The Land of Waterfalls
Chattishgarh boasts of both one of the tallest and the widest waterfalls of India. Most of them are located near Jagdalpur. The dense foliage valleys cradle the plunge waterfalls in its bosom. The best time to travel to visit the waterfalls is July to October in monsoons though the roads may not fine for smooth drive. November to January, tourists flock to the waterfalls for picnic. The plunge may not be in full strength, still its beautiful.
We had entered Kanger Valley around 3 PM, debating whether it will be a futile attempt to go further, since we were hours away from dusk. We were strongly advised against driving in dark and winter evenings in Chattishgarh sets quickly. Also under current COVID-19 situation, we were dreading to go to an isolated waterfall in dark. We went ahead after asking local people for directions (and also Google maps). The block type cascade falls is hailed to be one of the tallest waterfalls in India. Located in Kanger Valley National Park, the winding road to the Tirathgarh waterfalls is close to 6 KM from the entry point. We had encountered lot of monkeys on the way so please be careful while driving. At entry point, we were overjoyed to see many other tourists who were visiting in evening, just like us. Without further ado, we paid for parking and entry which cumulated to 260 Rs. The parking lot is flanked by make-shift shops or Tapris for quick snacks or buying local tribal handicrafts.
The main source of the falls is the Kanger River. The waterfall has multiple splits which is easy to reach with stairs. The water plunges 91 metres (299 ft) in a single drop, deeming it to be one of the tallest falls in India. The steep fall of the waterfall is mesmerising. We walked around the place to get the better view of thedepth of the waterfalls. However, please exercise caution near the falls as the rocks are quite sharply eroded. There is designated swimming area near the bottom of the falls, so please exercise caution while swimming.
The waterfall has beautiful green ravine; roots of old trees were protruding from the walls. The depth tells how much prettier it must look during monsoons.
One can easily drive over to the falls from Jagdalpur. It is safe to travel, though its best not to travel at night as sunset reduces the visibility in the dense forest. The driving distance between Jagdalpur and Tirathgarh Waterfall is 34 kms.
We stayed in Guru Kripa Home stay. It is a well maintained home stay – the whole of upper floor is let out to families and can easily accommodate large group. There is a kitchenette attached where you are free to cook.
Next day morning we headed over to another waterfalls – Chitrakoot falls. Named as the “Niagara falls of India”, Chitrakoot waterfalls is around 36 km from main city. We had started early morning around 8 AM in hopes of catching a view of the rainbow. The entry/parking fee is 50 Rs.
The 300 metres (980 ft) wide waterfalls was unfortunately not in full glory in December but one can only stand and stare at its beauty. I wondered how much gorgeous and magnificent it must look during monsoons. Though the height of the falls is about 30 metres (98 ft) ,Indravati River, falls in full plunge with huge gushing noise. The water bubbles formed due to the falls created a marvellous rainbow across.
The enormous falls with its milky white water captured my heart. Its at moment like when I feel so humbled by Nature’s creations.
We went down the stairs to take the boat ride which was quite meagre (Rs 50 per person) maybe due to COVID. We were given life jackets and left our shoes onshore. The boat carried around 5 people and we were taken very close but at safe distance near the waterfalls; enough to get drenched a bit! Make sure to take care of your mobile phone/camera on the boat.
The strong gushing waterfall drowned pessimism in my mind – all that I felt was the pervading peace. COVID-19 has delivered a brutal blow to tourism industry; in my opinion, if personal hygiene/social distancing s maintained, travelling to natural beauties will be more appealing!
How to reach :
By Road : Jagdalpur is the nearest bus/ cab station. Numerous cabs/ tempos wait outside station or bus stop which can be hired to travel. Also you can take bus to Kanger Ghati.
By Rail : Nearest Railway station is Jagdalpur. It is well connected with all the major states.
By Air : Nearest Airport is Maa Danteswari Airport. You can hire out-station cab.