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Chhattisgarh : Bilaspur
Another common site of attraction amongst the tourist can very well be that of Bilaspur. Situated at a distance of 1243km from Mumbai and 721km from Howrah, Bilaspur is a city in the Bilaspur District of Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Established 400 years back, this city derived its name from the daughter of a fisherman named Bilasha.
Being a railway city, Bilaspur is immersed with some fond memories of famous poet Rabindranath Tagore. It is been said that the poet wrote his famous poem “Fanki” while he was waiting in the waiting room of the Bilaspur station. Thus a form of dedication to the famous Poet, platform-1 is dedicated to poet.
Travelling 20km from Bilaspur is the city of Ratanpur. This city is blessed with innumerable historical palaces, mosques and some beautifully designed temples. Travelling 4km further from the palatial building, is the Khutaghat Dam. Boating facilities are available in this dam. And those willing to stay on, rest rooms are as well available for the tourist’s convenience. Many buses ply on this route, so reaching there wouldn’t be a great problem.
Further travelling for half an hour from the Khutaghat Dam is the famous sculpturally rich Shiva Temple popularly known as the Mahadev Temple, situated at Pali.
Another added attraction of this city is that of the famous Lafagarh Fort. Situated amidst mountains and forest, this fort has a temple inside as well. The temple is the abode of the eight-handed goddess Menoka, sitting over a tiger. The Ramakrishna Mission at Koni can also be visited. Guest House facility is available at Ramakrishna Mission. Thus a car is hired to have full view of the city of Bilaspur.
Travelling 28km south from Bilaspur one will come to Talegaon, situated along the Maniyari River.Talegaon is basically famous for its DevraniJethani temple. The unique Rudra Shiva replica of Lord Shiva shouldn’t be given a miss as well. Further moving 5km from Talegaon is Malharfrom where the idols of Dindeshwari, Pataleshwar, Chaturbhuj Vishnu etc. are being excavated.Moreover Jain Temple can also be a site of visit. Every year huge fair takes place during the time of MahaShivaRatri.
Another place of attraction can be that of Janjgir situated along the Hasdo River. Janjgir is specialised for its famous Tasar and Kosha silk. Once done with shopping, one can avail a train to reach Shakti, which is situated 60kms away. Soon paying a visit at the DamauDhara, GidhaParvat, Hari, GujarChatari, Mahagayi temples, one can head towards Raigarh. After visiting the city of palatial buildings, Ramakrishna Temples, Bhupdevpur Falls and the Jute Mill one can directly head towards Singhanpur Cave which is 15km from Shakti. Among the 3 caves situated, two of them are a height of 25-30ft. And the third one is enriched with many human postures engraved on it.
Ones you done visiting Raigarh, you can head for Sarangarh, situated 52kms away taking the NH-216 route.Blessed with ancient forts and palaces, Sarangarh is mainly famous for the 17thcentury old Samaleswari Temple. Many other temples such as Mahaprabhu, Kavtin, RaniJhula temples also can be visited. And travelling 32km more is the Gomardhara Sanctuary. This sanctuary is famous for its scenic beauty which is enriched with beautiful falls, forest and watch tower. Travelling further 76km north is Dharamganj,famous for its hot spring and forts can be as well visited.
Now consider travelling 94km south from Bilaspur, to reach Shivrinarayan.Blessed with the unusual site where Mahanadi, Shivnath and Jonk rivers meet, the name is derived from a devotee of Lord Rama named Shivri, who used to dedicate fruits to the Lord before tasting it herself so that the Lord is provided with the perfect fruit. Moreover Shivrinarayan is also famous for its Keshabnarayan and Jagathnath temples as well for a unique annual fair that is held during the magha months. Now travelling 5km further from Shivrinarayan, is Kharod situated along the Maniyari River, is famous for its middle agedLaxmeshwarTemple. After visiting the stone grafted JethaniDevrani temple and DebadebMaheswar colossal idol, you can either opt for returning to Bilaspur or else can head towards Bor-Noapara.
Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary which is enriched with wildlife and wide collection of flora can also be visited. Established in the year 1975, tigers, cheetah, gaur, bear, boar, chital and many more can be a common site in this sanctuary. To visit this sanctuary, you need to travel from Bilaspur via the Amarkantak route.Ghonga Dam and Khudiya Dam are the added attraction of this place. But it should be noted that Achanakmar lags behind for its adequacy in water supply. You can also visit the dense bamboo forest situated in Shiotarai. Again consider visiting Achanakmar check post (60km from Bilaspur), Chaproa (10km) and Lamni Sanctuary check post (20km).Amarkantak can also be visited. In order to reach Amarkantak one need to travel from Lamni via Keuti forest. You can also avail the bus plying on the route of Bilaspur -Kota -Achanakmar – Chaproa - Lamni - Amarkantak. The buses travel through dense Sal forest. However while travelling through this route; you can often see some the prevailing tribal of the place.
And those planning to stay at Achanakmar, many resorts and hotels are available for their convenience. But it should be note Achanakmar remains close for the tourist from July 1st to October 31st. Many forest guest houses are also available at Chaprao as well.
Situated at a distance of 188km from Bilaspur and 300km from Raipur, Ambikapur is the city in the Surguja district. The main of attraction in this city is the Mahamaya Temple. Also the tomb of Baba Muhammad Shah and Baba Murad Shah shouldn’t be given a miss. In fact the tombs of their pet pigeons are worth a visit.
After visiting Ambikapur, you can also visit Ramgarh, a place known for its picturesque landscape and caves. The hilltops are adorned with beautiful Maurya dynasty created caverns. In fact the world’s most ancient amphitheatre is situated in Ramgarh. This place further became a known place for the famous “Meghdoot” was written by Kalidasa on the hilltop. Also you can visit the JagamaraMuseum from where you can collect information about SutanukaDevdasi.An annual dance festival is also organised here.
Other attractions of Ramgarh are Haathipole, Sitakunda, SitaBengra (cave), Ramgarh Fort, Kabichaura, Balishta Cave, LaxmanBengra, JhapiBengra, PhoolSundariBengra and DarbarFufa.
You can also visit Mainpat, situated 85km away from Ambikapur. Considered as the Shimla of Chhattisgarh, Mainput is located at a height of 3781ft. Apart from being famous for the two known Buddhist Monastery Mainpat is famous for the Sarvanja Falls and Tiger Eco Point.
90km away from Ambikapur is Dipadi situated amidst three rivers of Kanhar, Surya and Galfulla.Dipadi was basically famous for its enormous collection of archaeological ruins, scattered in every nooks and corners of the place. Many engrafted temples are the common site of this place. In fact as per archaeological survey it is said to be one among the well maintained temples. The famous Samarth Swarna memorial Shiva Temple house idols of many Gods namely Karthika, Vishnu, Mahishamardini,Ganesh, Baraha and Nandi. Thus compiling all these idols, a museum is been established. Thus it would not be a bad option to arrange a visit to Dipidi, for this place as well is decked with picturesque landscape.