Chitrakoot Waterfalls

The unspoilt state of Chattisgarh has a gem of Waterfalls in the heart of it – the Chitrakote Waterfalls, often known as the Niagara Falls of India. The roaring white wide and gorgeous plunge is enough to fill you with awe and take your breath away. It was the final moment of truth and I was there in front of the much-admired widest of waterfalls in India, I was in Chitrakote Waterfalls.

The road through the forest of Sal trees
The road through the forest of Sal trees

I always wanted to visit Chattisgarh and definitely Chitrakote Waterfalls but could hardly manage to chalk out the plan and it remained as a wish deep within my heart. Until recently when I came under a strong spell of Chitrakote Waterfalls after reading the blog post and seeing the pictures of the master photographer ‘Pratap Jagtap’. Since then my urge to visit the place quadrupled.

The Indravati river downstream
The Indravati river downstream

It also gave me the idea of staying in Dandami Luxury Resort by the Chattisgarh Tourism Board, situated just beside the waterfalls. It was a tough time to get the bookings as it was the peak season with the New Year around and as always we were already late to seek for the place. 

Handicrafts for sale by the locals near the waterfall area
Handicrafts for sale by the locals near the waterfall area

Finally, we managed to get the booking done for the 1st of January as all the rooms and cottages were fully packed for the previous dates. We planned our stay in Jagdalpur for a couple of initial days before we could stay in Dandami Resort. My blog post on the rest of Jagdalpur and Raipur are yet to come.

And some local produce, tubers and inscence ('Dhoop')
And some local produce, tubers and incense (‘Dhoop’)

The previously mentioned blog post spoiled me and I was finally in Dandami Resort to see the Chitrakote Waterfalls. Though it is not the season of the waterfalls still with great hope we were here and Chitrakote did not dampen our spirit.

I could not stop wondering the beautiful patch of the road through the forest
I could not stop wondering the beautiful patch of the road through the forest

It was the first day of the year and there were a huge number of visitors (mostly locals) to celebrate the holiday and welcome the new year. Some were picnicking and some were celebrating anniversaries with the cake cutting ceremonies on the boat under the waterfall.

Boats waiting for the passengers
Boats waiting for the passengers

Everywhere there was a chaotic scene as I have a strange phobia of the crowd and I interpreted it that way. There was peace prevailing only within the vast premises of the Resort, with beautifully soft and green lawns, rose garden, manicured trees and hedges and in between them the pretty cottages overlooking the plunge and the gorge.

The wooden cottages of the Dandami Luxury Resort
The wooden cottages of the Dandami Luxury Resort

Although the balcony of our wooden cottage did not have the best view, I was still impressed by the closeness to the waterfalls. Its a feeling of being so close to nature listening to the sweet melody of the gushing water.

View from our balcony
View from our balcony

Chitrakote Waterfalls is a river falls located near Jagdalpur in Bastar district of Chattisgarh. Indravati River, which originates in the Vindhya Range in Kalahandi district of Odisha flows towards the West and then to the South to drain into the Godavari River.

The upstream and the plunge with the pool below in the morning light
The upstream and the plunge with the pool below in the morning light

It gently meanders through its course to take a sudden 30-meter deep plunge in this horseshoe-shaped gorge to form this magnificent waterfalls. During the monsoon, when the river carries huge drain-off water from the surrounding, the waterfall is at its widest form with a large amount of water flowing down unrestrained through the horseshoe-shaped topography earning it the name of ‘Niagara Falls of India’.

I could not manage to come here during or post-monsoon. With wishful thoughts and great expectations, we came here during the winters. Thanks to the perennial river and the recent rain that helped to maintain the good amount of water that came cascading down in three braids (two massive and one pale).

The silent and calm river in the upstream gathers great courage to violently dive down to the pool below and again losing all its vigour flowing down gently through the gorge. The river carries a great amount of silt along with it and is deposited all around the pool giving it a sandy bed within the rocks.

The Indravati river upstream
The Indravati river upstream

It does give a beach-like feel but sans the litter that we visitors dutifully throw around mindlessly. What is the need to look for a dustbin when the world is one? And hence the beautiful rocky and sandy bank is transformed into a large litter ground.

One can feel the beauty all around but the sanctity of the place has been badly damaged. One can watch the river in the upstream and then climb down the well-paved stairs to the foot of the falls and indulge in the magnificent view of the white waters crushing into the rocks below and forming the pool while resultant mist engulfing you in its wet embrace.

There are boating facilities for those interested to go even closer to the foot of the waterfall. If not the huge crowd and the associated noise and the litters, it would be one of the best places for meditating for self-searching, sitting in front of the mighty waterfalls with the sound of the water touching the cords of the soul.

A boat with passengers near to the bottom of the falls
A boat with passengers near to the bottom of the falls

As the sun was dipping down behind the Dandami resort it spread its mellowed hues on the sky and thus on the Chitrakote in the opposite side. It was a pleasing scene relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time.

The sunset hues
The sunset hues

That night it rained and I was constrained to a couple of shot of night photography from the watchtowers within the resort. Shall I call it bad luck or an opportunity to find a reason to visit here again?

The waterfalls at night from a view point near our cottage
The waterfalls at night from a viewpoint near our cottage

Next morning it was calm just like the Indravati river upstream. Not many tourists were seen around and it seemed the waterfalls too was much relieved from the stress of over-tourism. The previous night rain might have added to the flow of the water and it was even thicker than the other day.

As the winter sun was gradually unveiling itself from the shroud of fog a tiny faint rainbow was formed in the mists of the waterfalls. I heard of the rainbow and also seen it in pictures and now it was in front of me but I had no time to go down to the foot of the falls to get a better view and remained contented with all that I saw.

Watch out for the faint rainbow on the left of the image

All thanks to Sir Pratap Jagtap, whose blog post and pictures did the wonder to push me to the much-anticipated trip to Chitrakote Waterfalls – The Niagara Falls of India.

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