. You can reach every corner of this State through these means of transportation.
However, these auto/temps/jeeps are not metered. Charges are usually fixed if you are taking a shared auto/tempo/jeep; but, if you are taking the auto for personal use (i.e. without sharing it with anyone) then you will have to negotiate the price.
Where to stay
There are no 5-star hotels in Chhattisgarh yet. But, you will get good hotels with 3-star and 4-star facilities in Raipur. You can book them either online or through a local travel/tour agent like Unexplored Bastar.
If you want to experience the luxuries of bygone era and old world charm, you may also stay at the heritage properties viz Kanker Palace (around 125 kms from Raipur) and Kawardha Palace (around 115 kms from Raipur).
Once you move out of the main cities viz Raipur, Bilaspur and Bhilai, you will get very few stay options. Don’t expect any luxury and much facilities in such hotels; they are very basic and thus inexpensive.
While visiting Bastar Region, you can make Jagdalpur your base. You will get many basic stay options here. However, if you are visiting north of Chhattisgarh, you can look for stay options at Ambikapur.
Chhattisgarh Tourism Board (CTB)
At almost all the famous tourist locations, you can also stay at the resorts owned and operated by the CTB. You can find more details about them on their official website.
Few of the CTB properties like Baiga Tourist Resort at Saroda Dadar, Dandami Luxury Resort at Chitrakote and Bardiha Lake View Tourist Cottage at Gangrel Reservoir are very good.
But, unfortunately most of the other CTB properties lack proper maintenance and facilities; so, do not have any high hopes. However, the strongest point of the CTB’s resorts is that, undoubtedly, they have the best locations and views.
Homestays & Camps
You can also stay in homestays, where you will get to live with tribals and get to experience their rural lifestyle up-close.
Although these homestays provide basic facilities, the experience you get by staying here is something you will remember and cherish your entire life.
Now a days, camping has also become famous at few places like Chitrakote waterfalls, Tirathgarh waterfalls, Dholkal (near Datewada), Sarodha (near Kawardha), Mainpat, etc.
While camping, you get to stay in tents and enjoy local tribal food. For more info on exact dates and places for camping, contact Unexplored Bastar.
In due course, I will separately make a blog post on the places to visit and things to do in Chhattisgarh. Give me some time 😊
For all your travel needs, itineraries, queries and bookings, I would highly recommend Unexplored Bastar. Get in touch with the most helpful peeps there. Their local knowledge is unparalleled and their services are highly economical.
Is there anything else you want to know? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.