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Tirathgarh Waterfalls

Known as Milky Fall.

Chitrakot Waterfall

Known as Mini-Niagara Falls

Bastar Dussehra

They dont burn Ravan, its a different story

Famous Mama Bhanja Temple and Lord Ganesha Idol

Barsur have many more surprises

Chhattisgarh Tribal

Unchanged way of living and let me introduce you to a village!!

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Dudma Jhodi waterfall, Katekalyan, Dantewada

Dudma Jhodi waterfall, Katekalyan, Dantewada

Introduction

    There are four blocks in the district of Dantewada, out of which the most unexplored block is Katekalyan. But, on the contrary, next to Kuwakonda, it is the most mineral rich block of Dantewada district. The respective block is covered by lush green forest, huge mountain ranges, enchanting valleys and some of the most beautiful waterfalls. One such waterfall is Dudma Jhodi waterfall.


Where and How to reach?

    This marvel is located on the bank of Dumam river which is also called as Dankini river. This waterfall is situated at the side of state highway which goes from Katekalyan to Bade-Gudra via Parcheli. This waterfall is nearly 38 kms away from Dantewada and 124 kms away from Jagdalpur via Dantewada and nearly 424 kms away from State Capital, Raipur. The nearest railway station is Dantewada and Bacheli. The nearest airport is Jagdalpur and Raipur.

 
                                                                        (c) Maps Of India

    As this is a seasonal waterfall which actually originates from a brook called Dudma Jhodi which is a tributary of Dumam river, it is beat advisable to visit it during the winters.

Salient Features:

    Falling from a height of 15 feet, Dudma jhodi waterfall is a worth seeing place and can be a good picnic spot for the interested tourists also. As the height is quite adorable and the slope is moderate with a step like formation, the brook gives a beautiful show of a small cascade, which a truly enjoyable from top to bottom. Local people love to come and spend their leisure time here, bathing and enjoying with their near and dear ones.



Conclusion:

    If you really wanna enjoy some of the most virgin places of Chhattisgarh, Do come to Dantewada. And If you really wanna reveal some of the most deep mysteries of Dantewada itself, Do visit Katekalyan…..and if you really wanna a virgin waterfall…..Do visit Dudma Jhodi waterfall.

Toyer Nala Waterfall, Katekalyan, Dantewada

Toyer Nala Waterfall (Katekalyan, Dantewada)

Introduction

Dantewada is a place of spirituality, it’s a place of hyms, it’s a place of divine temples…..but wait…this is just the spiritual part of Dantewada. Here’s a lot more to be revealed out. Ever heard of some untrodden tracks, some virgin mountains, some unseen waterfalls in Bastar division, there will be only one name, Katekalyan block of Dantewada district.

Nature has hidden so much in this virgin area that one has to keep whole month to visit and find such untrodden paths, such peculiar mysteries. One such mystery is Toyer waterfall.

Where and how to reach?

    Toyer waterfall is approachable throughout the year as this area is very near to the State Highway joining Jagdalpur to Dantewada from Darbha road via Katekalyan.  Just 12 kms to Katekalyan towards Darbha road, this marvel is located near to the village border of Nadenar and Toynar villages of Katekalyan block of Dantewada.

Salient Features

    This area actually comes under Darbha block of District Bastar, but as this place is very near to Block Head Quarter Katekalyan, local people presumes it to be a part of Dantewada district.


    As a tourist reaches closer to this fall, the first view itself makes him spellbound, as the fall divides itself in two parts, the upper part which is having a height of 7 to 10 feet with a gentle slope of 10-15 degree, followed by the later one which possesses a height of 30-35 feet with a moderate slope of 30-40 degree. One should take care while traversing down as the bank walls of Toyer nala also contains blue-green algae.


    This place hides many more interesting features on its laps as the upper part of the northern side of bank possesses a cave remarked as an abode of Lord Shiva and contains many Shiv-lingas inside and near around this cave-shrine.

