August 17, 2020

Bastar with Edwina D’souza

This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Edwina D'Souza from the blog!

Today's destination: Bastar, Chattisgarh

Nearest Airport: Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur (RPR)

Nearest Railway Station: Jagdalpur Railway Station (JDB)

Prerequisites: Local tour guide/agency, reservations for all stays. Unexplored Bastar does a great job with travel in the state.

Packing: Pack according to the weather

Time of the year: April

Length of the itinerary: 5 days

Itinerary Highlights:

- We start off the conversation with the geography and history of the Bastar region as well as the connection with epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata
- We also discuss the misconceptions and realities about safety of a solo traveler, as well as the naxalite movement.
- Edwina begins her journey from Raipur, making a stop at Dhamtari. Dhamteri is famous for the Gangrel dam as well as it's likeness to Goa! One should definitely enjoy the two places relaxing.
- The next pitstop is at Jabarra, spending time with some locals, this place is famous for its rich sal trees and timber.
- Gond, Baiga, Korba, Abhuj Maria, Bison Horn Maria are some of the prominent tribes of the region.
- The next point of interest is the Kailash caves, believed to be over a thousand years old and is popular for the underground caves and their stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves, along with Kutumsar caves, form the backbone of the nature biosphere of Bastar.
- The next stop was Teerathgarh falls, the milky white cascading water falls that add to the natural beauty of Bastar. Additionally, the Chitrakoot falls are one of the biggest (widest) waterfall of Bastar measuring over 300m wide.
- Another core component of the Bastar region is the 'haat' or weekly market. Picking up a small memento or souvenir from the weekly haats (tokapal haat in our case) does wonders for the local economy. 
- The banned sport of cockfighting is also a common occurrence on on the haats of Bastar and gives a view of the practices of the Edwina also attends some of the processions of the tribals.
- The next event Edwina goes to is the Ghotpal Madai or the village fair. The madais are a popular attraction of the locals and everything from singing to dances and commerce takes place at these fairs. The important art forms like Dhokra art can also be found at such fairs.
- Another popular festival of Bastar is the Dussehra festival, which is different from they Mysore Dussehra and goes on for 75 days - the longest festival in the world!
- Edwina also talks about the quirky food preferences including the 'red ant chutney' or chapra, the local beverage 'salfi' and the kadaknath chicken or the black chicken!
- Finally Edwina covers off some interesting things like the paintings of the tribals as well as their graves.


Link to the Edwina's blog
Link to the tour agency

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