If there is one region that has left a powerful and positive impact on my traveler’s mind, that is Bastar Chhattisgarh. Exploring Bastar Waterfalls is where I became floored by the change in scenery and the vibe of the land unravelling around me. This is the Kohinoor of Central India, with several temples, valleys, forests, miniature waterfalls, and exuberant tribal communities and festivals.
Bastar ? Jagdalpur ? Where ????
Where is Bastar located? Bastar is situated in Chhattisgarh, with Jagdalpur as the district HQ. The state of Odisha bounds it on one side. Some fantastic locations are being promoted under the category of Bastar tourist places, with exploring Bastar waterfalls and the tribal culture as the primary draw.
Where is Jagdalpur located ?
The pride of Bastar is Jagdalpur. Historically a princely state, this region is now divided into the prominent districts of Jagdalpur, Kanker, Dantewada, and Sukma, among others. Bastar is the land of tribes. Around 70 % of the total population is tribal, with the main tribes being Gonds, Marias, Bhatras, and Dhruvas. Jagdalpur is its administrative HQ and is 4th largest city of Chhattisgarh with an operational airport and an vital train junction.
In the past, I always wanted to visit Bastar and, specifically, Dantewada. Hearing about the snippets of information of a wonderland surrounded by forests with ancient temples and Naxal history, it had the correct dose of adventure oozing out. However, I could only correctly plan a visit with more information and clarity.
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But times change, and 2022 saw me planning my first trip to the region to explore Bastar waterfalls. The state tourism ministry aggressively promotes Bastar tourism, and the local population is now in sync with this theme. I could also term my visit under the category of places to visit in Jagdalpur, as it is the central pivot to see the waterfalls I had planned for this trip. Jagdalpur to Dantewada is easily doable these days, with good roads and connectivity, another fact established in this trip.
As soon as I entered the Bastar region, immersed in nature, I am lost in its simplicity and scenic beauty. Lush trees, green cover over the land and lots of vegetation and rivers make the soul sing as one moves along.
My thoughts on Chattisgarth & Bastar
I would say that Chhattisgarh is a gold mine waiting to be discovered, right in the heart of India. This jewel of India is unsung, and it’s only in recent years that travellers and photographers recognise the enchanting beauty of the place. There is much mystery in this region owing to the tribal customs, which add lustre to the pull of visiting this region.
Exclusive handicrafts, wild rivers, ancestral temples, quaint villages, and unique festivals make Chhattisgarh and Bastar the place to see and explore. I will be visiting this region extensively, as this region enchants me right on my first visit. “Unexplored Bastar “; this phrase sends a tingling down my spine thinking of the adventure that can be associated with it.
For my maiden visit under the theme of exploring Bastar waterfalls, which happened at the peak of the monsoon, I chose to see some of the iconic waterfalls of the Bastar region. These included the following
- Tirathgarh waterfall
- Mendri Ghumar Waterfall
- Topar falls
- Tamra Ghumar falls
- Mandwa Falls
- Chitrakote Falls
In addition, I also attempted to visit Chitradhara Falls; however, sudden flash floods stopped me from venturing towards this part
Exploring Bastar waterfalls
It was one of the heaviest monsoon days when I decided to approach Tirathgarh waterfall, and what an adventure it was to drive through the Kanger Valley National Park to reach the thundering waterfall. I was informed that authorities are not allowing people to visit on that particular day owing to heavy water flow. Hence I went till the fall and found a few vantage points to click the waterfall.
With an approx. Height of 300 feet, Tirathgarh waterfall, located in Kanger Valley National Park, is one of the top attractions of Bastar. Located on the river Munga Bahar, the natural fountain of water in fine foam is also called “The Milky Falls “. It is best-enjoyed post-monsoons.
When the waterfall is not too aggressive, a series of steps takes one down to the base of the fall, where one can enjoy the spray of the fall on oneself. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva near the fall’s base. No Bastar trip is complete without exploring this magnificent waterfall.
