If you missed the introduction to the land of surprises, you can read it here. :) Else enjoy the ride!
The nearest town where you can put up for stay is Jagdalpur which also is the district headquarters of Bastar. All the places of visit are at a distance of 40-100 kms from this town and are well connected by road. It might be the only town for all i know. There are many decent hotels and if its luxury you are looking for then it's catered to as well in resorts like Naman Bastar and Bastar Palace which is being converted to a Luxury hotel or if it is the local flavor you are seeking then Royal Bastar Farm gives you a taste of the Bastar culture and traditions.
Also the nearest airport is Raipur which is 300 odd kms from Jagdalpur. A lot of luxury and deluxe buses run to and from Jagdalpur to many major cities around. Bottom line is Jagdalpur is well connected by road and there is no need to panic if you cannot manage to get resevations in train.
Now without further ado, I welcome you aboard the Kirandool express. It’s 11 O’clock in the morning as we wait at Arakku for this passenger train that runs between Vishakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh and Dantewara of Chhattisgarh, a strongly recommended journey which takes you to the cynosure of the tribal heartland, Bastar passing through absolutely beautiful rustic scenery.
You’d pass through children playing under trees, cattle grazing along the intermittent fields, small culverts or big bridges with streams running, village men lazing under huge trees, a lonely walker walking through the barren beauty, rivers running along with you, if nothing you’d still be amazed by the stark beauty of the countryside views. All along the journey, I couldn’t help but wonder how simple life used to be earlier and how it is still for all these people. But hey, that’s just me and my pondering musings. This being a day journey, initially I had my doubts about losing a day in transit. At the end of the day, totally worth it!
It is 4 in the evening and now you are at Jagdalpur. A sign board saying “please alight here for Chitrakote falls and Tirathgarh falls” would welcome you in the charming little station of Jagdalpur, the district headquarters of Bastar. The first thing that hits you once out of the station is the old world charm of the town. Living in Bangalore, the place comes as a welcome change from the buzzing city life. Horse carts, jeeps and rickshaws who would ask as low as Rs.5 for 2 kms! (Let's forget the humanitarian aspect of it for now.)
It's 5.30 PM and we are all settled in our room for today. Let's call it a day now! I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did. Come tomorrow, we shall take a tour of the magnificent Chitrakote falls and more. :)