Bhilai is located in Durg district of Chhattisgarh and is located 25 kilometres west of Raipur, the capital city. Bhilai is home to one of the largest steel plants in India, Bhilai Steel Plant (SAIL), which has also been awarded the Prime Minister’s Trophy for being the best-integrated steel plant for the past five years. It was also the first plant in India that was accredited with the ISO 9002 quality certification.
Earlier Bhilai used to be a remote village, until in the year 1955, the second steel plant of India, Bhilai Steel Plant, was established with the assistance of the Russian government. Presently, it is the second largest city in Chhattisgarh with a rich culture. Apart from the famous steel plant, there are mines and other factories that support its economy very well.
Bhilai is also an educational hub promoting technical education through its popular universities like Swami Vivekanand Technical University, which is also its first technical educational institution. Some of the regions in Durg and Bhilai are famous for top engineering colleges.
Since its inception, Bhilai’s culture has been the hallmark of linguistic and religious unity. People of different religions reside in Bhilai and for this reason, festivals of different origins and culture are celebrated here, including Durga Puja that is majorly celebrated in Bengal, Ganesh Chaturthi of Maharashtra, Ugadi of Karnataka, Pongal of Tamil Nadu and Eid. Over the years, the population of Sikh community in Bhilai has increased and due to this, even people of other religions celebrate Baisakhi and Guru Nanak Devji’s Guruparab and other Sikh festivals, across Bhilai.
Maitribagh is one of the famous attractions in Bhilai that is managed by the Bhilai Steel Plant. This destination was built to honour the relationship between Russia and India. The meaning of Maitribagh is ‘Friendship Garden’. It consists of Animal Park, Zoo and musical fountains. The Zoo was built by the Bhilai Steel Plant. Next to the place is a huge manmade lake which is used to supply clean water to the town.
Bhilai is home to numerous temples including Hanumanji temple in the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Hospital complex, Sidhi Vinayaka Temple, Balaji Temples, etc. The oldest Shiv Temple is located 3 km from Bhilai, at Deobalod. The Pasharvwanath Tirth and Jain temple is around 2 km from the district of Durg. Other renowned regions of Bhilai are the Civic Centre, popular for its shopping options and Deobaloda that is known for its ancient temples. Tandula is a famous picnic spot and Dhamdha is popular for its old palaces.
Tourist Attractions in Bhilai
Bhilai Steel Plant : In the year 1959, the foundation of the Bhilai Steel Plant took place. With the aid and support of the Soviet Union, this place was established. Rails, structural items like beams, channels, crossings and sleepers, plates and wide road are some of the main manufacturing products of the steel plant.
Dhamdha : On the route between Durg and Bemetara, there is one place named Dhamdha. It is located at a distance of 35 Kms from Bhilai. Out of the attractions to see here, there is one ancient fort and a temple.
Maitri Bagh-Zoo : This zoo is made into a park as well as a zoo. The Bhilai Steel Plant has established this structure adjacent to the two numbers of water bodies. The name Maitri Bagh stands for 'friendship garden'. This place represents the accord and peace between two countries namely India and the USSR. The musical fountain and the shows related to it are the main attraction of this place.
Numerous beautiful gardens, a sparkling lake, an artificial waterfall, a musical fountain and also an enjoyable toy train are some of the features of Maitri Bagh. Also, another structure named the Pragati Minar is present here, which offers a good view of the Maitri Bagh Park and also of the steel plant.
Ganga Maiya Temple : The temple is located at a distance of 60 Kms from the main town region of Bhilai, at Jhalmala. As per the mythical stories, it is so believed that a fisherman found the statue of the goddess in his fishing net; however he did not see the idol and thus it went ignored by him. Another dweller in the same village had a dream that he was being instructed for recovering the idol and then setting it up in a hut close to the village. Bhikam Chand Tiwari built a temple in its place at a much later time period.
Temples : There are several temples present in Bhilai such as the Hanumanji temple, Sidhi Vinayaka Temple, Balaji Temples, etc. The Shiv Temple, which is situated at a distance of 3 Kms from Bhilai, is the most ancient. At a distance of 2 Kms from Durg, there are the Pasharvwanath Tirth and the Jain Temple.
Best Time to Visit Bhilai
The best season to visit Bhilai is the winter season in the months of October to March. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for sightseeing and other pursuits.
How to Reach Bhilai?
By Air : The nearest International Airport from Bhilai is Swami Vivekanand Airport, Raipur, roughly 45 minutes drive from Bhilai. It is well connected with major cities like Bangalore, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai etc. via Air India, Indigo, Jet Airways and Jet Lite.
By Rail : The nearest Railway Station is Durg Railway Station from Bhilai, roughly half an hour drive from the city. It has daily trains to Bhopal, Bilaspur, Ahmedabad, Durg, Chapra, Howrah, Nagpur, Puri, Shalimar and Vishakhapatnam etc.
By Road : Bhilai is 11 Kms from Durg, 30 Kms from Raipur, 137 Kms from Bilaspur, 158 Kms from Gondia, 227 Kms from Tumsar, 255 Kms from Nagpur, 304 Kms from Sambalpur and is connected through Chhattisgarh State Road Transport Corporation (CSRTC) and some private travel services.