Bastar. The very name spells magic, conjuring up images of perhaps the most exotic tribes of India. Bastar is tribal territory. This land is richly endowed with minerals and forest resources. It has the largest strength of tribes anywhere in the world. The Gonds (a tribe) in Bastar remain perhaps the least in contact with the world outside.
On the mountains of Abujmarh, spread over the tehsils of Narainpur, Bijapur, and Dantewada, live the Maria tribes of Bastar. This 3,900 square km area shelters the people in small villages.
Maria is the largest group of tribes in Bastar. Goddess Danteshwari is the reigning deity of the Marias. Marias are steeped in superstition. They have immense faith in magic. The Marias have mongoloid blood in them. They have a coppery complexion with straight black hair, wide mouth, and thick lips. The women are graceful, light in complexion, and pretty. The jewelry the Maria women wear is even more exotic. Most of it is handmade-necklaces made of cane, grass, or beads.
The women enjoy a considerable amount of freedom. Both boys and girls are allowed to spend a night out in the ghotul (kind of rest house), every week. Ghotuls are regarded as a shrine, built by Lingo Pen, a Gond (a tribe) cult hero. Here, the unmarried boys of the village learn songs and dance from their leader. They also sleep in the Ghotuls. Every week, there is a dance carnival as well. Girls also take part in it. Moreover, It is treated like a pilgrimage.
Best Time to Visit
Boasting of abundant scenery, waterfalls, forests, exotic wildlife and more, Bastar is a tribal region in the Chhattisgarh state. The months from October to March is the best time to visit Bastar. During this time the temperature ranges between 17.5°C and 12.0°C and wildlife safari, sightseeing and other activities become favorable. The summer months are quite hot and humid, as the temperature soar up 40°C. The heat might make sightseeing a tough call. Monsoons must be completely avoided as the rainfalls are pretty heavy, and there is water clogging.
How to Reach
BY RAIL -Raipur is the most convenient place from where one can explore Bastar. It is linked with Delhi and Nagpur through air as well as rails.
BY ROAD -Bus services are available from Raipur for all places of tourist interest in the circuit.
Bastar is, predominantly, a forest area, and home of Marias and Murias, both extremely colorful and picturesque tribes, who have preserved their ancient culture.
At Jagdalpur, the colorful festival of Dussehra is celebrated on a grand scale every year.
Chitrakote Falls: At this place, the river Indrawati has a fall of 96 ft.
Tirathgarh Falls: The picturesque waterfalls are 100 ft. in height.
Kutumsar Caves: The place abounds in caves. The five chambers in the cave have several blind wells, all except one covered with a sheet of rock that, when struck, gives a hollow sound.
Dantewada is famous for its Danteshwari Temple.
At Barsur, an old Shiva temple has 12 pillars. In addition, there is a Ganesha Temple and Mama Bhanja ka Mandir as well.