    Toynar Village is famous for this waterfall and cave, as at the time of Maha-Shivratri, this area gets flooded by the devotees in the form of a big mela.

Conclusion:

On the whole, this place is a “silent killer” and nobody wants to miss the chance to be in the laps of a meditating kind of pure natural environment.
   

Dandak Cave, Kanger Valley

Dandak Cave
(A blog by Jitendra Nakka)

Introduction
 
Bastar is the king of adventures, king of thrill in Chhattisgarh. Bastar is the home of some of the most exotic destinations of Central India and can provide some of the most virgin endeavours on most spellbinding terrains of Central India, one such place is Dandak Cave which comes in the kotumsar sub-range of forest at Kanger Valley National Park.
Pic showing the guide and Mr. Ashish Gadpale standing just infront of cave mouth
 
Figure showing textbook example of Cave Pop-corn 

Where and How to reach?
 
Dandak Cave comes in the Kanger Valley National Park area, whose entrance(Kanger Valley barrier) is  nearly 26 kms from Divisional Head Quarter Jagdalpur on Jagdalpur-Hyderabad Highway (NH-221). Its nealy 326 kms from C.G State capital Raipur, nearly 326 kms from Vishakapatnam. The nearest railway station is Jagdalpur. The nearest airport is Raipur. Jagdalpur is one of the premium destinations for tourists as it offers exciting tour packages for tourists all round Central India. There are numerous luxurious hotels and motels in Jagdalpur which provide such packages.
Way to Kanger Valley

Being in Dandak Cave:

Dandak is one of the most well-maintained cave of Kanger Valley National Park, as the curious tourist will surely get the textbook examples of every cavern structures. Here just after the cave we can see the helictites, followed by the classic examples of soda straws on the opposite wall of helictite.

Going few feets down, the narrow entrance opens into a large chamber showing exotic examples of flowstones in a couple of dripstones. This chamber is as big as it can hold more than 500 tourists at a single
span of time. On one of the adjacent wall nearby, we can see a very very narrow entrance for the second chamber series of cave. 
Figure showing developed Stalagmite



Pic showing broken Stalactite (behind the author)



Way to Second chamber series

The second chamber series of this cave has ultimate narrow entrance but opens into a big room performing a beautiful play of stalactites, stalagmites and few rare textbook examples of cave popcorns  and soda straws with a central large stalagmite and stalactite. Here this stalagmite seems like to have grown from a 70 feet deep sinkhole which is just next to this central stalagmite. Going further forward,we can see many small chambers, some are inter-connected while some possess dead ends, but on the whole all the chambers were having dead end after few feet. 

Addition to its Importance:

This cave is one of the favourite spot for researchers as this cave provides a perfect climate for researchers to read the palaeo and present climate on the basis of living fauna and fossils. Dr. Jayant Biswas, Founder and President of "National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India" has published a lot of research papers some of which has been published in some of the most reputed publishing houses of world like Speleologija(1) e.t.c. He has worked a lot for cave-biology. On the basis of fauna found here, he has named cave fauna as cavernicoles (cave organisms) and divided them into three types :


(A) Troglobites: Species which live wholly and permanently in the dark zone of caves. Mostly are albinic because camouflage colouring is of no use.

(B) Troglophiles: Species which live permanently in the dark zone, some of which can live in a suitable habitat away from the cave.

(C) Trogloxene: Species which visit or take shelter but do not complete their whole life cycle in caves. They go to the outer world periodically for some requirements, usually food. Further it can be divided as accidental trogloxene and habitual trogloxene. The affix terminology is sufficient to recongnize them.(2)


Found Species:
Arthropods- Armadillidium sp.,Diplopoda.
Molluscs: Opeas sp.
Amphibian: Hydrophylax malabaricus.
 