How to Reach Tirathgarh fall? Where is Tirathgarh Falls located? It is a straight road from Jagdalpur, located in the Kanger Valley National Park. Google maps guides one quickly to the fall accurately. From Jagdalpur to Tirathgarh distance is 34 km. The best time to visit Tirathgarh falls is September – December. There are no hotels near Tirathgarh, and one needs to stay in Jagdalpur.
By the way, I did make it a point to revisit the waterfall and see it from up close before leaving Bastar, for I did not want to let go of the opportunity to see Tirathgarh from close and intimately.
This waterfall took much time to study to understand the exact location and how to reach the location; only a few details are available on the internet barring mention of this waterfall and some images. I was on a self-drive road trip. Hence it was essential to mentally frame the region’s location before I got down to driving to the place. In fact, the hotel where I stayed did not seem to recognise the mention of this waterfall.
Self-driven road trips offer so much flexibility in terms of what to see, and if one is into documenting, photography and related passions, a road trip brings the best out of the trip. The feeling of exploring a place in one’s own right is very satisfying. I was so excited when I came across Mendri Ghumar; all the apprehensions and mental build-up of trying to find the falls in the monsoon-flooded roads just were washed away from my mind by the joy of witnessing this beauty.
Mendri Ghumar is a seasonal waterfall near the village of Mahendari Ghumar. It lies close to Chitrakote falls and on the way to Tamra Ghumar falls. Just google for Tamra Falls, and you will find it around 10 km away from this fall. The location is at the edge of a densely forested cliff which is the start of the forest cover, which extends right to Chitrakote falls and beyond. Quite impressive.
The fall is 130 feet fall and is located in a semi-circular horseshoe cistern right at the edge of the plateau, with a small hut placed at the opposite end of where I witnessed the fall. Quite a moment was to see the sky change colours as the monsoon-filled river plunged straight down.
I hardly saw any other visitors besides one family from the same state that had come to know this fall. So, I practically had the place to myself as I spent some soulful moments watching the spread of the land ahead of me; vast, deep and imposing. Indeed, exploring Bastar waterfalls in Chhattisgarh left an indelible mark on me to come to visit again.
How to Reach Mendri Ghumar fall? Where is Mendri Ghumar Falls located? It is located close to Chitrakoot Falls. I recommend one visit to Chitrakote Falls and then taking the diversion to Mendri Ghumar, which is 13 km away. Ask the locals and watch out for the sign board as one is approaching the 11 km mark. The best time to visit Mendri Ghumar falls is during peak monsoons. There are no hotels near Mendri Ghumar, and one needs to stay in Jagdalpur.
Tamra Ghumar Falls
Driving through the unadulterated beauty of Bastar, one sees gems like Tamra Ghumar. The road was an eternal beauty as I travelled on a single carriage road through the rustic beauty of Chhattisgarh.
How to Reach Tamra Ghumar fall? Where is Tamra Ghumar Falls located? To reach Tamra Ghumar, I deviated from the state highway and drove on a muddy path for the next 6 km to get to this gem. Tamra Ghumar is on the Indravati river and falls 100 feet with a ferocious roar during the monsoons. This was the time I witnessed this beautiful and rustic fall which commanded respect from those coming into its presence at this time of the year.
The fall, situated in the middle of forested lands, is not easily visible from far but come close, and one is suddenly confronted . I was pleasantly happy to see that the local village people are making efforts to preserve the beauty of these falls, and there is always a local representative to oversee the movement of visitors coming to these falls.
The region’s natural beauty, with forest lands, deep valleys, and magnificent hills dotted all over the horizon, truly captivates the visitor’s mind.
I recommend one visit to Chitrakote Falls and then taking the diversion to Mendri Ghumar, which is 13 km away. From Mendri Ghumar, Tamra Ghumar is another 6 km away. The best time to visit Tamra Ghumar falls is during peak monsoons. There are no hotels near Tamra Ghumar, and one needs to stay in Jagdalpur. Also, there is no public transport readily available to reach this fall. Hence a vehicle is a must.
