Chhattisgarh has been on my travel wishlist since the last four years because I feel that this state has always underplayed itself and has not really got promoted in a right way. There is a lot of potential in Chhattisgarh, which could easily rank it amongst India’s favourite destination to explore, a glimpse of which I got during my short visit in Bastar in 2014. I was sure of making a comeback and explore its nook and corners but some where it couldn’t happen.
The Green Chhattisgarh
Honestly, if you ask me I would say that Chhattisgarh can easily be an option of a monsoon destination in India, only if we know what this state has to offer. Chhattisgarh is the greenest state of India, with 70 percent of its area covered in dense forest but that’s not all. Talk about the tribals, customs and traditions, wildlife, adventure, heritage and you will be surprised to know its abundance in almost every sphere and yet Chhattisgarh has remained off the tourist radar
Last year I started pondering over the idea of planning a backpack trip here again, when I landed with an invitation from the district administration of Raigarh to attend its 34th Chakradhar Samaroh. I was just back from Kailash Mansarovar Yatra that time and was in no mood to travel again so soon but missing out on Chhattisgarh would have been a mistake
Raigarh- The Cultural Capital of Chhattisgarh
Raigarh, famously known as the Sanskardhani- ‘Cultural capital of Chhattisgarh, is known for its dance form “Kathak” (as Raigarh Gharana) and its bend towards the classical music. Whole of its credit goes to Maharaja Chakradhar Singh under whose patronage Raigarh flourished as a centre of art and culture. Every year on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, Chakradhar Samaroh is jointly organized by Chakradhar Lalit Kala Kendra and Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Academy, with the sturdy co-operation from the District Administration
Chakradhar Samaroh- A Unique Festival of Chhattisgarh
I have been a music and dance lover and honestly attending such festivals only makes me proud of the fact that our country is really abundant in culture and these festivals are nothing but an effort to showcase the legacy of our very own India
You have to be present here to feel the vibes of this Samaroh, which I felt still retains the rustic feel of India with the aligned performances at this festival. There are many traditional forgotten forms that I saw came alive here
Each year at Raigarh Chakradhar Samaroh, dancers as well as musicians come from different parts of India in order to exhibit their talents. It is a magnificent opportunity for these performers to showcase their endowments. Chakradhar Festival in Chhattisgarh would offer you the wonderful chance to observe the programs put forward by several stalwarts at the same time. The exceptional caliber possessed by these performers is quite apparent in their feats. Festivals like these mirror the rich cultural legacy of our country.
My High Point- I saw Dangal (A Form of Wrestling) Live
It felt like reliving the moments from the blockbuster movie Dangal where the youngsters, both the boys and girls, from across India are invited to participate and showcase their talent at this festival.
You see them fighting their each breathe out to win but honestly what makes me proud is the fact that despite the technology advancements, when a lot of people are getting influenced by the western world, there are still youngsters trying to keep this ancient practice alive, which distinguishes our country from the other.
The fittest way to live and what makes me even more proud is the fact that I could see some of the international level champions performing live here
Street Plays, Music and Dance Forms
Chakradhar is a 10 day festival, which adopts a different theme each day.
I attended this festival on the 5 & 6 day where fusion of different dance forms was brought together along with the theme of street plays, lying importance on daughters
Seeing Roop Kumar Rathore Singing Live
Another high point was getting an opportunity to enjoy music live from Roop Kumar Rathore, along with his wife. I remember the wait for Maula Mere Maula- one of my favorite song
Things to Keep in Mind
- If you want to visit this Festival keep an eye on: http://chakradharsamaroh.in/
- The Festival is FREE to attend and usually starts in the evening by 6: 30 PM, though few small events take place during the morning hours
- Make sure to reach the venue a little early, to reserve a seat, especially if a celebrity is coming. We faced problems with the seat during Mr. Rathore performance
- I took a Flight till Raipur from where it is either a 10 hour road trip to Raigarh or a six hours journey by train
- Do not expect good hotels here since it is a small town. Moderate condition rooms are available priced between Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 1,500/-
- There is an evening Chaupati, if you want to taste the street food. We tried Dahi Golgappa and Tikkis
- Do take a walk across the lanes during the night. The whole town remains lighted the entire night during the festival
- The city sleeps early. Me and my fellow blogger insisted on a night tour, only to find out that the roads gets vacant by 9 PM and the last restaurant operating here closes at 11 PM