Pic showing a frog dwelling inside Dandak cave 

 The cave has got its name after the division’s ancient name “Dandkaaranya”. Dandak was a demon who got cursed by a teacher (sage) of demons “Shankaracharya” and got his kingdom turned into dense forest within a fraction of time along with himself.
This cave is known for its most spectacular show of speleothems formations with some outstanding example of fauna which likes to live inside cave only. This phenomenon has given this cave special attention and preference among the researchers to deeply analyze the palaeo and current climate of the cave.

Conclusion:
This cave proves to be one of the most promising cave for cave researchers and speleologists. And for young guns, this cave is an ideal example for reading textbook examples of cavern structures.

Reference:
(1) http://www.speleologija.hr/indija09/index.html
(2) http://www.cave-biology.org/

Sheet Cave


Sheet Cave, Kanger Valley, Bastar


Introduction

Bastar is the king of tourism of Chhattisgarh. Talking about Bastar, the first name which comes in mind is Kanger Valley National Park, which is famous for its biosphere reserve. State Govt. has recommended its name to UNESCO for accepting as World Heritage site. In addition to this, this place is the home of some of the most virgin caves of Central India. One such virgin cave is Sheet gufa i.e. cold cave.

                                                     Sheet Cave Entrance(Behind author)
Where and How to reach?

Sheet cave is very near to Kanger nala, one of the most important brook of Kanger Valley. Just after crossing Kanger Valley barrier, we have to travel 4 kms more to reach the kanger nala bridge which is nearly 50 feet wide. Just after crossing this bridge, we have to enter in to the forest on the left side of the road (NH-16, Jagdalpur-Hyderabad Highway). Maintaining a parallel distance of 100 feet from NH, we have to travel 250 m deep into the forest, then we have to deviate our path towards the Limestone Mountains. After crossing half a mile we will reach to the foothill of exterior limestone mountains of Kanger Valley. Here we have to climb up to 200 feet to make it possible to see the entrance of Sheet cave. Though the entrance is big and wide, but the floor in front of Sheet Cave is bit deeper backside, which it impossible to recognize from a distant area.
.                                                               Kanger Nala (Kanger Valley)

Best time to visit: From the beginning of winters till the end of summers.

Salient Features:
Being in Sheet cave feels like heaven. The entrance is quite wide and easy to enter inside. Basically it’s a one single hall chamber having a dimension of nearly 50-60 feet of length, 25ft of width and height of nearly 20ft at the entrance which lowers down upto 10 – 8 ft at the end of chamber. At the end of this chamber, we can observe the passage for a new chamber, which as told by the guide, has been abandoned due to the lack of oxygen in it, but still from the left of this end, we can observe the passage for water flow.
                                                                 View of Cave inside

The spectacular part of this cave is its environment, which unlike the other solution caves of this valley, exhibits a kind of dry and cold environment. Thrill comes from inside, as there is no path up to this cave, you have to make your own path, no sooner you enter inside, you will start feeling cold.

One more peculiar fact to be observed for this cave is that, just outside at the entrance of this cave, large flowstones can be observed at the very beginning, which is the first and last proof of any visible speleothem in this cave. Hence, we can say looks more like a cave than a cavern, as it hardly displays any remarkable speleothem growth inside the cave.
                                                              Flowstone at the entrance

Conclusion: 

Such a place which is spectacular for its cold environment, which can relieve your fatigue after a long follow through, which gives you the feeling of a den of any wild animal……can really create thrill and curiosity among tourists for visiting such a great marvel. On the whole, it can give a speleologist a great experience to learn the different adverse conditions for Karst topography.





