Raigarh, the cultural capital of Chattisgarh, is also known as a famous tourists destination for exploring culture, mythology, the natural environment at the same place.
My travel blog related to Raigarh is linked to my service posting in Riagahr. I have joined a few months back in O. P. Jindal University as an Assistant Professor (marketing). I always love to explore nature in my own ways. As usual, I did an online research to find top tourists places in Raighar.
My family also joined me after Diwali vacation. We booked an AC cab (Maruti Artica) for the whole day trip for visiting famous tourists’ destinations in Raigarh. Online details were not enough to select the right tourists’ places for a day-long sightseeing and nature exploration in Raigarh. However, based on the recommendations from my colleagues, I have selected the following tourist’s spots:
- Banjari Mata Mandir
- Kelo Dam
- Gaja Mar Pahari Mandir
- Suraj Garh bridge
- Chandrahasini Devi Temple, Janjgir
- Ram Jharna
- Rabo Dam
Frankly speaking, if you like to cover all these places in a single day, you need to keep 8-10 hours’ time and have to travel over 200 km in your car. This is November month, hence we started our journey at 7:30 AM in the morning, and plan to complete the journey by 5:30PM.
Let us move to narrate my journey experience.
1) Banjari Mata Mandir: This is one of the famous temples in Raigarh, located along the Raigarh- Ambikapur road via state highway 1. Since I am staying at Punjipatra Jindal Officer Colony, it is hardly 3 km from my housing. This is our first tourist spot. However, if you come from Raigarh city, you have to drive 20 km towards Ghargoda. While driving towards Ghargoda, after Grewani, you will find Banjali Mata Mandir on the right side.
We reached mandir about 7:45 AM. Being it a morning time, there was no rush. We immediately reached the main Mandir. Local pujari informed it is a very old temple, new temple premises was built in 2003. The present structure you see now, become ready for darshan, was built in 2011. Inside the temple. We have seen the various avatar of Maa Durga. I feel that Banjari Mata is also an avatar of Maa Durga. In every Navaratri, there used a big celebration in this area.
We have found many small temples inside the temple ground. We have spent about 20 minutes in the temple. Purari Ji also offered Prasad. With the blessing of Banjari Mata, we started our day-long site seeing tour in Raigarh.
2) Kelo Dam
After Banjari Mata darshan, our next destination is Kelo dam, this man-made dam was built over the rivel Kelo. If you come from Raighar City, Kelo dam comes first, afterward Banjari Mata Mandir. Since we are moving towards Raighar City to cover the other spots, hence Kelo Dam came after Banjari Mata Mandir.
After 10 Km drive from the Mandir, we spotted the big barrage of Kelo dam.
The Kelo dam was set up as a part of irrigation project covering areas like Kharisia, Pussore and Raigarh blocks of Raigarh district and Dabhara block of Janjgir-Champa district. Kelo dam in Chhattisgarh built on Kelo River — a tributary of Mahanadi River main basin is targeted to be completed by the year 2018.
We drove on the dam till the lock gate. It looks that the driving pathway on the dam is not well supported by the concrete road. When we reach the lock gate area, we found it entry path was closed for the visitor. We walked down to the side of the lock gate and took some snaps. The whole area is covered with small hillocks. Before Durga Puja festival (Navaratri), the whole dam and nearby by hillocks used to be covered with Kash flowers. The Kash flowers declare the advent of Durga puja. While going from Punjipatra towards Raigarh town, I used to enjoy the envelope of flowers covered the hill and surrounding area.
What to see here? Dam and natural surrounding; if you enter the small village down the bank of the dam, you can find a small garden for visitors.
How much time to spend at this place: 20 minutes; maybe the whole day for picnic goers.
3) Gaja Mar Pahari Mandir
Our next destination is Sankat Mochon Bajranboli Mandir near Gaj Mar Pahar, popularly known as the “Pahari Mondir”. This is located right inside the Raigarh City. Hence, our car crossed the Kelo river bridge inside the Raigarh City. I feel that this place is 4 km from the Raigarh Railway station.
In my opinion, this is one of the best places to spend quality time during your day-long tour in Raigarh. Our car stopped right outside the entrance to Sankat Mochon Bajranboli Mondir. The long gateway welcomes us to visit Bajranboli over the hilltop.
I found nicely build stair steps welcoming us to the hilltop. The whole path has good stairs and covered with sunshade all the way to the hilltop. After riding up about 400 steps, finally, we reached the Sankat Mochon Bajranboli Mondir at the hilltop. We took Prasad and set there about 30 minutes.
What to see there?
- You can see the nice aerial view of the Raigarh City
- I observed the rail tracks and the views of 2-3 trains running on the track (entering and leaving Raigarh Railway station)
- Very nicely build Shiv temple on the hilltop
How much time to spend at this place: 30 minutes; very quiet and calm place.
