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Jagdalpur – The Gateway destination to Bastar

Written by B.Bindu

Owing to the vast opportunities of tourism, District and Divisional headquarters of Bastar, Jagdalpur, is an important ancient and cultural city. Jagdalpur has all the facilities and less costly as compared to the other cities of our country. Jagdalpur is a tourist place in itself consisting of many tourist attractions. Bastar Maharaja’s Palace, Maa Danteshwari Temple, huge Dalpat Sagar excavated by Raja Dalpat Dev, Anthropological Museum situated at Dharampura, Archaeological Museum at the heart of the city, Sirasaar Bhawan and the group of huge wooden chariots nearby, Lakshman Mound at the banks of river Indravati, Shiv temple of Mahadev Ghat, Parshavnath Digambar Jain temple, Jain temple at Dadabaadi, Tirupati Balaji temple, Silk emporium, Mriganayani emporium, Murthi line (Sculpture line), places of faith related to Dussehra like Maa Mawali temple, Kaachan gadi, Nisha Jatra spot, country’s first Collector office premises transformed into SevaSadhan and Commissioner office premises etc. are the places of tourist attractions, while the culture of Jagdalpur overshadows Metropolis culture, being a place of paradise for history lovers.

The ancient name of Jagdalpur was Jagduguda, capital of village Bastar. The then ruling Maharaja went to banks of river Indravati for hunting where his horse stood still. Raja saw a rabbit fearlessly standing on the way, seeing which his horse stood still. Raja had a thought that this place has such a wonderful surrounding, even a small animal is filled with courage, then why not establish his capital at the same place. Raja took this land from ‘Jagdoo Mahra’ and established his capital, Jagdalpur, the city of cross-roads, in a systematic way. Raj Mahal of Bastar Maharaja is a lively presentation of prosperity and dignity. Presently, according to the expectations of Bastar dwellers, cultural traditions are discharged by Raj Mahal. People have faith towards Late Raja Pravirchandra Bhanjdev.

Situated in the Rajmahal premises, Maa Danteshwari temple gathers a huge crowd. The longest festival in Bastar, Dussehra, spans over 75 days, starts on the day of Hareli Amavasya by paying homage to ‘Turlukhotla’, from this place. The statue of Maa Danteshwari in Dantewada is of black granite while that of Jagdalpur is of white color.

Nearby Rajmahal premises is Sirasaar Chowk. It is called so due to the presence of Sirasaar Bhawan. Actually, in Bastar, a priestly class is known as ‘Sirhaa’. On the occasion of Bastar Dussehra, Devi-Devatas from various places are invited, who are brought by their respective Sirhaa priests. It was for these Sirhaa priests that Raja constructed ‘Sirhasaar’. At the time of Dussehra, the ritual of ‘Jogi Bithaai’ is carried on in ‘Sirhasaar’ Bhawan till date.

Raja Purushottam Dev offered worships to Lord Jagannath at Jagannathpuri and acquired the title of ‘Rathpati’. From that time, on Goncha festival, the procession of  four-wheeled chariot and on Dussehra, the procession of four-wheeled as well as eight-wheeled chariot takes place. The wooden chariots, near ‘Sirhasaar’ Bhawan speak out their own glorious legends.

Raja Dalpat Dev, during his reign, excavated three ponds near RajMahal and turned them into a large lake. Spread over 385 acres, Dalpat Sagar is an important tourist attraction today. One part of Dalpat Sagar is developed into a park. The statue of Madia couple with their children, a symbol of Bastar culture, is an attraction. Established with the help of Tourism Board, ‘Musical Fountain’ is alluring, with its three shows during evening. Motor boat facility is available in Dalpat Sagar. In the midst of Dalpat Sagar, Shiv temple is constructed on a mound. On the occasion of Mahashivratri, visitors come by watercraft and motor boat to visit Shiv temple.

On the way to Dharampura, there is Maa Gayatri temple rightwards. On its backside, at the banks of Dalpat Sagar, grand picturesque Balaji temple is situated. By the initiative of South Indian community of Jagdalpur, Balaji temple is a replica of Tirupati Balaji temple. The entrance of temple is marvelous. Idols constructed in South Indian style are extremely fascinating. The temple’s garbagriha houses an idol of Venkatpati Balaji. A DeepStambh (light post) is built inside the temple premises with various temples on the course. The grandiose idols designed on temple walls and premises remind of ancient architecture.