Pedawada Cave


Pedawada Cave, Kanger Valley, Bastar

Introduction
 
 Kanger valley is the king of valleys in Chhattisgarh. In addition to this, it is the most promising spot or heaven of speleologists, in the sense that numerous caves are waiting for the speleologists to be searched out. In fact Kutumsar, Kailash and Dandak are few well known names of the caves which are the jewels of Kanger valley, but hold on, this is just the beginning of your cave journey as there are many more names which are younger and more fascinating than the former ones, which has been discovered actually by the fellow villagers by the concerned areas. One such marvel is Pedawada Cave.
                                                      Pedawada Cave (Second Mouth/Entrance)

Where and how to reach?

Pedawada is a small village situated on the left side of NH-16(Jagdalpur-Hyderabad Highway) in Kanger valley. It is nearly 29kms away from Divisional Head Quarter, Jagdalpur and nearly 3-4 kms from Kanger valley barrier. After crossing barrier, we have to travel 2 kilometers more to reach another barrier on the unmetalled junction of highway. This junction is called “Basta Bachao naka” i.e.” Save Bamboo Barrier” which is a barrier of forest department meant for the conservation of Bamboo tree as Bamboo is the most dominant tree in Pedawada forest. As we follow this unmetalled path(kachcha road), we can observe one small pool (rapta pool in local language), which after half a kilometer traverse more to the left side of the road(before reaching the village “Padawada”) reaches upto a hill series of limestone, which after climbing up to 200 ft above the hill, reaches upto a fracture in the rock strata, which is actually the mouth opening of this cave called “Pedawada Cave”.
                                                          Kanger Nala (Kanger Valley)

Best visit time: from November to June i.e. from the beginning of winter to the end of summer.

Salient Features: 

The Pedawada cave is actually an “aven” (Aven means Pitch (vertical space), in rock or ice climbing).  covered or overlain by highly jointed rocks . As we reach the mouth of this cave, we have to climb down nearly 4 feet deep, to make it to the first chamber. The first chamber displays the rarest example of very initial stage of cave formation which is spectacular for any speleologist. Hence the first shows shows very less speleothems but still we can manage to see some youngest stalactites (soda straws) and some rarest examples of young flowstones.

                               Fig. showing soda straws at the first chamber (pic by: Jitendra Nakka)

                                       Picture showing flowstone on the walls of Pedawada Cave

Actually the first chamber is the upper surface of aven having a width a nearly 10-12 feet and the height of this chamber is just 2-3 feet high. As this chamber is actually  the surface above aven, from  here we can observe an aven which is nearly just 3 feet wide from top and narrows down at the end where the width is just 1-1.5 feet and the length of this aven is nearly 20-25 feet long which extends to the other opening of the aven. But in the real sense, its not advisable to climb down the aven for any more research as the place is highly risky to again come up. So its better to come outside of the cave opening  and check for the other opening. 

The other opening is nearly 20-25 feet away from the first opening, and it doesn’t show any chamber like features and directly displays the aven overlain by jointed strata. Here it’s a small 2-2.5 feet opening just making it possible for us to sit and visit the aven. But the walls of aven at the opening show a kind of solution activity of karst topography and can be called as flowstone.
                                           Flowstone at the second entrance of Pedawada cave
Geology of a Cave:

Cave or Cavern?

Is there a difference between a cave and a cavern? This is a frequently asked question, and many people use the terms interchangeably. However, there is a difference. A cave is any cavity in the ground that is large enough that some portion of it will not receive direct sunlight. There are many types of caves (discussed in this lesson plan). A cavern is a specific type of cave, naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems. So, although a cavern can accurately be called a cave (since it is a type of cave), all caves cannot be called caverns.(1)

The largest and most abundant solutional caves are located in limestone. Limestone dissolves under the action of rainwater and groundwater charged with H2CO3 (carbonic acid) and naturally occurring organic acids. The dissolution process produces a distinctive landform known as karst, characterized by sinkholes, and underground drainage. Limestone caves are often adorned with calcium carbonate formations produced through slow precipitation. These include stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, straws, drip stones and columns. These secondary mineral deposits in caves are called speleothems(2)
 
Conclusion:
As this cave is in its very initial stage of cavern formation, it a heaven for speleologist for their analysis regarding mode and causes of occurrence of a cave. For geology students, it’s a live example to see how cave are formed.

