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Old 5th April 2011, 20:14   #46
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Thanks Milestone. Unfortunately, the batteries of my camera drained out when we enterd the caves and we could not click much. That is the only regret of this whole trip.
Ohh that's really sad, our bad.. so are we heading towards Tigers ?

Cheers !!!
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Old 5th April 2011, 20:27   #47
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Ohh that's really sad, our bad.. so are we heading towards Tigers ?

Cheers !!!
No Tigers yet. WATERFALLS is what is next.

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Old 6th April 2011, 12:42   #48
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

^ Oh yes, Chitrakote falls

@ Fauji - How far are we from falls ?

Cheers !!!
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Old 6th April 2011, 16:35   #49
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

As we left Tokapal haat, we were feeling little tired. It was four in the afternoon and Bastar sun was in full glow. In fact days became warm from 10 AM onwards even in early March. We were relieved as we got back to Scorpio and switched on the AC.

From Tokapal, Chitrakote is around forty KMs. As I said earlier, the roads in Chattisgarh are top class. We took forty five minutes to reach the place.

I have not seen Niagara Falls though I have been to USA couple of times. But having seen the pictures of Chitrakote falls in full glow in monsoons, I thought this was second to none. In fact Chitrakote falls was one of main reasons for us to make this trip.

We were all excited to see the falls. You will not appreciate the enormity of the falls when you approach the place. All we could see was the River Indrāvati flowing gently. I parked the car and we walked closer to the view point. When we reached the view point, we all stopped – dumbstruck!! There it was – the largest water falls in Asia.

Wow! What a fall!

(look at the small boat at the bottom of the water falls)

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-falls.jpg

The view was awesome. If this was the scene in early summer, we could visualise the brilliance of the falls post monsoon. The arc shaped falls has a huge expanse and the volume of water falling during monsoons must be outrageous. Nevertheless even in March, we were able to enjoy its beauty. Having seen the highest waterfalls – Jog falls – in full glory, I was now seeing the largest water fall. We decided to come back again after monsoon to see the falls in full glory!!

Look at the huge arc shape of the water fall

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-falls-2.jpg

The water was falling in two drops from a height of 100 feet. During monsoons you don’t see any rocks as the water flow will be high. The bottom of the falls forms a huge lake. A staircase takes you to the bottom of the falls from where you can go boating on the lake – not sure how safe it is as I saw no one wearing a life jacket - and go close to water fall at this time of the year. We did not go down the stairs as it was quite hot and climbing up would have been tiring.

The beautiful Indravathi valley

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-falls-valley.jpg

The river valley after the water fall is very wide and looks beautiful. Being a week day there was not much of crowd. We walked in the water upstream and played around in th water for some time to enjoy the pristine nature.

In the water - Left to right - Ravi, Wifey and Me

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-indravati-2.jpg

Take a look at this excellent video shot by our own H V Kumar during his trip to Bastar in 2008 after monsoons.



Next stop - Palaces of Chattisgarh

Last edited by Fauji : 6th April 2011 at 16:56.
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Old 6th April 2011, 16:37   #50
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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^ Oh yes, Chitrakote falls

@ Fauji - How far are we from falls ?

Cheers !!!
We just reached there. Take a look at the post above.

Last edited by Fauji : 6th April 2011 at 16:54.
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Old 6th April 2011, 22:39   #51
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Sir,
Amazing photographs. This travelogue is surely taking me to Chattisgarh asap.
Regards
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Old 7th April 2011, 11:07   #52
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Sir,
Amazing photographs. This travelogue is surely taking me to Chattisgarh asap.
Regards
Coooolcat,

Thanks for your nice words.

In fact i have to be thankful for your tip as these pics are processed thorugh Picassa and looks great.

What we had seen in our trip was only 60% of Chattisgarh. The state is a travellers dream - specially for those who enjoy road trips as road conditions are superb!
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Old 7th April 2011, 14:18   #53
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Road conditions in CG are currently good, but can crack up during the monsoons, including the Vizianagaram-Jagdalpur-Rapur road. One must also bear in mind that some of the roads approaching CG - especially the Bhadrachalam-Konda-Sukhma-Jagdalpur highway are virtually under seige by Maoists, and Fauji skirted the frontiers of safe CG - roads beyond Dantewada (and Dantewada town itself) are under the control of Maoists and one cannot drive beyond to Bijapur & Bhoopalapatanam. Therefore, driving into CG is not for the squeamish who fret about every bomb blast (there can be many!!) and police encounter.

