Discovering India's Diverse Cultural Heritage: A Journey of Chhattisgarh

Discovering India's Diverse Cultural Heritage: A Journey of Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is a state in central India that has a rich and diverse history. The name Chhattisgarh means “thirty-six forts” in Hindi, and it refers to the ancient forts that dotted the region1 But how did this state come into being? What are some of the historical and cultural highlights of Chhattisgarh?


Chhattisgarh was once part of the ancient kingdom of South Kosala, which finds mention in the epic Mahabharata and Ramayana2 It was ruled by various dynasties, such as the Nalas, the Sarabhapuriyas, the Panduvanshis, the Somavanshis, and the Kalachuris In the 11th century AD, the Chola king Rajendra Chola conquered the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, extending his empire to the east
In the 14th century AD, Chhattisgarh came under the rule of the Haihaya dynasty, which lasted for six centuries

The capital of Chhattisgarh was shifted from Ratanpur to Raipur by the British in 1845, as Raipur had better trade and administrative facilities14 Chhattisgarh was part of the Central Provinces under British rule, and later became part of Madhya Pradesh after India’s independence in 1947

However, the people of Chhattisgarh felt that their cultural and linguistic identity was not adequately represented in Madhya Pradesh. They demanded a separate statehood for Chhattisgarh, which was finally granted on 1 November 2000 Raipur became the capital and largest city of the new state
Chhattisgarh is known for its natural beauty, mineral wealth, tribal culture, and folk art. It has the third largest forest cover and coal reserves in India

 It is also home to many wildlife sanctuaries, waterfalls, temples, monuments, and festivals. Some of the popular attractions of Chhattisgarh are:
  • The Chitrakote Falls, also known as the Niagara Falls of India, on the Indravati River in Bastar district
  • The Sirpur Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that showcases the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain heritage of Chhattisgarh
  • The Mahanadi River, which originates in Chhattisgarh and flows through Odisha to the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the most important rivers of South Asia
  • The Bhoramdeo Temple, also known as the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh, for its erotic sculptures depicting various aspects of love and life. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to the 11th century AD
  • The Bastar Dussehra, a unique festival that celebrates the local goddess Danteshwari and her victory over a demon king. It lasts for 75 days and involves various rituals and processions

Chhattisgarh is also known for its diverse and vibrant cuisine, which reflects the influence of various communities and regions. The staple food of Chhattisgarh is rice, which is eaten with various lentils, vegetables, and spices. Some of the popular dishes of Chhattisgarh are:
  • Dal Bafla, a dish of steamed wheat dumplings dipped in ghee and served with spicy dal and chutney.
  • Aamat, a tangy curry made with bamboo shoots and fermented fish. It is a delicacy of the Bastar region.
  • Farra, a snack made of rice flour stuffed with coconut, sesame seeds, peanuts, or jaggery and steamed in turmeric leaves.
  • Chila, a pancake made of rice flour and urad dal, flavoured with ginger, green chillies, and coriander. It is usually eaten for breakfast with chutney or curd.
  • Muthia, a sweet dish made of rice flour, coconut, and jaggery, shaped into balls and fried in ghee. It is often served during festivals and celebrations.
Chhattisgarh also has a rich tradition of folk music and dance, which express the emotions and beliefs of the people. Some of the famous folk forms of Chhattisgarh are:
  • Pandwani, a musical narration of the Mahabharata epic, performed by a single singer accompanied by a tambura (a stringed instrument) and a chhattisgarhi (a pair of cymbals). The singer changes his or her voice and gestures to depict different characters and scenes.
  • Raut Nacha, a folk dance performed by the Yadav community during the Dev Uthani Ekadashi festival. It is a dance of joy and devotion to Lord Krishna, who is believed to be the protector of cows. The dancers wear colourful costumes and cowrie shells and dance in a circular formation.
  • Soowa Nacha, a folk dance performed by the women of the Sarguja region during weddings and other auspicious occasions. It is a dance of grace and elegance, in which the dancers balance earthen pots on their heads and move in sync with the music.
  • Panthi Nacha, a folk dance performed by the Satnami community as a form of worship to their guru Ghasidas. It is a dance of harmony and unity, in which the dancers form a human pyramid and sway to the rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals.
  • Karma Nacha, a folk dance performed by the Gond and Baiga tribes during the Karma festival in August or September. It is a dance of fertility and prosperity, in which the dancers hold branches of the karma tree and sing songs praising the tree god.
Chhattisgarh is a state that has a lot to offer to its visitors and residents alike. It is a state that has preserved its ancient roots while embracing modern development. It is a state that has a proud history and a promising future.
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