Culture of Bastar
Tribal culture of Bastar

Exquisite Bastar Heritage Walk – Exploring Culture On Foot

If you ask me the best way to travel, I’d say the car. But if you ask me the best way to explore a place, I’ll answer walk. On most of my solo trips, I explore cities on foot clocking thousands of steps daily. Not only does it help me experience the place up close, but it also helps me digest the truckload of food that I eat too. I’ve loved my walking expeditions and heritage walk in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and a few other cities.

Further, if you’ve been following my blog (or stalking me on Instagram), you’ve journeyed with me from Hyderabad to Bastar in my Tata Punch. You’ve witnessed the mesmerizing landscapes and hidden gems along the way. Not to forget, if you ever doubted the safety and allure of the place, you must read my previous blog post on the reasons why you should visit Bastar.

Why visit Bastar?
My experiences of visiting Bastar

In this post, I’ll share my experience of exploring the culture and traditions of the region on foot. I took the Bastar Heritage Walk hosted by my friend Culture Devi. I highly recommend her for anything related to the culture and traditions of the region. Not because she’s my friend, but because she’s extremely knowledgeable as well as an amazing storyteller. DM her on Instagram to book your tour, give my reference, and join her.

Bastar Heritage Walk – Things To Know

For the unaware, Bastar and surrounding areas have the highest population of tribals. Each tribe has its unique traditions, culture, and food that are still breathing. Further, it is a division with 7 districts, and Jagdalpur is the headquarters for it and that’s where this walk takes place. As an outsider, no matter how much you read, you need a local to help you learn more about the traditions of the place. And in the case of Bastar, it is needed in my opinion, and that’s why I opted for the Heritage Walk.

Before I share my experience, here are a few things to know about the Bastar Heritage Walk:

  • Duration: Minimum 3 hours
  • Availability: All Year Round
  • Time: Preferred timings (8-10 AM) or after 5 PM
  • No. Places Covered: 11
  • No. of Stories: Unlimited
  • Price: Rs 300 per head
  • Booking: DM on Instagram or call

The best part about the walk is that it is highly customizable. Want to visit more religious places and experience the traditions, done. Want to visit a place, and explore the local bazaars, done. Culture Devi can tailor-make the walk for your liking. As for the duration, it completely depends on you! In the following paragraphs, let me share my experience of the Bastar Heritage Walk.

My Experience Of Bastar Heritage Walk

Since I was very tight on schedule but still wanted to experience Bastar closely, I opted for the heritage walk. While I wanted to do it in the morning, I had to settle for the evening as I had planned to explore other places in the vicinity. And coincidentally, it rained in the evening, but again it stopped at the right time! Culture Devi was bang on time and met me right at the Maa Danteshwari Temple complex – that was the starting point for my tailor-made walk.

FYI: The focus for my walk was more on the stories than places, so we didn’t cover a lot of places but instead had lots of stories. PS: Do ask her the story behind the name Jagdalpur, and how it came to existence.

Stories From The Past Weaved With The Present

The first stop of the walk was the Bastar Palace, Yes there’s a palace right in the middle of Jagdalpur. Constructed by the Kakatiya rulers the palace dates back to the 14th century. It’s not like the grand palaces of Rajasthan or has the grandeur of the Mysore palace, however, it holds the stories of the transfer of power over the years and the evolution of the region. There’s not much to see in the palace, as they’ve opened only one hall as the present King still stays in the palace, but the story is pretty interesting.

Bastar Palace during Bastar Heritage Walk
Jagdalpur Palace Where The King Still Resides

The next stop was the Maa Danteshwari Temple of Jagdalpur. It’s located within the Palace campus but many people think otherwise. Every place in the region has a Danteshwari Mmaa temple and she holds an unparalleled place in the hearts of the people. The temple is one of the main locations for the Dussehra festivities. And Bastar Dussehra is something one must experience at least once in their lifetime. The festival sans Lord Ram and Ravan, is unique to this region and is a 75-day-long celebration. It’s a treat to watch. While I couldn’t witness that this time, I hope to do it sometime soon.

We then walked a little to Sigasar Bhavan, a dedicated place where “rath” (chariots) are built/placed which are a quintessential part of Bastar Dussehra. We spent close to an hour just around the chariot learning about the various processes and rituals that are performed, the people and the tribes involved in making it a success. The story will leave you in awe and wanting to know more about the traditions. Right opposite to the Bhavan is the famous Jagganath temple of Jagdalpur which again has an interesting tale of its own.

Maa Danteshwari Temple Bastar
Maa Danteshwari Temple Bastar

Revisiting the History Books

I love history, whether it’s monuments or food, I love learning about the evolution of a place or thing and hence museums are a place that I love. There are two important museums in Jagdalpur that not only have some interesting artefacts but also reveal more about the culture of the place. The first museum that we visited was the Archaeological Museum which is within walking distance from the Jagganath temple. The museum is well maintained but is visited by a lot of people. Entry is free in this two-storey museum.

Since culture devi was with me, it made things much more interesting. The best part about this museum that I loved was the 3D map of Bastar with all the important tourist attractions marked. I feel other places could replicate this too. Further, there are a lot of idols that were unearthed during excavations in the region from around the 11th century. Apart from that, there are a lot of idols that showcase the traditions of the region as well.

The next museum that we visited was the Anthropological Museum. This was the first time I was visiting such a museum and I had never visited any such museum in the past. The museum is all about the people of Bastar and the tribes. It has a lot of details about the traditions, and culture of the different tribes. From their clothing to the tools and utensils used by them, there’s so much here. It’s an ageing building with lots of information, but you need a guide who can help you decode things, and we had Culture Devi who uncovered so many things that we couldn’t have otherwise.

Culture of Bastar
Tribal culture of Bastar

One of the last places we visited was the Dalpat Sagar Lake. The largest manmade lake in the region has become a local hangout spot. If you’ve been to Ahmedabad, then this is very similar to Kankaria Lake, maybe a bit larger. It was only during COVID-19 that the administration took up the work to restore the lake by cleaning it and beautifying the surrounding place. They have an Aamcho Bastar signboard and an open-air stage where there are performances by locals.

By then it was already 8 PM and we decided to call it a day. A heritage walk filled with stories of Bastar, the tribes and their traditions. I’m sure had the sun not set, I would have extended the walk further. But, I left a few things for next time. Also not showing everything here because if you see everything what will you see when you go there?

Must Experience Bastar Heritage Walk

Embarking on the Bastar Heritage Walk is more than just a tour; it’s an immersive journey into the very heart and soul of this enchanting land. As someone who’s experienced it firsthand, I’d totally recommend this. Culture Devi, is remarkable guide and storyteller, brings Bastar’s history and culture to life with her passion and captivating tales. Her stories are not just about the past; they’re the threads that connect Bastar’s rich heritage to the present.

So, if you find yourself on the road to Bastar, don’t miss this incredible opportunity. Trust me, you won’t regret it; you’ll carry the magic of Bastar with you long after the walk has ended. That’s about it for this blog post, Let me know your thoughts, suggestions and feedback in the comments below, Tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for Socialmaharaj.com :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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