Here are some of the most notable cities.
- 3 Bilaspur — second largest city in Chhattisgarh near to the old capital of the Chhattisgarh state, Ratanpur
- 1 Indravati National Park — a famous Tiger Reserve and park that has hilly terrain, forest and grasslands. This habitat provides home for the tiger, water buffalo and deer. There is also a rich diversity of birds, smaller mammals and reptiles inhabiting the area
- 2 Kanger Ghati National Park — a dense area with several waterfalls and limestone caves. Several species of animals and a wide tribal population are present in this beautiful park. The diversity of landscapes makes ideal habitats for many species. Wildlife includes tigers, langurs, sloth bears, lizards, snakes, peacocks and parrots to name a few.
Chhattisgarh was formed on November 1, 2000, as India's 26th state, carved out of Madhya Pradesh. It is surrounded by the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in the north, Andhra Pradesh in the south, Odisha in the east, and Madhya Pradesh in the west.
Of the 135,133 sq km area, about 45% is densely forested. The state with its capital at Raipur claims a literacy level of 65%. Of its 29 districts, many of them were erstwhile princely states. Its major cities are Raipur, Durg-Bhilai (twin cities), Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Korba, Raigarh, and Jagdalpur.
The 3 National Parks and 11 Wildlife Sanctuaries provide a real treat for nature lovers. The forests abound in wildlife like the Tiger, Leopard, Wild Boar, Cheetal, Langoor, Rhesus Monkey, Barahsinga, Sambhar, Bison, Wild Buffalo, Civet Cat, and Bear.
The major rivers that flow through the state are Mahanadi, Indravati, Shivnath, Hansdeo, Arpa, Pairi, Kharoon, Maniyari Jonk, Shabri, Dankini-Shankini, Mand, Tandula, Ib, Kotri. The state also has numerous waterfalls, namely Chitrakote, Tirathgarh, Kanger, Gupteshwar, Malajkundam, Saat Dhara, Ranidah, Rajpuri, Kendai, Tata Pani, Damera Tamda Ghumar and Mendri Ghumar.
The hilly terrain and forests of the virgin Kanger Valley National Park, in the epicentre of the tribal Bastar district, house a number of ancient caves.
The Caves are closed during the monsoons and for some time thereafter. They normally open around the time of Bastar Lokotsav. Guides take tourists in and out safely. However, it is advised that children below 8 years, those above 60 years, and those suffering from claustrophobia avoid the Caves. Wear walking shoes with a sturdy grip as the floor is often uneven and occasionally slippery.
A nominal entrance fee is charged. This covers the cost of the guide who takes you in and out of the Caves and also provides a torch.
Chhattisgarh has India's finest waterfalls, comparable to the best in the world. Some of them are:
- Chitrakot Waterfall
- Tiratgarh Waterfall - This 300 ft high waterfall is actually situated in the Kanger Valley National Park (about 15 minutes from the park entrance), about 35 km south of Jagdalpur. The fall here splits into multiple falls, creating a stunning vista. While the Tiratgarh falls are not as wide as Chitrakot, you may stand almost under them, or walk across the top to sit on a rock rising up out of the middle. Well maintained steps lead down to the bottom. There is a small temple on a large rock opposite the falls. All around are the ruins of a 1,000 year old, advanced, Hindu civilization. Tiratgarh makes a lovely picnic spot. The best time to visit is from October to February.
- Mandawa Waterfall
- Chitrashara Waterfall
- Thamada Ghumar Waterfall
- Mendri Ghoomar Waterfall
- Bodhghat Saath Dhara, Dantewada
- Malanjhkudum Waterfalls, Kanker
- Charre-Marre Waterfall, Kanker
- Amrit Dhara Waterfall, Koriya
- Ramdaha Waterfall, Koriya
- Gavar Ghat Waterfall, Koriya
- Akuri Nala, Koriya
- Pawai Waterfall, Surguj
- Kendai Waterfall, Surguj
- Rajpuri Waterfall, Jashpur
- Danpuri Waterfall, Jashpur
- Rani Dah Waterfall, Jashpur
- Devpahri, Korba
A number of Chhatisgarh's 16 districts were formerly princely states, leaving a legacy of picturesque palaces. Some famous palaces are:
Palace Kawardha, Kawardha Kanker Palace Bastar Palace
In ancient times, Chhattisgarh was the region known as Dakshin Koshal, which finds mention in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Over time it was ruled by a succession of Hindu dynasties, and they have left it a legacy of temples, ranging from modest to imposing. Some of the temples are:
- Laxman Temple and Gandheswar Temple, Sirpur
- Danteshwari Temple, Dantewada
- Shivani Temple, Kanker
- Chandi Temples, Dongargarh
- Mahamaya Temple, Surguja
- Kudargarh, Surguja
- Shankar Temple, Deepadih, Surguja
- Vishnu Mandir, Janjgir Champa
- Pithampur Shiv Mandir, Janjgir Champa
- Madanpurgarh Devi Mandir, Janjgir Champa
- Ghatadai (Paharia) Tripur Sundar Devi, Janjgir Champa
- Shivarinarayan Laxminarayan Temple, Janjgir Champa
- Kharud Nagar Laxmaneshwar Temple, Janjgir Champa
- Turridham Shiva Temple, Janjgir Champa
- Adbhar Ashtbhuji Temple, Janjgir Champa
- Chandrahasini Devi Temple, Janjgir Champa
- Ganga Maiya Temple, Durg
- Temples of Ratanpur
- Mallhar (Saravpur)
- Sarwamangla Temple, Korba
- Madwarani Temple, Korba
- Kosgai Pahad, Korba
- Bhawani Mandir, Korba
Chhattisgarh is home to many tribes. In fact, the state has India's oldest tribal communities, and it is safe to assume that the earliest tribals have been living in Bastar for over 10,000 years, since the time the Aryans occupied the Indian mainland and the rich plains became (a) war-infested and (b) de-forested for agriculture.
The main tribes in Chhattisgarh are:
Bastar - Gond, Abujmaria , Bisonhorn Maria, Muria, Halba, Bhatra, Parja, Dhurvaa Dantewara - Muriya, Dandami Mariya or Gond, Dorla, Halba Koriya - Kol, Gond, Bhunjia Korba - Korwa, Gond, Rajgond, Kawar, Bhaiyana, Binjwar, Dhanwar Bilaspur and Raipur - Parghi, Savra, Manji, Bhayna Gariabandh, Mainpur, Dhura, Dhamtari - Kamar Surguja and Jashpur - Munda
The special delicacies like jalebis, rakhia badi and petha are the main appeals of Chhattisgarh Food. The people of the state have an inclination towards tangy recipes and sweet delectables. Maize, wheat and jowar are the basic diet of the inhabitants of Chhattisgarh. Since the state is quite opulent with an abundance of crops such as rice and oilseeds, so the people of the place are never short of their staple food.
The food of Chhattisgarh is categorized under two different heads, tribal recipes and non-tribal menus. The tribes of Chhattisgarh primarily add the various types of fruits that are commonly found in the forest areas of Chhattisgarh. Rakhia badi and petha are the two distinctive food items that are prepared by the tribal population of Chhattisgarh during major festivals.
Jalebi is another lip-smacking sweet dish of Chhattisgarh which is prepared in almost every household of the state. Since the people of Chhattisgarh like to have something sweet at the end of their meal, jalebi has become an integral part of the food menu of the state. Lentils such as chana dals with which a special recipe called bafauri is made in the state are also used as a staple diet by the local people.