A Memorable Family Holiday

family holiday
A Memorable family holiday

(In this header pic, I’m with my young daughter Disha at the backdrop of the Chitrakote waterfalls.)

Going down memory lane, twenty-one years ago in the last week of October 2001, it was a trip to remember. It was a road trip with my family, which included my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, a nephew, a niece, my husband, and me with our one and a half years old daughter.

We had hired a Tata Sumo vehicle from our residence in Raipur and had planned to visit the Danteshwari temple, located at Dantewada town in Bastar district (C.G). Our purpose for the visit was the mundan ceremony for our daughter at the temple, after Devi darshan of Goddess Durga Ma.

It is a more than 7 hours journey by road if driven non-stop. We had started from home early in the morning, and after four hours we stopped at my elder sister-in-law’s home in Kanker town for lunch. In the evening, we then set off to our destination, another three and a half hours journey by crossing over a small stretch of hilly road and bypassing the city of Jagdalpur. By dinner time we reached Dantewada and offloaded our luggage at my younger sister-in-law’s residence, to stay there for two days.

The next morning, we all headed to the Danteshwari temple. After attending the morning Aarti, we moved around for an hour admiring the century-old temple complex. Then we got down to our business, by fixing a barber from the temple to do his job.

Within half an hour, our girl without any objections let her head get shaved off, and she looked cute enough. Came back to my Didi’s home, and relaxed the whole afternoon after she gave us a sumptuous lunch.

In the evening, her husband took us to the mining town Bailadilah, an hour drive from their home, for sightseeing. We spotted from a distance as we came nearer, the illuminating hills which were the site for iron ores.

But due to some reason, the gate to the hilltop was closed that day. Otherwise, we could have seen the mesmerizing view of the evening lights of the mining township below, from the hilltop. So we returned to my didi’s home.

The next morning, after having breakfast we got ready for the return journey. Everyone seemed to be happy and satisfied with the trip. Except for me, I had a lingering thought back in my mind then. I had heard and read about two of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in my home state Chhattisgarh.

From Dantewada to Jagdalpur town route, I spotted a signboard to the right side midway that led to the famous waterfalls of Tirathgarh. I pleaded with my husband to take us to the spot, not very far from the main road we were traveling on. Pausing for a moment, he directed our driver to take the right turn and followed the single road leading to the famed waterfalls.

(Tirathgarh falls. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)

After half an hour, we reached the spot. But to view the waterfall, all of us had to get down more than fifty steps from the steep side of the plateau. Upon reaching the bottom, we were enthralled by the beauty of the cascading waters from the top. The square and rectangular-shaped rock formations of Tirathgarh waterfalls are very interesting here. It looks like the water is falling from the top of the steps to the bottom, at a total height of about 98 meters (300 feet).

Spending an hour or so clicking the lovely surroundings from our cameras we returned to our vehicle. And went straight to Jagdalpur to have lunch at a restaurant. Again, I thought of visiting one more waterfall not very far from the city limits. So, I asked my hubby if it was possible for us to go to the Chitrakote falls. Since he too was in the holiday mood, we all set off to another fantastic picnic spot.

Just 38 kms away from the city of Jagdalpur, Chitrakote waterfalls are located, which are considered to be the Niagara Falls of India. It resembles the horseshoe in shape, being around 300 meters wide, and falling at 98 feet height (about 30 meters) from the river Indravati. One could hear thunderous falls within the 2 km periphery.

Once we reached there, we couldn’t take our eyes off the breathtaking view of the magnificent Chitrakote waterfalls. It is the widest waterfall in India. In the monsoon months, the falls are in full fury, flowing speedily down the entire 300 meters stretch, giving out a deafening roaring sound. For a decade, floodlights have been erected at strategic locations on the river banks, to highlight the beauty of the falls at night.

Spending an hour or two beside the falls, our whole family had a great time clicking snaps, using swings, and kids running in the play area. The whole area has been developed by the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. Now it was time to take adieu.

20 km ahead of Jagdalpur, we stopped at the roadside attractive-looking stalls called the Bastar Haat. Here we made some purchases of the famous Bastar artifacts like iron candle stands, terra cotta flower pots, and wooden showpieces. From here, my husband decided to reach Raipur nonstop in six hours.

Thus, the memorable trip came to an end. What we had just planned for the ordinary mundan ceremony for our child turned out to be a trip with plentiful sightseeing and lovely surprises. 

(Night view of the Chitrakote falls. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons)

-Shashi Thakur

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