Back in Aug 2017, a fantastic Monsoon Saturday. It had been almost a year since I started my professional stint after completing my Chartered Accountancy studies and for obvious reasons I wanted to go somewhere. Did not know where but I wanted to spend some quality time with myself. Three days back I came to know about a travel company called “Unexplored Bastar” who plan trips to Bastar, a tribal district in state of Chhattisgarh. Since, then I could not think anything else but to go and explore my state. The biggest hurdle for me was to convince my mother that I will be safe in the wild trek and can take care of myself. Yeah, I was 25 but my mom thought I was still a kid who still needs her to be around him.
It was 4:30 PM on 12.08.2017 and suddenly from nowhere I decided that I wanted to go. I informed my boss that I need a day off and handed over my work. Bought a new pair of shoes from a nearby shop and reached home at round 7:30 PM. Phew !! my mother was all set to spoil my this plan like every other plan, but this time I was rigid and convinced her with all emotional blackmail and all possible tricks which I learnt during my entire life. Finally, my friend and myself boarded the bus at 10:00 pm to Jagdalpur. My friend felt asleep as soon as he hit that “sticky ragzine’s seat” and I started to enjoy my first solo trip.
We reached Jagdalpur at 5:00 in the morning and immediately went to the office of Unexplored Bastar. At the office Dheeraj introduced me to Mr. Jeet Singh Arya, Founder of “Unexplored Bastar” and some other team members. After this formal meet and greet all guests/travellers along with team of unexplored bastar departed for Farspal village, a small village in Dantewada District.
We pitched our tents in beautiful valley of Dholkal and greeted by hand made bouquets and some local delicacies.
Once done with the food we all geared up for experiencing this thrilling trek. We were a team of around 25 travellers accompanied by around 15 members from Unexplored Bastar. These members were from farspal village only and they had thorough knowledge about the trek and terrain. They told us that there are 10K varieties of butterflies in this forest. We had to trek 8 kms uphill to reach “DholKal Ganesha” . Initially it seems like a cakewalk but at the end trek becomes a bit tricky.
There were many small problems while trekking including sudden rainfall and within seconds’ sun was at its full throttle but in the end, we made it to the peak. After trekking for around for another 45-50 mins we finally reached the Ganesha Idol and believe me people this was one of the best moment of my life. It took me some time to breath the fresh air and realise that I was there, completing the trek.
The Ganesha Idol was around 3ft in height, 3000 ft. above ground level and it is said that it was built around 11th century during the period of Nagvanshi Dynasty. Idol has many serpents covering the body of Ganesha.
We spend some time at the hilltop, worshipped Lord Ganesha , decorated him with flowers and offered prasadi, lived that moment completely and then went ahead for our next destination i.e. Surya Temple. Surya Temple consist of a flat rock and it is said that first light of after dawn falls on this rock. We were told by our tour guide that when light falls on this flat rock , it is reflected on the idol of Lord Ganesha and a magnified view of shadow can be seen on the mountain behind. Due to bad weather, we were unable to experience this unique natural phenomenon.
We came back to the base camp at around 4pm and were served with evening snacks, which were very good and tasty. At around 6:30 we all gathered around for campfire and enjoyed local folk song.
During a casual chat Jeet Bhai, told us that there is immense potential in CG to develop as a tourist state but due to negligence of Govt. and also we as a people of CG never ever thought to travel our own state. He (Jeet) and his team not only developing a fan base for state of CG but also providing employment and training opportunities to local tribal people. Generally, it is assumed that CG is a state of tribes and is dominated by Naxalites but it definitely a lot more than that. After this trip, I promised to myself that I would take measures to travel often and explore CG and India more and more. Unknowingly Dheeraj and Jeet bhai created a difference in my life, thanks to them.
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