Bastar District is a district of the state of Chhattisgarh in central India. Jagdalpur is the district headquarters. The district has an area of 10755.79 km². Bastar District is bounded on the northwest by Rajnandgaon District, on the north by Kondagaon District, on the east by Nabarangpur and Koraput districts of Odisha state, on the south and southwest by Dantewada District, and on the west by Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra state. It possesses a unique blend of tribal and odia culture.
Bastar and Dantewada districts were formerly part of the princely state of Bastar. Bastar state was a princely state in India during the British Rule. It was founded in the early 14th century, by Annama Deva, the brother of Kakatiya king Pratapa Rudra Deva of Warangal (Telangana).After Indian independence in 1945, the princely states of Bastar and Kanker acceded to the Government of India, and were merged to form Bastar District of Madhya Pradesh state. The district, which had an area of 39,114 km², was one of the largest in India.
In 1999, the district was divided into the present-day districts of Bastar, Dantewada, and Kanker, and in 2012 it was divided in one more district named as Kondagaon which constitute Bastar Division. In 2000, Bastar was one of the 16 Madhya Pradesh districts that formed a part of the new state of Chhattisgarh.
Administratively, the district is divided into two tehsils, Jagdalpur, and Bastar The district has one municipalities, Jagdalpur. Jagdalpur, the administrative headquarters, is a beautiful city having a population of about 150,000. Transport railway stations- 11 ; RTc depoits – 03 ; Airports- jagdalpur.
Languages spoken include Halbi, Bhatri, which falls within the Odia language group but only shares about 60% lexical similarity with Oriya, spoken by about 600 000. It possesses tribal odia culture in Chhattisgarh.
Forests play an important role in the lives of the people, providing food security and livelihood through the collection of minor forest produce, and employment (as casual labour) in the Forest Department. The forests provide for people’s consumption needs – fuel and firewood, medicines, food and drink, implements and housing materials
Bastar, the land of tribes and about 70% of the total population of Bastar comprises tribals, which is 26.76% of the total tribal population of Chhattisgarh. The major tribes of the Bastar region are the Gond, Abhuj Maria, Bhatra Bhatra are divided into Sub Cast San Bhatra, Pit Bhatra, Amnit Bhatra Amnit Hold Highest Status, Halbaa, Dhurvaa, Muria and Bison Horn Maria. The Gonds of Bastar are one of the most famous tribes in India, known for their unique Ghotul system of marriages. Gonds are also the largest tribal group of central India in terms of population.
The tribes of Bastar region are known for their unique and distinctive tribal culture and heritage in all over the world. Each tribal group in Bastar has their own distinct culture and enjoys their own unique traditional living styles. Each tribe has developed its own dialects and differs from each other in their costume, eating habits, customs, traditions and even worships different form of god and goddess.
A large number of Bastar tribals are still living in deep forests and avoid mixing with outsiders in order to protect their own unique culture. The tribes of Bastar are also known for their colorful festivals and arts and crafts. The Bastar Dussehra is the most famous festival of the region. The tribals of Bastar were also amongst the earliest to work with metal and have expertise in making beautiful figurines of tribal gods, votive animals, oil lamps, carts and animals.
An area where Handicraft is most widely practiced in Bastar is Kondagaon. Many products are made from such art such as vessels, jewellery and the images of the local deities and some decorative. The method of preparation of the products is quite simple and also called as the lost wax technique that happens to be perfect for the tribal settings.
The Bastar district specializes in the preparation of items from the Dhokra Handicraft and Bastar Wooden Craft. This process calls for a great deal of precision and skill. The artifacts prepared from Dhokra technique of this art use the cow dung, paddy husk and red soil in the preparation, beeswax being the most important one. Apart from contouring, wax wires are also used for decoration purpose and for giving a finishing touch to artifacts. From the Bell Metal Handicraft of Chhattisgarh in India, the real genius and creative faculty of the artisans come into picture and thus make for some of the most wonderful pieces of art.
The Dhokra and Bell Metal Handicraft can be found all over the world but the way in which the artisans of Chhattisgarh carve the things by the impression of their sheer dexterity is worth watching. Some of the handicraft items are so appealing that the tourists take them back as souvenirs.