On the same route, Human Geological Survey Centre is located at Dharampura, having a huge collection of antique items which give a glimpse of  Bastar’s primitive culture. Its library is rich. It is an ideal place for archaeological researchers.

Situated in the heart of the city, at GolBazaar, there is a Museum of Archaeological Department with an agglomeration of idols from various places of Bastar. Bodh Vihar in Bacheli region, Buddhist Chaitayas in Bhongpal region, idol of Mahavir Swamy in Kuruspal, sequence of 23 temples from a knoll in Gobarhin, 32 gold coins obtained from the excavation at Adenga, remains of earthenware from Bakawand Jaithgiri, inscriptions obtained from Artakot certifies Bastar’s ancient glory.

Lakshman Tila (hillock), at Dokrighat, on the banks of Indravati, is another significant spot. A large geographical part near Indravati, with bountiful natural beauty, due to its drainage is cut off from the mainland of Dokrighat Para and a bridge is built up to reach there with renovation of a temple constructed formerly.

Now, Collectorate premises of Jagdalpur is developed by the name of SewaSadan. During 2007, the then Collector Ganesh Shankar Mishra sent a proposal to rename Collectorate into SewaSadan and Collector may be known as MukhyaSewak. In order to execute this positive measure in a meaningful way, he transformed whole Collectorate in Gandhian style. A grand statue of Gandhiji along with his 3 monkeys have been set up. A constantly lighted lamp is the symbol of wisdom, attention and service. From 1st January 2008 onwards, hearing of Gandhiji’s cherished bhajan “Vaishnav jan ko tene kahiye” is carried out at Prerna room (Prerna Kaksha) by all officers and staff. State Chief Minister Dr.Raman Singh, internationally reputed Shri RaviShankar Maharaj, Kedarnath Singh a well-considered poet at national level, various potencies heared Gandhi Bhajan here and appreciated the initiative. The pathways to Collectorate premises are named ‘Satya’, ‘Ahimsa’ and ‘Aparigraha’. Gandhian morals, statues, pictures are fixed at many places. The entire campus is Gandhian. Its positive outlook can be very well felt in the changed behavior of the staff. As a Collector and Commissioner, Ganesh Shankar Mishra, during his tenure at Jagdalpur, beautified the city. Madiya Chowk at the town entrance and mural Bastar-arts are astonishing. Maadin Chowk is another attraction centre which is an aesthetic symbol.

Jagdalpur is a beautiful city, distinguished for intersections of roads (Chauraaho ka Sheher). Shahid Park, wooden carving craft at Murthi line, Mriganayani Emporium, ‘Sanjivani Kendra’ prominent for herbals, ‘Metguda Nursery’, ‘Abhinandan Park’, ‘Kosa centre’, ‘Lamni Park’, are adequate to spell-bound the tourists.

The region around Jagdalpur city has some extremely beautiful places. On Raipur road, ‘Bastar Haat’ is developed as a tourist centre on a hillock. On the other bank of Indravati, Chhattisgarh Tourism Board has given a fascinating outlook to Aasna Park, herbal plants are planted here. Wooden carving craft, clay craft, wrought iron works are attractions of Parchanpal.

Situated in Jagdalpur, in Central Jail, prisoners make wrought iron works, wooden carving works, mirror works, stone works and Bastar Lokotsav and Pradarshini are various attractions.

Situated on Geedam Road, there is a huge iron cage where state bird Myna is tamed by Forest Department. Our heart would blossom on hearing its voice replicating human voice and uttering ‘Namaste Saheb’. 9km away from Jagdalpur, in Kurandi, a Herbal Park is developed. 30km away from Jagdalpur, in Girola, Hingalajin temple is the centre of faith. Nearby at Jaitgiri, in Benth Jharnar, a Shiva temple, Benth plants and Kewda forest are attraction centres.

Jagdalpur is well-connected to capital Raipur by airways, while it is connected to Vishakhapatnam, Jaipur by railways.