I admit I was quite taken in by the Chhattisgarh Jungle Trek. Very few treks have captured my imagination off late as much as the forest trails in Chhattisgarh.
While I have trekked in all parts of our country, it had been a while since I had stepped off our Himalayan trails. When the Chhattisgarh tourism department spoke to me about the possibility of opening up treks in their state, I was immediately interested. Chhattisgarh, I knew, had terrific forests and hills. This was a state waiting to be opened up.
I understood the predicament of the Chhattisgarh tourism department. On one hand they had some of the loveliest forests in our country, on the other no one knew about them.
So without much ado, here are 5 things that will keep you hooked to the Chhattisgarh jungle trek.
The Sal forests of Chhattisgarh
Straight away, like the coniferous or oak forests of our Himalayan treks, the sal forests are a delight. They are never too dense to make you feel claustrophobic, yet when you walk under them, you never want the forest to end. They give a wonderful shade, have tremendous variety, yet light streams through them all the time. For photographers there cannot be a better opportunity.
Each day is a new trek
I was expecting trekking through the forests of Chhattisgarh to be similar every day. I was wrong. Every day turned out to be a new trek. The variety in the trail and forests keep you glued. It helps that the terrain is not too hard on the legs.
Tribes of Chhattisgarh
Look out for the tribes of Chhattisgarh. They are from a generation that we have only read in story books. On the trek you will bump into tribal settlements in the middle of the forests. After Keonchi, look for the Baiga tribe settlement. There are only 1400 of them left. Even some of the villages on the way where we stay, it is mostly indigenous tribes who live there. Their features and culture are unmistakable. So far they haven’t seen trekkers or tourists before. Expect a lot of curiosity from them — especially the tribal children.
Rivers and streams
There are rivers and streams to wade through in this trek. They are not too deep, yet when you spot them they are scenic delight. Our trek leaders who went for explorations after me loved them so much that they think it is something to look out for.
Wildlife of Chhattisgarh
I am not guaranteeing spotting of any wildlife, but we are trekking in the buffer zone of the Achanakmar wildlife sanctuary. During our explorations I spotted lots of birds and small animals. These are becoming so rare in our Himalayas that trekking in Chhattisgarh is a good chance to go back to real forests.
So there you are, 5 good reasons to trek in Chhattisgarh. In winter when the Christmas season is so chocablock with trekkers in the Himalayas, I would strongly recommend the Chhattisgarh trek. I was mesmerised. After a long time I had found trekking in another part of our country so delightful.