A mixology of culture and tradition
Chhattisgarh is known for being a heavily forested state of central India known for its temples and waterfalls. It offers wildlife, tribal, art and culture, museums, dams, and much more, for all kinds of tourists. The huge Chitrakoot Falls lie to the northwest. Near the capital Raipur, the town of Sirpur on the Mahanadi River is home to the red-brick Lakshmana (Laxman) Temple, decorated with carvings from Indian mythology.
Chhattisgarh is actively taking a lot of steps in promoting its culture and tourism.
Recently, Chhattisgarh held two major events- Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit followed by the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. These events were initiated by the Government of Chhattisgarh to promote the state as a tourist destination.
The Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit, Chhattisgarh Tourism Board initiative, was taken under the progressive plans of the Government of Chhattisgarh. This initiative was launched on the auspicious occasion of Navaratri, 7th October 2021, to offer homage to Lord Ram, Mata Kaushalya, and the ancient civilization of Chhattisgarh. It was an eye-catching celebration held at the newly renovated ancient Mata Kaushalya Temple and Police Academy Parade Ground in Chandkhuri. The inauguration ceremony was commenced by Hon. Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel in the presence of Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism, Home Affairs, Public Works Department, and other dignitaries.
The grand launch was a visual extravaganza, combining music, dance and audio-visual 3D presentations by world-renowned artists like Hindi film actor Sharad Kelkar, Shri Shankar Mahadevan, Padma Shri Bharti Bandhu and group, Kavita Vasnik, Manas (Bhajan) Mandali, Nand Kumar Sahu, Kabir Café, Indian Ocean, vocalist Sukriti Sen, Prajakta Shukre, and V Unbeatable. All the songs and performances were devotional and dedicated to Lord Rama and Mata Kaushalya. As a part of the Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit project, the Temple was recently renovated with the unveiling, a 51 feet tall sandstone statue of Lord Ram installed at the entrance of the temple by the Hon. Chief Minister.
This was followed by the National Tribal Dance Festival which was inaugurated at the Science College Ground, Raipur, by the Hon. Chief Minister, Shri Bhupesh Baghel in the presence of the Chief Guest Shri Hemant Soren, Hon. Chief Minister of Jharkhand; Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism; Shri Amarjeet Bhagat, Minister of Culture and other dignitaries, on 28th October 2021. This was an extravaganza, commenced with a dazzling procession of all the tribal groups, in traditional outfits spreading vibrant energy. The tribal dance performances were showcased by Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and Jammu & Kashmir.
International dance groups also participated from the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Nigeria, Mali, Palestine, and Uzbekistan who introduced the audiences to their respective cultures through their high-energy dance forms. Their performances received thunderous applause from the gathered crowd.
This festival not only celebrated the rich cultural heritage of the country, but also delved deeper into important discussions on the initiatives that can help in the economic development of tribal communities. The Tribal Conclave was an important component of the event and was a junction of experts, scholars, and practitioners to propose new ideas for the growth of opportunities for the tribal section. The Conclave had panel discussions with the panelists, including Yashwant Kumar, Managing Director, Chhattisgarh Tourism Board; Jeet Singh Arya, Founder of travel start-up Unexplored Bastar; Sunny and Deeptie Raj, owners of the eco-resort Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat and Dr. Anjuna Dhir, Executive Director, The Responsible Tourism Society of India moderated by Yasmin Kidwai, Festival Curator and Event Director highlighted on the need to create valuable experiences for domestic tourists and the importance of making tourism sustainable by the involving the local communities.