4) Suraj Garh bridge
This is an offbeat location outside Raigarh city. If you love nature and like to enjoy the vastness of Mahanadi (where you can see how island inside the river is the major source of cultivation), then you go for a drive to reach Suraj Garh Bridge and local people fondly called as Nodigaon.
After visiting Pahar mandir, we took the state high – Sarangar road towards Raipur. The is the main road connecting Raigarh with Saraipali. After 10 km drive from the city, we took left From Koratarai chowk to reach Suraj Garh. If you go straight instead of taking the left side, then you would reach Chandrahasani Mandir. But, we take left turn to see the beauty of Suraj Garh Bridge which is about 2 km long, the longest bridge in Chattisgarh.
From koratarai chowk, it was another 15 km journey we reached the foot of the bridge. We paid Rs. 20 as a toll. On the bride, we stopped our car near an island inside the Mahanadi. We see a big island and many farmers are engaged in cultivation. There are no huts on the island. I feel local farmers use boats to reach the island from the mainland. We spent 10 minutes on the bride.
What to see there?
- The cool drive on the bridge.
- Spend times on the bride and look panoramic view of the river and small series of islands.
- Vast nature around filled with fresh air and water body
- If possible talk to river waves and surrounding
Note: It is good for the nature lover. Other passengers can skip this place
How much time to spend at this place: 10-15 minutes
5) Maa Nathaldai temple at Timralgaon
Instead of coming directly from Raigarh, we are heading towards Chandrahasani Mondir via Suraj Garh. Before crossing the Mahanadi, we took a left for car parking and heading towards Maa Nathaldai temple at Timralgaon. The temple is looked like a chariot on the riverbank. We visited the temple for Devi Darshan.
On the river bank, there are nice sitting places under the tree. You can see the distant view of Maa Chandrahasani Mandir located on the other side of Mahanadi.
In fact, Chandrahasani mondir and Maa Nathaldai temple are just opposite of Mahanadi.
What to see there: Maa Nathaldai darshan and the nice view of Mahanadi
How much time for being there: 20 minutes.
6) Maa Chandrahasini Devi temple
This is the most famous tourist spot in Raigarh. This is located in Chhattisgarh ‘s Janjgir-district and 30 km off the Raigarh City. The location is known as Chandrapur, surrounded by Mahanadi and Mand River.
After paying the visit to Maa Nathaldai temple, we crossed the Mahanadi River to enter the market adjacent to Maa Chandrahasini temple. We parked our car at flowers stall and purchased flowers and coconut for offering puja to temple.
It was 12:30 pm, we just crossed the temple gate to reach the main temple area. There was a jam-packed pathway with devotees standing before the entrance to the main temple. We stood for 30 minutes in the queue. Finally, we got darshan of Maa Chandrahasini. Maa idol almost resemble the idol of Maa Nathaldai. Some reference quoted that Maa Chandrahasini is an avatar of Maa Durga.
History of Chandrahasini Devi temple
Chandrahasini Devi temple is one of the 52 Shaktipeeths and here Durga Mother is immortalized as a moonhasini (smiling moon). Due to the face of the Moon, its fame is known by the name of Chandrahasini and Chandrasini mother.
Hindus have great faith and deep reverence on Mother Moon. Devotees are worshiping maa with coconut and agarbatti. By worshiping maa with the flowers, Mother fulfills all the wishes of her children with selflessness. All devotees who come here to fulfill their desired wish. There is no limit to the faith of the devotees on the mother, as it is no limit on the compassionate devotees of the mother.
Ashwani Navratri and Chaitra Navratri are worth seeing to see on the holy feet of the mother. People turn on the occasion of Jyotikshal Navaratri for the fulfillment of their desires. Many devotees sacrifice sacrificial goats and poultry here to fulfill their wish. Here are mystical and religious tales of lakes, sea churning, Mahabharata’s gambling, etc.
Inside the temple premises, we have found many rides of the amusement park for children. I could not understand why so many rides (from haunting house to other children rides) are located close to the main temple.
We have found the famous landmark of Chandrahasini Devi temple near the main temple. It was a big statue: half Lord Shiva and half body are Maa Parboti. You can see this statue even from the other side of the Mahanadi River.
You will find a few good restaurants here. You can finish your lunch here. However, we started for Raighar City for Lunch at Restaurant ChappanaBhog near Raigarh Station.
What to see here: Chandrahasini Devi temple, nearby temples, children rides, boating in Mahanadi
How much time: 60-90 minutes
7) Ram Jharna
It was noon when we completed our puja at Chadrahasani Temple. We decided to return Raigarh city for lunch. As for the next tourist destination Ram Jharna, you need to cross the city to reach the spot. Hence, we started for Raigarh, 30 km ride from the temple.