Reference:
Lecture Notes from Sierra Nivada Corporation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutional_cave




Bhainsa-Darha, the heaven of kanger valley



Bhainsa-Darha
(By Jitendra Nakka)

Inroduction


There are three national parks in Chhattisgarh. Among these three,the most beautiful one is Kanger Valley National Park. Having spread up to 200 sq. km, the best part of this park is its geological formations. This park is the home of some of the most exotic, spellbound, virgin caves of Central India. This park is the home of one of the most mesmerizing natural habitat of crocodiles and tortoises. This park is the home of BHAINSA DARHA.
                                          Fig: Bhainsa-Darha lake      pic by: Mr. Mukesh Patel

Where and How to Reach?

Bhaina-Darha is approachable from two ways:

The first one is from Kailash Cave road i.e. after reaching Kailash Cave Barrier, we have to travel 29 kms more on a unmetalled road in order to reach Bhainsa-Darha. The metalled one straight away goes to Kailash Cave after 6 kms.

                  Figure showing way to Bhainsa-Darha from Chainkoor Barrier(Kailash Cave Barrier)

The second way is from Gupteshwar i.e. from Jagdalpur to Gupteshwar(NH-30 route) it covers nearly 57 kms. From Gupteshwar, again you have to be in Machkote forest road itself and cover 12 kms more to
Koleng Sub-range of forest in order to reach Bhainsa-Darha.
                             Picture showing the location of Bhainsa-Darha (Extreme South-East)                                                           Courtsey: www.mapsofindia.com

For the ease of tourist, there are a lot of hotels in Jagdalpur providing cozy lodging and boarding and can provide some of the most exciting tourist packages all over in Central India. In addition to this, Govt. has also established motels and rest houses of CG Tourism Board and District Forest Department in the Head Quarter of Bastar.

The best time to visit this marvel is during winters to the start of summers.

Being at Bhainsa-Darha……
Having an extent up to 4 hectare of land on the Kanger River, Bhainsa-Darha is actually a natural lake famous as the natural habitat of Crocodiles and tortoises in Chhattisgarh. The area comes under the Koleng sub-range of forest which comes in between extent of Machkote range of forest and Kanger Valley National Park.

Being at Bhainsa-Darha feels like heaven. It’s like paradise appeared on earth. The whole place is covered by lush green forest of bamboo, where the inclination and bending of the tall bamboo tress over the lake, seems like the whole creation is bowing their head on the feet of GOD for creating such marvel. After covering a large distance and travelling all over valley,

Kanger River slows down before reaching Bhainsa-Darha. Here the water appears very calm and quite with hardly any movement of wild creatures nearby. But really if you wanna see them alive with a lot of moves, do take little amount of fish or ducks/gooses in order to offer as prey. Then only you will find the best moments of your journey and destination.

The known depth of this lake is 20 meters, so it is not advisable to go down and have some water sports. After covering some distance more, the beautiful Kanger River merges to river Shabari (Kolab) and puts an end of the journey of this beautiful valley.

Conclusion:
As this place, Bhainsa-Darha, comes between Machkote range of Forest and Kanger Valley Natinal Park, you can make one combined package and can enjoy the whole lush green dense forest beauty of Bastar.   

Gupteshwar- A Cave Shrine

Gupteshwar – A Cave temple
(A blog by Jitendra Nakka)

Introduction

Chhattisgarh is full of surprises, and so the state of Orissa too. Chhattisgarh shares many relations with Orissa, whether it may be of geographical extent, geological extent, mineralogical extent, whether may be of art and culture, whether may be of sculpture and temples, whether may be of customs and traditions, lot of things are mutual in them. Even they share some common tourist places also. One such common but one of the most exotic tourist place of Chhattisgarh and Orissa is Gupteshwar.

