Tourist Information

When to Go?

October to March are the most clement months as far as weather goes. To observe tribal culture at its vibrant best, it is best to plan a trip in Bastar during key fairs and festivals. Most of them happen between January and March. Bastar Dassehra, in particular, draws travelers from around the world. It starts as early as July and runs for 75 days, with the most exciting days in early to mid-October. Note that dates of festivals depend on the local calendar, so contact Chhattisgarh Tourism from an update. The state’s famous waterfalls, meanwhile are at their thundering best just after mansoons.

What to Pack?

Modest, breathable clothing, sunscreens, hats, comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent.

Getting There and Around

Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, is connected by air, rail, and road to major metros and cities. Bastar lies south of Raipur and is best reached by car.

Air: The state’s airport is situated about 15km from Raipur. Air India, Jet Airways, JetKonnect and IndiGo connect Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Indore, Nagpur, Kolkata, Chennai and other major cities.

Train: Raipur railway station lies on the Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line, with connectivity to key cities in north, east and central India.

Bus: Local buses run between cities, but take much longer than a car. The best option between Raipur and Jagdalpur is Kanker Travels and Mahindra Travels. The company offers air-conditioned and air-cooled buses.

Guides and Organized Trips

Hiring a guide for your trip is highly recommended, especially if you are interested in accessing tribal villages. A guide will be able to arrange a meal in a village, organize a special dance performance and so on. Jagdalpur based Awesh Ali is a reservoir of in-depth knowledge and ha close connection with the tribal community.

Accommodation

The two main bases to explore Bastar are Kanker and Jagdalpur. Don’t expect world-class amenities but it is not difficult to find reasonably clean rooms with TV, AC, hot water in the bathrooms and room service. Most mid=range hotels have Wi-Fi and accept credit cards; else and ATM is never too far away in the larger towns.

Eating

In Jagdalpur, you are best off eating at a hotel. You will find small dhabas along the highway and even in the villages, which make for great snack stops. If you’re particular about hygiene through, consider bringing your own picnic. Eateries reviewed in this book have been assigned the following rate categories, based on the price of a meal for two.

Dos and Don’ts

Do

  • Wear modest clothing, especially in tribal villages
  • If traveling to villages or forested areas, take along sunscreen, insect repellent, bottled water and snacks since facilities are negligible. Thick-soled shoes are a must in the jungles, since there are plenty of snakes.
  • Fold your hands and greet adivasis with a ‘johar’ (which covers greetings, thanks, and goodbye)
  • Us the bathroom before heading out or wherever you see one; you are unlikely to find restrooms outside the towns.

Don’ts

  • Veer off much from the main highway or try to enter places that your local contacts or guides tell you to avoid.
  • Express shock or distaste at the adivasis eating and drinking habits, River and Jungle produce are a large part of the tribal diet along with copious amounts of local brews.
  • Shoot photographs of adivasis without permission. A courteous appeal is usually all that is needed.
  • Litter, if there are no dustbins, take back any debris such as plastic bottles and wrappers.

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