We finished our lunch at the famous family restaurant Chappana Bhog, located near the Raigarh Railway station. Our next destination Ram Jharna is about 20 km from the Railway station. On the way to Ram Jharna, we see the main entrance cum campus of Jindal power and steel factory. On the right, we see the biggest and famous Jindal School in Raigarh. After a few km drive, we found the hilly trail on the right side.
I was early waiting for a splendid view of Jharna (fall) at the next destination. In Google search, we found it a Niagra type fall. I thought there must a big jharna at the spot. After few km drives, we reached the main gate of Jharna. We paid Rs 40 as entry fees with the car.
My expectation reached a high level. I tried to listen to the sound of the waterfall behind the woods. Inside the park, I found many picnic parties are doing the picnic. But, with the utter surprise, I could not find any so-called jharna in the spot. Ram and Sita Mata statues are there. There was artificially made Kumbha. Yes, we found a small pond like Kumbha and water is flowing out a pipe and dancing down on a hilly track. I tried hard to match this tiny trace of water track with Jhrana. Again, I could not found imagine any Jhrana. I do not why people are calling it Ram Jhrana. Maybe in another era, there was Jhrana here.
However, I found that the area abounded with monkeys who are chasing picnic goers for food. I am very disappointed with the mismatch between the name of this place and actual reality. I feel this could be a good place for picnic parties.
To meet the consumptive water requirement for the 1000 MW thermal Jindal power plant, this Rabo dam has been constructed about 25 km away on the River Kurket.
It was 4 p.m. in the evening. It is a winter season, the sun is on way for the day’s off. The driver told us we can have the nice sunset view behind the hilly range in Rabo dam. From Ram Jharna, it is about 20 km journey and normally take 30-40 minutes time. We promptly agreed. Our driver took a narrow road through the jungle. He informed it is the shortest route to Dam. Road condition was excellent, however, there are many twists and turn through the jungle. Hence, we could not drive fast. But, the journey experience through the jungle road was awesome. On the right side, we see the lush green hilly range and left side we see the valley covered with deep jungle. It was a 30 minutes ride. We came out of the jungle and took the village road and meet a river that goes to the river. It was about 5 p.m., we reached the bank and saw sun is already hiding his face behind the hill.
Finally, we reached the Rabo dam. It is just like the other dam. It was not vast like Maithan or Panchet dam in West Bengal. The water catchment area is not big. However, we find the scenic beauty awesome. Sun already set behind the hill. Still retreating sunlight make the whole area more mystic. The left side we see the hilly range and right side over the dam catchment area we see the landscape vanishing into villages.
It was almost evening, we started returning to my Jindal colony at Punjipatra. This time we made a round of the water reservoir and went to the village side. We saw the Jindal bus was standing there. Actually, this dam is maintained by Jindal Power. I find this dam more clean and beautiful than Kelo dam. Near the lock gate of the dam, you can locate a temple on the hilltop just opposite the lock gate area. It was closed when we arrived there. But, the good place to spend quality time in this place
Few important facts about Rabo Dam:
- Catchment area: 783 sq km
- Submergence area: 681 ha
- The top level of dam: RL 261.50 m
(Source: Jindal Power)
After Rabo dam visit, we returned Punjipatra about 6 p.m. The road condition from Rabo dam to Punjipatra was not good, as took the shortcut road.
Some factors about Raigarh tour
Best Time to visit: I find that Raigarh is full of industrial activities, hence lots of pollution through our the year. In that sense, the rainy season is good for fresh air and weather. However, winter is the best time for a sightseeing tour in Raigarh.
How to travel during a sightseeing tour in Raigarh? I strongly advise taking AC car even in winter. Because of mining activity, you would find dusty air all over the Raigarh. Hence, for dust-free travel, take AC car.
How much it cost for one-day car rental? I have paid Rs. 2700 for the whole day tour in Maruti Artica AC car. We are four members. Hence, it was quite spacious for the whole day travel and sightseeing. Car charges are like this
Swift desire: Base fare (only car with our fuel): 800/- + 10/- per km
Scorpion: Base fare (only car with our fuel): 1200/- + 10/- per km
Maruti Artica: Base fare (only car with our fuel): 1200/- + 10/- per km
Innova: Base fare (only car with our fuel): 1400/- + 10/- per km
All car are for 12 hours tour in a day.
How to book a car? I have booked my car from a Start-up Company Chalbo in Raigarh. I have spoken to CEO Amit Patel. They provided me with excellent support.
I Hope you find this blog post useful. Please let me know your view.