                                                Gupteshwar- The Abode of Lord Shiva

Where and How to Reach?

Gupteshwar is approachable from two ways:

(1)    NH-30: Jagdalpur lies on the middle of Raipur-Vishakapatnam Highway. From Jagdalpur, we have to travel upto 22 kms more to reach the village called Dhanpunji(which is the last village of Chhattisgarh border). From Dhanpunji, there is a well-made metalled road(pakka road) which last upto railway crossing, after which our journey continues with unmetalled  road(kachcha road) upto 23 kms more, reaching a beautiful confluence of Machkote-Tiriya Sangam. After reaching Machkote, we have to travel on a dozen of kilometers more to reach our final destination near the bank of Shabari river called Gupteshwar.
                                        Figure showing location of Gupteshwar(South-East of Map)
 
                           Figure showing the exotic Machkote range of Forest(Bastar, Chhattisgarh)
                                           
 (2)    Jeypore Road: Another way to this marvel comes from Jeypore road. From Jeypore, this exotic site is nearly 55 kms away to the bank of Shabari river(also called as Kolab river in Orissa). Gupteshwar is a premium tourist site which lies in the Koraput District of Orissa. As for the ease of tourists, there is one comfortable rest house in Gupteshwar, with a good boarding and lodging. As OSRTC is doing excellent work in Orissa, reaching each and every corners of the state, we can enjoy our tour from state bus service also. If at all, any tourist opts Jagdalpur as a boarding centre by road (i.e. by NH), this place is nearly 120 km from Jagdalpur. Infact Jagdalpur is the most suitable and premium boarding and lodging destination for visiting any place nearby. For the ease of tourist, there are a lot of exotic hotels & motels providing cozy boarding and some great tourist packages all over Central and South-East India.

Salient Features of Gupteshwar:

Gupteshwar is actually a cave-shrine, an abode of Lord Shiva. But if you wanna make it upto here from Jagdalpur, you have to cover the lush green and dense forest of Machkote range of Forest of Bastar division of Chhattisgarh. Along the whole way, you can see a lot of flora and fauna, which will make your journey more thrilling at the time of returning back. Gupteshwar is actually a combination of different scenic spots
where the bank of Shabari(Kolab) river from either of the sides, the waterfall along the flow and the cave temple are most worth seeing.
Figure showing the exotic lush green forest of Machkote Range(Bastar, Chhhattisgarh)


 After reaching Gupteshwar from Machkote, we can see the gigantic stromatolitic dolomites covering the whole path of river flow. As the area is a kind of undulating site, there is a high gradient of river flow, cutting down the stromatolitic dolomite rocks and creating crocodile-skin weathering on their surface. Due to the display of this typical weathering on the rocks from both the banks, this place has got a fierce look and appears difficult to cross the river. But this is just a prejudice of a tourist; the rocks are spaced near to each other with the help of which, one can cross the river and can reach the cave shrine.After the bank, we have to walk over nearly 200 feet more to reach the market line of the place. Actually just in front of the temple, there are few small shops/hotels from where you can take materials of your interest and fill your appetite.
Figure showing the extent of Stromatolitic Dolomite rock at the bank of river Shabari(Kolab)


Just to the right of this market, lies the a road junction, from where going straight will lead to cave temple of
Gupteshwar and taking right will lead to the cave series of Gupteshwar. After reaching the front gate of Temple, you have to climb up near around 300 stairs to reach the entrance of this cave. The stairs after entrance takes you down to the centrally placed Shivling of near about 1.5m high.
                                                             Fig: Gupteshwar Temple


                            Figure showing the Centrally Placed Shivling at Gupteshwar Cave Temple

                     Figure showing the growth of Stalactites on the inner chambers of Gupteshwar temple

 One more way to the left of this shivling leads to the next chambers of this cave which add more beauty to this worth seeing cave shrine. The next chamber is comparatively larger than the adjacent chambers nearby. After walking nearly more than 20 feet, the slope of this chamber increases gradually with a sharp, wet and muddy surface leads you to a subordinate chamber having a dead end on its other end. The whole cave displays a beautiful play of stalactites and stalagmites somewhere developed, somewhere budding. But this is not the end of your destination, your journey; you have to walk back to the junction to reach the actual cave series of Gupteshwar.