Did you see any major police bandobast in the Tiratgarh-Dantewada-Gidam-Barsur-Chitrakote sector, Fauji?
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Old 7th April 2011, 14:48   #54
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Thanks. Yes, it is a beautiful place. By any chance did you eat the chutney? More stories coming.
Yes, I did try it once, when I went visiting one of my cousins in Kirandul, Chattisgarh. I loved the taste of it, even though was skeptical to try it, but once I tried it, I was like WOW!!! BTW, Kirandul was heaven during post-monsoon. Childhood memories

OT: Andrew Zimmern, are you hearing this? Something to try for your Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern show.
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Old 7th April 2011, 15:54   #55
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Super photography ! The Vid is great. The waterfalls photos are magnifique Sirr!

Thanks...keep the wheels rolling Sir !

Last edited by nanduchitnis : 7th April 2011 at 16:07.
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Old 8th April 2011, 15:01   #56
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Road conditions in CG are currently good, but can crack up during the monsoons, including the Vizianagaram-Jagdalpur-Rapur road. One must also bear in mind that some of the roads approaching CG - especially the Bhadrachalam-Konda-Sukhma-Jagdalpur highway are virtually under seige by Maoists, and Fauji skirted the frontiers of safe CG - roads beyond Dantewada (and Dantewada town itself) are under the control of Maoists and one cannot drive beyond to Bijapur & Bhoopalapatanam. Therefore, driving into CG is not for the squeamish who fret about every bomb blast (there can be many!!) and police encounter.

Did you see any major police bandobast in the Tiratgarh-Dantewada-Gidam-Barsur-Chitrakote sector, Fauji?
Yes. You are correct. But i found the workmanship on the roads in Chattisgarh is good which may hold during monsoons. Not sure about NH 43, specailly in Ghats.

We were not allowed to go towards Dantewada and Bijapur due to naxal activities. We did not go towards Basrur. But we did not see any police bandobast on any roads we travelled within Chattisgarh.

As of now everything seems to be quiet in Chattisgarh. We do not know how it will be in future.
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Old 8th April 2011, 15:05   #57
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Yes, I did try it once, when I went visiting one of my cousins in Kirandul, Chattisgarh. I loved the taste of it, even though was skeptical to try it, but once I tried it, I was like WOW!!! BTW, Kirandul was heaven during post-monsoon. Childhood memories

OT: Andrew Zimmern, are you hearing this? Something to try for your Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern show.
Traveloholic,

Wow! you really tasted it? That is great!! I understand that you either love the taste or despise it when you eat it for first time. Chattisgarh must be lovely after rains. You are lucky that you have such beautiful memories.
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Old 8th April 2011, 15:07   #58
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Super photography ! The Vid is great. The waterfalls photos are magnifique Sirr!

Thanks...keep the wheels rolling Sir !
Thank you Nandu sir. Yes, this is an amzingly beautiful falls after monsoons. The whole region will be glowing in green after the rain.
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Old 8th April 2011, 15:18   #59
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

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Yes. You are correct. But i found the workmanship on the roads in Chattisgarh is good which may hold during monsoons. Not sure about NH 43, specailly in Ghats.

We were not allowed to go towards Dantewada and Bijapur due to naxal activities. We did not go towards Basrur. But we did not see any police bandobast on any roads we travelled within Chattisgarh.

As of now everything seems to be quiet in Chattisgarh. We do not know how it will be in future.
Last monsoons, NH43 was in bad shape in Orissa but good in CG. However, I heard that NH43 further from Jagdalpur to Raipur had lots of bad sections. I have been to CG after the monsoons and found even the interior roads to be in good shape.

Pity you could not go to Dantewada & Basrur - teh former has the Dantewada Devi temple and Basrur has some ancient temples.

Here is a shot of the Basrur-Chitrakote road which runs through some 40 odd kms of jungle with hardly any human settlements. Although the road is a little bumpy, hardly any potholes and such like.



And this is another video from the Jagdalpur-Tiratgarh road:

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Old 9th April 2011, 16:40   #60
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Palaces of Chattisgarh – Kanker & Chiukadan

I never knew that Chattisgarh boasted palaces before we started planning this road trip. When I stated doing some research on stay options, i stumbled upon some real gems – Kanker, Kanwardha and Chiukadan palaces. We decided to stay at least in one of the palaces and Chiukadan was the chosen one. Thanks to Outlook traveller, we were able to get some information about this place and planned our routes to make sure we spend a night in this palace. But we did not want to miss visiting others either. So I called up Jai, the Yuvaraja of Kanker – who also runs Bastar jungle resort where we stayed in Jagdalpur - to tell him that we will have lunch in his palace on the way to Chiukadan.

