Travel Trade Journal

CHHATTISGA­RH The leading beacon of Tribal Tourism

MPTB has introduced activities like heritage walks, nature visits, e-cycle tours, and soft adventure sports by catering to the needs of all types of tourist

- Gurjit Singh Ahuja

A state which runs through the entire eastern periphery of Madhya Pradesh, also sharing its borders with Jharkhand, Maharashtr­a, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. A state which boasts of a forest cover of almost 45 per cent and nearly 32 per cent of the tribal population. Chhattisga­rh has positioned itself as a destinatio­n full of surprises with some of its amazing destinatio­ns, offering immense opportunit­ies for Tribal, Adventure, Cultural, and Ecotourism. TTJ spoke to Anil Kumar Sahu, Managing Director, Chhattisga­rh Tourism Board, to know how the state’s tourism industry fared in 2022 and what are its plans for the future.

Situated in the heart of the Indian sub-continent, Chhattisga­rh is the ninthlarge­st state of India. Steeped in mythologic­al tales and epics with ancient archaeolog­ical and heritage sites, its unique tribal heritage and culture, Chhattisga­rh has carved for itself a niche as a tourism destinatio­n of religious, cultural, tribal, and historical importance. Chhattisga­rh is blessed with picturesqu­e vistas, natural formations, and historical sites like the Buddhist Stupa at Sirpur, Chitrakote falls, Mendri Ghoomar waterfall in Bastar, Tirathgarh Falls, and, the twin Ganesh Statues in Barsur. A lot is yet to be explored, so the scope and potential for the expansion of tourism activities are immense.

Sahu elaborates, “Tourism in Chhattisga­rh was never really impacted by the COVID-19 surge, as domestic and intrastate tourism was always happening. There was a little lull for some time but now things are looking back on track to the pre-COVID levels. The third edition of the Tribal Dance Festival was a resounding success. We had dance troupes from nine countries and 28 Indian states with 1200 artists performing. All these artists had the opportunit­y to experience Chhattisga­rh firsthand and we will now have 1200 brand ambassador­s for Chhattisga­rh across the globe.”

“We will continue to focus on promoting and highlighti­ng the tribal and cultural heritage of our state. Our endeavour is to promote the indigenous tribal culture, festivals, fairs, and art of the state. Chhattisga­rh, has multiple tribes constituti­ng one-third of the state’s total population. All these tribes have distinct

cultural identities, dialects, festivals, dances, religious practices, beliefs, and deities. We will pursue showcasing the cultural diversity of these tribes as part of our experienti­al tourism experience or rather promoting “Living the Experience,” added Sahu.

Spiritual Tourism is also another area of strong focus under ‘Ram Van Gaman Paryatan Paripath’’ nine sites in Chhattisga­rh will be developed. The ‘Van Gaman Path’ was the route taken by Lord Ram on his way to the 14-year exile, as he had spent a major part of exile in Chhattisga­rh. The first phase involving the developmen­t of the nine marked spots is underway, three sites have already been inaugurate­d, and work on the balance will be completed by June 2023.

The developmen­t of these tourism facilities is planned to make the infrastruc­ture at these places at par with the world tourism standard. The project will restore and develop all the places linked to Lord Ram starting from Koriya district in North Chhattisga­rh to Sukma district in South Chhattisga­rh. These will include Sitamarhi Harchowka, Ramgarh, Shivrinara­yan), Turturiya, Chandkhuri, Rajim, Sihawa Saptarishi Ashram Jagdalpur, and Ramaram.

The aim is to create a win-win through this scheme as not only places of cultural and religious importance will be revamped and beautified, but will attract lakhs of tourists which will help in boosting the local economy and create jobs for the youth of these areas.

“Chhattisga­rh is very safe for tourism and tourists are very welcome all through the state and there should be no apprehensi­on in minds of the visitors,” adds Sahu.

The Bastar Dusshera is another of Chhattisga­rh’s major attraction­s and a grand festival celebrated in Jagdalpur. It is unique in the way it is celebrated, the festival lasts for 75 days. The festival is accompanie­d by several local tribal customs and is celebrated as a congregati­on of the native goddess of the tribals of Bastar, Devi Mavli, and her sisters.

“Our efforts continue to inform and educate the traveller and the travel service providers about the unique propositio­n that our state offers and attract tourists from within India and across the world to our state creating employment and making Chhattisga­rh a tourism-friendly state,” concludes Sahu.

Located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, the UNESCO site of ‘Khajuraho Group of Monuments’ is famous for its Nagara-style architectu­re and graceful sculptures of nayikas and deities. The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world, representi­ng life in every form and mood that has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman’s artistry but also to the extraordin­ary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructe­d. The Khajuraho temples were built in the short span of a hundred years, from 950 to 1050 AD in a truly inspired

burst of creativity. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders.

Every year in February, tourists witness Khajuraho Dance Festival in Khajuraho. This grand cultural extravagan­za is a stunning blend of art and architectu­re. One gets to experience a wonderful symphony of mesmerisin­g classical dance performanc­es being performed by renowned artists coming from different cities and towns in India.

This mega festival is a spirited celebratio­n of classical dance forms, art, and culture, wherein renowned exponents of Indian classical and folk dances are performed throughout the week. Apart from the graceful dance performanc­es, there are other highlights that can be enjoyed simultaneo­usly.

Activities and events like art exhibition­s, panel discussion­s, interactiv­e sessions, adventure sports, village tours and much more keep tourists entertaine­d throughout. The choice is yours to opt from a wide range

of multi-dimensiona­l activities.

Khajuraho dance festival is not only a festival of dances; it has been transforme­d into a wholesome festival of dance, literature, fine arts and everything. The celebratio­n of art has been all along linked with tourism in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) has taken several initiative­s to publicize and engage the tourists during the week of the festival.

At this festival, MPTB has introduced activities like heritage walks, nature visits, e-cycle tours, and soft adventure sports by catering to the needs of all types of tourists. Be it a dance enthusiast or an adventure lover.

Screening of movies, documentar­ies, along experiment­al cinema of famous artists are also displayed to help viewers understand the dynamics of arts, music, literature, vocals, dance instrument­al music, and various art forms.

One can also indulge in mouth-watering Bundeli recipes. Enjoy the widespread dishes and feel the goodness of Bundeli food.

 ?? ?? Anil Kumar Sahu
Anil Kumar Sahu
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