Here, there are there are two caves, one of which has a narrow entrance, but, is very high in altitude. The later one is wider in comparison to the former one. The later cave is very worth seeing but lacks in proper display of stalactites and stalagmites. The central chamber of this cave leads to a minor chamber which is very small, nearly of 12feets of length, and 2 meters of height and width and leads to a dead end.
                             Figure showing the mouth of one cave of the Cave series of Gupteshwar


                             Figure showing the mouth of one cave of the Cave series of Guteshwar


Mythological and Religious Importance:
This place holds much importance for Hindu devotees, as this place is a divine shrine and abode of Lord Shiva. This place faces a gigantic crowd of devotees, worshippers and followers at the time of “Maha-Shiv Ratri”. People from all part of India reach here to bow their heads and receive blessings from Lord Shiva, the almighty.
                                         Figure showing followers moving ahead to Gupteshwar

                                                       Fig: Followers crossing river Kolab

                            Figure showing the scenic view of bank of river Shabari at Gupteshwar

 Mythologically, it is believed that Gupteshwar means “hidden GOD”. It is believed that Lord Ram, during his exile of 14 years reached Dandakaaranya forest and first found this shivling hidden in this cave. He was the first person to worship on this cave. The nearby mountain is called as “Ramgiri”. Kalidasa in his famous creation “Meghadoot” has also depicted the beauty of this beautiful mountain of Ramgiri.

Conclusion:

This place is one of the most important pilgrim of South-East Central India and shares equal importance from both Orissa and Chhattisgarh and one of the most important tourist and study site for researchers (speleologists).  

   


Rani Cave Chitapur Jagdalpur

Rani Cave, Chitapur, Jagdalpur
(Blog by Jitendra Nakka)

Introduction


Coming down to the landscapes of Bastar, the first curious thing, of which we can talk about, is its bio-diversity. The exotic valleys, enchanting mountains, ravishing waterfalls, spellbinding dense forests, rich flora and fauna and its mysterious caves combine to form the bio-diversity of Bastar.  Talking about the famous caves series of Bastar, Kanger Valley is the king of caves in Bastar, but apart from this exotic valley, there are few more mountain series which are famous for caves, one among them is Chitapur mountain series which is famous for some of the most beautiful caves. One such cave is Rani Cave.
                                              Fig. showing the cave entrance behind the author

Where and how to reach?

This exotic cave is approachable from two ways:

(1)    NH-16: We can reach Chitapur from Jagdalpur-Hyderabad Highway. From Jagdalpur, Chitapur is nearly 25 kms away in NH-16.

(2)    NH-221: Chitapur is approachable from NH-221 also.  After reaching Tokapal, one has to cover a distance of 3 kms more to reach the entrance gate of Erindpaal  Gram Panchayat, which lies just left to NH-221(nearly 23 kms from Jagdalpur). From this entrance gate, we have to travel over the villages of Dhumaguda and Bade Kadma, and finally swinging down the valley road to reach the village of Chitapur. As we reach the Balak Ashram of Chitapur which lies to the left of a metalled road, we have to go back 200 meters back and follow a concrete road to reach the end of  village. But this is not how we have to reach our destination, after reaching the end of village along the concrete road, we have to follow a zig zag unmetalled untrodden single path, which after nearly 1 km, reaches  to a limestone mine(abandoned). To the other end of this limestone mine, there is a small hill. To the feet of this hill, lies the beautiful and mysterious Rani Cave.