We left Jagdalpur after breakfast and reached Kanker comfortably by 1 PM. The road was excellent and had a row of trees on either side. It was virtually like going through a green tunnel. I was surprised to see majority of them were mango tress which had just bloomed. We kept our windows open to savour the aroma of these flowers as we drove through them. The raod took us through beautiful views of Kanker ghat as well.

Valley view of Kanker ghat
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-kanker-ghat1.jpg

Kanker town is the headquarters of Kanker district. A small quaint town. This must have been a small principality during British days. The Kanker palace is a huge British Bungalow built for British resident commissioner and had all trademarks of any good old British bungalows – huge corridors, large living room spanked by large bed rooms on either side. The high ceiling kept the interiors cool.

The elegant Kanker Palace
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-kan-pal.jpg


As per Jai, the Yuvaraja of Kanker, the original palace which was bigger was donated by his grand father to government and is now the Government office. The living room is decorated typically with hunting trophies of bison’s horns, tiger heads, stuffed tiger, old crystals, weaponry etc. Jai said that the forests of Kanker had many tigers and his grandfather was a good hunter. I could now fathom the reason for dwindling tiger population in these forests!

The Living Room
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-liv-3.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-liv.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-liv-2.jpg

The rooms are big and elegant. The rooms sported the charming “Pankha” or “Fan” which was being pulled by servants to generate air in the room in good old days.

The Bed room - look at the "Pankha"
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-room.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-room-2.jpg

The lunch was good and the mutter paneer was god sent. I had not tasted better paneer – soft and spongy – before. The “Pankha” in the dining hall gave it the room a subdued elegance.

The Dining hall (Ravi, Jai and Me)
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-dh.jpg

As we left Kanker, we were bidding good bye to Bastar and entering the western Chattisgarh area of Rajnandgaon. Just outside the palace on the highway we saw this samll lake with Shiva statue in the middle which was glowing in aftrennon sun.
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-lake.jpg

The drive from Kanker to Chiukadan was good except for few KMs in Rajnandgaon town.

Chiukadan – many including me would not have heard of this small town in Chattisgarh. It was a year back when I was browsing Outlook traveller, I bumped into the painted rooms of this palace. Ever since we saw this we had made up our mind that we should stay here some day in those painted rooms and we were excited that that will happen today.

Giriraj, the Yuvaraj of Chiukadan - a young man in late twenties - met us as we arrived at his palace. Again this is not a huge palace like the ones you see in Rajasthan or elsewhere. It looks more like a large haveli. We were disappointed when Shivraj told us the painted rooms were under renovation and offered us different rooms.

The views of Palace
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pal.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pal-2.jpg

Chiukadan palace is built over 10 acres of land by Giriraj’s grandfather. With abolition of privy purses, the family moved to Raipur and the palace had gone to ruins. Jai, the Kanker yuvaraja during one of the visits to the palace happened to see these beautiful paintings in the rooms and that was when he and Giriraj - they are cousins - thought of restoration of the palace into a heritage hotel. They have started restoration and lot of work is needed to bring back the place to acceptable standards. Once done, I have no doubt that this will be sought after place in Chattisgarh.

We went around the painted rooms and were zapped to see beautiful paintings on all sides of the room. No one knows who and when these were painted. There are scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Ras leela and surprisingly there are scenes of British dancing, dining etc! The rooms somehow looked surreal and once done up should provide a different expertise for guests.

The painted rooms - Dont they look lovely!
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pai.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pai-2.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pai-32.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pai-43.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ck-pai-5.jpg

The evening was exciting. Giriraj offered us a night picnic to a nearby reservoir in the middle of jungle. He is the Chairman of Town muncipal council and has huge clout. But the guy looked simple. We drove up a small hill overlooking a reservoir under clear night skies. The whole place was pitch dark and quiet. He had got his team to cook and serve hot dinner.

It was an experince we had not bargained for but came as a sweet bonus!

The only other palace n Chattisgarh at Kanwardha is on the way to Bhoramdeo, our next stop and we thoughtof having a coffee stop there the next morning.

Next stop - Khajuraho of Chattisgarh!

Last edited by Fauji : 9th April 2011 at 16:44.
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