As part of exploring Bastar waterfalls, I went to Mandwa Village. Located 31 km from Jagdalpur, Mandwa falls is a step fall with the river flowing through a series of flat rocks which makes the waterfall very inviting indeed, post monsoons. The cascade which forms is aptly termed Mandwa Falls.
The stream from Mandwa fall collects in a reservoir and meets the Kanger River, which then forms Tirathgarh Falls. It is interesting to see how these waterfalls are all interlinked.
The road to the fall passes through fields on both sides, and during the monsoons, I loved it. Besides, I took the route to Mandwa fall from Tirathgarh fall and this route, as suggested by google and mainly due to my luck in choosing from the multiple options available, took me on broken down narrow roads through the interior of the villages, fields and forests thus enriching me more with the beauty of the region that I was visiting. I cannot express the feeling of freedom and be in the moment this route provided me as I was totally in sync with nature and nothing else during this time.
I was intrigued to visit Topar waterfalls as a part of my Exploring Bastar waterfalls trip through Bastar, though I needed an obvious idea about the location of the falls. However, by reading extensively and scrutinising google maps, I could get the general area of the falls.
I also accessed the route to Topar Falls from Tirathgarh Falls. One passes through the interior villages and narrow roads as one approaches the fall. Being monsoons, I found myself venturing on dirt, muddy tracks as I proceeded from one town to the next, trying to find this fall.
At the very end, around 1 km before the fall, my ride could go no further due to the extreme slush on the path. From there, we decide to walk to the fall. I heard the fall before I saw it as I entered the dense forest. Following the sound of the river, we descended sharply down a mountain slope. Still, after some time, I reached a slippery slope where common reasoning decided against continuing further because of the safety reasons involved.
Topar fall will be missed, but Safety mattered. I was in a dense lonely forested area on a slippery slope owing to incessant rains, which had turned very tricky and even with bare feet, I was finding it difficult to get a grip and walk ahead. So I decided to turn back. Knowing when to draw the line when one travels to see nature in its raw beauty is essential.
What is my blog about?
My blog focuses quite a bit on nature based places and off beat destinations. India has abundance of these kind of places . Read about the forest magic of Odisha out here or in depth story on the trek to Sandakphu to see the Kanchenjunga up-close. A visit to the Haflong would be definitely recommended , which is the only recognized hill station in Assam.
Chitrakote waterfalls tiratha chhattisgarh
The Grand Daddy of Waterfalls – Chitrakote falls, lies 38 km from Jagdalpur. Here the Indravati river takes a deep plunge from a gorge into a 95-foot drop down the cliff. It is the widest waterfall in India.
The sheer power of this 300-metre-wide fall is spectacular, especially in the monsoons when it is a raging mass of voluminous water and silt. Post monsoons this fall are the favourite for photographers and visitors alike as boatmen take visitors to the fall’s base, also known as the “Niagara Falls of India. “
How to Reach Chitrakoot fall? Where is Chitrakote Falls located? Chitrakoot fall to Jagdalpur is 38 km, the most appropriate route to visit. For many Chitrakoote to Tirathgarh distance of 61 km is the preferred way to see both falls.
However, during my visit, flash floods blocked the road at three places, so I had to reroute towards Dantewada and then approach Chitrakote, an additional 50 km. By the time I reached the fall, no other visitor had been able to arrive, overcoming the flooded roads. I felt good that we did not give up on the desire to see the falls and could find a deviation to overcome the flooded parts.
I recommend asking the locals if one deviates from the standard route to Chitrakote. The best time to visit Chitrakoot waterfall is during post-monsoons. There are some homestays near Chitrakoot falls and Dandami Resort which is always in demand owing to its strategic location overlooking the fall. For Hotels in Bastar, recommend Jagdalpur as the main hub or use the ones run by local self help groups like “Unexplored Bastar ”
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My concluding thoughts
To sum up, I drove 2500 Km on a road trip to Bastar from Kolkata, exploring the Waterfalls of Bastar, and it was a delightful experience. As I said, Bastar has intrigued me even more, and I plan to come back to explore its tribal culture and natural beauty even more.