Chhattisgarh – Truly Full of Surprises

I’m back after 10 days of travelling that took me from the South to the North, and then the Center of India – to Chhattisgarh! A place that isn’t explored much, not to the extent that the states of Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan are. So when I was invited by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board to this state in the heart of India, I jumped at the chance! (This is the big thing I was talking about in my previous posts.) First of all, I haven’t been travel blogging for very long, and I always thought my first solo trip would be truly a solo one. Here, as a member of the Travel Wizard’s Club, I was one of 12 bloggers lucky enough to be hosted by the state for a week. Hey, I’m not complaining!

The lush, verdant landscape of Chhattisgarh, so beautiful that it makes you breathe deeper!

The lush, verdant landscape of Chhattisgarh, so beautiful that it makes you breathe deeper!

Let me tell you, the seven days I spent in Chhattisgarh will stay with me forever. I do not think they could have picked a better tagline than Full of Surprises, because it truly was that! From the lush greenery to the dramatic skies, from the wide open spaces to its architectural and archaeological wonders dating back more than 14 centuries, they have it all. A rich cultural and tribal heritage, ecologically conscious resorts, and natural beauty that is breathtaking, all coexisting without intruding on each other.

On the banks of the Mahanadi - the chants of the Shiva bhakts reverberate in my ears even now. Truly, a unique sight from the Gandeshwar Temple, Sirpur

On the banks of the Mahanadi – the chants of the Shiva bhakts reverberate in my ears even now. Truly, a unique sight from the Gandeshwar Temple, Sirpur

There is a lot to see! Even now, after having spent a week there, I feel like I have just witnessed the tip of the iceberg, to use a cliché. We equate travel to expense, but it really is the only expense that gives you so, so, so much in return. I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would come back this much richer than I left, bag in hand on the 4th of August!

I swayed to tribal drums, ate with a Dhurwa tribal family in the Bastar region, and sat contemplating life as the Teerathgarh falls thundered magnificently in front of me. I saw ancient tribal art that is open enough to depict helicopters and foreign tourists, understood the process of the traditional crafts, and saw the easy smiles of the locals accepting us strangers. Be it sipping on a ginger tea in a tiny shop as it poured outside, or tucking in to a scrumptious meal at the end of a tiring day, I was counting my blessings every moment that I was doing what I love – travelling!

The marvel in brick that is the Lakshman Temple, dating back to the 7th century AD.

The marvel in brick that is the Lakshman Temple, dating back to the 7th century AD.

The immense hospitality I experienced here, the lifelong friends I made and the beautiful sights I saw will definitely take more than one post to cover. I have started it off here today, with a few glimpses of what is yet to come. Stay with me, as I reveal to you a journey that was as much within as without!

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