Chhatisgarh is a young state acquring 52,199 sq mi its capital beingRaipur. Although reckoned as a young state, Chhatisgarh has its reference in ancient texts and literary works. With a mythological past Chhatisgarh is full of surprises. The shimmer of sunshine, the beat of the tribal life, the varied rock paintings, the mystifying waterfalls and the emerald forests make Chhatisgarh the place where beauty ideally harmonizes with dream. Whether to experience the simplicity of the tribal life or to witness nature at its best or just to feel the quintessence of the unsullied ancient caves, picturesque palaces and effervescent wildlife, Chhatisgarh is the ideal place.
The name of Chhattisgarh finds mention even in the Indian Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is not mentioned as Chhattisgarh but in its old name Dakshin-Kausal. According to the mythological legends, Rama, during his Vanvas stayed in Dakshin Kosala.
In 1741, the Marathas attacked Chhattisgarh and destroyed the Haihaya power. After four years they deposed Raghunathsinghji, the last surviving member of the Ratanpur house. In 1758, the Maraths annexed Chhattisgarh and was dominated by the Marathas. The Maratha rule was a period of anarchy. They openly surrendered the interests of the region to the British. The Gonds challenged the advances of the Marathas and this led to conflicts between the Marathas and Gonds. In the beginning of the Nineteenth Century the Pindaris attacked this region.
In 1818 Chhattisgarh for the first time came under British control. In 1854, when the province of Nagpur lapsed to the British government, Chhattisgarh was formed into a deputy commissionership with its headquarters at Raipur. The British made changes in the administrative and revenue systems of Chhatisgarh, which affected the people of Chhattisgarh. The British were resisted by the tribals which lasted nearly five years. In 1857, the First war of independence was organized by Vir Narain Singh who was a jamindar of Sonakhan. He formed an army of 500 men to crush the British. He was later arrested and was hanged on the 10th December, 1857. He became the first martyr from Chhattisgarh. The people of Chhatisgarh remember him with pride.
In 1904 Sambalpur was relocated to Orissa and estates of Sarguja were shifted from Bengal to Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh and came into existence on 1 November 2000. It is the 26th State of the Union. Unfortunately, this place is always a victim to violence and riots due to the presence of the Naxalite Maoist rebels.
Music & Dance
Teejan Bai -Pandwani artist-Padmashree awardeeTraditional music and dance are performed with joy and merriment down the generations and thus become an integral part of the social traditions and also becomes an undeniable element of the rich culture of Chattisgarh These are also a source of recreation and entertainment for the regional folks. The admirers of these desi music and dance forms are pretty huge in number; their enchanting rhythm and melodies mesmerized them and they made frequent visits to this area. Pandwani is the musical narrative of the Mahabharata .Teejan Bhai the Padmashree awardee, is a renowned Pandwani artist who has hypnotized us with her unique style of dancing. The name of Ritu Verma is also familiar to us. Also Soowa dance form , the Panthi and the folk dance of shepherds namely "Raut Nacha are noteworthy. The dance styles ballets and comical plays, too, are in vogue. The people of this region love colours. They deck up with very colourful dresses while performing. Pandwani singing, bharthari and chandeni are famous forms of music from Chhattisgarh. It is striking that for every joyful occasions songs were composed; Sohar songs are connected to birth of the child, to fete weddings, Bihav songs are composed. The main components of Bihav songs are Chulmati, Telmati, Maymouri, Nahdouri, Parghani, Bhadoni . There are other songs for special occasions of marriage like Bhanver, Dowery and Vidai songs. Pathoni songs are the somgs hummed at the time of departure of bride to groom`s residence. Loriya & acting songs of child are Dandi Pouha, Loriya, Fugdi, Kau-Mau, Chau-Mau, Khuduwa (Kakdi), In Chattisgarh , folk songs like Fag (songs for spring ), Baramasi (12 months), Sawnahi (songs of rainy seasons) are composed to commemorate seasons .
Various festivals and fairs that are celebrated in Chhatisgarh reflect the traditional culture of Chattisgarh. Through out the year the people of Chhatisgarh are busy celebrating various festivals in full vigor.
Dusshera FestivalDusshera is one of the important festivities, especially in Bastar region.Like any other state of Indian subcontinent the people fete it with exuberance , it varies in its commemorative theme. It is no longer a celebration to mark the occasion of victorious coming back of Lord Rama in his hometown of Ayodhya. The Baster residents, mainly belonging to the tribal communities, these days celebrate it in worshipping goddess Danteswar the festival is celebrated through out Chattisgarh. Another festival namely Madai is feted in pomp and grandeur in various villages stretching from Baster to Mandla provinces of Bihar. In Bastar , Gond tribes celebrate this festival in high spirit . By gathering under the shed of a holy tree , myriads of devotees guillotine the goats as a mark of sacrifice to the goddess. Huge fiesta is being followed after that. Among the Bhil tribes Bhagoriya Festival is immensely popular . They worship the dance god called Bhagoriya. This is the joyful festival where young girls and boys dance and convey their feelings of love for each other. On the day of Raksha Bandhan , Chhatishgarhis celebrate Kajari Festival. Hariyali heralds the celebration of rich harvest time. It is held in monsoon season where the peasants revere the cows and the farming tools . Hanging threads of leaves of neem trees is done to remove all evil forces and pray for hefty crops. Charta festival , the festivals for tribes of Chattisgarhi , commence with the collection of rice from the huts of every villager by the children. Married women cook rice on the banks of the rivers and ponds . Meanwhile all the other men and women of the village spent time in singing and dancing and waiting ,holding their breathes, for the delicious food to be dished out .
Kawardha PalaceThe appeal of the region`s scenic beauty attract tourists from all over India. The green forests, scenic hills , meandering rivers , beautiful villages of tribal folks are noteable features of the region, thus making it, an ideal abode of eco-tourism. Being the birth place of kingdoms of royal dynasties like Mauryas , it is the ideal place for the historians and sociologists to explore. It is a place of marvelous temples and architectural wonders and all offers an eloquent diction to the rich culture of Chattisgarh. All these factors initiated the State Government to raise the tourism industry of the state. In Raipur , the capital of the state, Hotel Madhuban and Hotel Mayura were constructed. Besides, there is a line of Heritage hotels in Chhatisgarh. The exotic royal palaces, thus , are converted to luxuriant hotels, incorporating all modern amenities to the tourists. Palaces like Kawardha , Kankaer are the illustrious examples enmeshing both graceful hospitality and glances of Indian regal inheritance . Due to the close proximity to the tribal communities the tourists can also enjoy to their hearts` content, the wonderful and pleasant aspects of tribal society. The restaurants had an ample supply of multi-ethnic food : Chinese, continental, Indian, Mughlai.
The cuisine of Chhatisgarhis follows the typical Oriental style. They are prone towards using lots of spices, flavors and aroma in their food. The typical culture of Chattisgarh ideally unfolds the fact that garam masala is a spice mixture widely prevalent in this area and in fact they can not think of preparing meals without adding handful of oil, cream, ghee, butter and `dalda` into them. Sunflower and canola are mostly used vegetable oils used in the cooking. Rice, bread, `rotis` are commonly savored by the people. Wheat, jowar, bazra are the staple food for the people. The Chhatisgarhis are also fond of typical non- vegetarion items like chicken, eggs, meat. Especially the tribes, relish chicken, mutton, beaf without roasting or grinding. An energizer `Sattu` and a fast food `Litti`or `Choka` are common eatables for the tribal communities.