It comprises 16 districts, namely Bastar, Durg, Kawardha, Raigarh, Bilaspur, Janjgir, Korba, Raipur, Dantewada, Jashpur, Koria, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kanker, Mahasamund and Sarguja.
With Raipur as its capital, Chhattisgarh is the most recently formed 26th state of India. It gets its name from the thirty-six (Chhattis) forts (Garh) within the state. Essentially Chhattisgarh is a forest area. Barnavapara is the biggest forest here with a wide range of wild life. The state is also very rich in minerals.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Narmada one of the holy rivers of the country, is the lifeline of Chattisgarh. Amarkantak, the source of the river Narmada is endowed with rich natural beauty. About 245 km. from Jabalpur, 261km. from Rewa and 67 km. from Shahdol, the nearest railway station to Amarkantak is Pendra Road from where it is 50 kms. Direct buses are also available from Pendra Road, Bilaspur and Shahdol. Guest houses, rest houses & Dharmshalas are available for accommodation. The source of river Mai ki Bagiya, Kapil Dhara, Dugdha Dhara, water falls are sites worth seeing here.
SHWETAMBER JAIN TEMPLE
The Pratistha of "Shri Rishab Dev" was done in Raipur by Shri Shwetamber Jain Shri Sangh here. The temple has 3 prasadas, 3 devkulikayes & 8 gavashas. Apart from this there is a beautiful statue of Chandraprabhu Swami which is adorned with gems. The temple has all the statues of the 24 Jain Tirthankars.
SHRI JAGANNATH DEV TEMPLE More than a hundred years old and named after Lord Jagannath, the temple has a legend. It is believed that in the 18th century one Pujarii family passing through here performed pujas for the ailing ruler which cured him. The pujari had said that if the ruler recovered he would build a Jagannath temple here. The family was requested by the ruler to stay back. The current pujaris at this temple hail from that family.
Located at Sadar Bazaar, the Jagannath temple at Raipur was established in 1860.
The main festival celebrated here is Lord Jagannath's "Rathyatra". In this yatra Lord Balbhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath are taken in different chariots (Raths), which are pulled by the devotees. The yatra goes on for 15 days. On full moon day the Rathyatra goes back to the Jagannath temple .There is a myth that those who see Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Devi Subhadra during this Rathyatra achieve "Moksh" (nirvana) and people not only from Raipur but from nearby cities come to be a part of this festival.
Guru Nanak Devji Gurudwara Constructed in the year 1940 this Gurudwara in Raipur is the oldest and biggest of all the 500 Gurudwaras found in the original state of Madhya Pradesh. This Gurudwara welcomes all people, irrespective of religion, cast, creed and wealth.
DONGARGARHDongar means mountains while garh means fort. Like most places of pilgrimage, Dongargarh also has legend behind it. Roughly 2200 years ago, Raja Veersen, a ruler of this kingdom, was childless and upon the suggestions of his royal priests, went to Mahishmatipuri (Mandla) to perform some puja and construct a temple. Within a year, the princess gave birth to a son whom they named Madansen. Raja Veersen considered this a blessing of Lord Shiva and Parvati and constructed a temple here. Raja Madansen went on to have a son named Kamsen, under whose rule the kingdom flourished and it came to be known as Kamakhaya Nagari. Now the place is known as Dongargarh.
The Maa Bamleshwari Devi Temple is of great spiritual importance. Situated at a height of 1000 ft, this is the main temple at Dongargarh. One has to climb 1100 stairs to reach here.
CHHOTI BAMLESHWARI The temple on the plains is dedicated to the goddess Bamleshwari and is popularly known as Choti Bamleshwari Devi temple. The temple was constructed on the plains for those who wished to pray to the goddess but couldn't walk all the way up to the main temple on the mountain.
VICTORIA HALL It is one of the most important and historic remnants of the past here. It is an attractive red coloured mansion surrounded by greenery. At night the hall is lit up which further enhances its charm. There is an ancient steamer on the left and a beautiful golden statue of Mahatma Gandhi in front of the hall. In olden days the steamer was kept near Kharun Nadi and was used for boiling water.
This was the focal point of all administrative activities earlier. Now the Town Hall is used for social and cultural functions in the city.
DUDHADHARI MATH The founder of this "Math" (temple) was Shri Balbhadra Das Mahantji. He was a great devotee of Lord Hanuman. It is believed that when he started worshipping a piece of stone as an idol of Lord Hanuman, everyday a cow, Surhi would come and bathe the stone with milk. Popular belief is that Mahantji drank this milk after the stone was bathed and stopped eating everything else. Since Mahantji's food became "Dudh-Ahari" (meaning food consisting of milk), the Math came to be named so.