Exquisitely carved temples, waterfalls, ancient monuments, wildlife, caves, and hill plateaus have made Chhatisgarh one of the most beautiful places for tourism. The archaeological sites, palaces and rich biodiversity has attracted tourists from all over the world. The rich culture and heritage of Chhatisgarh with its fairs and festivals, arts and crafts bringing out the dexterity of the artisans have led to the initiation of a number of schemes by the government to ensure that they are popular all over the country.
There are many fairs and festivals unique to Chhatisgarh besides the famous ones celebrated by other states.
This festival is celebrated a week before Holi in the month of March by the Bhil tribes of Chhatisgarh. During this festival, Bhagoradev or the God of dancing is worshipped and many of the youth are allowed to select their partners. Gulal is applied on the girl selected and a betel leaf is ordered if the girl reciprocates the gesture. The wedding is then solemnised. The God is worshipped by the eldest member of the village and sweets are then distributed among the people. Music and dance follows to the accompaniment of musical instruments like Shehnai and Bansuri leading to fun and gaiety.
Bhoramdeo Mahotsav Festival
This festival is celebrated annually in the month of March in the Bhoramdeo temples also referred to as the ‘Khajuraho’ of Chhatisgarh. The architectural beauty of the temples and the cultural extravaganza of the festival attract people from all parts of the world. The various events and the colourful attire of the people add to the gaiety of the occasion.
This festival is celebrated in the month of Sept/Oct to promote music and dance and is held in the memory of Maharaj Chakradhar Singh, a former King of Chhatisgarh. He was a great patron of music and dance, and was a skilled dancer and a Tabla player himself. He also wrote a number of books on music. Musicians and dancers including folk artistes come from all over the country to display their talents.
This festival is celebrated by the Bastar tribes in the month of July at the time of Rath Yatra. The tribal people use Tukki or bamboo to make a pistol and Goncha which is a type of fruit as a bullet. These are then used in mock encounters adding fun and frolic to the festival.
This festival is celebrated generally by the farming community heralding the beginning of the sowing season for barley and wheat. The customs and rituals are offered to Goddess Bhagwati by the women for better harvest and this worship is repeated for seven days from Shravan Shukla Navami to Kajari Purnima in the month of July/Aug. The women fast and also pray for the well being of their families. This festival generally coincides with Raksha Bandhan.
This festival is celebrated by the various tribes like the Gonds, Bastar and others in various months at different places and at different times ranging from Dec to Feb. The people gather beneath a sacred tree where they perform rituals to sacrifice a goat in honour of the tribal Gods. They devotedly offer prayers and then eat, drink and make merry. Cultural programmes, music and dance are organised and stalls selling handicrafts are also displayed.
Kora, Hariyali, Cherta and Navkhani Festivals
These festivals are celebrated as a mark of thanksgiving and gratitude to Gods after reaping a rich and bountiful harvest. They are celebrated at various times of the year. They also remember and offer prayers to their forefathers.
This Mela or fair is actually a festival and is celebrated in the last week of February by the Bastar tribes in which tribal deities are worshipped. This is followed by music and dance to the rhythm of drums adding to the gaiety and merrymaking.
Rajim Lochan Mahotsav
This Mahotsav is celebrated in the month of Feb/Mar in the Rajim (Rajiv) Lochan temple in the small town of Rajim which is known as the ‘Prayag’ of Chhatisgarh, as the holy confluence of the three rivers Mahanadi, Sondur and Pairi called Triveni Sangam is at Rajim. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has stone carved ancient statues with inscriptions and exquisite sculptures. Skilled artists, singers and performers assemble at this festival to showcase their talent. Dramas by folk artists, sale of arts and crafts and food stalls are organised and the Government has undertaken steps to improve and promote the festival thus attracting tourists from all over the world.
This fair is organised in the town of Sheorinarayan which is positioned at the confluence of the three rivers Mahanadi, Jonk and Sheonath. It has a temple dedicated to Lord Ram referred to as the Sheorinarayan temple and the fair is organised on its grounds in the month of Feb. There is also a small temple dedicated to Shabari, the great tribal devotee of Lord Ram in the temple premises. Arts and crafts, food items and goods belonging to various towns are displayed and sold during the fair. Cultural programmes, shows and plays are also organised. People of diverse cultures gather here in colourful attires to take part in the fair.
This festival is celebrated every year in the month of Bhadrapada (Aug – Sept) and is a post-harvest festival. The newly harvested rice is offered to the family deity after which music and dance is organised after partaking the offered rice.