As this exotic cave is very near to Divisional Head Quarter, Jagdalpur can be opted as the premium destination for lodging and boarding. Jagdalpur offers a lot of hotels and motels with good boarding facilities and some exciting tour packages. For the ease of tourist, Forest department also has made a beautiful rest house near the Head Office of Kanger Valley National Park. Chitapur is approachable throughout the whole year, but it is advisable and more over mandatory to visit this cave at the time of winters and summers only.

Being in Rani Cave:

Rani cave offers a premium destination for researchers to deeply analyse the growth procedure of Speleotherms. As usual, the entrance of this cave is very narrow with just a height of nearly 2 feet. There are three chambers of this cave out of which the middle chamber is the biggest. As we observed that the entrance is a very narrow task to enter, same is the case for first chamber which is nearly of 2.5 to 3 feet of height. This makes the way of first chamber a bit more difficult as there are a lot of boulder sized stones in the way around first chamber.

As soon as we reach the second chamber, we can observe that the chamber hall turns wider and the height of the chamber increases up to 6 - 6.5 feet in height. This chamber is the most beautiful chamber of this cave and displays the most beautiful play of budding of stalactites.
                                       Figure shows the growth of Stalactites(Middle Chamber)


                                 Figure shows the growth of stalactites behind Mr. Ashish Gadpale


                                       Figure shows the growth of Stalactites(Middle Chamber)

  As the floor of this chamber is covered by sand cover, it hardly displays any growth of stalagmites in this chamber. In the middle of this chamber, to the flow of water nearby, there are two stones having cylindrical and spherical shape, seems like stalagmite. This two stones actually hold the importance in this cave and are meant as “Shivlings”, so giving the cave, a look of abode of Lord Shiva.


                                                      Figure showing the Shivling like Stalagmites

One peculiar fact to be noticed is the presence of water on the sides of the chamber, gives you a kind of swampy look for this cave, but this is just a prejudice, as the sand cover has got mixed up with a lot of mud and has attained a bit not-so-loose surface in order to help the tourist to find the other end of the cave.
 
One more interesting fact about this cave is that this cave has two openings, due to which, unlike the other cave of Bastar division, there is availability of plenty of air-pass and air-supply.

To the end of this second chamber, the path way is quite wet and muddy, so we have to pass through side end of this chamber, in order to make it possible for the third and last chamber.
                                             Figure showing the last chamber behind the author

The third and last chamber makes our view a bit easy, as it receives adequate amount of light from the environment outside. This chamber is again divided into two small chambers, the inner one of which receives very less light from outside and can show some most beautiful structures in this chamber. Unlike the inner chamber, this outer chamber has very less amount of structures, but receives more light than the two chambers behind. Reaching this outer chamber, we can happen to see the other mouth of the cave or the other end of the cave, which is partially covered by plant cover. Removing them, we can come outside, with an endless memories of this marvel.
                                                                  Exit end of Rani Cave

Religious and Historical Importance:

According to one legendary story between the fellow villagers, once this place(Chitapur) was the capital of one dynasty and the quuen of that dynasty used to bath here near the small pond of Cave and used to worship the Shivling inside the cave, thereby getting the name "Rani Cave" after the queen of that dynasty
. During Maha-Shiv Ratri, this cave faces a huge crowd of followers and devotee people.

Conclusion:

Some people say that this cave has one more opening, as it is worthy to see the flow of water from the other end of cave and making a tiny pond like accumulation nearby. As this area is completely dominated by Dhurwa tribes, they believe that once at the time of “Bhoomkaal” revolt(1910 A.D.), nearly more than 100s or 1000s of this tribal fighters hided themselves in a group before attack against Govt. Hence, we can also say that the combination of geological phenomena with a historical and religious importance makes it more worthy to visit, watch and enjoy this cave.

Note: My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Ashish Gadpale for showing his courage and caliber in order to bring this photographs and data.