Once upon a time the capital city of powerful kingdom, Raipur lost its raison dêtre when its reigning dynasty lost their domain to stronger forces. Like the phoenix, Raipur has risen from the ashes of obscurity and taken front place as the capital city of the new born state of Chhattisgarh.
Few people travel to Raipur for leisure or pleasure - most visitors are business travellers in search of government contracts and lucrative deals. Those who do stray from their set itineraries discover ruins that tell tales of the city’s once glorious past, fortifications that stood guard over the city, its residents and the temples and lakes that were integral to the life of the people.
How to Reach Raipur?
By Air : Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, is the only place in the state that is linked by air to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bhubaneshwar by regular flights.
By Rail : Raipur is one of the two main junctions in the state that are on the routes of express and passenger trains that either directly or indirectly connect the state to other parts of India. The superfast Rajdhani Express connects Raipur to New Delhi, the Bilaspur-Nizamuddin Gondwana Express runs thrice a week and travels from New Delhi to Raipur via Bilaspur. Passenger and mail trains connect most big and small towns within the state to Raipur.
By Road : Raipur has excellent connections to places in the neighbouring states of Andhra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Inter-state and national highways connect Raipur to Bhopal, Nagpur, Jhansi, Jabalpur and to cities further afield like Kolkata and Bhubhaneshwar. The important towns of the region, Bhilai (25 km), Durg (41 km), Jagadalpur (297 Km), Rajnandgaon(70 km) and Bilaspur (115 km) are connected with Raipur by road. Interstate State Roadways buses ply between the different cities while chartered bus operators run services on major routes Roadways buses are the lifelines of Chhattisgarh as they connect some of the more inaccessible places in the interiors to the capital, Raipur.
Best Time to Visit Raipur
The best time for a visit Raipur is during the winter season between the months of October to February/March when the climate is pleasant. Summers are pretty hot with temperatures reaching the mid 40 degree C mark and the rains in June and July can make travel fairly difficult in this region.
In the cooler months between October and march, the temperatures are moderate with day time temps being in the region of the mid 20s and nights falling to 5 degrees C at the height of winter in early January. This is the best time to se the sights around Raipur as the weather is very pleasant.
Things to do in Raipur
Raipur is primarily a business town and gets few tourists – for those who do come the list of things to do is not too long. Visit the temples in the vicinity, or the old fort which stands like a sentinel guarding the town. In the evenings stroll along the lovely lakes that dot the town and then head out to shop for hand crafted artefacts and textiles to take back home.
Places Near Raipur
Some of the interesting places near Raipur that you can visit are Sirpur, Barnawapara, and Sita Nadi, among others.
Sirpur is at the top of all international famed historical places of present Chattisgarh. Time has reduced the erstwhile capital of Chhattisgarh to a city of ruins - tumbled down temples, royal residences and monasteries all tell the story of a grand and glorious past. The Lakshmana Temple is only monument of this period that still stands. The bumpy road ride is made worthwhile by the museum at Sirpur - the museum houses a fine collection of statues and artefacts from the ruins.
Barnawapara (110km), Sita Nadi (170km) and Udanti (170km) Sanctuaries - are the three main wildlife sanctuaries are other places near Raipur. Open all year round, they are best visited in the dry season from November to June. Thick deciduous forests of sal, teak and other hardwoods provide shelter and sustenance to a host of birds and a variety of animals like the chinkara, Indian gazelle, nilgai, wild dogs, hyena, Indian bison, jackal, sloth bear and tigers.
Hotels in Raipur – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Raipur ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.